Progressivism: The Trojan Horse of Ideologies


Many of us are too quick to label ourselves as a conservative, liberal, progressive or whatever without thinking what those labels really mean and where they come from. There is no keeper of labels, thus historians, philosophers, and every other academician can make up their own terminologies which may or may not take hold, or be accurate for that matter. This is the abbreviated but sordid story of one of those labels – perhaps the most misunderstood and misused one: Progressivism. However, we must first understand the meaning and evolution of the concept of liberty in order to truly appreciate the existential threat progressivism poses to it.

A brief history of the evolution of liberty:

Liberty is the state of individual freedom to self-determine. It is freedom from arbitrary and sometimes despotic control by other entities. Individual liberties that we enjoy in free societies are the result of a chain of events spanning two and a half millennium.

Ancient Greek farmer soldiers known as Hoplites were the first known private property owners in the western world. The prosperity that property ownership afforded the Hoplites also allowed them the luxury of reflecting on and philosophizing about life in general. They were the fore-runners of the great ancient Greek philosophers of the Socratic era who would pioneer the reason based political philosophy that would evolve in to classical liberalism among other variants of individualism.

Natural byproduct of reasoning about nature of things is virtue. A virtue is a positive trait or quality deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. Observations of the nature of things and the resulting logical conclusions yielded certain universal moral absolutes, like the Golden Rule. Natural law and the unalienable rights concepts were the byproducts of virtue. So was republicanism as it was necessitated as a form of governance that elevated the individual to a position of primacy over the state and the collective. This evolution would eventually culminate in the Enlightenment, which allowed the western civilization to finally leave the dark ages behind and advance like never before.

A movement is born:

Virtue dictates that people take responsibility for themselves, as the alternative would be to impose on the unalienable rights of those taking responsibility in a civilized society where human feelings like empathy and compassion make it impossible to turn a blind eye to misery. Adhering to such moral imperatives has always had its opponents since socialism was introduced around mid-19 century under the guise of fairness to the proletariat or the working class. Thus, a hundred and thirty years ago, a parallel movement under the guise of transforming the society in to a utopian vision held by a group of elite socialist intellectuals, drug abusers, and sexual deviants started in the United Kingdom. They would be known as the Fabian Society and later become the pre-eminent academic society in the U.K., whose influence far exceeded the bounds of the empire.

The driving force behind the Fabian Society was the desire to establish global socialism and use of British imperialism as a progressive, modernizing force. Thus the modern, debouched version of the word 'progressive' entered the lexicon. This progressivism, however, was nothing like the original meaning of the word. The desired end result was socialism - a collectivist ideology - rather than individualism as characterized by the reason based Socratic approach to advancement of mankind through individual freedom of thought and action.

Fabian elitists had no stomach for socialism through revolutionary change, therefore adopted their name after the Roman general Fabius Maximus - Fabius translating to 'the delayer'. Theirs would be a gradualist movement that subscribed to incrementalism as agent of change.

Gradualism and deception:

Gradualism is policy of change by gradual, often slow stages. In contrast to impatient and hot headed revolutionary Marxists of the 20th century, Fabians understood just enough about human nature to realize that socialism via revolution would only alienate society and never last, but over time, people would voluntarily buy in to a socialist utopia given the right stimuli. The funny thing about human nature, especially in the West that had been enlightened in the virtues of liberty and equality, is that it yearns for freedom as much as it craves security. It was obvious, therefore that the appeal to the security needs of the masses was the key to everlasting utopia. The problem was that socialism seemingly provided what was essentially a false sense of security, but it was also antithetical to individual liberty as the Fabian socialist vision had no room for unfettered capitalism or private property rights. Right to one's fruits of their labor is the most basic requirement of freedom, and most every person knows this instinctively. This dilemma could seriously jeopardize the chances of success for socialism dissembled as progressivism. Hence, it was a given that along with gradualism, deception would also have to be a central feature of the progressive agenda.

