Thursday, November 11, 2010

Paul Gottfried Corrects Glenn Beck About Progressivism

"The radio host’s history is not altogether wrong... [and] there are features of Progressivism that anyone concerned about centralized power has every right to criticize," acknowledges the author, but "[t]here were different types of Progressives who stressed diverse themes, not all of which can be subsumed under the rubric of 'big government'" — Glenn Beck’s Myths.

Prof. Gottfried highlights two heroes: "Progressives like Robert La Follette were more interested in popular referenda than they were in centralized public administration. Others like Senator Borah came out of a rural populist tradition and never overcame their distrust of the national government."

"The connection between Progressivism and modern liberalism is weak," Prof. Gottfried argues. Noting that "Progressivism had effects in more than one ideological direction," he continues, "By today’s standards its cultural orientation might seem quite conservative and was certainly pro-family."

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Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

There is a non-statist Left -- typified by writers as diverse as Christopher Lasch and Gore Vidal. In condemning progressivism, Beck and others overlook that fact. While I am no fan of the Left, not all progressives fit the mold of hard-core Leftism.

2:35 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Indeed. Much of Bill Kauffman's work brings these characters to life. He often contrasts the "star-bangled anarchism" on these shores with the "regimented left" of Europe.

11:52 PM  

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