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Joe Klein Needs History Lesson in Progressivism

Posted on February 25 2010 10:11 am
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Poor Joe Klein.  He has such a thing against Glenn Beck that he can’t write a sentence about Beck that bears any resemblance to the truth.

In one of his latest rants on the Swampland blog, Joe claims:

In Beck’s lunatic lexicon, a progressive is a slow-motion communist

What Beck actually said is that progressives believe in evolutionary ‘progress’ toward realization of their collectivist idea of the perfect society for their times, which includes a healthy dose of state control.  Over time, they became increasingly radical as their definition of the individual’s relationship with the state evolved – less rights for the individual and more state power and control.  If Joe went back to look at the evolution of the progressives’ own party planks between 1912 and 1948, he would find that Beck is absolutely right.

In 1912, when Theodore Roosevelt led progressive elements out of the Republican Party, the plank of his “Bull Moose Party” called for tariff reform, stricter regulation of monopolies, women’s suffrage, prohibition of child labor, measures to combat political corruption and the like.  This was the foot in the door for increasing government control over our lives, but just one foot.

In 1924, the Conference for Progressive Political Action adopted a progressive plank that went beyond mere government regulation and called for government ownership of the nation’s railroads, timber forests, coal, ore and oil fields.  It also called for massive income redistribution through sharp increases in taxes for the wealthy and “taxes upon excess profits.”   Sound familiar?

Moreover, they proclaimed:

We denounce the mercenary system of foreign policy under recent administrations in the interests of financial imperialists, oil monopolists and international bankers…We favor an active foreign policy to…outlaw wars, abolish conscription, drastically reduce land, air and naval armaments, and guarantee public referendum on peace and war

By the way, Joe, socialists joined in this movement.

But the progressives were not finished by any means.  They continued to evolve and expected America to evolve with them.  In 1948, they formed a party to challenge both the Republicans and Democrats during the presidential campaign, and accepted the support of the Communist Party.   Henry Wallace, their standard-bearer, railed against President Truman’s “get tough” policy towards the Soviets.  He even wrote an “open letter” to the brutal dictator Joseph Stalin asking that we sit down with the mass murderer and talk things out.  Wallace also said that he was:

…committed, wherever necessary, to remove from private to public hands, the power of huge corporate monopolies and international big business.

Sound familiar?

History supports Glenn Beck’s description of progressivism, which he’s focusing on to draw parallels with what is happening today under the Obama administration.  So Joe – the next time you are thinking of accusing Beck of lunacy, try to stop yourself before you make a fool of yourself – again.

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