The Ugly Truth about Progressivism | National Review

The Ugly Truth about Progressivism | National Review


Don Boudreaux writes on his Cafe Hayek blog today:

Today’s hysteria for population-wide Covid vaccination is an early 2020s’ species of Puritanism. Ditto the demonizing and deplatforming of Scott Atlas, Jay Bhattacharya, Sunetra Gupta, Martin Kulldorff, and other individuals who point out that the dangers posed to the vast majority of people by SARS-CoV-2 doesn’t begin to come close to justifying lockdowns, school closures, canceled or postponed sporting events, and most other proscriptions and prescriptions imposed in the name of protecting humanity from the demon virus.

Progressivism has much more in common, than its adherents think, with Puritanism. Both ideologies are versions of statism. The ranks of both swarm with people who ridicule and reject liberalism. Each of these statist ideologies worships power as the one and only savior that will usher in its particular version of heaven on earth. Each of these ideologies regards the individual who is unbridled and unmolested by the state, and who refuses to catch whatever causes the current collective fever, as a public enemy deserving neither tolerance nor sympathy.

Progressives suppose that, because they have no qualms about alcohol use or about consensual sex outside of traditional marriage – and because many are not religious in the conventional sense – that they are the opposite of Puritans. But they are mistaken. These differences are superficial. Progressives, like Puritans (and like many Populists), cannot tolerate anyone acting differently from, or even thinking differently than, the particular ways that they have divined is correct.

These people are intolerant authoritarians, eager for any excuse to assert power over others. There have always been such people in any society, but now our vastly bloated government creates innumerable places for them, unlike in our past when the state had little power and no positions for busybodies. As Hayek observed, where you have big government, the worst get on top.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.





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Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.