Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Guest post: Progressivism - The Mentality of "More"

Here is a guest column submitted by my friend Jeff Semon, who ran for Congress last year in Massachusetts' Fifth District. Jeff is the Director of Communications for the Massachusetts Federation of Young Republicans, and you can follow him on Twitter at @JeffSemonMA.

Progressivism - The Mentality of "More"

To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the Republican Party's death are greatly exaggerated. From the moment the election returns came in this past November and now after the government shutdown debacle, liberal pundits are shouting from the rhetorical rooftops about the demise of Republicans.

Not so fast.

Americans should never underestimate the ability of the Democratic Party to govern poorly. What voters need to accept now is one unequivocal fact: the Democratic party does not want to cut government spending, ever (barring the Defense Department).

It is the full culmination of the takeover from far left progressive elements within the party. They are the "political class," spawned from lifetimes spent in government, never having actually produced anything other than more government bureaucracy. This movement is perfectly encapsulated by President Obama, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, none of whom have spent any time in what the rest of us would call a "regular job."

This is not to denigrate them on a personal level, but shed light onto what these individuals represent. And quite simply, they represent the mentality of "more”. More government, more taxes and more erosion of personal responsibility in favor of a bureaucratic, state-based solution. The mentality of "more" is a recipe for failure. One doesn't have to look any further than Detroit to see the culmination of fully enacted Progressive policy here in America. Detroit’s high taxes, anti-business policies and exorbitant public employee benefits are the bedrock of Progressive policy. "D" stands for "Detroit" as much as it stands for Democrat.

History is also replete with examples of how consolidated, centralized government power inevitably fails. 

Yet we as Republicans have done a downright awful job at communicating WHY this is a recipe for failure and why constitutional/conservative principles are superior. It can be perfectly summed up in the root word of conservative..."conserve."

The antonyms of "conserve" are destroy, neglect, spend, squander and waste. The same parallels can be made for the political philosophies represented by conservatives and progressives. The most telling phrase President Obama uttered in 2012 was "you didn't build that," giving us great insight into the way Progressives think.

Progressives believe in a government answer, no matter the question. In their world view, there is no possible explanation for the success an individual has achieved other than "the collective we" - a government created "we" -  has enabled them to succeed. This notion runs counter to both historical realities - which have made us the wealthiest nation on earth - and the core values enshrined in our founding documents.

Because of this, progressives engage in a continuous campaign of intellectual dishonesty, straw man arguments based on false premises and deceptive language designed to move our country "forward" toward their goals. They ignore facts and rely on emotional ploys to implement their agenda.

Their agenda is simple: it's all about power. Desire for power born from a condescending, self righteous "we know what is best for you" attitude. Progressivism is designed to perpetually shape our society and use the government to move us toward the "greater good," and thus employing willful ignorance of the Constitution.

The effects of this attitude are bad policies that damage our economy, make people more dependent on government and eat away at our inalienable rights. It began as far back as Theodore Roosevelt, continued through Woodrow Wilson and FDR, and is with us today in the form of the modern Democratic party.

Occasionally there have been Republican candidates who have been - through humor and personality - able to articulate the failings of Progressives. Ronald Reagan is the first individual who comes to mind. Today we have Governor Chris Christie, Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio, just to name a few - and yes, there are MANY more.

While these individuals do possess the ability to expose and reject the misdirection of progressive Democrats, a consistent and concerted effort must be put forth by Republicans to counter the progressive message.

This is an uphill battle.

Republicans are facing a biased media - which we often complain about - and while this absolutely true, what it really means is we have to raise our game. Republicans are the party of competition, of the free market, the marketplace of ideas. In business we improve through efficiency and innovation. Application of these same principles needs to be undertaken that genuinely reaches out to people willing to listen and doesn't become an echo chamber.

Competition makes us better. Whether it is sports, business or politics, we learn from our mistakes and come back stronger next time. Republicans are right on just about every issue of importance regarding governance and arguments need to be put forth that reject progressive false premises and offer counter arguments adhering to logic, reason and common sense.

This is entirely possible with the right leadership both locally and nationally.

Follow me on Twitter at @rumpfshaker

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