Edited By: Ronald J. Pestritto & William J. Atto
You've got to wonder how many people would continue to call themselves "Progressives" if they knew what the core beliefs of that movement were REALLY all about.
Pestritto and Atto have cobbled together excerpts from some of the leading political and intellectual lights of the early American Progressive movement into one handy reference. In other words, this is a collection of primary source excerpts -- Progressive leaders in their own written and spoken words. Naturally, our two early progressive presidents, Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, figure prominently. In addition, we get material from such leading progressives as Charles Beard, Jane Addams, Walter Rauschenbusch, John Dewey, and Herbert Croly.
As a history professor, I found this book an invaluable resource, chock-full of interesting quotes to share with my students. Many are shocked when they read/hear what the progressive leaders had to say -- even some students who considered themselves 'progressives' were noticeably knocked a little off-balance ideologically to find out how much statism, naked power-worship, anti-individualism, contempt for the Constitution and checks & balances, kooky religious ideas, and racism can be found in the thoughts and words of progressive leaders. I appreciate that because I try to raise as many questions in my students' minds as I answer, and to challenge their beliefs (by the way I do the same thing to conservatives when covering other time periods, too.)
The information in this book is a total rebuttal to the standard textbook explanation that the progressives were just a bunch of people who selflessly wanted to help out the poor and disadvantaged. That's an element of progressivism, to be sure, but there's a LOT more to it than that, particularly at the levels of political and intellectual leadership.
This book will give you a much greater understanding of how our system got to be the way it is, why we deviated in the last century so much from the original focus of our country (which was liberty), and how we instead ended up with a government dominated by two parties who always and continuously increase federal power, regardless of pandering rhetoric to the contrary.
Author: Paul Kengor
How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century
In this startling, intensively researched book, bestselling historian Paul Kengor shines light on a deeply troubling aspect of American history: the prominent role of the “dupe.” From the Bolshevik Revolution through the Cold War and right up to the present, many progressives have unwittingly aided some of America’s most dangerous opponents.
Based on never-before-published FBI files, Soviet archives, and other primary sources, Dupes exposes the legions of liberals who have furthered the objectives of America’s adversaries. Kengor shows not only how such dupes contributed to history’s most destructive ideology—Communism, which claimed at least 100 million lives—but also why they are so relevant to today’s politics.
Shocking reports on how Senator Ted Kennedy secretly approached the Soviet leadership to undermine not one but two American presidents
Stunning new evidence that Frank Marshall Davis—mentor to a young Barack Obama—had extensive Communist ties and demonized Democrats
Jimmy Carter’s woeful record dealing with America’s two chief foes of the past century, Communism and Islamism
Today’s dupes, including the congressmen whose overseas anti-American propaganda trip was allegedly financed by foreign intelligence
How ’60s Marxist radicals—Tom Hayden, Mark Rudd, Jane Fonda, Jeff Jones, Bill Ayers, and more—have suddenly reemerged as “progressives for Obama”
How Franklin Roosevelt was duped by “Uncle Joe” Stalin—and by a top adviser who may have been a Soviet agent—despite clear warnings from fellow Democrats
How John Kerry’s accusations that American soldiers committed war crimes in Vietnam may have been the product of Soviet disinformation
The many Hollywood stars who were duped, including Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Katharine Hepburn, Gene Kelly—and even Ronald Reagan
Soviet records that demonstrate beyond doubt the Communists’ expansionist aims and their targeting of American liberals, especially academics and the Religious Left
How liberals still defend the same Communists who trashed Democratic icons like Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Harry Truman, and JFK—and still attack the anti-Communists who tried to spare them from manipulation
Details on many other dupes (and dupers), including Arthur Miller, Dr. Benjamin Spock, John Dewey, H. G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Lillian Hellman, Howard Zinn, Walter Cronkite, and Helen Thomas
Packed with stunning revelations, Dupes shows in frightening detail how U.S. adversaries exploit the American home front.
DEATH BY LIBERALISM: THE FATAL OUTCOME OF WELL-MEANING LIBERAL POLICIES
Author: J. R. Dunn
It is about time someone had the courage to say it. Liberalism kills. J.R. Dunn does an outstanding job of offering a number of simple examples of how liberal do-goods have failed to consider the consequences their actions. One of his best is the case of DDT. Rachel Carson NEVER recommended banning DDT. She simply advocated using it in small amounts. But, of course, that didn't stop the knee-jerks in Washington and so the incidents of malaria went through the roof. Dunn reminds us that putting up a sign saying "no guns allowed" only directs the criminals to where victims are the most vulnerable. Liberals claim to be so "people oriented" and compassionate but they are the first to promote abortion (and state-funded abortion at that), the first to defend criminals and the first to use aggression. This is a short, easy, entertaining read that every American should investigate.
