Obama’s Presidency and the Pathologies of Progressivism

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Obama’s presidency has failed miserably, but it has accomplished one thing: it has revealed for all to see the lethal pathologies of progressive ideology. This doesn’t mean progressivism will go away. We thought the New Democrat Bill Clinton had put progressive ideas to rest when he said that the era of big government was over, and then reformed welfare and cut government spending from 23.5% of GDP to 19.5%. Yet despite the success that followed his rejection of failed liberal policies, here we are in the fourth year of Obama’s term, saddled with $5 trillion in new debt, a stalled economy, a National Labor Relations Board carrying water for the unions, a blatantly politicized Department of Justice, and rapidly metastasizing entitlement programs. Meanwhile the president indulges in class-warfare rhetoric young a century ago, and calls for even more redistributionist deficit spending to benefit his political cronies and clients.

The worst economic recovery since World War II that Obama and the Democrats midwifed has exposed the failure of the notion that the government can create economic growth and wealth rather than merely expropriating it from the creative and productive, and that centralized planning and regulating by “experts” can more efficiently allocate resources than the free market does. But more important is the underlying idea of progressivism that Obama’s policies is predicated on: Perfect justice, prosperity, and equality are possible if enlightened elites are given the power to organize and run society according to “scientific” knowledge about human nature and behavior. For two centuries this hubristic idea has led to failure, misery, and murder on a vast scale, yet progressives continue to increase government power in order to create this impossible utopia. Obamacare is just the latest iteration of this frequently demonstrated fallacy that complex human behavior, which reflects the unpredictable free will of millions of unique individuals, can be organized, controlled and regimented in order to achieve some dream-world utopia. That progressives still cling to this exploded idea despite the evidence of history and a disintegrating E.U. shows just how reactionary and blinkered they are.

But the list of progressive fallacies exposed by Obama is much longer. He has laid bare the hypocrisies and failures of the race-based identity politics that lie behind affirmative action and other racialist policies. Only by dint of the Jim Crow one-drop rule can someone who is half-black, who was raised in one of the least black states in the union by white grandparents, who had no exposure to black American culture and mores in his formative years, and who graduated from exclusive, elitist, predominantly white universities be considered authentically black. Moreover, his manifest ignorance about everything from pronunciation of common words to the basics of history and economics has exposed the gross inflation of his abilities by whites, one based not on performance but on assertion. Remember the presidential historian who claimed, with no evidence from transcripts or test scores, that Obama was probably the smartest president ever? Obama illustrates the truth that progressive racial policies are based on the illiberal idea that predicates minority identity on simplistic group stereotypes and the presumption of victimhood based on nothing other than melanin quotient and hair texture.

Then there’s the obvious dishonesty of progressive claims to care for the welfare of the “people” and battle for their interests against the elite. Remember Al Gore’s 2000 campaign slogan, “The People vs the Powerful”? Or Occupy Wall Street’s “We are the 99%”? In the progressive worldview, public employees who earn more than private sector workers, enjoy greater job security, and get gold-plated health and retirement benefits are the downtrodden workers that evil capitalist stooges like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker are eager to destroy. Twenty-something Occupy Wall Street riffraff––with federally subsidized, useless college degrees and the leisure to befoul public spaces and vandalize private property in order to promote decrepit bumper-sticker politics––are “dissident” idealists bravely opposing the “man.” Zillionaire movie stars and pop divas with little or no education are noble, enlightened protestors against “income inequality” and the depredations of the “1%.” Well-heeled global-warming alarmists gorging on federal “clean-energy” subsidies and trailing King-Kong carbon footprints are admired champions of the environment being ravaged by corporate barbarians.

In fact, it is the progressives who are the party of big-money elites out of touch with the average American. In 2008 Obama reaped a third of a billion dollars from blue-state plutocrats like Goldman Sachs, the University of California, Time-Warner, Google, and Microsoft. This trolling for cash in America’s richest zip codes is continuing this election cycle, which has seen Vogue editor Anna Wintour offer hoi polloi a chance to win a seat at her fundraiser for Obama. Even liberal Juan Williams saw the class snobbery of letting “someone who reeks of ornamental excess announce that the peasants can have a place at the table.” But why are we surprised? As David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin document in their just-published The New Leviathan, progressive tax-exempt foundations, with a near-trillion-dollar war chest, outspend conservatives 7-1, while currency manipulator George Soros pour billions into progressive causes. Meanwhile, the most populist, grass-roots political movement in decades, the Tea Party, is slandered as racist hillbillies clinging to their guns and religion.

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  • StephenD

    This is an excellent post Mr. Thornton. I fear most Americans won't understand what is right in front of our eyes. IT has always been this way for the elite. Of course, all that they do or will do is "for our own good." They know better and will lead us into a better life by dictate. Before long we will have become subjects rather than citizens. I fear this will be done of our own volition. If a Progressive emerges victorious it will be by Acclamation and not Proclamation, and THAT shame will be on us.

  • Mach1Duck

    This all goes back to the Council For Reform (CFR) dating back to 1910 when a group of monied men decided to dictate banking global banking policies. This has spread from the banking to the political arena ensuring continuation of the CFR. I will leave it to the reader to determine for themselves who benefits from the progressive movement.

  • Victoria DeLacy

    Something else the Obama Occupancy (can't call it Presidency for failure to comply with Constitutional requirements – ie. where's the VALID birth ceritificate?) has done on the positive side – it has grown the Republican party nationwide faster and more greatly than could have been accomplished through any of our typical membership drives!

