Frank Maguire
The rootless progressives: Chapter One
By Frank Maguire
May 18, 2010

I think it is fair to refer to zealous progressivists as "radicals." This is how they, irrationally, think of themselves. They also militate against America's Constitutional Republic, the free-market economy, and "capitalism," using their own distorted, Marxist-Leninist definition. They make use of "democracy," a concept absolutely rejected by America's founders, and they never refer to America as a Republic.

What are progressivists after? In Benthamite terms, they proselytize for that which they believe will make them most happy. Each claims to be the owner of his/her life, is democratically entitled to every liberty, and enabled, carte-blanche, to indulgently pursue her/his own delirious reveries of "happiness."

In order to display a form of democratic altruism, a humanist state of soul which only progressives can claim, they explain that everything they desire is for the greatest good of the greatest number. For the "people!" But not, Mother Nature forbid, for persons who are not of "The Preferred People."

All of the above "gimme gimmes" of the meliorist minions, stamping toward the Humanist Utopia, can be accomplished by Progressive Change — away from what they claim is "That," upward and onward toward what they envision as "This." Marchons! Marchons! They chant. Out of the murky blindness of the present, into the envisioned sunshine of the glorious future — les jours de gloire!

Trouble is, other than their own ideological animadversion toward That, they have nothing but a shallow comprehension of what That is, historically. And, they have no reason, empirically, to believe in their This phantasmagoria. They erase all evidence that their grand, visionary scheme upon which they base their fundamentalist, fascist/socialist fantasy has failed, having wrought tyranny, slavery, and death.

The quintessential necessity for progressives is to erase history...selectively — preserving the hagiography of antecedents recognized as Progressive Saints while winnowing away the untouchables who might deter the coming of the glorious, earthly paradise. This crucial necessity is the responsibility of educationists in our institutions of teachedness (in contrast to "learning"). These pedagogic sappers have thus-far done yeoman work.

As confirmed Darwinians, Progressives rationalize the inevitability of Change, based upon Marxist-Leninist dogma. Man's progress is inevitable because a Brave New World of New Man has evolved. The primitive, bourgeois concept of "human nature" is, they declare, just a vestige of Old Man superstition. The New Enlightenment has arrived. The old human nature of the less-evolved, has been declared to be un-natural. The nature of Man is undergoing Change, and the progressives are the vanguard of Change. Under the gonfalon of "Change is Progress," they parade in lockstep with the New Times.

But, as always with the gnostic "We know best" enthusiasts, the progressivist foundation is built upon silly putty. Their logic is illogical. It would flunk the "Are you smarter than a fifth-grader test?" First, since the denotation of "radical" is "root," they can't be radicals because they reject the root. A root has a traceable beginning, even in theory, and it doesn't change once successfully traced. The root has, then, a history.

Progressive "True Believers" don't even understand, in their denial of history and language, that in order to be revolutionaries they must acknowledge that there are -volutions against which they revolt. I know there is no word "volution," and my attempt to create one is neo-logistic. But what I am doing is more than indulging in a bon mot, a "witty saying," or in paronomasia, i.e., "punning."

The word "revolution" has been traced back to the 14th century. Its primary meaning is "the action by a celestial body of going round in an orbit...a progressive motion of a body around an axis...." Later the term was co-opted to political/social use and became synonymous with "rebellion: uprising; revolt; insurrection; and mutiny." Clearly, even the word "revolutionary" has a long history.

So, instead of creating a word — volution — let me build upon revolution as a body, in relative stability, moving around an axis. This in itself is not far from reality as to what revolutionaries (insurrectionists) do. At some point, for some reason, they decide to revolt against the constraining axis, which obviously existed before their rebellion. Their rebellion can have a closely-reasoned legitimate cause, as had the colonists' militant opposition to the British. Or it can be emotionally charged — the puerile tantrum as can be seen in the U.S. in the 1960's and '70's (and the "Hate AZ-berries" mobs calling for boycott in 2010). Ironically, when the adolescents of any era grow-up, though some never do, many of them discover that they are the unintended victims of their rebelliousness.

There is a word, a mot juste, that produces the imagery that I think is propre. The word is "involution." I offer involution, which means "complexities and intricacies," as representative of long-held, ageless, complex, and intricate verities that when culturally applied either sustain or destroy a nation. The Progressives, who don't hold with ageless verities — "Monday's 'truth' was better, and Wednesday's 'truth' will be better still" — choose the broad path of nihilist destruction.

In closing I suggest that in essence, in their dreams of the New Man, the Progressive Insurrectionists are forced by their own irrationality to deny Man. They exclude the God of the Bible and the men of America's founding. Their New Man just sort of appears out of thin air. A pas du tout illusion! Ex nihilo!

Suggested Reading: "The Myth of Democracy," by Tage Lindbom, Wm. B. Eerdmans-publisher. "Coming Out of the Ice: An Unexpected Life by Victor Herman" originally published by Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich 1979.

In Chapter Two of "Rootless Progressivism," I will present the testimony of the progressivist, using their own words.

© Frank Maguire


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Frank Maguire

(Frank Maguire passed away on May 19, 2021. His obituary can be read here.

Frank Maguire was born in Dorchester, MA, 1938, attended schools in Massachusetts, California, and Arizona, where he completed degrees in music and English writing/Journalism. Frank has been married to Helen Isabel Maguire Estevez of Culver City, California, since 1957. They have six children, 14 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren.


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