“Progressive” Ideology: The Concept Of Subtractive Liberty – Liberty, Once Lost, Is Lost Forever

“But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.

- John Adams

This got a little long to be a comment, so I promoted it to a post. This is in response to co-blogger texas’ comment on my prior post here.

Texas: the issue is that there are good people who have had their reason confiscated by a belief that is contradictory to itself.

“Progressives” practice a sort of “subtractive liberty” where:

  1. All rights are bestowed by government, and
  2. The goal is equality of outcome, not opportunity, and
  3. Liberty is a finite commodity, for all to have liberty, some must have liberty (economic or political) taken from them and given to others.

How can you profess an allegiance to liberty and freedom if you believe that you must restrict the freedom of some to distribute it to others? Doesn’t the restriction of liberty of one individual negate the premise that it is about liberty at all?

It is the same circular logic that was put on display by Liz “Fauxcahontas” Warren last year and at Obama’s Roanoke Moment – that you didn’t build that, somebody else did that for you – that your success is because of what the government did with infrastructure and economic climate when the very businesses and individuals that benefited from those conditions have paid and are paying for them through taxes, and the infrastructure is created in response to a need – either an existing need or an anticipated need as dictated by the citizens themselves. We didn’t build a network of highways first and then the people came, the highways were built in response to the need for travel and commerce between existing populations – the people came first.

So in a nutshell, what Warren and Obama are essentially saying is that you are responsible for your own success…not really the point that they were trying to make but that is the logical conclusion to the proposition. What they were/are trying to portray is the belief that government is an entity on its own, an independent agent free to act on its own through ideological whims and is not constrained by the consent of the governed. It is a “we know what is good for you even if you don’t and we are going to do it anyway” mentality. This is a core belief of “progressives” and is unsupported by both history and the literal words of the Constitution.

I’ll believe differently as soon as one “progressive” can show me a single government salary, program or activity that isn’t funded or backed by money that comes from fees, permits or taxes. Sure, the government does stuff – but that stuff is at the behest of citizens and paid for by the very citizens who pay the taxes.

Once you believe that government is the root of all rights and not Nature and Nature’s God, it is easy to think that liberty is finite, has man-made boundaries and can be meted out – as opposed to being a gift from a higher power and therefore infinite. “Progressives” focus on outcomes because they demand control and they can’t control opportunities and what people can do with them – those are as varied as the individual and what the individual can create but they can seek to control outcomes by placing limits on what can be achieved or by siphoning off part of the achievement to redistribute to the collective. “Progressives” also can’t abide the “inequality” of success that individualism brings nor conceptualize that there are simply people out there that can’t or won’t take advantage of the opportunities present in our own American system. Lastly, the way that they seek to create this false equality is by taking from some and giving to others through regulation and taxation, to achieve “fairness” – to resolve inequality though creating inequality, to promote success by penalizing and limiting it, to remedy discrimination by discriminating, to pay for benefits for all through the contributions of a few, to assure “freedom” through regulations and restrictions and to “create” liberty by compromising true liberty. See what I mean by stating that  “progressive” ideology is contradictory to itself? Black3 is correct, “progressives” understand these concepts to mean very, very different things as compared to the rest of us.

Three examples:

  1. A “progressive” income tax system where 47% pay no income taxes and the top 10% of filers pay 70.5% of all income taxes, the lower 90% paying only 29.5%,
  2. Federally funded insurance that includes contraception and/or abortion – even if I have objections to either issue, I must support it, and
  3. Same-sex marriage – same situation, I have been stripped of my right to disagree with the practice by law.

There is simply no logical way that a “progressive” can claim to support the core values of the United States as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers or the Constitution of the United States. It simply isn’t possible. No matter what they say, the end effect is the same – to provide freedom for all, freedom must be restricted for some. To provide “income equality” for some, income must be taken from others, to provide “social justice” for a few, religious beliefs of many must be rendered invalid (when God handed Moses the Tablets, what was on them wasn’t then put to a vote and the Israelites just picked what they wanted to go with).

