Thursday, June 30, 2016

My How Progressivism Has Changed!

A "Progressive" in political terms is generally defined as someone with the belief that government can best address social problems, inequalities or inequities facing the nation.

It is a popular term in this day and age. Most Democrats want to be considered "progressive" rather than liberal.

Teddy Roosevelt is generally considered to be the "father" of Progressivism in this country. Although he ran and served as President as a Republican, he later formed the Progressive Party in order to run against his hand-picked successor, William Howard Taft, when he was not satisfied that Taft was progressive enough. Roosevelt's third party bid failed in 1912 but his legacy as the father of Progressivism lives on.

Credit: By American Press Association -, Public Domain,

Of course, Teddy Roosevelt's distant relative (they were 5th cousins) Franklin Delano Roosevelt remains the iconic symbol of Progressivism with his New Deal policies that transformed the way that the federal government worked, that we still live with today.

Despite the "Progressive" credentials that both the Roosevelt's possessed, I think it is interesting to look back at some of their views and compare these to what we see today.

For example, here is Teddy Roosevelt on the subject of Immigration that he wrote in 1916.

"We must in every way possible encourage the immigrant to rise, help him up, give him a chance to help himself. If we try to carry him he may well prove not well worth carrying. We must in turn insist upon his showing the same standard of fealty to this country and to join with us in raising the level of our common American citizenship. 

"If I could I would have the kind of restriction which would not allow any immigrant to come here unless I was content that his grandchildren would be fellow-citizens of my grandchildren. They will not be so if he lives in a boarding house at $2.50 per month with ten other boarders and contracts tuberculosis and contributes to the next generation a body of citizens inferior not only morally and spiritually but also physically."

Does that sound something a 2016 Progressive would be saying?

Or how about this which Roosevelt wrote shortly before his death in 1919.

"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here does in good faith become an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with every one else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed or birthplace or origin. But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American and nothing but an American. 

"If he tries to keep segregated with men of his own origin and separated from the rest of America, then he isn't doing his part as an American. 

"We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile. We have room for but one language here and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, and American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding house; and we have room for but one soul [sic] loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people."

Does that sound more like Donald Trump of Hillary Clinton?

How about these words from Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his 1935 State of the Union address where he addressed concerns about the potential long-term effects of his New Deal policies.

“The lessons of history, confirmed by evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence on relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber.  To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.  It is inimical to the dictates of sound policy.  It is a violation of the traditions of America.”

No, that is not Paul Ryan or Rand Paul, that is FDR.

Credit: By Social Security Online - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3c23278.
Public Domain,

There is no greater political bond that exists today than between public sector unions and the Democrat party.

Here are the words of FDR on that subject in 1937.

"The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service," "I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place" in the public sector. "A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government."

Yes, that is President Franklin D. Roosevelt and not Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

Just a few examples that show how far off the path of "progress" we have strayed over the years.

My how progressivism has changed!

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