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Michael van der Galien

Moderate Conservative Declares War on Progressives, After Passing of Obamacare

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Posted on March 23 2010 3:45 pm
Michael van der Galien was born in the Dutch city of Leeuwarden in 1984. For as long as he can remember, he has been obsessed with the United States. When he was 17 years old, he started blogging - of course about America. His articles have been published at Big Hollywood, Pajamas Media, Hot Air (the GreenRoom) and Right Across The Atlantic. He's also an editor for the Dutch conservative blog, De Dagelijkse Standaard.
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My moderate conservative co-blogger Patrick Glenn wrote a fascinating post earlier today, in which he – completely out of style for this calm guy – declares war on the progressives who have taken over the U.S. government and who are responsible for the passing of Obamacare. He writes:

On his show today, Rush Limbaugh said of the liberals/progressives, “We need to defeat these bastards. We need to wipe them out. We need to chase them out of town.” Hearing that, Angry Patrick grumbled, “Tar and feathers, pardner.” But how can said bastards be ejected from town? While Angry Patrick is in charge, I thought I should put him to work doing some strategery. . .

Yes, the time for niceties is over. We must fight against progressivism in a merciless, no-holds-barred fashion. That does not mean, however, that we should abandon discipline and decorum. If anything, as we move into this next phase, it will be even more important for our side to be intellectually precise and strategically sharp. Don’t give the enemy easy opportunities to utilize their corrupt media outlets and cynical bags of tricks to depict us as racist, sexist cretins who hate poor people, orphaned children, and the infirm (like when ”journalists” print rumors of unnamed persons at a peaceful public protest allegedly saying racist things, without ever investigating the claims and/or ignoring the possibility that the actions were carried out by agents provacateur).

How do we fight ugly, yet maintain discipline at the same time? For one thing, we should stop referring to the enemy as “progressives.” Unfortunately, most voters are unaware of the true historical legacy of progressivism and do not tend to attach negative meaning to the word. But we should also avoid calling them socialists, too. Sure, much of the Baby Boomer vanguard were sympathetic to socialism before 1989 and only blacklisted that label when it became too much of a liability. Nevertheless, a lot of progressives have never thought of themselves as socialists and there are important differences between socialists and social democrats.

He goes on to explain that the better term is “social democrats” (a view I agree with). As Jeffrey Friedman concludes in A Perfect Storm of Ignorance:

What I am calling social democracy is, in its form, very different from socialism. Under social democracy, laws and regulations are issued piecemeal, as flexible responses to the side effects of progress — social and economic problems — as they arise, one by one. (Thus the official name: progressivism.) The case-by-case approach is supposed to be the height of pragmatism. But in substance, there is a striking similarity between social democracy and the most utopian socialism. Whether through piecemeal regulation or central planning, both systems share the conceit that modern societies are so legible that the causes of their problems yield easily to inspection. Social democracy rests on the premise that when something goes wrong, somebody — whether the voter, the legislator, or the specialist regulator — will know what to do about it. This is less ambitious than the premise that central planners will know what to do about everything all at once, but it is no different in principle.

Read the whole thing.

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