The Constitution of the United States never contemplated equality of outcomes because the Framers understood 1) the impossibility of creating equal outcomes in a nation of individuals and 2) that even trying would usurp the very liberty and individual freedom that they sought to protect.  They understood that when we give freely of ourselves to those who need it, it is called charity – when it is coerced by government, it is called tyranny.

I challenge any “progressive” to show one situation where they have championed an issue that didn’t require the application of this idea of “subtractive liberty” to take from one and give to another.

While they will vehemently deny it, this concept is the ideological DNA twin to Marx’s “From each according to his ability to each according to his need”.

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32 thoughts on ““Progressive” Ideology: The Concept Of Subtractive Liberty – Liberty, Once Lost, Is Lost Forever

  1. Liberal/Progressive circular logic …

    Pro Abortion — allow women to choose to keep, or abort a fetus.
    Anti Breast Feeding — not so much. Wait, hand on, hold up a sec … what about pro choice?

    Only went it fits the liberal/progressive agenda. Right? :)

    NYC mayor wants hospitals to lock up baby formula to encourage breast-feeding
    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/07/29/nyc-mayor-wants-hospitals-to-lock-up-baby-formula-to-encourage-breast-feeding/#ixzz226lCGyel

    “Starting Sept. 3, the city will keep tabs on the number of bottles that participating hospitals stock and use — the most restrictive pro-breast-milk program in the nation.”

  2. This is a great analogy. I use a similar analogy to explain economics to my boys.

    PROSPERITY is NOT a “zero sum game” !
    More people contributing, more people creating more things/stuff, more taxes paid, etc. As more people have more to spend, then more jobs & industries are created. Prosperity is an “exponential function”. A multiplier effect.

    LIBERTY is NOT a “zero sum game” !

    Liberty is not something you buy or sell, or regulate and decide who gets it taken away and who gets it given to them.

    Government can only suffocate liberty = freedom, by regulation, taxation and prohibition.

    When Govt. says you WILL do as I say, govt effectively destroys freedom and prosperity by eliminating potential avenues of problem solving and “needs meeting”. Hence, freedom and prosperity are snuffed out before they are ever allowed to blossom.

    The followers/supporters of “progressivism” may believe they are helping their fellow human being. If they believe they are helping others, they are blind to reality.

    The leaders of “progressivism” do understand they are creating a “new oligarchy” where they have a different set of rules for themselves. They place themselves above all others and say “we are doing whats best for all”. They are LIARS. They never include themselves in their “master plan”. They are actively working to ENSLAVE humankind, not make freer.

    • The liberal trajectory is always downward and destructive. The movement really should be named “regressivism”.

  3. “Same-sex marriage … I have been stripped of my right to disagree with the practice by law.”

    Huh? So I take it that opposition to traditional marriage, then, is “progressive” because it takes away my right to “disagree with the practice by law”? Sorry, Utah, you were doing fine until you got to this one. You have the right to “disagree,” just as I have the right to disagree with Joe’sapparent idiotic belief that we should all be allowed to own nuclear and chemical weapons (after all, the military has them).

    “I challenge any “progressive” to show one situation where they have championed an issue that didn’t require the application of this idea of “subtractive liberty” to take from one and give to another.”

    What about drug laws, which progressives (and libertarians) think should be eliminated or less rigid? Many of us progressives would legalize prosititution (admittedly, we’d also license it). Or to go back to the issue of homosexuality, what about sodomy laws–typically enforced against gays, but not heterosexuals?

    And of course you’re overlooking the fact that neither progressives nor conservatives are consistent in their avowed concerns for free speech rights or freedom of religion.

    • Hmmm….the wages of sin? I have a strong libertarian streak, so I understand the philosophy of where you are coming from. Personally, I do not care what a person does with their body unless I must pay for it through govt. regulation. Unfortunately, I do believe that that would have to happen in these cases (just like medical marijuana in CA and legal prostitution in NV) because they want their hands in the pie.

    • “And of course you’re overlooking the fact that neither progressives nor conservatives are consistent in their avowed concerns for free speech rights or freedom of religion.”

