The United States is sometimes referred to as an anomaly, primarily because of the unique principles ingrained in the U.S. Constitution. America’s founders sought to establish an optimal form of
government that avoided the defects of European monarchies and ensured a more fair and equal nation. They benefited from the fact that there was not a formal government or dominant culture in place.
Today, there are approximately 7.8 billion people in the world of which 330 million people are living in the United States. Most of the world’s population has little if any understanding of the U.S. Constitution. Regretfully, this includes a significant number of people living in the United States.
There are many reasons the people living in the United States should consider themselves blessed to live in greatest country in the world. This includes:
- The United States covers 3.8 million square miles, ranking 3rd behind Russia and Canada and is 14 times larger than the average country. America is easily habitable and is enormously diverse geographically, with mountain ranges, fertile farmlands, open prairies and thousands of miles of coastline. The United States also has an unusual degree of geographic isolation.
- The United States is highly populated, ranking 3rd behind China and India, but its density is relatively low with only 30 people per square kilometer. The average is 43 people per square kilometer, with France at 110, Britain at 243 and Taiwan at 636.
- The United States has a diverse and decentralized economy with abundant natural resources.
- The GDP of the United States is $12.5 trillion per year or about 1/5th of the global GDP, which is approximately $60 trillion per year
With these statistics, it is no wonder The United States is the envy of the world and other countries strive to gain influence and control. But it is extremely difficult to comprehend why, while foreigners are risking their lives to enter the United States, so many people living here are ashamed of and dissatisfied with their country.
The reason for the dissatisfaction with the United States is attributable to the deep political divide within our country. This divide is driven by two polar opposite ideologies and it is tearing us apart, threatening our future, and harming our people.
An ideology is a set of theories or beliefs of a group or an individual. Often the term “ideology” refers to a set of political beliefs or a set of ideas that characterize a particular culture. Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, and Marxism are examples of ideologies. Ideologies evolve or mutate as people contribute additional concepts or explanations about the existing beliefs. Ideologies are recognized by the “ism” at the end of the word.
The History of Political Ideologies in The United States.
The seeds of our great country were planted in the early 1600s, when settlers began arriving on the shores of the rugged wilderness that would become The United States. These were adventurous people, predominantly from England, France and Spain, who were escaping persecution and seeking a better life. At that time there was little to no formal government, and self-reliance and autonomy was required for survival. The individualistic attitudes they brought to this new land, encouraged and enabled the exploration and innovation that fueled the American spirit and greatness. These attitudes and beliefs became the foundation of the new nation with its unique character, values and principles. This could be considered the first wave (Red Wave) of political thinking that over took America.
The Growing Pains of the Industrial Revolution
An Analysis of the Progressive Ideology
Progressivism is a philosophical ideology, which defines the subjective beliefs of a group of people. We are confronted with hundreds of ideologies on a daily basis, most of which have conflicting belief systems. While the supporters of these Ideologies claim they represent absolute truth, they do not. They are not scientific, they are opinions. Humans are flawed and their opinions represent their personal experiences and learning.
Philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline. Philosophers study theories and ideologies, to obtain a more comprehensive and accurate assessment of the truth and make wiser decisions.
Progressivism in American politics refers to a social reform movement advocating progress (change and improvement) over conservativism and tradition. It claims to represent the interests of ordinary people through political change and the support of government actions. In the United States, Progressivism began as an intellectual rebellion against the political philosophy of Constitutionalism as expressed by John Locke and the founders of the American Republic, whereby the authority of government depends on observing limitations on its just powers. Some of its theories and actions may be motivated to correct challenging situations that occur in society. But are these theories reactionary and do they represent long term impacts.
Progressivism has evolved and mutated over time and many individuals have contributed theories and defense of the core values and principles of the ideology. As with all ideologies, progressivism has become complicated, contradictory, and even dogmatic over time.
A considerable percentage of Americans have supported and influenced the Progressive movement and ideology over time. The people in the diagram below have had the greatest impact on the transition of American society and government toward Progressivism. The individuals on the left of the diagram influenced America’s Progressive political leaders. The people on the right side are the American Presidents who implemented Progressive policy, incrementally moving America toward a Progressive way of life.
