This election cycle has pointed out an enigma. All 1,473 Democrat candidates for president are falling over each other to be the most “progressive.” Since they are, after all, politicians and not philosophers, we must conclude that they believe appealing to the far left will give them a majority of the votes.

Why is socialism, the ultimate goal of progressives, so enticing? Put into practice it doesn’t work. The evidence for that statement massively overwhelms any minor exception that can be found. That, however, raises another question. If it doesn’t work, why does it sound so appealing?

There was a hint to the answer in a recent photo showing protesters at the Supreme Court. They were holding very professionally manufactured signs (that they obviously did not pay for) calling for a “fair & accurate census.”

The purpose of a census is to get an accurate count. In other words, to gain knowledge of what is in the real world. So why is the first word “fair;” a word that can have multiple meanings, many of which have little to do with reality?

Consider the word “justice.” What is “just” typically has a meaning within a cultural context. Why do progressives insist on adding an adjective to the word? We evidently can have social justice or ecological justice, or even economic justice. No, we can’t. Justice has a meaning; adding a modifier to it modifies that meaning. Social justice, for example, by necessity creates injustice. Adding an adjective to “justice” creates a perversion.

Consider the progressive leader who wants to ban vapor cigarettes because they are unhealthy, and insists on giving out free needles to heroin addicts while warning the police not to enforce drug laws among the homeless.

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Consider the progressive mayors who attempt to apply ideological principles to reality while condemning and demonizing their own police force.

Consider the politicians who, because of ideology, reinforce illegal immigration while condemning the results, as if there were no connection between reward and behavior.

Consider the language progressives use when trying to explain their actions. It is mostly incomprehensible jargon, best described as “chatter.” In a recent court case, the defense said, “... our laws must prohibit pretextual traffic stops motivated by race or any other classification, even when probable cause ... exists.” What does pretextual” mean? Is this suggesting that “motivation” is more important than the law? Is the defense suggesting that justice can only be gained if it is blatantly racist?

An educator recently commented that student assessments must be “contextualized into a broader community.” The noun “context” became the verb “contextualize,” which then became, in a later memo, “contextualizationality.” No. I did not make that up.

What is the bottom line?

Progressive socialism, appealing to our sense of moral sensibilities, is enumerated through a series of ideological positions. These positions are primarily based on pseudo-religious principles rather than historical realism. A type of history that progressives strongly reject. When these ideological tenets are applied to reality, they fail, bringing down everything around them.

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Dennis Clayson is a marketing professor at the University of Northern Iowa. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

and do not reflect those of the University of Northern Iowa.


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