War against traditionalism:

Fabians realized early on that traditionalism had to give way to what some termed modernism if global socialism was ever going to be realized. This implied that the traditional institutions of the society had to be dismantled. Hence, traditionalism along with traditional values had to be vilified as ‘intolerance’ and society made to feel guilty for holding these views. This was a battle for the hearts and souls of the masses – one that the traditionalists did not realize the importance of. Over the next century plus, progressivism assaulted society in a multi-prong attack that would mercilessly decay the traditional institutions of society.

On the education front, or as I refer to as the indoctrination side, classical education was slowly but surely replaced by progressive education that allowed social activism to be introduced in to classes instead of a strong curriculum in the liberal arts that would promote critical thinking. Concepts like service learning, cooperative learning, and social responsibility became everyday classroom activities; all while subjects like history and civics were being revised to fit the progressive mantra.

Progressive education also claimed and continues to claim to promote critical thinking. This is just another deceptive marketing ploy progressivism uses in gaining acceptance. Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness. Critical thinking requires going through all three stages of education: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. A vigorous curriculum in liberal arts is vitally important in learning how to think critically because the inter-disciplinary connections must be made effectively if critical reflection is to take place. Progressive education makes this impossibility as the demands placed on students by imposing progressive concepts leaves insufficient time for adequate exposure to liberal arts, not to mention the fact that revisionist gobbledygook taught poisons the foundation of knowledge necessary to draw proper conclusions.

On the cultural front, which I call the propaganda front, progressives undermined traditions by infiltrating the entertainment and media institutions to the point of nearly exterminating traditional voices and points of view. The progressive agenda not merely survived but thrived throughout the free world. Cultural Marxists gave birth to different schools of thought (perhaps most famously the Frankfurt School) that all converged on the same themes of gradualism and deception, which would gradually change accepted definitions and values from their traditional senses to progressive ones. Eventually, what was right or moral would be wrong and immoral, and vice versa.

For example, when John Dewey, the father of American progressive education, advanced the idea of replacing classical education with his brand that would inevitably abandon the quadrivium, he never said that his goal was to dumb down future generations so that they could not think critically. Likewise, John Maynard Keynes who was closely associated with the original Fabian society members, never announced that his brand of neo-classical capitalism had not much to do with free flow of capital, but rather inhibit the free economies by injecting the heavy hand of the government under the guise of normalizing business cycles. Finally, Frances Fox Pivens is yet to admit openly that the strategy that bears her name - Cloward Piven Strategy - relies on collapsing the society from within in order to facilitate Marxism.

A Trojan horse:

Progressivism is a Trojan Horse. As socialists at heart, its most ardent adherents will never admit to their true desires as they instinctively know that the devious ideology they advance must be concealed and public led down the path to socialist utopia under false pretenses. Most others who consider themselves progressives have simply been conned in to thinking that progressivism is liberalism. In reality, progressivism is the opposite of liberalism. The central tenets of liberalism lie in individual liberty, equality under the law, and small unintrusive government to make it all possible. Individualism and liberalism are one in the same, and the opposite ideology should properly called collectivism, not liberalism in typical progressive double-speak. Having to use the term collectivist would amount to a public relations disaster for socialists. It is high time that we took the language back and force the proponents of what amounts to be indentured servitude and equality in misery to display their true colors.


