Politics & Society
May Wed 30, 2012
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We are not even at the beginning of the fall 2012 Presidential campaign and commercials are everywhere. The Obama reelection campaign has chosen the word "Forward" as their theme. They claim the President will move us toward a future of "progress". Mitt Romney, though not yet the official nominee of his Party, seeks a similar slogan or word to characterize his claim that he will lead us toward a better future. He has not settled on one.During the 2008 Democratic Presidential primary contest Hilary Clinton was asked to define the word "liberal." She responded, "It was a word that originally meant that you were for freedom... but it has been turned on its head and made to be a word that describes big government. I prefer the word progressive." She went on to call herself a "proud modern American progressive."To some degree, Mrs. Clinton's critique of the term "liberal" was accurate. The current use of the word and the classical use of the word are at odds with one another. Even the modern usage has undergone sweeping change in the last fifty years in America. The liberal political cause in America has been stolen by those who associate the term with unrestricted abortion on demand and substitute libertinism for ordered liberty. Contemporary liberals promote a vision of governance which is top down, proposing increasingly federalized solutions to every social problem and need.However, I have a greater problem with candidates who now use the word progressive as a cover for a radical ideology which fails to respect human dignity and undermines marriage and the family, promoting a Cultural Revolution. The dictionary defines "progressive" as an adjective, meaning "Moving forward; advancing." That is why the President took the word as his campaign slogan. The agenda calling itself progressive is not progressive - it is regressive.The misuse of the word "progressive" is an example of what the late great C.S. Lewis, in his "Studies in Words" called verbicide. In "The Abolition of Man" he warned of "progressive" governing schemes wherein a collectivist ideology built upon moral relativism is unleashed. He properly claimed, "A dogmatic belief in objective value is necessary to the very idea of a rule which is not tyranny or an obedience which is not slavery."One of his Essays in "God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics" entitled "Is Progress Possible? Willing Slaves of the Welfare State," warned, "Let us not be deceived by phrases about 'Man taking charge of his own destiny.' All that can really happen is that some men will take charge of the destiny of others. . . . The more completely we are planned the more powerful they will be."
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