Why I reject liberalism and progressivism

reject liberalismEarlier today I had someone ask me a question about how, in spite of my education and profession, I made the decision to reject liberalism and progressivism. After all, as individuals, we are all products of several factors – genetics, upbringing, education, entertainment, and even our vocation – all interact to mold and shape us. Before I became a professional historian and college educator, I served in the U.S. Army for nearly seven full years, I grew up in a military family. My extended family stretches from western Texas to Southern Mississippi. All these are factors into why I have chosen to reject liberalism. There are a few reasons why I reject liberalism and over the next few posts I will share my reasons.

Liberalism’s reinterpretation of history ignores facts

I never believed this was possible until I hit graduate school. During an afternoon of new graduate assistant orientation, one of the hosting professors told all in attendance that as historians, it is not only our job to present the facts, but to assure that others come to the correct interpretation of the facts. While this sounds noble at first, it is more sinister than what it appears to be on the surface. The professor continued in telling those in attendance there can only be one consensus, only one interpretation when we allow the facts to speak for themselves. As historians, we must remain unbiased to what the facts tell us. Again, this does sound noble; we would hate to believe that those teaching our future national, state, and community leaders would ever use education as a means to persuade them to hold a certain viewpoint. We would love to believe that professors, especially when it comes to history and political science,  could be objective enough to teach and allow the student to come to their own understanding of that which is being taught.

This is far from reality. In fact, all through graduate school I was exposed to various professors who warned me that my interpretation of American history, while certainly supported by the historical evidence, would preclude me from ever having tenure. The reasons I was given was because I often presented evidence that contradicted the liberal interpretation being presented. I was told that being a “free-thinker” meant I was dangerous, unstable, and even unacademic to some extent. In one particular graduate class, the professor was stating that within the United States, there was a long history of egregious errors done in the name of progress and national identity. As an older graduate student it was clear to me that she was not teaching American history facts as much as her interpretation of American history.

This professor focused on the treatment of slaves and the American Indian as prime examples. When she asked me for my opinion, I asked her if she believed in God or in evolution, and of course, with great pride, she claimed to be a Darwinist. She even stated that natural selection is what created the world we live in today – and so I referred her to Herbert Spencer, the sociologist at the turn of the twentieth century that had claimed that Darwinism is what allowed the United States to flourish as a world economic leader and the pinnacle of human civilization in the early decades of that century. Immediately she claimed that Darwinism could not be used to justify what Americans did – to which I still argue that the conquering of the American Indian was no different that the Roman conquering of the Etruscan people, the Babylonian capture of Israel, Assyria, and other Mesopotamian people. The American Indian was defeated not by evil white men but by the laws of nature. They were defeated in the face of a technologically advanced civilization.

Liberalism seeks to redefine history for several reasons, the first is because American history is the history of overcoming adversity. The settlers who arrived in Virginia and the Massachusetts Bay colonies overcame disease, Indian attacks, and every other thing the new continent threw at them and they overcame. Later, as colonists, they overcame the oppressive and tyrannical King George III and Parliament to do what no colony in world history had ever done – they declared independence and then defended that declaration. They pressed onward into the heartland of the wilderness, into the murky social issues of slavery, states’ rights, and Manifest Destiny and not only survived, but overcame them. Americans fight for civil rights for blacks, for women, and for other groups, and each time, oppression was overcome, chaos gave way to peace, and America survived. Left alone from those with political design, Americans have always done what was necessary to overcome, adapt, and thrive – all without excessive governmental legislation.

Liberalism is always in search of a “victim” to extort

Americans in the academic world, political parties, and the news media have always been interested in what drives people to vote. One thing that all the studies have indicated is that voting habits are fluid and normally change with factors such as age, education, religious beliefs, race, culture, and even socio-economic status. There are great cycles in American history where older parties die out, they change their platform to the extent they lose traditional supporters and gain new groups, or new parties come into existence that better support the ideals of the voting constituency. I believe this is what we have been experiencing in American politics for the last twenty years.

Within the Republican Party there is a war being waged. One faction are the party leaders, often referred to as the establishment; the other faction, which has been attacked by both liberals and the establishment GOP is the Tea Party. With the establishment GOP offering only token resistance to the leftist progression of American politics and society, in time, the Tea Party may become a new political party as the Republican Party loses its support as did its predecessor, the Whig Party. The Democratic Party is the example of a party changing its platform to attract new demographics to replace its losses. The liberal party leaders gain power and momentum by finding those who can be identified as victims, such as African-Americans, the GLBTQ community, controversial immigrant groups, and others as a means to maintain its relevance within the American political spectrum. Already with the ink on the recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage not even being dry, there are already liberal and progressive politicians who favor coercive actions to punish anyone disagreeing with the performance of gay marriage. They have even claimed that if a Republican wins the White House, gays will find themselves unable to marry and they’ll be stripped of their rights. It is the same story played out about women’s rights, abortion, blacks, and Hispanics.

In addition to choosing victims to extort to win elections, liberals and progressives choose issues that feed tensions, such as the current Confederate battle flag controversy, whether churches can refuse to host gay marriages, and now, issues of every white American being a racist white supremest by nature, societal influences, and genetics.  These issues are being paraded around to “remind” African-Americans that the only party that truly cares for them is the Democratic Party. I have even heard an MSNBC commentator state that if it had not been for the Republican Party there would have been no Civil War. She is correct; however, the Democratic Party which she celebrates defended the institution from the days it began to act against the Federalists, the very first political party (defined loosely here) that openly opposed slavery. If the majority of African-Americans would realize they alone possessed the power to not only rise out of poverty, but to achieve greatness on their own without the “special” status liberals and progressives promise to give them, then they would truly be free to enjoy the benefits of being American. It is my belief that liberalism creates victimhood; victimhood creates dependency upon liberal-ran government bureaucracies.

Once the African-American voting base begins to leave the Democratic Party, the party leadership has already assured itself of the next generations of voters by appealing to illegal immigrants (in hopes their children will vote Democratic), the GLBTQ community, and seeking the young white voting demographic by appealing to their white guilt with the only cure for their whiteness being to vote for the party who supports and defends the rights of minorities – the Democratic Party. For this reason, even education has been corrupted to sew these destructive concepts of victimhood, continued unintended oppression by whites because of their heredity, and  America being a hateful nation since its founding all play into the end-game of establishing one party control within the nation. After all, who would ever want to vote for a party that had oppression as a part of its roots?

More to come with my next post

The next installment of this topic I will share how liberalism focuses on social rights rather than the rights of the individual and how liberalism seeks to assert equality of individual outcomes rather than allowing for individual achievement.

Alan Simmons

Alan Simmons is an adjunct instructor of history at Henderson Community College. He has been teaching at the college/university level since 2004. Within the scope of his degrees, his areas of emphasis are U.S. foreign policy, public policy history, political history, and U.S. history.

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