Hey, progressives. I'm the liberal. You're not.

Back in 1986 when I first started writing columns for the Chicago Sun-Times and serving on its editorial board, I was labeled Rupert Murdoch’s in-house, token liberal.

I wrote in favor of school integration, Community Development Block Grants, cleaner environment and issued one of the earlier warnings about global warming. While Republicans were praising President Reagan, I was making a stink about how he was financing much of his agenda by jacking up the national debt towards World War II levels.

But all that it took for my liberal label to disintegrate was writing an opinion piece responding to an op-ed, “The conservative case for abortion.” My “liberal case against abortion” ( prompted liberals to get out the tar and feathers.

Liberals already had started to move away from John F. Kennedy-type liberalism and into the strange reaches of the late ’60s hippy-dippy culture that changed everything and seeded American universities with today’s anti-liberals.

Anti-liberals? Let me count the ways:

Race relations.

Those of us who were around for the first salvos launched by President Dwight Eisenhower (yes, a Republican) against de jure school segregation have watched with sadness as “progressives” have dragged us back to those loathsome days of racial divisiveness.

Liberals then were on the Rev. Martin Luther King’s side, when he fought to end the Jim Crow standard for judging people. Not on the color of their skin, but on the “content of their character.”

Today, the same stink that arose from segregationists are enveloping “progressives. They want to divide everyone by race, from collegiate “safe spaces” and dorms exclusively for black students to the hoary theory that racism is inbred in white people. Today’s progressive have put their stamp of approval on the kind of separatism that we fought. It’s more than offensive.

Here’s just one recent example of progressive racism: “A Denver, Colorado elementary school has sparked outrage with a ‘segregated’ playtime for ‘families of color’ at its playground.”

The more I hear and see this crap, the more I see them as today’s Ross Barnetts, Lester Maddoxs, George Wallaces and Bull O’Connors.

Democracy

Oh sure, progressives (here including partisan Democrats) see the Trump era and the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol and anti-vote fraud legislation as evidence that the other side intends to wipe out democracy.

For certain, Trump’s hare-brained ideas and his desire to cancel the election scares the hell out of me. But the anti-democratic strains infecting progresses are just as scary.

Increasingly, progressives think (like some Republicans before them) that when they control the White House they can govern by executive fiat. Ignoring the Constitution’s Article I that endows Congress with sole law-making powers. Thankfully, the courts are working to disarm the president, in the case, for example, of his immigration executive orders.

For me, the scariest example of progressive authoritarianism is the insistence that parents’ have less of a role in the education and socialism of their children than educrats. School boards’ exclusion of parents and others from setting education politics is a violation of democratic principles at their most fundamental level.

Civil Rights

Once upon a time, the liberal American Civil Liberties Union was the strongest voice of liberal principles, going so far as to protect the rights of Nazis to demonstrate in Skokie, Illinois, the home of many Holocaust survivors.

No more. The ACLU has become the handmaiden of progressive ideologues, as it ignores the fight for the first amendment rights of free speech and religion. From social media to the college classroom, from the public square to independent media, progressives have declared themselves the ultimate truth-giver.

The examples of progressive muzzling of even slight disagreement are too many to list here. One stands out, though: When the New York Post investigators revealed damaging information about Hunter Biden’s corruption before the presidential election, the masters of social media kick the newspaper off their platforms. Never mind that the revelations were true.

Big Business

Go back to the early 1900s when progressives were fighting Big Business. Now watch how today’s progressives have betrayed that proud history by siding with and accepting mega donations from the Big Business likes of Google, Facebook and more. The tendrils of today’s Big Tech Business reach into virtually all aspects of our lives. Progressive still go only after the old targets, like Big Oil. Even for progressives, money from the mega-rich likes of George Soros, money still talks.

Foreign Policy

President Kennedy proclaimed in his inaugural address that “we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty.”

Wow. Progressives now sound like Donald Trump, isolationists and libertarians who now dominate the debate by railing against “nation building” and trying to” impose democracy on people who aren’t ready for it.” We’ve given up thinking that liberty is a fundamental yearning of all mankind. That the world is better when freedom is enjoyed by everyone.

The 1900s were considered to be the America Century. The 21st Century won’t be. Instead, we crawling into a shell while bellicose China, Russia, Iran and others seek world domination. Only the despised neoconservative (“neocons”) like myself understand the importance of “the survival and success of liberty.”

So now, in our rush to flee the community of mankind we witness the tragedy that the Biden administration brought down on Afghanistan.

Science

Liberals long have proclaimed their dominance when it comes to science, as opposed to those–ugh–religionists whose lives are guided by something called “faith.”