Kerem Oner Added Apr 11, 2018 - 12:50pm
Enter your comment here...
Mark Klaers Added Apr 11, 2018 - 1:31pm
I haven't been here in over a year, but if you're going to post, I'm compelled to respond. Bravo, sir! Bravo!
Dino Manalis Added Apr 11, 2018 - 1:33pm
Progressivism is supposed to make progress, but very often it doesn't!  It makes matters worse!
George N Romey Added Apr 11, 2018 - 1:51pm
I think we have moved beyond classic theory.  With technology today everyone wants an instant, easy answer.  An app, a spreadsheet, a Google search.  Few really want to think issues through trying to understand all sides, potential unknowns and contingents. 
My own sense is that when everyone in society makes a contribution and everyone has the back of others (do onto to those as you would have them do onto you) we end up with a pretty decent standard of living.  Not perfect but certainly better than this few winner take all we've morphed into.
Leroy Added Apr 11, 2018 - 2:35pm
Excellent article, Kerem!
Back in my day, the valedictorian was the one with the best grades.  It was objective.  Today, they factor in nebulous criteria such a community service.  My niece and nephew are cases in point.  Both had the best grades.  Neither knew until the day before graduation who would be the valedictorian.  Both lost out.  My niece lost out to another girl who had the greater need.  She came from a poor family.  They wanted to encourage her academic career; otherwise, she might not go on to college.  My nephew's community service wasn't sufficient to get him to the top spot.  He did missionary work in high school and continues to do so until today.     Even in my day, there were signs of change.  They wanted to give a female the distinction after a string of males.  Teachers intervened and the one with the highest grades prevailed.  How things have changed these days.
Dave Volek Added Apr 11, 2018 - 2:50pm
The valedictorian in my high school class really didn't accomplish much in her life, even though she had the highest grades. She was beset by mental illnesses and a family structure that didn't accept the fact that true Christians ever got mental illnesses. Kind of sad.
To get into medical school in Canada is very competitive. In the past, the schools only accepted top grades from an undergraduate science degree. But the schools were graduating too many doctors who either didn't like people that much or who liked a high-paying profession too much. These days, seekers of spots in medical schools should have a lengthy volunteer resume behind them, complete with references.
A better system I say! Top grades don't explain everything. 
Thomas Sutrina Added Apr 11, 2018 - 3:02pm
Kerem, one of the better articles I have read on WB.  You gave me a lot of history.  So we have the 'classic liberalism' like Washington, Jefferson, and Madison to name just a few from America.  We have Lock, Smith, and De Montesquieu that the Americans spoke of European foundation of classic liberalism.  And we have the Religious liberals that started with Martin Luther way before the others and that essentially started the ball rolling after it died in the feudalism of the dark ages in Europe.
Today you gave me a better name for 'modern liberalism'  that should be titled 'collectivism.'  I was thinking that Fabian Socialism came well after the creation of 'collectivism'  the utopian state run by saintly masters is always presented as the ideal nation.  Plato, More, Hobbes, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Marx preceded fabian socialist.
These utopian had a few thing is common and shared by 'collectivism'.  To have collectivism, no one owns anything then no one can decide what to do.  But since that is not possible.
'Collectivism' has a class structure with the most noble, virtuous, and wise 'master minds' that occupy the leadership class and have special privileges and skills.   They are not chosen or responsible to the people.  The people serve the will of these people in the upper class.
Below this class are lesser classes that take orders from those in the higher classes.  Once in placed in a class a person is trapped for their lives within that class. 
James Travil Added Apr 11, 2018 - 6:21pm
Utter whoha nonsense article. While I am not a Progressive I've known several in my life, including one of my ladies, and the ones I know are not socialists. Socialists are socialists. Mislabeling Progressives as socialists then attacking the strawman you created is a worthless argument. Progressives aren't anti-tradition either, maybe socialists are (see strawman arguments above) they just promote progress and innovation. The real problems on the left rest with communists, neoliberals and socialists. Progressives are the only sane Leftists. If you condemn them it would be akin to condemning all Rightists and itself complete unbalanced extremism. 
Leroy Added Apr 11, 2018 - 6:48pm
"...they just promote progress and innovation."
Such as prohibition?  That was a progressive movement.
James Travil Added Apr 11, 2018 - 7:06pm
Prohibition was a Christian movement to restore Christian values to America. What does that have to do with progressives? 
Thomas Sutrina Added Apr 11, 2018 - 8:28pm
