They used to call themselves Liberals, until “liberal” took on negative connotations. Now they prefer to be called Progressives, but in truth they should be called what they really are…Socialists. The term “Liberal” is derived from the word “Liberty”, which should describe someone who seeks greater freedom: economic freedom, intellectual freedom, etc. How could those who want to limit our economic freedom through greater government regulation be called liberal? How could those who monopolize academia and purge those few remaining professors who question their prevailing “orthodoxy” be called liberal?
Over the past few decades the word “Liberal” has often been used in derision, so those on the left have preferred the term “Progressive”. But “Progressive” is derived from the word “Progress”, which should describe those who actually bring progress: greater efficiency, increased opportunity, higher standards of living, etc. Have the policies pushed by the left actually brought progress?
Do labor unions bring greater progress? Back in the 70s, when I first visited London, the city was virtually shut down. A general strike had been called by the labor unions in sympathy with the typesetters of the London print industry, whose jobs were threatened by new computer technology. The unions wanted to continue the centuries-old practice of setting each letter of type by hand. Had the unions gotten their way and held back technological progress, they would have destroyed the English print industry.
Does socialism bring greater liberty? Back in the 70s, while stationed with the army in West Berlin, I regularly visited the Wall, designed to keep those who wanted liberty trapped in their oppressive system. Fifteen years later, before the fall of that Wall, I was able to visit East Berlin as a teacher leading a group of students. The communist tour guide told us that they had no unemployment in their supposed “worker’s paradise.” I whispered to my students, that workers were not free to quit their jobs and to not work was to be forced into a labor camp. Our guide also informed us that there were no homeless on their streets like there were in America. I whispered again, that if there were any homeless they would be scooped up against their will and deposited in mental institutions.
Does government interference in Free Markets bring progress? Back in the 80s when I first visited the Soviet Union, I was amazed how the greater part of the population lived in poverty. I visited the apartments of common Russians living in squalor in the large government apartment blocks, but never saw the pleasant dachas of party officials. I wandered through the shops with empty shelves and saw the long lines in front of those shops when they actually had something worth buying. I noticed two kinds of cars: the shabby little Lada with a lawnmower engine driven by those lucky enough to get one after years on a waiting list. I also saw the sleek, chauffer-driven sedans of the party officials. There were even lanes in the middle of the road reserved for those party officials. The socialist experiment which promised Russians equality and progress was an abject failure.
What kind of world awaits us, if we trust our future to those pseudo-liberal, pseudo-progressives? Will they really bring us the liberty, equality, and progress they promise, or will it be the maximum security, inequality, inefficiency and backwardness of what I saw in the 70s and 80s?