The Redskins and the wrong side of history

Those who now want the Washington Redskins to be called something newer and nicer are, it follows, “on the right side of history,” a polemic wielded with increasing frequency. Last year the National Journal offered a partial list of the many political positions President Obama has declared to be on the right side of history, including support for the Arab spring protestors, Obamacare, and immigration reform. Some of his admirers have urged Obama to stay on the right side of history by preventing construction of the Keystone oil pipeline. Others applauded him for finally getting on the right side of history when, in May 2012, he declared himself a supporter of gay marriage.

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The “right side of history” is a recent addition to the lexicon, but the idea behind it is quite old. We, in the second decade of the 21st century, may say that the cause of the future has by now acquired a substantial legacy from a past stretching back to the late 19th century. Those who read the CRB and, in particular, the work of its editor Charles Kesler, are well aware that since Progressivism appeared on the American scene, its -ism has been that a better future beckons, but is not simply destined. To realize it we’ll need visionary leaders who advocate and facilitate progress. They see clearly what most see dimly: how the future will be better than the present, and what we must do to progress from where we are to where we need to go.

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