      Trying to figure out the best way to approach this and express what I really mean – – – This is the key to our nation, this very statement. This gives us the right, as Americans, to agree or disagree with anything we want to; gun rights, government issues, religious issues. We do get to pick and choose what we agree with or what we don’t. James says Utah was doing well (I take that as James was agreeing) up to a certain statement. James picked what he wanted to agree with in Utah’s post. Personally, the right to own assault-style weapons (AR15s, AKs, etc.) is debatable. I can kill just as many deer with my Remington 742 30.06 as you can with an AR15. I picked the part of “gun control” I agree with. I’m not so sure there is a public “need” to own an assault-style weapon. I support concealed carry and have a permit. I don’t believe you should be allowed to carry into a public meeting (I’ve been there and seen the anger and shouting break out) or a bar. Where does your right to free speech impinge upon the right of another individual? If you encroach upon his right, is it his right to punch you in the mouth? No, we’re not consistent (whatever that is) on any subject. That’s human nature. It’s our right.

      • The use of the term “assault style rifles” is a red herring. It is a term created by the progressives to lead America down the road to total disarmament.

        Assault Rifle is a military arm capable of Fully Automatic fire.

        IF you attempt to justify the possession of “hunting arms” or “self-defense arms” while conceding no legal justification for military arms; THEN you have lost THE argument behind the 2nd Amendment’s PURPOSE and PROTECTION.

        The 2nd Amendment was ENSHRINED so Americans would have the tools necessary to repeat

        19 April 1775,
        when
        “the shot heard round the world”
        occurred.

        • Actually, the term “assault-style” it’s not a red herring. It is a descriptive term used to describe a weapon (rifle) built on a military design and frame. The term is used by conservatives, law-enforcement, judges, juries, Democrats and Republicans. As you well know, an AR15 is a civilian M16. A civilian “AK” is built on the Russian Kalishnikov design. Neither will fire in fully automatic mode. I do agree that an “assault rifle” is the military version that will fire fully automatic.

          ” IF you attempt to justify the possession of “hunting arms” or “self-defense arms” while conceding no legal justification for military arms; THEN you have lost THE argument behind the 2nd Amendment’s PURPOSE and PROTECTION.”

          I have disagree with this also. Fully automatic weapons are NOT readily available to the general public because of heavy regulation. Yes, you can own one (I don’t) but generally speaking, the hassle of getting one doesn’t justify the effort. No one seems to be screaming that everyone has the 2nd Amendment right to own a fully automatic M16. Does the general public need fully automatic weapons? How do you justify the 2nd Amendment covering that issue? Does it? I don’t need an M16 with a 100 round magazine for home protection or protection from “government occupational forces”, at least, not right now.

          See how easy it is for us to disagree? :-)

          • “No one seems to be screaming that everyone has the 2nd Amendment right to own a fully automatic M16.”

            Actually, Joe argues that on this very site today: “To argue that we do not need or deserve the RIGHT to own automatic weapons is to argue that we should not be armed well enough to defend ourselves from a govt. army that will have automatic weapons.” http://therionorteline.com/2012/07/30/and-so-it-begins/

            By that argument, of course, any of us should also be able to own grenades, mortars, land mines, chemical and biological weapons, and nuclear weapons.

            • James, there are people who would argue that it is our individual right to own a B2 bomber or M1 Abrams but it would not be our right to own our own dirty nukes. Those same people would argue that the 1st Amendment reigns supreme in giving us the right to say what we want to, but at the same time would level a charge of treason at someone who reveals national defense secrets. Inconsistent, yes.

              • \A person who reveals National Defense Secrets has either committed a crime to see the information or sworn an oath/.contract to not disclose what was learned. There is no way on earth you can say that after swearing (by choice) not to disclose, that a person’s speech has been unfairly infringed upon. Your argument is nonsensical and disingenuous.

            • By that argument, of course, any of us should also be able to own grenades, mortars, land mines, chemical and biological weapons, and nuclear weapons.

