Having looked briefly at the relationship between Progressivism (Regressivism), Prohibition, and the Social Gospel, we now move closer in time to today.
Even though Prohibition was repealed nationally in 1937, its evils remain with us today. Although supposedly the Social Gospel was a historical phenomenon, it thrives in most modern religious groups around the world. Both of these, useful tools of the Regressivists in the past, continue to be useful to their goals for power today.
Prohibition was very popular when it passed: indeed, ultimately 46 and the 48 States (all but Rhode Island and Connecticut) ratified it. Its end at the Federal level did not end it in all the States. Many had similar provisions in their State Constitutions, and state and local laws enforcing the ban on alcohol. Some of those laws were not repealed or amended until within the last several decades. And the current laws regarding manufacture, sales, and transportation – federal and state – remain on the books and continue to create problems in commerce.
Perhaps the greater disaster was the freeing up of federal dollars and manpower to begin the far longer prohibition on various drugs – the War on Some Drugs. Beginning with heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, it expanded, especially more than 30 years later in the 1970s under the Nixon regime. And the bureaucracy that had enforced Prohibition also went on to bigger (and not better) things: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives is as big a nightmare today as the Internal Revenue Service was in the 1920s and 1930s.
There was never any national organization or effort to outlaw recreational pharmaceuticals by a constitutional amendment. (Something pointed out by many historians and scholars.) But then, under the Roosevelt Administration, the Constitution was virtually ignored, as can be seen by the mere existence of the BATFE. And the 1934 (and subsequent) federal gun laws directly attacking the limits imposed by the Second Amendment.
Even so, this is not only negative legacy of Prohibition, the Social Gospel, and other elements of the “Progressive” movement that was so strong AND prominent in the later 1800s and early 1900s. These ideas were made mainstream, and the platforms and actions of both the Democratic and Republican parties were largely made up of the “reforms” and “improvements” pushed by these powerful and vocal nannies.
The excesses and abuses of the very administrations which expounded and implemented these “ideals” were bad by any standard. And yet, they became the excuse (“justification”) for still more of the socialist, nanny-state measures. The Wilson and Roosevelt administrations – and the Hoover regime – massively transformed the landscape of American government, society, economy, and culture.
Today we do not remember that the Progressive movement was also closely tied to the eugenics movement, and therefore directly to abortion. And the KKK was also an ally – if somewhat distant in public. Many so-called Progressive States also had large and influential local affiliates of the Klan. (And too many people think of the Klan only as racists, forgetting that their ideas for purity and improvements to society extended to include Asians, people from Mediterranean and Eastern Europe, and even to the Irish.) At the same time, the Progressives pushed American imperialistic endeavors, beginning in the 1890s and continuing in one way or another since.
(I note that not EVERY “Progressive” measure was completely evil. Explicit voting rights for women and AmerInd enrolled members are two that come to mind. I am sure that there are others.)
The impact of these movements worldwide was incredibly negative. Not only did the Fascists, the Nazis, and the Falangists grab ideas from the American Wilson administration and incorporate it into their own brands of fascism. Their goals were often the same: purifying their nations and societies, creating top-down driven discipline and putting “the people” (the collective) before and above people. The British Empire: the United Kingdom itself, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and even India, all were impacted by implementation of these objectives. American “progressive ideals” as applied to Latin America and Asia engendered bitterness and created massive future problems.
In the Forty-Eight States, many of the “founders” and supporters of this “progressive” socialist order were Republicans – it was not just Democrats like Wilson and FDR. Not touching on Honest Abe himself, Theodore Roosevelt was the epitome of progressive leadership. Taft was also a progressive, as was Harding and Hoover (Coolidge far less so). As the explosive boom of the post-war Twenties came to a crashing debacle in 1929, it was these efforts that made – once again – the Union change for the worse and led directly to the nightmare of the Second World War.
There seems to be a very definite and traceable line of actions and results that demonstrates this “leftist” concept (including many pieces still touted by so-called GOP conservatives today) had major, far-reaching, and highly-detrimental effects on the Fifty States of 2020.
The characteristics are obvious, once you get past the misleading rhetoric and the blatant lies. There is:
- The constant expansion of government into more and more aspects of daily life.
- The growing restrictions on individual activities.
- The increasing intervention around the world.
- The never-sated appetite for more and more money and manpower – taking a larger and larger toll on economic activity.
- The treatment of ever-larger numbers of people as incompetent and dependent wards of the state.
It must be fought, and history shows that it is not too late to do so.
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