So many progressives now, while calling the other side “anti-science,” now ironically have politicized science. From what corner came the most support or acquiescence to the wild predictions by some scientists at the start of the pandemic that 2.2 million would die from Covid-19? The same progressive corner that has ignored or ridiculed the actual science that challenges their love of lockdowns, shutting schools, ridiculous mask rules (e.g. wear them on the beach) and all kinds of mandates.

Even more enduring is the progressive catechism that demands no questioning of global warming. To apply standard scientific principles of skepticism, collegiality, honesty, objectivity, and openness is to be “anti-science.” A label that so ironically applies to the many progressives who tolerate no apostasy.

Compassion.

Yes, yes, I know that progressives are compassionate and that conservatives are cruel and hard-hearted. At least that’s the myth. Just how compassionate, then, are progressives and (moderate) Joe Biden when it comes to the humanitarian crisis on our southern border.

Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants have run the gauntlet. Children have been abandoned. Migrants have died of hunger and dehydration in the desert. They have been crowded into pens. Families have been separated. Oh, and there are the overdose deaths of so many Americans from the illegal drugs smuggled across the border.

For progressives, any attempt to end this suffering by enforcing immigration law is a sign of cruelty. Laughable, that. The real cruelty is the progressives’ denial of a crisis that’s so obvious. Do progressives see it, but chose to ignore it because do something about it violates their ideology of open borders?

Family

Speaking of how progressives deny science, let us turn to their view of marriage, single parenthood and absent fathers. As slavish fans of social science studies, progressives are blind to those that demonstrate the individual and societal costs harvested from the decay of the two-parent family and the critical role fathers. You might says that there’s a scientific…consensus.

If progressives were to acknowledge the consequences of that decay, they would have to also acknowledge their role in creating a culture that not only tolerates but encourages that decay. It goes as far back as the turbulent ’60s, when the culture that respected traditional mores began to unravel at the hands of those who considered themselves oh, so cool. As much as Millennials make fund of Baby Boomers (“Okay, Boomer) they should known that they are not just captive of the Boomers worldview, but nourish it with their wokeness.

I could go on, but any reader who has gotten this far gets the point. Progressives have abandoned so much (but not all) of what has made them such an important voice in our national discourses. They have turned to an autocratic, anti-democratic, anti-science and other viewpoints that make them illiberal.

Conservatives in some cases have filled that void. But not always. I think of myself as liberal in some respects (coming of age as I did during Kennedy’s presidency and before) but conservative in other respects. With age, I also discovered that neither side has singular possession of the truth.

Maybe it’s just time to retire all these labels and acknowledge that not all Americans march in lockstep. Nor should they.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Tags: conservative, liberal, woke

Comments

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  • The Democrats want every vote to count. That's anti-democratic?
    The Democrats support equal justice under the law. That's ati-democrat? Get real.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Every vote in every cemetery across the US was counted. Who knew the dead were 110% Democrats? Not only that, the many thousands of votes coming from one tiny bungalow were counted. Then added in again.

    Democrats support "equity" under the law, not equality. There's a difference. Equity means that the government decides which animal in the barnyard is more equal than the next. Equality means that there is justice for all, regardless of race, creed or religion.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    "Washington (CNN)The mysterious case of Rosemarie Hartle's vote in the last presidential election, three years after her death, was trumpeted in November 2020 by the Nevada Republican Party and various prominent conservatives. From then-President Donald Trump on down, Republicans used stories about phony votes cast under the names of dead people as key evidence for their claim that Joe Biden's victory was marred by major fraud.
    The Hartle mystery is now solved. And it turns out that the fraud was committed by a Republican." CNN

    Can you give me an example of a dead person voting Democrat? Or are you all hot air?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    You live in Chicago and you're asking for proof that the dead vote? Are you stupid or just in denial?

    As for the dead voting Democrat, it's obvious from your replies that the brain-dead vote Democrat each and every time.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    So you don't have an example. Just a talking point. Pathetic.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    https://undercover.hosting.nyu.edu/s/undercover-reporting/item-set/42?sort_by=numeric:timestamp:7&sort_order=asc

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    CNN as a source. Thanks for the laugh. They used to be a news organization now they are the propaganda arm of the Democrat-Socialist Party. Get real.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Enough with the labeling. Argue with evidence. Or don't argue at all.

  • I agree Dennis...i lived and evolved from the Kennedy Democratic liberalism of the past. The new liberalism of the last few decades is intolerant & stifling...not the least compassionate. Forgive college debt? how is that compassionate for the hundreds of thousand students and families who paid off their student loans over the years. Fire people from their jobs for not getting a vaccine? How is that compassionate? Americans from Appalachia, from Native American Reservations, from poor rural communities eking out a living at poverty levels while liberal Democrats want to reward illegal immigrants with thousands of dollars for the "inconvenience" of getting caught sneaking into our country. How is that idealistic and compassionate?

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