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The true state of progressive politics– Verbosity getting nothing done

Current generation progressivism is often astonishingly naïve in this political environment. Despising the despicable is understandable, but hardly useful.

Current generation progressivism is often astonishingly naïve in this political environment. Despising the despicable is understandable, but hardly useful.
Current generation progressivism is often astonishingly naïve in this political environment. Despising the despicable is understandable, but hardly useful.

Democracy is supposed to be a trustworthy form of government. That doesn’t mean much when the defenders of democracy do nothing. The last few years have delivered the price of doing nothing. That price is way too high.

The main reason for this article is the sheer amount of blather about the progressive side in the news every second. It’s appalling. The link is to the word “progressive” in a Google News search. It’s all there; the Big Debate About Progressivism Among Progressives. It’s a sort of half-ass weather report from people who never look out the window.

The “news” is this is the true state of progressive politics. That’s a massive indictment. If real progress was measured in inches, it’d be downright embarrassing. Progressivism needs to get real, ASAP.

Progressive politics basics

Progressive politics is almost a contradiction in terms. Politics is sleazy, corrupt and self-serving. Progressives generally despise it. Discussion of politics is like chatting about insanity. Political culture is invariably obnoxious on multiple levels. It’s a club that excludes just about everybody.  

The culture gap between progressives and politics is much bigger than people realize. Most progressives are educated to at least basic literacy levels. Politics is always at least one generation behind the times. That’s no great incentive for progressive thinkers.

Progressive thinking and naivete is a lousy combination

Current generation progressivism is often astonishingly naïve in this political environment. Despising the despicable is understandable, but hardly useful.

For example, a few basic progressive misconceptions:

  • Politics is “us and them”: If you think it’s just people disagreeing, you’re 100% wrong. The driving force in mainstream politics is gain, not opinions. Ideologies come and go; greed remains.
  • Political parties are formed within the society: Wrong again. The ubiquitous level of criminality in Western politics has nothing to do with “society”. Society is the victim.
  • The rich elites run politics: Almost right; they try to do so.  There are plenty of people happy to take their money and do the errands. The result is invariably total mismanagement. It’s a driving factor in total dysfunction.
  • “We care and we’re always right”. …Then why aren’t you getting on with meeting real specific human needs? You can’t eat an ideology or put a roof over your head with endless talk. You can’t detoxify the planet with slogans. …And you haven’t.
  • “We’re for social justice”. So is the Pledge of Allegiance, and a volume of statutes that would cover Colorado a few feet deep. Social justice is a basic principle of law, not a Crusade. It’s also very obviously not being delivered, despite any number of options to do so.
  • “We’re thinking of the future.” …Just having a bit of trouble finding it? How odd. You have to make the future. You can’t just talk it into existence.

Progressive myths ad nauseam

Progressivism doesn’t mind creating a few myths. Bernie Sanders, the guy who routinely takes on America’s many social hernias, is a case in point. Sanders is a beacon of progressivism, but for a practical, non-ideological reason. He’s a realist. He’s talking about doing what needs doing. It’s an idea many so-called progressives should adopt. He offers practical solutions, not just another “How Bad It Is And Ain’t We Wonderful” mutual agreement meeting. That’s actual progressivism.

Another myth is almost amusing, but it’s used as right-wing propaganda against anything and everything – “Progressivism is socialism; Eek!” This drivel, provided by hack PR media and swallowed whole, is entirely counterfactual.

How do middle-class suburban progressives suddenly turn into supposed communists? Short answer – They don’t. Ever. The basic tenet of progressivism is using social assets for the benefit of the people who pay for those assets. Taxpayers. Nothing to do with red stars and dogmas.

Nobody’s going to ditch their comfortable Western lifestyles to create a ridiculous Maoist or Stalinist non-existent Utopia. That’s not progress, by definition. It’s going backwards.

Mythology by terminology is another tedious, useless, issue. The expression “liberal elites” is more propaganda, again swallowed whole by a surprisingly uncritical media. (You might want to try growing a vocabulary sometime, guys.)This image is destructive. You can be liberal, elite, or both; so what?  

Progressivism isn’t elitism by definition. It can’t be. It’s mainly a result of being aware of problems and their solutions. You don’t need to be an academic, a billionaire or a pauper to see the obvious.  

Causes are part of progressivism, not its reason for existence

A hypothetical – There may be more than one issue to manage in this world. Gosh! Causes make a lot of noise. Too much noise. Whether they’re critical or minor issues, the Great Causes are just parts of the whole in progressive thinking. …Or they should be.

Poverty is a case in point. Poverty is a measure of social failure. It’s reliable and never misses. Doesn’t matter how great you think your society is, it can’t be argued with. There are many issues in poverty, and all of them get long and loud responses.

Meanwhile, the cause of the problem, actual poverty, is never addressed. Instead of physically removing most of humanity from the sewer, talk drowns out all else. Instead of lifting the load, you get a debate which usually achieves nothing. This is the curse of politics, and progressivism apparently hasn’t figured it out yet.

This is “progressive”? How? Having seen the problem, the last thing anyone seems to do is go to work on it.

The “Left”… You sure about that? You shouldn’t be.

The modern idea of the supposed Left was created by right wing media. It means anyone to the left of them, not actual communists. This definition of “Left” includes:

  • Anyone with an education
  • Anyone with a contrary opinion
  • Any issue where money is involved
  • Any liability to vested interests
  • Rocks, trees, birds, furballs, clean water, and health care
  • Any social disaster from gang crime to mass shootings, etc.

Left? Left of what, Wal Mart? The word is absolutely meaningless in any Western country. So is the propaganda. It’s old-style McCarthyism. Again, media has allowed an expression to color the news and distort perspectives about facts.

Progressives, get off your butts. Find problem. Fix problem. Move on to next problem. We can all pin medals on ourselves afterwards. But not before.

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Editor-at-Large based in Sydney, Australia.

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