    • Sage on the Stage

      Substitute "Tea Party" for Republican party, and your comment will be better.

      • Amused

        so much so , the Republican Party need tyo be renamed ….lol…bye bye Elephant ….hello Tea Bag !!

    • Maxie

      Unfortunately the GOP remains schizoid and therefore politically impotent. Party 'leadership' and the RNC are all RINO's and walk both sides of the political street. Conservatives are in the minority and are leashed by the wimp RINO's. http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/05/gop_what_g

  • Johncdavidson

    The progressive movement is just a series of contradictions put forth by a group of people whose self-interests take precedence.

    • Amused

      gee , sounds like the Republican /Conservative parties …lol…..self interests indeed .

      • Johncdavidson

        Good explanation that reveals your mental capacity. Ha, ha, ha. wasting money is hilarious.

  • ealha3

    Thornton presents an eloquent, inciteful and cogent review of a complex, mostly concealed agenda of the progressive that, only lately is being revealed by their multiple frontal defenses to what is being disclosed as their blatenly corrupt, self interest politicaly motivated actions. "Critical mass" of those who prioritize their current entitlements over this country's longer term survival will likely determine the election – not the economy, the debt, or any other otherwise relevant political issue. This is the abyss from which Europe now seeks to extricate itself. It is now the abyss we must struggle to avoid.

  • tagalog

    It's interested me for a long time to know that progressivism is grounded in the view that humankind is making progress toward greater and greater perfection. The history of humankind doesn't convincingly demonstrate that; it's much more plausible that each generation tends to make the same mistakes as the one before. Yet the progressivists continue to believe what they believe. Furthermore, they seem during the past century and a half, since the rise of Marxism and socialism to have adopted the additional idea that some enlightened vanguard, a la Plato's Guardians and Philosopher Kings, can somehow lead the rest of us into Eden. History tells that that is also a will-o'-the-wisp.

    • Amused

      Thay's right man , as we all know EDEN is REPOCON ideology in our churches , schools ,Universities and the goals of any politician and/or President . Not to mention TV , News Media , library books , school books , economic policies and taxation . Anyone who disagrees is a TRAITOR . .Yup the " Perfect Republic ":

      • tagalog

        Obviously, once again you are not Amused.

  • clarespark

    I wouldn't call progressivism scientific nor is it part of the Enlightenment. Its progenitors were only interested in stopping the red specter. I wrote about their pseudo-science here: http://clarespark.com/2009/12/12/switching-the-en…. What progressive social psychologists wanted was social cohesion. They wiped out the very concept of the individual. Title: "switching the Enlightenment: corporatist liberalism and the revision of American history."

    • Sage on the Stage

      What is your opinion of Woodrow Wilson?

      • clarespark

        I wrote quite a lot about him here: http://clarespark.com/2008/05/03/margoth-vs-rober…. "Margoth [a character in a Melville poem] v. Robert E. Lee." His racism is well known. Originally very conservative he ran on a platform that co-opted populist demands.

  • L8gr8usa

    Telling it exactly like it is! Progressives have already reached critical mass to claim the November election to be void due to all the disenfranchised voters and will not concede the White House if they lose. The elections will be declared “unfair” and backed by the courts. Everything and everyone is already in place in positions throughout the government. What would prevent this from happening? They are so bold they don’t try to hide their brazen collusion.

    And we will take it sitting down, angry and shouting at our radios and tv’s. We/I don’t have the will to sacrifice our lifestyles and comforts to take action.

  • Western Spirit

    progressives use smart as a part of their agenda, as in obama and clinton are brillant while bush and reagan are dunces. and since people want to be thought to be smart to feel hubris and superior to conservatives, it works.

    to paraphrase forest gump smart is as smart does and what progressives promote as smart is dumb.

  • Maxie

    It's past time for conservatives to acknowledge that Leftism is a faith-based pathology, i.e; it's a secular religion in the sense of "a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith." In other words it's irrational as in "not governed by, or according to, reason."

    The sooner this is understood by everyone the sooner the world can be rid of this deadly inquisition.

  • Spider

    This is one of the best reads I have ever seen on Frontpage Mag. My hat is off to you Mr. Thornton! Thank you for your brilliant analysis. I would love to see a leftist stutter and stammer attempting to rebuke the tenets of this magnificent piece…

  • Sensible SImon

    I am puzzled by your response. I am not sure I understood there was anything to refute here. The entire article is devoid of facts or any reasoned argument. It looks like simply one large straw man argument and I think most people would agree. If you are not familiar with the straw man argument, Wikipedia offers a good working definition:
    "A straw man is a type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the "straw man"), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position."

    They give a good example that relates to this article:

    Person A: We should liberalize the laws on beer.
    Person B: No, any society with unrestricted access to intoxicants loses its work ethic and goes only for immediate gratification.

    The proposal was to relax laws on beer. Person B has exaggerated this to a position harder to defend, i.e., "unrestricted access to intoxicants". It is a logical fallacy because Person A never made that claim.

    It seems to me most of the article is of this kind. The argument example about beer example being very close to the assertions Thornton makes about "license" for example.

    Before anyone gets excited I am not a leftist, I simply can't abide nonsense from either side (plenty to go around).

  • Ronald Johnston

    osama obama and all his marxist helpers = pure evil!!!!