James Travil,  you tell us >> Progressives are the only sane Leftists. . . . Utter whoha nonsense article. While I am not a Progressive I've known several in my life, including one of my ladies, and the ones I know are not socialists.>>  Wikipedia defines "The terms "left" and "right" appeared during the French Revolution of 1789 when members of the National Assembly divided into supporters of the king to the president's right and supporters of the revolution to his left. "   
James T., by definition, progressives are supporters of a revolution, the replacement of the present form of government.  Kerem tells us what progressives are: >>Fabian elitists had no stomach for socialism through revolutionary change, therefore adopted their name after the Roman general Fabius Maximus - Fabius translating to 'the delayer'. Theirs would be a gradualist movement that subscribed to incrementalism as agent of change.>>  He is very clear.
James Travil, you seem to be confused as shown by your own words and common understanding.  How you describe the author to me actual is a great self examination >>Utter whoha nonsense article.>>
James Travil Added Apr 11, 2018 - 9:58pm
Mr. Sutrina, I'm pretty sure I know the difference between the left and the right in the modern world in which we live. We don't live in France or revolutionary times. Perhaps in your out of whack mind we do. But I, unlike you live in the modern world. Wikipedia has a very good definition of modern progressivism, maybe you should look at it. 
Stone-Eater Added Apr 12, 2018 - 7:12am
Liberty is the state of individual freedom to self-determine. It is freedom from arbitrary and sometimes despotic control by other entities. Individual liberties that we enjoy in free societies are the result of a chain of events spanning two and a half millennium.
David Copperfield, no ? There IS NO LIBERTY. It never existed and will never exist. Because all humans depend of each other for survival, therefore "liberty" in its real sense cannot exist.
It's coexistence and consensus. This is the proper way for us. And there is no label needed for that. 
Discussions about -isms (whose meanings change according to Zeitgeist) are in fact obsolete. Because they're no more than an ideological masquerade for basic human desires: Wealth and a good life. On a PERSONAL basis. We're not a social species, in fact. We are only social as long as we can afford it....
Stone-Eater Added Apr 12, 2018 - 7:16am
BTW: How do I figure that ?
By the strings of comments which are endlessly losing themselves in justifications of their preferred ideology - without getting anywhere :-)
Stone-Eater Added Apr 12, 2018 - 8:14am
BTW Kerem:
Sitting all night on the machine and pressing enter to get more than 700 views on a new article ? LOL
Stone-Eater Added Apr 12, 2018 - 8:16am
I have the feeling that this article is OLD....and how it got to the top again may only Autumn know ;-)
George N Romey Added Apr 12, 2018 - 9:07am
People confuse the far left crowd of pc extreme with real progressiveness.  They also confuse with neoliberalism.
Kerem Oner Added Apr 12, 2018 - 9:29am
Stone-Eater, I disagree vehemently.  The fact that we are dependent on each other to a certain degree does not mean liberty does not exist.  Liberty in the nth degree, as in anarchy, does not exist in an enlightened, civil society, but liberty did exist in America and later the U.S. for a couple of centuries before progressivism started crimping it.  If you are not familiar with Alexis de Tocqueville's writings (especially Democracy in America), please read it.
Secondly, I also disagree that coexistence and consensus are the proper way forward.  What you seem to fail to understand is that individualism (aka Liberalism) and collectivism are diametrically opposed ideologies.  Individualism is a philosophy in that it is a product of rational discourse that has shaped over two millennia.  Collectivism is an ideology that does not rise to the level of being a philosophy because it is emotionally driven, therefore must violate reason in order to be accepted. This is why collectivist ideologies rely so heavily on moral nihilism.  Reason and virtue are inseparable. 
Individualism and collectivism can only coexist in the short term.  Over the long term, collectivism suppresses individual liberties (or is vanquished itself).
Kerem Oner Added Apr 12, 2018 - 9:31am
The article is not old as far as being published here goes.  I originally wrote and published it on LinkedIn about two years ago.  It was saved as a draft here and I had forgotten to publish it as I do not frequent WB often.  Caught my attention yesterday so I published it.
George N Romey Added Apr 12, 2018 - 9:35am
Individualism such as it is reflects a time when society was much different. I believe everyone has a responsibility to be productive and contribute. However the self can only be actualized by the strength of the society.
Autumn Cote Added Apr 12, 2018 - 10:15am
Welcome back!
Please note, the more personal responses you offer the more likely your articles remain popular and commented upon.  Also, the more likely I promote your work to a larger audience.  As always, many thanks for your participation with Writer Beat!
Kerem Oner Added Apr 12, 2018 - 10:39am
Autumn, I am doing the best that I can among my real world duties ;)