Author: Jonah Goldberg
The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning
Over the past decade, the ideological battle between liberals and conservatives has been fought on the internet and in the local bookstore. Whether it is Al Franken calling conservatives liars, or Ann Coulter imploring her followers to refrain from speaking to liberals, the public has been inundated with many opinions from which to choose. Conservative writer Jonah Goldberg has recently joined the fray with Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning. Though Franken, Coulter, and others like them are long on opinion and short on truth, Goldberg's contribution is well thought out and based on facts. In Liberal Fascism, Goldberg traces liberalism from its origins in the nineteenth century through its maturity in the twentieth century while cleverly showing how it fed off the European Fascism movement. He then brings the reader to the Liberal Fascism of today.
Although this is Goldberg's first book, he is no stranger to the written word. According to his biography on the web site National Review Online, where he is an editor, Goldberg is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, and his syndicated column appears in the Chicago Tribune, New York Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, and many others. He also appears as a political commentator on a number of television shows including "Good Morning America," "Larry King Live," and "Special Report with Brit Hume." Though a writer since his college days, his big break came when he wrote about the media frenzy surrounding his mother, Lucianne Goldberg and her role in the Monica Lewinsky/Bill Clinton scandal of the late 1990s. She advised Linda Tripp to tape record her conversations with Lewinsky and to convince her to save the now-infamous "blue dress."
From the introduction, entitled "Everything You Know About Fascism is Wrong," Goldberg grabs the reader's attention. He quotes the late George Carlin, "When fascism comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts...It will be Nike sneakers and Smiley shirts." (1) This statement should remove any question about the artistry of the book's front cover: a large yellow smiley face complete with a Hitler mustache. While lengthy, the introduction spells out exactly what Goldberg is going to tell the reader in the remainder of the book. It is no mystery that he believes we are living in a time where the fascistic bent of Italy's Mussolini and Germany's Hitler are being blended with the quasi-socialistic policies of presidents Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Lyndon Baines Johnson.
After the introduction, Goldberg leads the reader through a fascinating history of the rise of fascism in Europe. Although Benito Mussolini, the leader of Italy, has been vilified, mostly due to his association with Hitler and the Third Reich, we are reminded that for the good part of a decade, he was considered a great leader. In 1923, the New York Times boasted that, "Mussolini is a Latin [Teddy] Roosevelt who first acts and then inquires if it is legal. He has been of great service to Italy at home." (27) Noted Americans such as humorist Will Rogers, Hollywood mogul Lionel Barrymore, and legendary journalist Lowell Thomas proclaimed his greatness. On the international scene, Sigmund Freud and Winston Churchill were quite smitten with him. In addition, James A. Farrell, the president of U.S. Steel Corporation, said he was "`the greatest living man' in the world." (29) Goldberg concludes the Mussolini chapter with a brief description on how Mussolini gained his beliefs, first as a socialist then as a fascist, ending with his ill-fated attempt to flee to Switzerland in 1945 when he was captured by Italian partisans and executed.
Mussolini might have been remembered more favorably had he not associated himself with the subject of the next chapter, Adolph Hitler. Goldberg leads the reader on a brief history of the rise of Hitler and how he became so enamored with socialism. Students of history will be familiar with the 1923 "Beer Hall Putsch" and his subsequent imprisonment where he wrote the infamous Mein Kampf, as well as the efforts to promote Germany in the 1936 Olympics and the murderous "Kristallnacht" of 1938. Here, Goldberg begins to paste together how today's liberals use the term Nazi to describe those who call themselves conservatives. He says that the left "cherry-pick[s] the facts to form a caricature of what the Third Reich was about...[with] the desired effect to cast Nazism as the polar opposite of Communism." "[The] roles of industrialists...[are] greatly exaggerated, while the very large and substantial leftist and socialist aspects of Nazism..." are minimized. (57) Rather than being a right-wing conservative as many on the left would proclaim, Hitler should be considered a leftist because Nazism "...emphasized many of the themes of the later New Lefts...the primacy of race...an emphasis on the organic and holistic - including environmentalism, health food, and exercise - and...the need to `transcend' notions of class." (59)
Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt are the subjects of the next two chapters and each provides a bridge from which fascism in Europe crosses over to the United States. One could argue, as Goldberg does, that Wilson was the grandfather of modern liberalism in America. Back then, liberals were called progressives and Wilson led the way with a progressive agenda, including proclaiming the Constitution's series of checks-and-balances as outdated and by furthering the Darwinian cause of a "living Constitution." Wilson also formed the "West's first modern ministry for propaganda" in the Committee on Public Information (CPI). This group implored Americans against protesting the country's involvement in World War I. Another Wilson organization, the War Industries Board (WIB), was fascist in that it dictated to the business community what would be produced by the nation's industries under the banner of nationalizing the people for war. Throughout the section on Wilson, Goldberg paints a bleak picture of how America was nearly swallowed up by a type of benevolent dictatorship. Goldberg is equally repulsed by the Roosevelt years. He reminds the reader that Roosevelt was the only president to break with the tradition of George Washington by serving more than two terms. Moreover, he compares Roosevelt's National Recovery Administration with Wilson's WIB, saying that the former was modeled on the latter. Throughout these two chapters Goldberg deftly cites example after example of how these two presidents, considered great by many - Wilson for his Fourteen Points and Roosevelt for supposedly ending the Great Depression - did more than anyone up to that point to introduce socialism and fascism into American culture.
