Monday, June 15, 2015

American Progressives are Bismarck's Grandchildren

Richard Ebeling emails:

Dear Bob,

I have a new article on the news and commentary website, “EpicTimes,” on, “American Progressives are Bismarck’s Grandchildren.”

American “progressives” insist that theirs is a vision for a future superior to and more advanced than the claimed to be out-of-date” traditional American political ideal of individual liberty, free markets, and constitutionally limited government.

What is forgotten or little known is that in fact these progressives are the great-grandchildren of the “reactionary” Imperial German “Iron Chancellor,” Otto von Bismarck, who designed the programs of the welfare state to manipulate “the masses” for political purposes.

It soon became the new collectivist ideal of German intellectuals and through them for more than one generation of American graduate students who studied at German universities in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

They returned to America from their German studies enthused about the idea of a political elite who, from “cradle to grave,” would micro-manage the economic and social affairs of all in the society under the arrogant presumption that this elite would know better how to oversee and plan the lives of the others in that society.

Well, that progressive ideal of a hundred years ago of a bright and better “future” through political paternalism is the “present” we now live in. And its disastrous consequences are all around us in the form of functional illiteracy due to public education; mismanaged, corrupt and blighted city communities resulting from “urban planning” and zoning; an underclass of unemployed and uneducated segments of the society who have been made permanent wards of welfare dependency; the “crony capitalism” of government-business partnerships, favors and privileges, and the indoctrination of tens of millions of people to believe that life is impossible without the welfare and redistributive state controlled by the government bureaucracies.

The progressive’s ideal is a retrogression to an older notion of government domination of everyone in society. We need a positive and attractive ideal of freedom and a better world. But its true form is the ideal of classical liberalism and the moral principle of the free individual, secure in his rights, and at liberty to life his live as he chooses through the prosperity-generating interactions of the free marketplace.


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