Even A Broken Clock Added Apr 12, 2018 - 11:25am
Kerem, an interesting philosophical discussion. While I have the feeling that some of your points are non sequiturs, like linking the personal habits of some of the original Fabians to the creation of a morally flawed philosophy, there is much in what you say that we have diverged considerably from classical education and principles.
The question is whether this is due to the influence of a school of government, or whether it is due to the surfeit of prosperity that has afflicted much of western society. Laziness (both physical and moral) seem to be in ascendance, and the ideal of a Jeffersonian man is held at arms length and disparaged.
One thing that has not changed over the millennia where civilization has existed is the need for service labor. We have transitioned it from mainly slave labor, to the current low wage service economy. A key question that needs to be answered is whether it is "fair" for someone who works full time, even in a service roll that is low skill, to receive a wage that does not allow for a minimally adequate standard of living. It would seem that for society to function well, the service workers have to be able to afford life where they work. How can you create a society where this need is fulfilled strictly by market forces?
It is totally different to address how to deal with people who either will not or can not participate in the economy. 
I hope that you participate more often than you have, because you have much to offer.
George N Romey Added Apr 12, 2018 - 12:12pm
2 studies in 2016 showed about half of Americans making $30K or less. Another study showed over 90% of jobs created over the past 8 years of the low wage type.
What we end up with is a chunk of society that cannot make basic needs or are always a financial disaster in the making. Public and private charity tries to pick up the difference shoving the costs onto society. Or we could simply cut these people off turning the US into an immediate 3rd world nation.
Or maybe we could have jobs to that allow for independent living.
TexasLynn Added Apr 12, 2018 - 12:13pm
Wow!  Great article!  The history, in particular, shed much light on terms and organizations I was only vaguely familiar with.
I’ve always been aware of the classic definition of liberalism vs the modern usage.  And I realize I’ve been guilty of using the terms progressive, liberal, and left interchangeably.  I've always attributed the pervasiveness of deception and the gradual tearing down of classical western institutions (like family) to all three.  Now, I see the differences a little better.
As one who slings labels around fairly liberally :), I'm also one who will embrace them when they are used for the purpose of communicating.  I am a conservative, right-wing, classically liberal...  Of course, there is also the common moron who uses them strictly for slander and personal attacks with no thought behind them at all.
Labels serve a purpose in common discourse.  The left and right (and in-between) must have some terms (call them labels) to hold debate and conversation about the attributes, successes, and failings within the political spectrum.  A lot of people needlessly reject all such labels as insulting in some way.  Not I…
Anyway... thanks for the article... I have learned something today. :)
Dave Volek Added Apr 12, 2018 - 1:34pm
I thought this article was very broad. Part of me want to comment on all sections, but time and energy are limited. So I'll limit myself to one of Kerim's paragraphs:
Ancient Greek farmer soldiers known as Hoplites were the first known private property owners in the western world. The prosperity that property ownership afforded the Hoplites also allowed them the luxury of reflecting on and philosophizing about life in general. They were the fore-runners of the great ancient Greek philosophers of the Socratic era who would pioneer the reason based political philosophy that would evolve in to classical liberalism among other variants of individualism.
I think there is a danger here of assuming the ancient Greeks were some kind of political utopia. The Greeks who had "the luxury of reflecting and philosophizing" usually had a lot of slaves to do all the dirty work for them. So any freedoms in this society were quite selective. The Greek farmers had a lot more freedom than their slaves.
EABC put together a brilliant paragraph that bears repeating:
One thing that has not changed over the millennia where civilization has existed is the need for service labor. We have transitioned it from mainly slave labor, to the current low wage service economy. A key question that needs to be answered is whether it is "fair" for someone who works full time, even in a service roll that is low skill, to receive a wage that does not allow for a minimally adequate standard of living. It would seem that for society to function well, the service workers have to be able to afford life where they work. How can you create a society where this need is fulfilled strictly by market forces?
In a like manner, those living on the edge of the economy don't have as much freedom as their employers. While this life is still better than slavery, the working poor don't feel their society is serving them well. All the philosophy in the world won't change their mind. 