Below are some of the most influential people who have contributed to the Progressive body of work and are influencing promotion of progressive policies today.
Many of these people above believe America would be a fairer and more equal society, if it adopted more of the collectivist policies of Marxism and Progressivism. And as America’s slow drift toward Progressivism increases, their efforts to speed of evolution increases. Many of these people are in highly influential positions within politics, government administration, academia, entertainment, and activism. And the faster America adopts progressive policies, the quicker it loses what made America great.
More and more tactics like the 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory are being utilized to cause friction and discredit America’s history and progress. And as these tactics are being confronted, more and more tactics are being deployed.
Comparing Conservativism to Progressivism
Comparing Conservativism and Progressivism as philosophies is extremely difficult because they are uniquely different. Even though Conservativism contains the “ism” suffix, is less of an ideology and more a statement of principle. Conservativism is synonymous with Americanism and its principle is an adherence to the intent, values and principles of America’s founding. Americanism is the ideology delineates the intent, theories, and values of America’s individualistic culture and government. These intents, theories, and values are documented in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights. They are further explained in the Federalist Papers. The fact that these beliefs are documented, give them consistency and stability.
Progressivism is an ideology based on the actual definition of the term. It consists of a set of theories, values, and principles but they are not documented in a single doctrine. It has its roots in Marxism and shares most of the same principles and characteristics as Marxism. Because it isn’t consolidated into a single document, it is difficult to comprehend and fluctuates wildly. As a result, Progressivism easily mutates and changes as the need arises. Instead of supporting America’s founding theories, values, and principles, the mission of Progressivism is to transform America into a progressive vision of a utopian society. Progressivism by nature, is revolutionary and strives to establish a progressive culture, which is actually Anti-American.
Conservativism is illustrated as a book, because it is a well-documented and stable doctrine with an established process for change. Progressivism is illustrated as a pot of soup, because it is not documented, and has no entry criteria and no governing body or rules. Contributors do not have to have specific expertise or knowledge and progressivism evolves uncontrolled. Progressivism of today is dramatically different than Progressivism was during the Progressive Era of the 1920. This ability to shift and mutate, poses ongoing challenges and significant danger to America’s future.
The diagram below provides a slightly deeper comparison of Americanism to Progressivism. It should be viewed from a bottom-up perspective.
Americanism (Conservativism) is an individualistic belief system that is based on human nature, universal truths, and individual freedom and autonomy. The emphasis is on individual freedom, natural equality, liberty, natural rights, justice and limited government. Limited government based on “Natural rights”, according to Locke, were those rights that sprang from the exercise of “Natural Law”:
- a right to property, since we have a corresponding duty not to steal
- a right to life, since we have a duty not to kill
- a right to liberty, since we have a duty not to oppress
Progressivism is a collectivist belief system that is based of constant evolution as observed through science and history Progressives reject the concept of universal truth and believe U. S. Constitution was appropriate during the period it was created, but not for modern society. They emphasis the collective-will or majority-will, which was the concept of Rousseau and Karl Marx. They support equity, welfare (positive rights) Social Justice. Satisfying the collective-will often requires violating individual will and freedom and requires more involved and forceful government. The inevitable problem with Collectivism/Progressivism is, as increasing priority is placed on the Majority-Will, Individual Freedom is suppressed or compromised.
This table compares the values and principles of Conservativism vs. Progressivism.
