Manny Montes: View from the left; view from the right
The ideological divide between the left and the right, i.e., between progressive and conservative is one that must be clearly understood.
Politics is to the progressive as air is to fire. Without politics, the progressives would cease to exist. This is contrasted by politics for the conservative is wanted and necessary to the extent government provides for the national defense, protection of individual rights, and provides for essential infrastructure. Beyond this, the individual is free from government intrusion.
Another way to cite the contrast is liberty is to the conservative as mother’s milk is to the child. It is conservatives’ focus on liberty versus progressives’ focus on politics and unlimited government that represent a dissimilarity as stark as the variation of seasons.
Everything progressives want to accomplish inextricably entails government force. This is why obtaining power is such an imperative for the progressive. Noted historian and philosopher Oswald Spengler proclaimed in his “Decline of the West” published in 1918, “socialism means power, power, and more power;” progressive and socialist have become interchangeable terms.
Undeniably, it is government’s legal use of force that progressive have inverted from force used to protect individual rights to the violation of those rights. Our Founders understood the essential paradox of government: that the very institution created to secure individual rights itself posed the greatest danger to them. Progressives prove the truth of this essential paradox.
Progressives totalitarian proclivities are now on display for everyone to see. They are reaching for the brass ring with their advocacy of the “The Green New Deal,” and the mud huts I alluded to in a previous column will become ever more real. They’ve become brazen in their position statements, such as Mayor Bill de Blasio’s taunt that “there’s plenty of money in this country, it’s just in the wrong hands,” or Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, “a system that allows billionaires to exist when …” “In the wrong hands?,” “Allows?” Or Rep. John Yarmuth, “I am calling for a total and complete shutdown of teenagers wearing MAGA hats until we can figure out what is going on.” Or Pelosi’s claim, “if there is some collateral damage for some others who don’t share our view, well, so be it …” Or Kamala Harris’s Medicare for all and the elimination of the insurance industry. Clearly, they see themselves as knowing how to command our society as they see fit.
Then we have Beto O’Rourke and other progressive intellectuals questioning the modern-day relevancy of the U.S. Constitution. Progressives have long demurred our constitutional restraints, and natural rights. And now they seem to think the wind is at their backs, and they’re going for it. Recall the Obama administration unconstitutionally implemented Operation Choke Point, where federal regulators pressured banks and other financial institutions to not do business with firearm manufacturers, licensed gun retailers, and law-abiding citizens exercising their right to purchase and own firearms. On Aug.17, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice, under the Trump administration, announced that the Obama administration’s Operation Choke Point would officially end. Well progressives are at it again.
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) composed a series of nine letters addressed to global payment companies, insisting they play a role in policing firearms and related products their customers are legally eligible to purchase. Seven additional Senate Democrats joined him, using political pressure to force private institutions into creating social policy that threatens constitutional rights; the Constitution be damned. They’re demagogues subverting the spirit and letter of our Constitution.
Progressives/socialists are collectivist at heart, and it is only through compulsion, the sledge hammer slipped in the silk glove of compassion, can their policies get implemented, rather than the conservatives approach of voluntary trade for mutual benefit. Conservatives want a culture that nurtures self-reliance and a love of liberty. Government, in their view, plays a distant role, protecting our individual rights, and otherwise letting the individual live as he sees fit, pursuing his dreams and creativity.
Don’t fall for the progressive claim that we can no longer accept inviolable individual rights because our society has grown too big and complex, and that those rights must now be subordinated to the “general welfare.” It is their immoral concepts abrogating individual rights and taking from those who have, and redistributing to those who have not that propels their passion and claim the moral high ground.
Only a government based on protecting individual rights and economic freedom can rightfully claim moral legitimacy. Anything else is unavoidably contaminated with the totalitarian disposition power will inexorably feed.
Manny Montes lives in Auburn.
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