TexasLynn Added Apr 12, 2018 - 2:40pm
I like your comments in regard to thinking further on the subject.  Just how much of the original methods of the Fabians have been passed on to their philosophical descendants.  I would say, from my biased perspective and observation, that quite a bit has been passed on... but how much?
I can remember, in the early 90s I believe, when one rarely heard the term progressive.  It was my impression that the term became popular once the "liberal" label lost its luster (heh… accidental alliteration) and the general public started viewing it negatively (and rightly so).  I always thought the left simply moved on to a new label; thinking they just as easily could have called themselves, star bellied sneetches.
I have on more than one occasion said that the real problem we face is the decline of western society.  You rightly ask, OK where is that decline coming from.  From my perspective government is a the main source of decline... mainly due to progressive policies that have undermined the family by dissuading marriage and attacking its very definition. 
I also think there is a spiraling cycle involved.  Society degrades which allows for bad government which further degrades society.
BUT... you offer an excellent point that prosperity can be the cause of much the degradation we see.  I've often thought that if a work ethic isn't taught to children at a young age... they never really develop one.  I also had an aunt (in her 90s) who said "There is nothing wrong with this country, another Great Depression wouldn't solve.  Wondering about the source of your next meal and not being too choosy about what it is... will do wonders for one's world view and perspective on what is important (and what poverty is)."  Laziness (both physical and moral) seem to be in ascendancy because one can afford it.
The "poor" today live like kings of a few hundred years ago and as well and the very rich did less than a century ago.  I saw an excellent example in a Prager University video the other day.  Louis XIV would have about 40 dishes prepared for his evening meal so that he could pick the one he was in the mood for.  Today... most people (especially those living in the cities) have an even wider choice (also healthier and fresher).  "Poor" when reviewed through the prism of centuries is a VERY relative thing. 
"Poor" though the prism of different societies today is also very relative.  Poor in Western societies is a lot different from poor in Africa, South America, the Middle East, and much of Asia... as are the general reasons for poverty (socialism, dictatorships and overall corruption).
We beat up western society for its abundance while the rest of the world has so little BUT fail to acknowledge the only real impact we could have on said poverty would be to remove the thieves that run their countries (at many levels).  Make any move to do that and cries of imperialism follow.  Even worse, rich degenerates embrace the dictators in blind solidarity towards socialism.
Then, when considering the poor here in the U.S., I might ask what is a "minimally adequate standard of living"?  If we start listing what that is, I think we often run into issues of exorbitant costs of things like housing and medical... which are often issues of location and/or government (and corporate) malfeasance.
I would disagree that service workers have to be able to afford life where they work.  I think it's important that they be able to afford life somewhere they have the right and opportunity to move to.  If you choose to live in LA or New York for example... that is still a choice. One with economic consequences, but a choice none the less.
I gave up half my salary so I can live in rural East Texas (instead of Dallas and Houston).  It was a choice and it took some adjustments.  Why would I ever assume I'm entitled to that same standard of living that is less available where I choose to live?
George N Romey Added Apr 12, 2018 - 2:45pm
People tend to go where the jobs are in many cases are stuck where they are living. It cost money to relocate and how many jobs are in Tumbleweed Nebraska?
People used to go to the bathroom in the city streets. But do we consider modern plumbing a “luxury”?
Dave Volek Added Apr 12, 2018 - 3:34pm
There is a good argument that the poor in the west have a better life than the aristocracy of past ages. However, that kind of statement does not placate the poor.
The fact that you could take a 50% cut in wages and still live quite comfortably suggests that you don't understand what it like to be poor.
When you struggle to pay the rent, utilities, and food, it's a daily grind on your psyche--and you start making silly decisions. I had a brief life encounter with this economic state. While I did move out this state, I came to understand why many poor people struggle to move themselves forward. 
And often there are kids who did not ask for this lifestyle. They are likely to will grow up warped in their thinking as well.  
The working poor often do not take good vacations to get away from the stressful life for a short period of time (if they even take vacations). They don't go to sporting events, concerts, or evening classes. There just isn't time or money for these activities. Other than TV, church, and alcohol, their isn't much enjoyment in life.