|Core Ideology||Conservativism is an “Individualist” ideology rooted in the beliefs of Englishman John Locke (Two Treatises of Government) and Frenchman Baron de Montesquieu (The Spirit of the Laws).||Progressivism is a “Collectivist” ideology rooted in the beliefs of Frenchman Jean-Jacques Rousseau (A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality and Social Contract) and adopted by Germans Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital).|
|Will||Individual Will – John Locke wrote that all men are naturally in a state of perfect freedom and equality. This includes a law of nature wherein no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.||General Will – Rousseau wrote that people should sacrifice their individual will in order to realize greater societal gains or the general will.|
|Purpose||Conservation – The objective of Conservativism is to conserve the traditions and framework of American society and system of government as defined in the U.S. Constitution.||Transformation – Progressives relate progress with the transition of America’s form of government to a more globally acceptable form. To achieve this goal the U.S. Constitution must be discredited, reinterpreted, and weakened.|
|Negative Rights vs. Positive Rights||Negative Rights – Conservatives honor the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”.||Positive Rights – Teddy Roosevelt made the case for what he called “New Nationalism.” The central issue, he argued, was government protection of human welfare and property rights; but, he also argued that human welfare was more important than property rights.|
|Government Role||Hobbes wrote that government exists to keep the peace so that people can get on with their private lives in a zone of personal sovereignty protected by government. Montesquieu promoted a separation of powers with enumerated authorities||In 1941 FDR’s State of the Union Address, mentioned 4 freedoms that everyone should enjoy: freedom of speech, of worship, from want, and from fear. This became the new progressive ideal for the role of government.|
|Democracy||America was formed as a democratic republic, which is a form of government operating on principles adopted from a republic and a democracy This was done to protect against the tyranny of the masses, which is an inherent weakness to majority rule in which the majority of an electorate pursues exclusively its own objectives at the expense of minority factions.||Croly stated: Progressive democracy aims for the emancipation of democracy from the bondage to the Law, partly by making it easier to amend fundamental law. This would virtually eliminate the distinction between the Constitution and ordinary law, so the Popular Will would no longer be thwarted by constitutional obstacles.|
|The Constitution||The U.S. Constitution is often cited as an explicit example of part of America’s social contract. It sets out what the government can and cannot do. People who choose to live in America agree to be governed by the moral and political obligations outlined in the Constitution’s social contract.||Croly stated that the constitutional system of limited government had been fine long ago, but had become a system of enslavement that must be superseded. Passive constitutionalism would enable the government to get on with a bold agenda of positive economic and social functions.|
|Popular Will and tyranny of the majority||Jefferson said: Though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that it will be rightful must be reasonable: that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect and to violate would be oppression.||Wilson said: The purpose of the constitution they drafted in 1787 was no longer the protection of individual rights; rather, its new purpose was to empower the passionate beliefs of the efficient majority of the nation.|
|Checks and Balances||James Madison: “If Men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”||Beard: The separation of powers guaranteed the disintegration of positive action.|
Unity and Positive Change
As a society, it is wise and appropriate to continually evaluate our successes and weaknesses and make changes designed to achieve a more perfect union. Not all change is effective and good, and not all policy recommendations are constructive and warranted. The challenge we face is that evil intentions and ideological beliefs are deeply embedded in our opinions and policy recommendations.
The only thing constant in life is change, and America will continue to change and evolve. But will America’s evolution be positive for our betterment, or negative to our detriment? Should we enhance and reform the system of government we inherited? Or, have we become so disillusioned with America that we will transform it toward a system of government that has failed wherever it was tried?
Collective wisdom suggests that a new approach to change is warranted. We can either unite and work together to make America into the optimal country for our people, or remain divided and continue to pull in different directions. We can attempt to transform America through revolution into a country that “might” be better but has greater risk of becoming an authoritarian dystopia. Or we can ensure a positive evolution by enhancing and reforming our laws while remaining committed to America’s country’s founding principles.
In order to answer the questions above, we must understand the underlying values, principles, and visions of the two major political ideologies in America today. As the names imply, Conservativism is focused on conserving the Constitution and framework of government that was established when the United States was founded in 1787. Progressivism implies a subjective notion of progress that is measured in accordance with one’s political belief. Progressives believe America’s Constitution and framework of government are deeply flawed, and they view actions that transform America toward the Global Left’s preferred system of government as “progress”.
Progressives have a greater allegiance to an ideology and a vision than they do to the country that they live in. The same could be said of the Conservatives, but America was founded upon Classic Liberalism, which is what Conservatives are fighting to preserve. Progressive policies are less about helping people and more about incremental steps toward achieving their desired target state, which is a collectivist society and government.
