Again, another conversation with a progressive. This one claiming all sorts of credit for the wonderful things done by Progressives, while asserting that conservatives have done nothing.

I’m no conservative on most issues. On the other hand, I have no love for Progressives arguing about how they’re so great, and others just stupid. So here are his comments in block quote, and my replies between.

Liberals broke us free from the conservative British monarchy.

Classical liberals, only. The ones who believed in LIBERTY, not the present ones who call themselves “progressive”, whose methods are fundamentally authoritarian / trample liberty.

Then they forced the slavery issue…

Abolitionists were a wide range of folks, from classic “liberals” who felt it was immoral for liberty to be violated, to conservative Christians who felt it was unChristian, to those who wanted to eliminate slavery as labor competition — but still embraced racist work laws – as a way to improve white labor conditions. Lincoln was among those.

For Lincoln, Slavery didn’t show up in his Civil War speeches until after a few hundred thousand U.S. soldiers (both sides) were dead over the issue of lobbyists, tariffs, New England corporatism, and secession. Not so glamorous, so he pimped onto slavery… And the U.S. became the only Slave nation to required a civil war / hundreds of thousands of lives to end.

They gave us meat inspection standards…

They codified what legitimate businesses were already doing. Laws passed were political actions promoted as solutions to what was functionally a non-existent problem: contaminated meat. The Act of 1891 was a political action in an environment of massive change in the meat industry – motivated by those who were economically hurt by the massive supply increase of cattle vs. demand, but who further blamed the cost advantages of those who used refrigeration, efficient low cost transportation, and easy distribution. Primarily in Chicago. They demanded Anti Trust action amid false accusations about poor meat quality. Hence, Anti Turst 1890 Sherman Act and the 1891 Meat Inspection Act are tied, and were demanded by CONSERVATIVES AGAINST CHANGE in the meat industry.

As for the 1906 Act, this was partially a political reflex to a populist wave in response to Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle which, which was exposed to be BS, and intended to inspire a socialist workers movement in the U.S. He never witnessed any of the horrors, or backed them with verifications, and Congressional investigations found little substance to his fiction. But politicians, true to form, never let a political opportunity go to waste, so they all passed the 1906 Meat Inspection Act so they could all get re-elected saying they took care of the “problem”.

It was also pushed by the established meat industry itself, intending to limit the terms by which safe meat might be judged, and by doing so – codifying it in law, thus to make unapproved methods illegal to their own politically approved ways. This was protectionism: putting hurdles to lower-cost entrepreneurial methods as a barrier to entry.

As for official inspections, we still get problems in meat safety today. E.g. Hudson foods 1997 fiasco (25 million pounds hamburger recalled) had government inspectors in its plant 7 days a week, and still you can have issues.

Today, the Big Biz meat industry controls regulation, tries to prevent local and organic competition, etc. Meanwhile, meat safety technology is rejected because it would cost meat inspectors their jobs and authority.

….child labor laws…

Only 11% of kids ages 9-14 were working when the law was passed in 1938 (i think it was), and numbers were still declining Among them, 80%+ were on family farms — doing the daily chores. In other words, the expanding free market had created enough wealth and improved the standard of living for most all Americans so that they could afford the luxury of not having children working, putting them into education, etc., instead.

When you look at the impetus behind this Great Depression legislation, you see FDR was keen on placating organized labor and other labor groups by getting more jobs for adults / voters. He thus pimped images of kids in factories and mines, and passed a law that removed competition for certain jobs by eliminating the under age-16 group. These also fluffed up his unemployment numbers by cutting off a swath of demographic who would no longer be considered unemployed – removed them from the rolls.

40 hour work weeks

Was happening on its own, or otherwise would never have been politically viable. However, it was still disruptive, and while intended to create jobs as employers would refuse to pay overtime, and hire new workers instead. Messed with wages and the labor market, costing jobs / driving up prices to consumers. Robbing peter to benefit paul.

…women’s suffrage,

Indeed, the pro liberty crowd was very much for women to vote. Old school types were old school regardless of party affiliations.

…Civil Rights…

Racists exist on both side of the spectrum. Certainly, some who respect liberty questioned the extent to which the Civil Rights Act exceeded extending full liberty to minorities, and instead pushed into enabling the State to violate the liberty of others. Do we solve one violation by extending a second or a third violation of liberty against another group?

Now is when a progressive reading this shouts, “you are a racist and for racism”.

…Social Security… Medicare…

Be careful: you are touting the success of free lunch programs funded like any basic Ponzi Scheme.

To that, I get a response:


I’ve noticed that conservatives are very good at taking an issue that was undeniably progressive or liberal in it’s day, then acting like they were for it all along.


Today none of us think of women voting as being all that progressive. Same was with abolitionists. Of course they were Christians. The slave owners and the slaves were all Christians. One of the great ironies of Christianity.


You won’t find much sympathy for being against Civil Rights or the Civil Rights Act. It changed our country forever and if some of the old white guys lost a bit of their liberty in the process, well that’s life in America. It did a lot of good, including chasing the white southern racists out of the Democratic Party.


Now where did they go?

And my reply:

I have to admit to playing a bit of devils advocate. I am not a conservative. I am a believer in liberty above all.

Hence, I repeatedly notice progressives claiming credit for all sorts of credit for providing solutions to history’s problems, when their policies were really late to arrive / are the equivalent of jumping in front of a parade to lead it on just before it crosses the finish line, or as is more often the case, named as if they solved the problem, but were truly political and for the benefit of the political elite. (That, if they don’t just simply make the problem worse, begetting corrective legislation, which makes it worse, requiring yet more $$ and intervention.. and around and around it goes…)

In that, I hit a variety of points you claimed credit for. You only responded to race and liberty.

As for liberty and Civil Rights, I think the Act could have been better written. Unfortunately by enabling the government to claim authority of political convenience to violate others liberty, it kicked that door down permanently so that today it is not just the despicable, old guy, southern racists whose liberty that was “lost a bit”.

I presume you are progressive. You reserve no right to sequel when your conservative / Christian political foes trample all over your liberty to achieve their political ends. What’s good for the goose…

As for irony, it is not with Christianity per say, but with those who call themselves Christian despite their own despicable nature. Moreover, Christianity that uses government to push its version of what Christ commands is an oxymoron. IMO, to be Christian is to be libertarian, to have courage of devotion to God, and confidence in your own relationship therein, and to only proselytize through consensual means.

Christ never once said, “go forth and seize control of government; go and lobby Pilate and the Phrases so that they may force others under threat of violence to follow my word.”

Deeper irony than what you mentioned is that such is the way of the progressives, there’s being a philosophical cult not so different -with its own morals, idols and methods to be worshiped –, and exactly so enforced on those who would rather say “no thanks”.

Progressives like the means and the sole right to pass judgement, just not the Christian message.

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