We can argue that society should just cast the poor to their rightful consequences; i.e., if they starve or are forced onto the street, too bad for them, right? Most of them won't learn the lessons you think they will learn when life gets really hard. They just don't have the life skills to rise above this kind of adversity.
Progressive causes take a lot of the edge out of the life of those in poverty. Public education, public health care, water and sanitation, social assistance, etc. all contribute to the poor making better decisions for themselves-----even if you and I can clearly see that some of their decisions are still faulty. 
And the kids are not on as much edge either. They will be raised in a better environment than a life without progressive causes. Some of them will be better able to rise above their parents' plight. 
Ian Thorpe Added Apr 12, 2018 - 3:52pm
Excellent post Kerem, well written and well researched, and your understanding of the Fabian Society's modus operandi is right on the button. No item on 'the agenda' is ever abandoned, no matter how unpopular or how bad it is, the argument is simply repackaged; the end always justifies the means. They turned the British Labour movement from a grass roots working class movement into an elitist deception in which the working class voters and party workers were nothing more than 'useful idiots' to an 'inner party' made up of aristocrats, professionals and academics. They may as well call themselves The Patricians because that is how they see themselves.
Dave Volek Added Apr 12, 2018 - 4:14pm
It is interesting to see how social movements for working classes often create their own elites. And the working people are seldom running the show when the movement matures.
George N Romey Added Apr 12, 2018 - 4:16pm
In the 50s and 60s people worked full time and enjoyed a decent standard of living. While we were a much more regressive society we had many more stable individuals  and families. Poverty does ugly things and when people are working 3 part time jobs to survive, including government assistance there is no availability to “ improve” oneself.
Ian Thorpe Added Apr 13, 2018 - 1:52pm
Dave, that's true but in the case of the British Labour movement the socialist elite (the Fabian Society) were around first,  a fringe group of upper class do - gooderfuckers, academics and professionals. It was only when the Labour Party started to win significant amounts of votes in elections that he hijack began.
Ian Thorpe Added Apr 13, 2018 - 2:00pm
George, that urge to self improvement is an individual thing, many people were content to jog along making enough to pay the rent and put food on the table with a little left for beer and smokes.
Some however were driven to educate themselves, start businesses or earn qualifications and advance in their careers. This is not linked to social class or wealth although the children of wealthy, educated families have a head start.
One of the few truly working class senior Labour politicians in the 1950s, Ernest Bevin put it well in saying, "Poverty of aspiration leads to poverty of spirit."
The aspiration originates from something within us, something we're born with though no - one knows how it gets there.
The social conditions you describe however, and we are all familiar with indirectly at least, appear to be capable of killing it.
Kerem Oner Added Apr 13, 2018 - 3:02pm
Excellent comments Ian. Intellectually honest Brits know exactly what I am talking about when it comes to the Fabian Society and, not only early cultural Marxists like Gramsci and the Frankfurt School thinkers (I use the word Thinker loosely), but virtually ALL of the present day progressive movement coming from its toxic influence. 
Kerem Oner Added Apr 13, 2018 - 3:07pm
diverging from classical education and traditional values is by no means an accident of history.  The mindset of these people can best be understood after analyzing a long list of Fabian elites along with the original founders, including likes of Shaw, Sanger, Dewey, Gramsci, and even present day adherents of this corrosive ideology like Prof. Pivens and many Democrats.
George N Romey Added Apr 13, 2018 - 4:42pm
Ian the desire to self improved has been massively curtailed in a neoliberal agenda. The few born into privilege do quite well while the wannabes languish.
Kerem Oner Added Apr 13, 2018 - 4:49pm
George, not in the U.S.  We did not get 13 million millionaires from thin air.  Vast majority, far more than 90%, did not come from great wealth at all.
George N Romey Added Apr 13, 2018 - 4:51pm
That was the story of the US. Not anymore. Social mobility in this country has died. New business ownership by young people is at all time lows.
Kerem Oner Added Apr 13, 2018 - 4:54pm
Only because of the environment they have been brought up not only prepares them poorly for life but drills in their heads that they can never succeed without reliance on the government.
George N Romey Added Apr 13, 2018 - 5:02pm
Yeah only one third of STEM graduates actually have STEM jobs. Why? HB1 visa mills.
Do some research before you spout off your moronic neoliberal bullshit.

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