Progressives are the unintended consequence of the collision of ideas offered by Karl Marx and those of Adam Smith – the product of pure communism colliding with laissez-faire capitalism. Free-market capitalists see government regulations as a detriment to profit; progressives see government regulations as the way to control the behavior of both profit-makers and largess-takers.
For most of the last century, progressives in both major parties have controlled the federal government. The current administration’s quest for control exceeds even the remarkable efforts of the Wilson and Roosevelt administrations. The Obama administration – supported by progressive allies in Congress – intends to control virtually every facet of human activity.
Capitalists were appalled when Obama took over General Motors; progressives, socialists and communists applauded. Capitalists could not believe that Obama’s czar had the audacity, and the power, to dictate the salary of top executives of companies that took federal bailout money; progressives, socialists and communists danced with glee.
Ordinary citizens stood up and screamed “hell no” to Obamacare. Obama ignored them. He twisted arms and Senate rules to ram it through anyway, with provisions that require private insurance companies to insure people with pre-existing conditions, and to keep costs and profits to 20 percent of gross sales. Progressives, socialists and communists knew they were in control.
These are a few highly visible examples of expanding government control. The more insidious expansions of government control do not make the news. All along the coastlines of the United States, for example, the federal government is taking control over the lives of citizens who depend upon fishing and tourism for their livelihood.
The National Marine Fisheries Service is preparing to stop all fishing for red snapper off the southeastern coast, claiming that the species is nearing extinction. Government-paid scientists provide reports to justify this action. Scientists from private universities, however, the Southeastern Fisheries Association and more than a thousand citizens presented evidence to the federal bureaucrats demonstrating that the government reports were flawed, that actually, the number of red snapper is increasing. Obama’s bureaucrats ignore the citizens’ concerns.
On the outer banks of North Carolina, entire communities are being shut down because the federal bureaucrats have listed the Piping Plover as a threatened species. Tourists can no longer even walk on the beaches that have been closed. The National Park Service told Bob, who for 32 years has owned and operated the Red Drum Tackle Shop, that he was still young enough to go find something else to do.
It’s not only the National Park Service, but the Bureau of Land Management and the Department of Agriculture, the EPA, and the Corps of Engineers as well – all have been systematically forcing people off their land. Kit Laney went to jail because he tried to keep the feds from confiscating his cattle. Ocie Mills spent nearly two years in jail for dumping sand on his own property. Bob Brace fought for more than 12 years in federal court for the right to convert his own pasture into a cabbage patch. Progressives in government – at every level – continue to expand the scope of control over how people live.
Progressives now dominate many local governments where, behind the guise of sustainable development, comprehensive land-use plans – with the force of law – ignore private property rights and force private citizens to behave as government dictates. The first purpose of any government is to protect the rights of its citizens and defend them against all enemies, foreign or domestic.
The planners in Amarillo, Texas, do not think of themselves as enemies of the citizens of Amarillo. A landowner whose property is devalued as the result of an arbitrary line drawn on a planning map may disagree. Amarillo is typical of thousands of cities that have bitten the bitter biscuit labeled sustainable development. Examine what Amarillo planners have determined to be “Action Priorities.” Here is a laundry list of action items the planners – not the citizens of Amarillo – have determined should be done.
Many cities that have fallen victim to this “politically correct” sustainable development planning are now confronting “Environmental Police” and a whole new “Code Enforcement” department that use taxes to pay enforcement officers to ensure that people water their lawns on schedule – or not water their lawns, as may be dictated by the government. Some “planned” communities require homes to be painted a color dictated by government; square footage dictated by government; and building materials and landscape vegetation dictated by government. Progressives, socialists and communists believe this is exactly the way it should be.
Progressives were served notice on Nov. 2. There is a growing number of Americans who want progressives – and their Marxist philosophy – ousted from government at every level. The last election was a start; the next election will be another step. Victory will not occur until the progressives are sent packing, and the vast majority of our elected officials – from the courthouse to the White House – understand and believe Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations,” the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.