Peter Kreeft has written one of the most cogent definitions of modern liberalism that I’ve come across in a long while. Teaser excerpt follows:
Progressivism is a form of snobbery, and has the same terrible moral effects as any other form of snobbery. In fact, it is snobbery masked, and therefore is even more harmful than open snobbery. It is a form of pride, the deadliest of the deadly sins.
If, as Chesterton said, “Tradition is the democracy of the dead,” then Progressivism is the elitism of the living — and within that, of a certain educated, well-off subset that enjoys sneering at once at its ancestors and its neighbors. Progressivism stifles the voices of the past, and amplifies the sound of our own speech, the better to help us pretend we have heard all points of view, then do exactly as we wish.
Progressivism also cuts us off from what tradition gives us: a pile of precious intellectual and cultural gifts from our ancestors. And even when we receive the gifts and use them, we are not grateful for them, for Progressivism forbids us the virtue of humility, which is necessary for the acceptance of gifts; and from gratitude, without which there is simply no wisdom or happiness. There is no surer hallmark of holiness, happiness, and health, in individuals or societies, than gratitude, and no surer hallmark of their opposites than ingratitude.
Progressivism stems from logical fallacies and leads, by habit, to the disparagement of reason. The substitution of calendars for arguments not only proceeds from irrationality but also fosters it.
Worst of all, Progressivism clearly contradicts the very idea of a divine revelation. If there is such a revelation, Progressivism corrects it, corrects God Himself, and arrogates to itself the right to edit rather than deliver the divine mail, evaluating it by dating its postmark. Even religions that do not claim a direct divine revelation, like Confucianism, Taoism, or Buddhism, get their teachings from their past, from their founders. Progressivists make it up as they go along.
The phrase “substitution of calendars for arguments” references Kreeft’s argument that liberals abhor and even ridicule the past. He explains:
The opposite of Progressivism is conservatism or traditionalism. A conservative, by definition, is a happy person, one who is happy with what is. It is only for that reason that he wants to conserve it. A progressivist, on the other hand, is by definition an unhappy person, one who is unhappy with what is. It is only for that reason that he wants to change it. A conservative is someone who thinks happiness consists first of all in enjoying the good things we already have. A progressive is one who sees happiness first of all in hoping to enjoy the things we do not yet have. Adam and Eve were conservatives until the Devil made them into progressives. For the Devil himself was the first progressivist. The other angels were happy with God and His will, but the Devil wanted to progress to something better.
In other words, progressivists try to tell truth with a clock instead of an argument. It is as silly as trying to tell time with a syllogism instead of a clock. Or a calendar, which is only a larger, longer clock. For to say that an idea is no longer believable simply because this is the 21st century, not the 13th, is no different from saying that an idea is no longer believable because it is now 11:00 p.m, not 10:00 a.m.
But even silly superstitions have reasons behind them, and these must be discovered, exposed, defined, stated fairly, and then refuted. And there are at least some seemingly cogent reasons that people adopt Progressivism. False conclusions usually are deduced from at least partially true premises; otherwise they would not have the power to deceive us.
He goes on to expound on some of those seemingly cogent reasons.
Take the time to read the whole thing and to better understand what drives the mindset that has wrought the likes of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid on the rest of us.
Then pass it on. That kind of wisdom needs to be shared.