Before bringing the reader into the latter half of the twentieth century, Goldberg shifts to the decade of the 1960s. On its face, the chapter is important because it lays the groundwork for upcoming criticism on John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Unfortunately, for the reader, it is here that he provides minutia that keeps an otherwise informative and entertaining book from flowing by chronicling the histories of radical organizations such as the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the Black Panthers, and the Weathermen. If one were to skip this chapter, however, one would miss the author's wry sense of humor that was disbursed throughout the book. For example, Goldberg laments the fact that one of Fidel Castro's closest compatriots, Che Guevara "...has become a chic branding tool... [representing] a disgusting indictment of...American consumer culture." (193) He goes on to say that Guevara's likeness has made its way onto shirts and even toddler onesies. Depending on one's viewpoint, Guevara could be described as a misunderstood revolutionary or a mass murderer, but he is popular with the left because he is associated with an idol of the left, Fidel Castro. He arguably killed more people than Mussolini and was as despicable as Nazi SS Chief Heinrich Himmler. Nevertheless, Goldberg wittingly asks, "Would you put a Mussolini onesie on your baby? Would you let your daughter drink from a Himmler sippy cup?" (194)
John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, the two presidents from 1961 to 1969, are thoroughly dissected and each given their own chapters. Johnson's "Great Society" certainly gives Goldberg plenty of fodder for blasting a program that was built upon the New Deal. No political commentator who wants to keep his conservative credentials supports Johnson's program in any way, and Goldberg lives up to the task of describing how the Great Society has been detrimental to the country.
Tying fascism to modern liberalism is the task of the remaining third of the book. Chapter Seven discusses the subject of eugenics. One of the staples of modern liberalism is the support for unfettered abortion. Margaret Sanger, the woman credited with the founding of Planned Parenthood and who is one of the heroes of the Left, "...sought to ban reproduction for the unfit and regulate reproduction for everybody else." (271) In 1939, she created the "Negro Project" where she attempted to control the black population's ability to reproduce. Her plan was to eventually allow the black race to die out. One could find similarities in her ideas and those of Hitler's Nazi Party.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, the current junior senator from New York, former first lady, and recent presidential candidate, is the focus of Chapter Nine, "Brave New Village." When this book was published in 2007, she was the likely Democratic Party nominee for president. As of this writing, it does not appear that she will meet that goal. Her competitor, Barak Obama, a senator from Illinois, will take her place on the ticket. Goldberg must have been sure that she would get the nomination (Barak Obama is only mentioned on two pages) as he chronicled her history and picked apart her designs on moving the country even farther to the left. It would be a stretch to call her book, It Takes A Village, her version of Mein Kampf, but Goldberg does emphasize that part of her plan for America includes early governmental involvement with children and reeducating them in the elementary and secondary public school system, similar to the plan that Hitler used in 1930s Germany.
