The Exterminationist Longings of Progressives

This looked interesting:

Regular readers of FEE know that one of our beats has been the early history of the administrative State as built by Progressives at the turn of the 20th century. It was a different kind of State than the one that came before, a modern state knew no limits to its power to intervene in the relationships between individuals. It set in motion a century of government growth and regulatory control over every aspect of life, and all these controls have lasted to this day.

Why did they do it? The textbooks say that they loved the common man. They passed laws to protect the worker. They wanted to make capitalism fair and safe for everyone. They longed for justice, fairness, and universal rights.

That’s all fantasy.

Over the last 20 years, an outpouring of research has shown a much darker truth. The Progressives were not about progress. They in fact longed to roll back the astonishing gains made by the marketplace of the late 19th century. They longed to put the world back together into what it once was, a place of hierarchy in which everyone knew his or her place. They used the science of their times to build a giant State apparatus to bring about results they determined to be the right ones.

And the “right results” often had racial criteria. The Progressives were obsessed with eugenics, the politics of treating human beings like farm animals to be bred and cultivated with intentionality, deliberation, and coercion. Once you understand how prominent this position was – and it was almost universally-held by the academic and policy elite – much of their work begins to make sense. This is the reason for erecting high barriers to entry into the workforce: they desired exclusion. It was the reason for marriage licenses, welfare provision, immigration restrictions, maximum working hour laws, zoning controls, business regulation, and so on.

If you keep your eye on the topic of eugenics, you can understand much of the motivation of this class of intellectuals. Not to put too fine a point on it, they divided the human family into the fit and unfit and used government as a tool to stop the propagation of the latter in favor of the former.

It’s a chilling story, but once you see it, you can’t unsee it.

People say, “Oh sure, they believed some terrible things, but Progressives have changed. They no longer want to exterminate people. They want to help them.”

It’ll connect to smoking bans, of course. Smokers know all about what “help” means. Smoking bans are one of the things that happen when “a modern state” that knows “no limits to its power to intervene in the relationships between individuals,” exerts “regulatory control over every aspect of life,” and “treats human beings like farm animals.”

And of course the modern, progressive state wants to exterminate smokers.

The accompanying embedded Soundcloud talk was illuminating. I didn’t know that Woodrow Wilson had re-segregated the bureaucracy in Washington (where blacks could order whites around), throwing many blacks out of work.

I was interested enough that I ordered the book:  Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era by Thomas C. Leonard. It might provide some good reading over Christmas.

Which reminds me that I read somewhere that Donald Trump said/tweeted a few days ago that you’d soon be able to say “Merry Christmas” again. Can you imagine it?

I read today that Bernie Sanders seems to be adjusting his views on Trump (townhall meeting video):

“Trump said he will not be politically correct. I think he said some outrageous and painful things, but I think people are tired of the same old politically correct rhetoric. I think some people believe he was speaking from his heart and willing to take on everybody.”

I suspect that a lot of people are adjusting their views these days.

Trump’s political incorrectness was his main attraction, for me at least. He was a wrecking ball for “progressive” political correctness. And that progressivism tightly connects to the progressivism described in the book – all of it most likely based on half-baked science like everything seems to be these days.

I also ordered  The Underdog Anthology, Volume 1.  Maybe that will arrive before Christmas too.



About Frank Davis

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27 Responses to The Exterminationist Longings of Progressives

  1. mikef317 says:

    Off topic.

    I’m not inclined to reference an English link on an English blog, but the issue of “London fog” caught my eye.

    There are (worth reading?) comments. One from “SillyRestrictions” is quoted below, unedited.

    They should ban cars in city centres, the financial consequences be damned.

    Do it in stages if you have to. Ban diesel vehicles. Ban everything except buses and taxis. Ban older vehicles. Ban vehicles between certain times or days so that the air can clear. Make people pay to drive through the city centre. I don’t care how they do it, but the ridiculous amount of diesel vehicles transporting a single person through the centre is ridiculous where I live, and it’s completely uncalled for. The city centre is compact with most things within 10-15 mins walk, there are buses (including free ones), trains and very frequent non-polluting trams. People are just used to the convenience and luxury of driving their car to right outside where they want to be.


    Also off topic, a while back there was a question as to why New Yorkers don’t get rid of the United Nations.

    We can’t. The building and the land its built upon is “international territory.” The UN has its own police and fire departments, and for reasons I don’t quite fathom, its own post office. The land was donated by the Rockefeller family. (Where have I heard that name before?) I don’t know who paid for the building; presumably the wealthier nations.

    I don’t really care about the UN being in New York. I do wish, however, that the damned diplomats would pay their 16 million dollars’ worth of parking tickets. (The UK does. Two cheers for the UK.)

    • Harleyrider1978 says:

      International political protection they have!


    • Roobeedoo2 says:

      From the Guardian article, ‘the miasma of pollution’.

      Interesting choice of word, ‘miasma’…

      • waltc says:

        Bloomberg tried (but failed) to do that in NYC– charge cars $8 to enter the commercial part of Manhattan. A NY Post article whose link I posted earlier, also made the convincing case that the Bloomberg-inspired “pedestrian plazas” and proliferating bike lanes were really created to make driving so maddening that people would quit. And, speaking of quiting, he openly proclaimed that the endless smoking bans, including parks and beaches, were designed to make smoking as inconvenient as possible.

