Beyond Politics: Removing the Progressive Drag on America
This fight requires much more than a few moments in a voting booth.
September 11, 2010 - 12:00 am
Fortunately, returning America to a land of individualism and freedom with a Constitution-limited government does not require complete agreement on every thorny topic. Reducing government involvement lets each person try to peacefully persuade his neighbor without it becoming a matter of life and death, prosperity or poverty, freedom or parasitism, all or nothing.
First, Take Back Education
Pushing back against progressives in the public school system on the way to privatizing it entirely is one of the most important things freedom-loving individuals can do. When you’re fighting a serious outbreak of virus, the first priority is to stop spreading it. That means never being indifferent to what’s taught there. It means challenging school boards on textbook selection, teachers on essay topics, and more.
That will also have the most long-term impact, since the progressive views pumped into children there each year generate new vectors for the disease. Every year, millions of schoolchildren become new unwitting inductees into the progressive camp. Protecting kids there inoculates them against college professors who later inject more of the same, in more concentrated form.
At the same time, drain the swamp. That can be accomplished through more homeschooling when feasible. Parents can pool funds and expertise to start more private schools. That will decrease the cost, and help depopulate the public schools. Taxpayers can form ad hoc committees to push for returning curricula to the basics, insisting on mind-developing education in mathematics, reading, and writing. At minimum, an absence of progressive propaganda is a must.
Even public school boards are not always hopeless. Insisting on a broad body of historical and scientific facts, with real-life examples showing biased teachers and textbooks, can actually impact school officials. A calmly delivered, well-reasoned case that children need certain hard-won basic thinking skills — not automatic passing grades, self-esteem boosting exercises, or “green living” projects — can influence semi-reasonable administrators.
Dealing With Debate
There will be disagreements about how to shape the culture in a better direction, of course. To define “better” necessarily means adopting a certain set of values. It will help reduce the friction among the different demographics of the pro-liberty coalition if everyone kept in mind a few historical facts and some key agreed-upon goals.
One is: religious conservatives might consider that Christianity played an important role a hundred years ago in the creation and growth of the progressive movement. That fact alone is enough to show that the contemporary secularism they detect and decry has little to do with our current problems. They might also consider that there are literally millions of Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, and the merely indifferent or confused who also want the blessings of liberty for themselves and their families.
Similarly, the libertarian-minded should give serious thought to whether “anything goes” (provided only that no one initiates coercion) is the alpha and omega of a sound program for a free, just society. That subjectivism was, after all, the rallying cry of the 1960s, which midwifed so much of what we currently ail from. There’s no escaping the fact that all political decisions are ultimately moral choices, selections among competing values, and some really are objectively better than others.
Restoring America to a free country, one where the dominant ethos is respect for the individual’s rights and free exercise of judgment, won’t be easy. But despite the Pandora’s box of horrors visited on citizens by Washington the past three generations, the odds have never been better for a renaissance. The latest progressive heating of the melting pot so fast, so far has millions waking up to the hot water and looking for the knobs. Let’s turn more than just the one that registers a vote.