For the student of the period's historiography, Goldberg does an excellent job of highlighting the ways that liberal scholars have been able to slant history in a way that puts the New Left in the best light. With over fifty pages of notes and hundreds of references, his documentation is sound. He has successfully demonstrated that much of what has been accepted American history has been distorted. Students of an earlier generation were taught that Woodrow Wilson died of a broken heart because the Senate did not ratify his League of Nations. Goldberg teaches us that we nearly went down a path that changed the Constitution. Similarly, we had been taught that Roosevelt got the country out of the Great Depression. Again, we learned here that Roosevelt's initial plans were not that much different from those of Hitler and Mussolini. In Liberal Fascism, the myths are exposed and the foundation upon which modern liberal fascism has been built is shown. Goldberg, of course, is an anti-Liberal Fascist and would like to bring the country farther to the conservative side. He is saying through his book that the only way to understand how to dismantle the New Left establishment is to know how it was first put together.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A LIBERTARIAN – A PERSONAL INTERPRITATION
Author: Charles Murray
A few months ago, against my better judgment, I got into an argument with an online acquaintance (I know, I know) over the whole issue of "labeling" people. This person was supposedly averse to any form of "labeling," which after some back and forth turned out to be just his way of disagreeing with some particular point that I was trying to make. What he considered "labeling" I considered being just a way of categorizing people and concepts around us in order to make sense of the world that we live in. Defining words that we choose to describe the way we think and act is the first step towards having a meaningful and mutually intangible exchange of ideas. Nowhere is this truer today than in the realm of political discourse. It's an ideal of a democratic society that one set of ideas and policies will prevail over others through the use of persuasive, and hopefully civil, arguments. In the age when the intensity of one's convictions often trumps the persuasiveness of the arguments it is especially important to get the definitions of the terms that we use right. This is exactly what Charles Murray strives to do in this book.
Political labels and political affiliations tend to be very culturally defined. What is considered right or left, liberal or conservative depends on the specific political system that one is operating in. What has come to be known as libertarianism in the US is more commonly referred to as (classical) liberalism in other countries. The root idea behind this political ideology can be deduced from the etymology of its name: libertarianism is about freedom and individual freedom in particular. Most people espouse freedom in abstract, and can probably state a litany of their own personal freedom that they particularly cherish, but to be libertarian is to take the principle of the individual freedom to its absolute logical and moral end, no matter how many of our own personal moral sensibilities end up overturned in the process. Murray is forthright about this fact. However, he also acknowledges that there are limits to personal freedom, and he wholeheartedly espouses the principle of the existence of common good that can trump some of the individual freedoms. This is also true of all but the most extreme "pure" libertarians. Now, determining what counts as a common good is not so easy to discern, and this is probably where many people who would otherwise espouse libertarian ideology decide to go with some other political label. The criterion that Murray uses to discern what counts as a legitimate common good is the criterion of subsidiary: decisions about common affairs should be left to the lowest concerned competent authority. For example, the federal government should not be involved with repairing sidewalks in your local community.
Murray gives several examples of how libertarian principles would be implemented in practice, touching upon some more controversial political issues. He talks about the perennial big issues of prostitution and drugs, and although he has decidedly libertarian views about these he is quick to emphasize that these are by far some of the least important from his libertarian worldview. Unfortunately, Murray does not talk about his views on abortion and gay "marriage." It would have been interesting to know how he views these current extremely contentious issues from the standpoint of libertarianism.
Over the years Charles Murray has written some of the most important and most controversial books that touch upon the most important social issues of the day. Some of his books (Bell Curve, Losing Ground, Human Accomplishment) have been absolute masterpieces of detailed fact-driven scholarship and insightful masterly technical analysis. "What It Means to Be a Libertarian" is written as a polemic, more in the style of Real Education and In Our Hands. It is a great book to read for anyone who is interested in understanding better what it means to be a libertarian. It has been written in a very thoughtful and insightful way, and I found myself constantly reaching out for the highlighter. This is by far one of the most interesting and well written books on general political ideas that is available today.
LIBERTARIANISM: A PRIMER
Author: David Boaz
Tens of millions of Americans, from Generation X-ers to baby boomers and beyond, are rediscovering libertarianism, a visionary alternative to the tired party orthodoxies of left and right. In 1995 a Gallup poll found that 52 percent of Americans said "the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens." Later that year, The Wall Street Journal concurred, saying: "Because of their growing disdain for government, more and more Americans appear to be drifting—often unwittingly—toward a libertarian philosophy."
Libertarianism is hardly new, but its framework for liberty under law and economic progress makes it especially suited for the dynamic new era we are now entering. In the United States, the bureaucratic leviathan is newly threatened by a resurgence of the libertarian ideas upon which the country was founded. We are witnessing a breakdown of all the cherished beliefs of the welfare-warfare state. Americans have seen the failure of big government. Now, in the 1990s, we are ready to apply the lessons of this century to make the next one the century not of the state but of the free individual.
David Boaz presents the essential guidebook to the libertarian perspective, detailing its roots, central tenets, solutions to contemporary policy dilemmas, and future in American politics. He confronts head-on the tough questions frequently posed to libertarians: What about inequality? Who protects the environment? What ties people together if they are essentially self-interested? A concluding section, "Are You a Libertarian?" gives readers a chance to explore the substance of their own beliefs. Libertarianism is must reading for understanding one of the most exciting and hopeful movements of our time.
THE LIBERTARIAN READER