There are two major opposing forces battling for control of America and “We the People” are the pawns. In the game of chess, pawns are the least valuable pieces on the board. During the game, pawns will ungrudgingly be sacrificed to protect more valuable pieces. The U.S. Constitution however, gave “We the People” authority over our government, so, as pawns, we are obstacles to what politicians want to accomplish. That is why the manipulation of the public is so prevalent.
The U.S. Constitution was written to protect “We the People” against abusive and tyrannical government. The task before us is to become educated and informed in order to ensure that we safeguard the authority granted to us in the Constitution. We must carefully analyze each and every policy or law that is being proposed and ensure that they aren’t designed to weaken the safeguards incorporated in the U.S. Constitution.
Progressives believe that as societies grow and become more complex, government must grow to oversee and regulate it. They promote what they deem to be a fairer, more equal and compassionate society, and they continue to pass legislation that increases what they regard as positive rights (welfare, free healthcare, time-off) at the expense of other people’s negative rights (property, free speech). They also fabricate injustices and claim to be superheroes fighting to solve discrimination and eliminate offensive behaviors. Their overemphasis on Social Justice and deemphasis of Justice is encouraging greater crime, envy, and hatred in America. Our young people are being taught to expect a good life be given to them and are not being encouraged to develop the skills required to succeed in the real world.
Successful countries have a series of common traits. Their citizens are united behind a common set of core values, principles, and laws. They share a passion for their country, want to be part of a winning team, and want the ability to utilize their unique God given talents. America is the greatest country in the world and has an ideal Constitution and culture based on natural equality, liberty, and justice. Since America’s founding, we have welcomed people who shared these characteristics. However, since the 1960s, this has changed. Many immigrants are now coming to America for welfare or to transform America. And our young people are being taught to hate what America is and to become activists fighting for a different culture and core principles. This is causing a major divide in America.
Progressives want to unite Americans around their vision of America. And, after studying the ideology delineated with the quotes of Progressive presidents and influencers, it becomes apparent that they want different values, principles, and laws. Instead of taking time to learn and appreciate America’s culture and Constitution, they are using distortion and manipulation to circumvent American culture and laws. Progressive actions that might have been considered unlawful, or even treasonous, are now considered their natural rights. But what they believe is their right, actually violates other people’s guaranteed constitutional rights, which is un-American and unlawful.
America was established as a meritocracy and became the greatest country because of its finely tuned balance between rights and responsibilities. If we want America to endure and be a desirable place to live, Americans need to unify behind a common set of core values, principles, laws and traditions. That would be the system of government that was solidified with the Constitution in 1787. Our Constitution can evolve, and there is a constitutionally documented method to change it.
Learning Circle Discussion
People see the world very differently. The first group believes that all people should have a basic standard of living regardless of their physical attributes, ambition, attitude and work ethic. These people think the responsibility of government is to ensure everyone is uniform and equal. The second group believes that all people should be free to live their life according to their unique skills and desires without government interference, as long as they demonstrate mutual respect and honor societal laws. These people think the responsibility of government should be limited to protecting people’s natural rights. Yes, there may be people who are undecided.
Americans in the first group prioritize “equality” over “liberty” and tend to be Progressive, a collectivist ideology which requires intrusive government. Americans in the second group prioritize “liberty” over “equality” and tend to be Conservative, an individualist ideology that expects limited government. Regretfully, these two ideologies are like oil and water and cannot amicably coexist. Our founding fathers understood the dangers of uncontrolled big government and built a system to safeguard against authoritarian governments.
Our current environment is dangerous and unsustainable. We are deeply divided, and the situation is getting worse. Our success demands that we trust each other and agree on the core principles under which we want to live. How can we create a country with shared values, principles, laws, and a social contract?
Imagine and describe the country America would be today, if she had stayed true to her founding principles, values, and Constitution.
- Can we continue in the direction we are currently going? What are the risks?
- What options do we have for solving this dangerous conflict we are experiencing?
- What are the characteristics, values, and principles you want to live under?
- What are the obstacles to solving the situation?
- Is “unity” possible and how do we accomplish it?
- How important is it to live in accordance with the letter and intent of the U.S. Constitution?
- People have the right to believe what they will, but are these beliefs equally beneficial?
- If people understood the origin and danger of Progressivism, would they still support it?