  2. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Love it frank, I’ve been looking for a difinitive source on the first progressive movement that brought about americas first tobacco prohibitions followed up by alcohol prohibition.

    Their bans failed altogether back then as we all know. It seems General Pershing said if your against tobacco your for the Kaiser!

    Very quickly bans were repealed!

    But they had not given up they were hoping the next
    Amendment after anti alcohol would be a volstead act to outlaw tobacco!

    Instead it was the repeal of the volstead act!

    But the current day war on drugs was a compromise to the progressives on repeal of alcohol prohibition!

    Every thing that’s wrong with the world can be traced back to the first progressive movement and now hopefully Trump means the end of the second regressive movement!

  3. Harleyrider1978 says:

    24 hours left in Facebook gestapo jail for saying japs

    Imagine what’d I’d get if I said whites are crackers

  4. Harleyrider1978 says:

    FB is really thoughtful I can still read the posts including the never ending FB propaganda news they force feed us

  5. slugbop007 says:

    Brave New World.


  6. Frank Davis says:

    It’s time we recover America’s history of progressive populism. It’s awfully easy for elites and their toadies (witting or unwitting) to dismiss the citizenry who reject elitst narratives as “deplorables,” just as it is easy for them to dismiss populist resistance to their control as being “undemocratic.”

    This is of course the exact opposite of the truth: populism is the result when the institutions of “democracy”–i.e. the machinery of elite control–have failed to respond to the concerns and opinions of non-elites.

    Having been rendered impotent and voiceless in the elite-dominated machinery, the bottom 95% have no alternative but to join a populist movement–a movement that in America often takes the form of a third party or an insurgency in an established political party (for example, Sanders and Trump).

    Populism arises as a response to crushing inequality in both wealth and political power. The “free silver” movement arose in the late 1800s as a response of the non-elites to the enormous power and wealth of the Gilded Age financiers and industrialists.

    The populist idea was to expand the money supply via minting more silver coins, with the goal being to make it easier for small enterprises and family farmers to borrow the new capital that would enter the economy.

    Precisely how does this sort of populism lead to autocracy and fascism? The entire claim is laughably absurd. How can so-called “experts” spew this “populism leads to autocracy” nonsense?

  7. waltc says:

    Add to your reading list Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism” (much about Wilson and the West’s infatuation with Mussolini) and Thomas Sowell’s “The Visions of the Annointed” but the Goldberg is the real Must

    • Frank Davis says:

      Yes. I think you’ve mentioned this book before.

    • garyk30 says:

      Democrats are a perfect illustration of ‘The Vision of the Annointed’.

      They are urging electors to vote according to what they feel is morally proper and ignor the voters they represent.

      The Dems feel that the wisdom of a single elector is more valid and important than the collective wisdom of a couple hundred thousand voters.

      60 million votes for Trump and 306 electors = each elector representing about 200,000 voters.

  8. waltc says:

    The NY Times, describing Turkey’s escalating crackdown on smokers as “progressive,” quotes Erdogan as saying “there’s no such freedom as the freedom to smoke.”

    • Vlad says:

      Whenever I hear about a country’s ‘progressive’ anti-smoking measures, it puts me off visiting it because I don’t want to contribute £1 to such ‘progress’.

  9. Lepercolonist says:

    Upon reading Arthur Herman’s biography of General Douglas MacArthur I was amused by the following passage :

    ” To show there were no hard feelings, MacArthur offered one of the soldiers in the patrol a cigarette, a Camel. The man took a grateful drag and then said, ” I was thinking, if you had just been a Boche(German) general instead of an American one we we all of us got the D.S.C.( Distinguished Service Cross).”
    MacArthur had to laugh. ” If you don’t get a medal in any event you do get a package of cigarettes,” and passed him the pack of Camels.
    The soldier thanked him, and said wistfully, ” To tell the truth, sir, I would rather have the cigarettes than the medal.”

    • Frank Davis says:

      I’m trying to guess what the missing part of the story is.

      My guess is that MacArthur’s car was stopped by a patrol of British soldiers (I’m assuming that American soldiers would recognise American generals), probably in Normandy in June 1944, who didn’t recognise his uniform and thought they might have captured a German general, which would have earned them all a DSC. After having been interrogated by them for a while, MacArthur somehow managed to produce evidence that he was a US general rather than a German one (possibly by producing a letter from General Montgomery?). At which point they started to get worried that, instead of all being awarded DSCs, they’d all be court-martialed. And they probably said as much. At which point, in order “to show there were no hard feelings…..”

      And, in fact, it seems that this was more or less exactly what did happen. But in 1918 rather than 1944.

      In the final advance on Sedan. MacArthur later wrote that this operation “narrowly missed being one of the great tragedies of American history.”[52] An order to disregard unit boundaries led to units crossing into each other’s zones. In the resulting chaos, MacArthur was taken prisoner by men of the 1st Division, who mistook him for a German general.

  10. Pingback: Kid Biskit – The Fastest Cookie Muncher in the West… – Library of Libraries

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