Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Glad To See Someone With Cliffs Notes For A New Classic

William Briggs tries penning a short-hand version of Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, one of my favorite non-fiction books in recent memory. I think this will be rather helpful in possibly motivating others to read the book, and explaining why the history of progressivism (particularly its shared heritage with fascism) is worth keeping in mind. I also like Briggs' writing style...
Was Sanger the only American eugenicist? Not hardly. There was also progressive jurist Oliver Wendel Holmes, who thought imbeciles should be sterilized. He was broad minded, however; he wanted degenerates’ tubes clipped, too.

President Woodrow Wilson, PhD, a progressive intellectual, thought himself superior. Before he assumed the American throne, he created in New Jersey a eugenic-minded “Board of Examiners of Feebleminded, Epileptics, and Other Defectives.”3 Progressive Teddy Roosevelt warned of “race suicide.” It wasn’t just whites. W.E.B. DuBois wanted to blow out the racial pipes, too.

...How did the scientific consensus of eugenics dissolve when there was such overwhelming support for it? Well, there are two ways to rid yourself of “undesirables.” You can whack or prevent them before they make their first appearance, or you can kill them afterwards. Like Hitler did.

After the Holocaust, progressives looked into the mirror and did not like the evil they saw staring back at them. But they were unable to admit that the faces they saw were their own. So they convinced themselves that what they were seeing were hate-filled Others.

Why? Progressives then, as now, thought themselves both purer of heart and blessed with more intelligence than the other fellow. Accepting these comparators as axiomatic, it followed that the other fellow’s motives were either evil, inferior, or both.

...Luckily, Wilson, PhD, had the advantage of the War that did not end all wars to mobilize his progressive army. He created a Sedition Act, which banned “uttering, printing, writing, or publishing any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the United States government or the military.” (Nowadays we hear of the “Fairness” doctrine.)

His Justice Department created a Night Watch-like group6called the American Protective League which encouraged citizens to rat out their neighbors. APL patrols cracked the heads of those deemed against the government. These culminated in the Palmer raids, where subversive (i.e. non-progressive) elements were rounded up.

Goldberg says, “Hard numbers are difficult to come by, but it has been estimated that some 175,000 Americans were arrested for failing to demonstrate their patriotism in one way or another. All were punished, many went to jail.” 175,000!
Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era are often romanticized in American History textbooks and the popular press, and this part of their history usually goes by with a small amount of discussion. By comparison, Joe McCarthy's name is identified with an era of allegedly unprecedented limitiations on free speech and freedom of association, but I'm pretty sure over 100,000 people weren't imprisoned because of his accusations. Perhaps the proper amount of attention has been devoted to McCarthy, but not nearly enough has been given to the viler aspects of Wilson and the Progressive agenda he (and others, including TR) championed.

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