              With the exception of the offense-only weapons you mentioned (bio and nuclear), YES, we SHOULD be allowed to own them. Your fear of your fellow man betrays what you REALLY think of them — as well as your true motivation in life: to control them. In my opinion, your worldview is born either of cowardice or the desire to rule it. Either way, it is not familial with the American spirit.

              • “Your fear of your fellow man betrays what you REALLY think of them”

                A funny line, coming from someone who is constantly raising alarms about any of his “fellow men” who happen to disagree with his right-wing Christian fundamentalist views. Admittedly, you probably have given some folks plenty to fear.

                And isn’t the best defense a good offense, making your “offense-only” somewhat weaker? After all, I could rig my property with gas traps, and do so a lot cheaper than I could buy a bunch of automatic weapons, right?

          • I disagree with your definition, FC. The term “assault rifle” was not coined until it was connected to the full automatic function. I believe the Germans were the first to field a true modern-day “assualt rifle” (you know, the one that strangly resembles the AK-47. only came out several years earlier).

            The AR-15 is nothing more than a semi-automatic .22 on steroid. Calling it an “assualt rifle” serves NO descriptive term: it is done merely to poison the language we use to discuss this particular rifle (have you been following my posts on the Progressive lexicon? Here is an example in action).

            That I am correct has been demonstrated by the manner in which the same rifle suddenly becomes or ceases to become an “assualt rifle” merely by adding/removing a stock with a pistol grip (not sure if this is STILL the case, but it was when this issue first arose).

            Either way, the TRUE intent of the 2nd Amendment would — and still should — protect the citizen’s right to own a fully automatic weapon. And the objections to what might be done with it are irrelevant: Switzerland has already been used to refute the issue – as is the Middle East where most mass killings are done by bombing.

            • “I disagree with your definition, FC. The term “assault rifle” was not coined until it was connected to the full automatic function.”

              That was Tex’s definition. He states that an assault rifle is fully automatic. I agree, that’s why I have repeatedly used the term “assault-style” rifle to describe an AR15 or civilian AK.

      • FC,

        You are very “progressive” in your picking-and-choosing of what rights your neighbor has “right” to claim and to which you will protect.

        The moment a person starts down that road – the road you appear to be traveling — they no longer deserve the protection of a free society as they have violated the social contract upon which it is based. Unless, of course, one believes that all rights come from the govt., in which case one has no rights – only wants and demands they hope the govt. will grant and which may be taken away at the whim of that same govt.

        • Ah! There it is!! The post I knew was coming. ;-) Go back to my first post on this thread. While I knew you would follow with this post (at some point) and we would not agree, I maintained it was my right to agree with the portion of the law(s) or opinions that feel is important to me and this country. That’s the “inconsistency” I was talking about. If it ever comes down to the general populace needing fully automatic weapons, there will be plenty to go around. The gubbermint militias will start to splinter (see Libya, Rowanda, Iraq, etc.) and you will have complete anarchy and the military armories will be opened. There will pictures of 12 year old American boys and girls standing on street corners with their M16s on their shoulders firing rounds into the air and shouting political propaganda slogans. :-)

          By the way (again as you know), if I posted a right-side (ejector port side) of an M16 and an AR15 (so you couldn’t see the selector switch), you couldn’t tell the difference.

          • Funny, it has never worked out that way at any other time in history, yet you seem to think it will work to the Peoples’ advantage this time. Tell me, FC, what makes us special – especially now that we have lost the spark that DID make Americans different??? Once the govt. takes them, they are generally gone – at least in any meaningful sense. At the point where the situation you describe might happen, it will already be too late for an armed militia to rescue the situation and restore liberty and order. SO, as I say, please show me an example of your scenario where things worked out for the good of the people OTHER than the American revolution.

            BTW: you have a right to disagree with a law, but not to undermine them. If you do not like them, you have to change them according to the mechanisms of our system. When we start “interpreting” those mechanisms to get around this fact – especially because we know the people disagree with us — then we have stepped over the line into Progressive ideology and that is where the American mind ends — at least, “American” in the sense that this nation was founded.

