The stated intentions of Progressivism are good, even noble, but there has always been something impersonal and intellectual about them that disturbs me. The goodness and nobility actually feel coercive and absolute. and it is often responsible for things that do not reflect the compassion to which it lays claim. This is because it is a kind of savage compassion that cares more about the collective idea that it has about “humanity” than it does about human beings. As Edna St Vincent Millay said, “I love humanity, but I hate people.”
In fact, Postmodernism, Communism, Socialism, Islam and Progressive Liberalism find their only common cause in their shared dread of The Individual. They share a fear, even unto loathing, no, even worse, unto denial, of the wants, the ambitions, the independence and the self-reliance of The Individual. When the culturally backward Arabs join the effete, postmodern/postchristian/postselfdefense/post good and evil Europeans in mocking Americans (at least before the election of Obama) as “arrogant” or “unilateral” or the ever-popular “cowboys” they are simply betraying the mixture of fear, fascination and envy they harbor for the first and only nation that was ever expressly “of the people, by the people and for the people”.
It is true that we grew out of the proud tradition of English common law and the enlightenment “rights of man” thinkers, but only the American Experiment, created by Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, et al, had the freedom from historic burdens, openness of space and isolation from continental intrigue to bring it to its truest fruition. America was and has, for most of her history been, the land in which The Individual has been most in control of his own destiny and most involved in the running of his government.
The Progressive movement takes as its touchstones of goodness these three ideas: compassion, selflessness and “the good of mankind”- Compassion because it reassures The Individual that his needs and feelings will be taken into account and cared for, Selflessness in order to nullify the privacy and personal property rights, and “The Good of Mankind” to replace religion with humanism. If you accept these three virtues uncritically you have accepted the primacy of the collective over your identity.