| April 6, 2012
Defining the two views
We live in uncertain times. Once, most Americans agreed on the basic tenets of our Republic. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were studied in school and provided a framework for such beliefs. Today, those founding documents are no longer studied, or are they part of our citizens’ understanding of the way this Republic operates. So, people are confused about the role of government, taking their cues from left-leaning national news anchors, big government proponents, and even comedians.
Former radical Marxist David Horowitz defines the two views, “Conservatives look to the past as a guide to the future. The past tells them who human beings are, and how they behave, and what is possible. In their approach to the future, conservatives are pragmatic and ground their hopes in experience. When the Founders were drawing up plans for the Republic they looked at the history of past republics and concluded that democracy was the least problematic form of government but that it posed the danger of a populist tyranny. So they instituted a system of checks and balances to guard against tyrannies of the majority and to provide the public with a cooling off period in which their emotion driven agendas could be corrected by reflection.
“Progressives, by contrast, look to an imaginary future as a guide to the present and regard the experience of the past as ‘reactionary’ and ‘backward.’ Progressives have in their heads an image of what the future should look like based on emotion (hope and change), and they discount the experience of past and present as products of ignorance, prejudice and selfish interests, which they are determined to overcome.
“Their agendas are actually much worse than this would suggest, since progressives imagine a future that is perfect, a new world in which there is no poverty, no bigotry, no irreconcilable conflict — where there is ‘social justice.’ Against this imaginary ideal world nothing that exists can be justified or defended, or in the words of the arch rebel ‘everything that exists deserves to perish.’ These were words spoken by Goethe’s Mephistopheles, and quoted approvingly by Karl Marx.
“Progressives are focused on destroying ‘what is’ in the name of an impossible what-can-be (‘hope and change’) and it’s very hard for them – impossible for the truest believers — to correct course when they are on the march and their programs aren’t working. All contrary counsel is seen not as experience-based wisdom but as obstruction and reaction.”
Horowitz was raised in a Marxist home, and worked for many years in the radical left promoting progressive causes (detailed in his book Radical Son). He was one of the principle architects of the New Left only to abandon that movement in disgust and disillusionment. He’s worked from the 1980’s on, educating citizens on the dangers of progressivism in books, speaking engagements and his website: frontpagemag.com.
By Brett A Magbee