            • It didn’t work that way in the Revolutionary War? Seems to me there was a big discussion last week concerning “armories” that were maintained and opened up for the colonists to fight the British (or did I dream that)? Didn’t that benefit “the People”? You honestly don’t believe that if this country ever degenerated into complete civil disobedience and anarchy that some US soldiers and National Guardsmen wouldn’t be handing out military weapons to family members or just plain selling them or trading them for food or necessities? Do you believe that for every government soldier killed someone won’t pick that weapon up to use for himself? If it ever gets to the point that Americans need fully automatic weapons to protect themselves from the government, (see the Civil War) there will be plenty to go around.

              • Those US soldiers took up the Peoples’ LEGAL weapons after Katrina! And the American revolution was NOT a case of the scenario you are describing. The founders did not wait for the point of collapse you describe. Had they done so, we would not be a nation today. We would be Somalia — at best.

                • “The founders did not wait for the point of collapse you describe. Had they done so, we would not be a nation today.”

                  True, and I hope it doesn’t come to my described point of collapse ever, but the general citizenry owning automatic weapons will not prevent it. Our government, by the people, for the people, is our best hope of ever getting to that point.

                  • FC,

                    How can you speak to me of this fabled “for and by” govt. when the govt. we have now repeatedly and brazenly defies the will of the people? And by what means are the people supposed to force the govt. back into its authorized role if the govt. has no fear of the people?

                    Do you remember Jefferson’s words about this very subject? Has something changed about human nature since he uttered them? If not, I ask you: whose afraid of whom in America today?

                • Sorry – should have read – “Our government, by the people, for the people, is our best hope of never getting to that point.”

                • “How can you speak to me of this fabled “for and by” govt. when the govt. we have now repeatedly and brazenly defies the will of the people? And by what means are the people supposed to force the govt. back into its authorized role if the govt. has no fear of the people?”

                  Okay, so what is the solution; (armed) revolution or change through the election of qualified people with no hidden agendas? How do you put the “fear” back into the government or force the government back into it’s authorized role; by allowing citizens to own (threaten the government with) automatic weapons? What happens when the government (federal) begins to really fear the citizenry? Don’t you think confiscation of ALL weapons will be the first move? They won’t start with some mealy-mouthed argument on assault-style weapons. They will send soldiers or police to your home to seize all of your weapons. Who will they call on first – wait – that would be legal, registered, gun owners. Then the anarchy can begin.

    • My response to that is that I don’t care what two people do as long as they do not infringe on my rights. As far as gay marriage, the courts overturning Proposition 8 in California is a prime example of government overruling a popular vote and forcing a situation contrary to religious conviction and the will of the people.

      I’m not aware of sodomy laws being enforced at all.

  4. Utah,

    I have a post or two before I get there, but when we return to Lakoff’s “Little Blue Book,” I will show you – in the words of a leading Progressive thinker – exactly how right you are. Not only does he admit to everything you have just explained, but he reveals how he has fooled himself into believing this is a moral imperative that gives him the high ground. But it gets better. he also explains why you and I and those he terms “extreme conservatives” can never come to his side of what is right because we are irreversibly “defective” in our neurological makeup.

    You referenced Marx. Are you aware of the connection between Marx and the “liquidation” of “defectives/”

    • I’ll go back to our new friend at progressingamerica:

      You cannot expect to raise beautiful roses in a field choked with weeds.

      – Charles Vickery Drysdale, as quoted in “Eugenics marriage and birth control (Practical Eugenics)”.

      • Yep, and the Germans said they not only got propaganda from the American Progressives, they got “the final solution” from them as well (a.k.a. the American Eugenics movement – not a pretty part of our history, and – unbeknownst to many – STILL continuing today, albeit under cover of a different language. Hey, hiding your true designs by changing the language you use: now there’s an idea to write about ;-) ).

  5. Pingback: The Doctrine Of Subtractive Liberty: Restrictions Of Free Speech | The Rio Norte Line

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