State of Mankind

A New Way Of Thinking

Progressivism Defined



In the review of Tragedy & Hope, one of the topics covered was the difference between Progressivism and Libertarianism.  Among the points is that the Constitution of the United States was written in support of “negative liberties” or “what the government cannot do to you.”  The Progressive idea is that of “positive liberties” or “what the government must do on your behalf.”  The Progressive argument is put forth very well in the following video of Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., as well as the admission that the Constitution must be changed in order to accommodate “positive liberties.”

Rep. Jackson suggests that if we provided a house, healthcare, an education, an ipod, and a laptop to everyone that it would create many more jobs.  The Libertarian would quickly then ask who would pay the bill?  If the companies were required to give these things for free, then the paying customers would pick up the tab, thus robbing property from them to give to others.  If the government were to pay, then the taxpayer would have his property taken in the form of higher taxes.  The market distortion would not end just with property rights going away.  The high demand in these areas would create huge price increases in these products, making housing, healthcare, and education less affordable for more people.  In essence, the bicycle shop would lose what the computer maker gained, due to the government shifting resources that would have naturally gone to one industry to the other.  The resulting deflation in the losing industries would mean that instead of gaining jobs from having people build houses and schools, the government would have simply transferred jobs from one sector to another.  The other alternative is, as we have done for the last 80 years-just fund it all with debt.

I believe it is clear that the free market and the planned economy cannot co-exist without massive debts.  As our debts have piled up to now threaten the whole economy, I would encourage people to study and decide what the best path is for the future.  If we are to choose a free-market economy and negative liberty, then we will need to start cutting out government programs that distort markets and cause financial burdens.  If we are to move to the planned economy and positive liberty, then we need to start the process of amending the Constitution to legally accomplish this objective.

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