By: Paul Murano – Feb.2018
One of the more popular euphemisms of our day is the term “progressive”. It is meant to have a positive connotation. Being a progressive is thought to mean being enlightened and open to the future. Is it true? Should we all become progressives? There are two important things to consider about this word, both of which make it deceiving.
First, notice that for the progressive the future is seen as a definite entity which he/she defines, and to which some people are open, while others resist. The former are the enlightened and they are “on the right side of history” while the others are on its “wrong side.” It is seen as progress away from traditional thinking on basic issues.
Yet, in reality, there is no right or wrong side of history; only right or wrong choices and behaviors. We make history with our choices. Radical change is the sporadic norm in world history, often led by those with courage and vision to change its trajectory, which makes history difficult if not impossible to predict.
Secondly, the word “progress” itself is neutral. Its value depends on what one is progressing toward. Progressive tooth decay or cancer is not a good thing. Progressing in the wrong direction while driving gets you further from, not closer to, the destination.
This is the problem: ‘progressive’ ideology does not recognize an end, goal, or destination. Movement itself is its top value – but only if it is a movement in the opposite direction of what is traditionally known to be objective truth and goodness. There is no moral compass by which to judge this “progress” since good and evil are absent from its ideology; and this is mainly because of its aversion to truth and goodness.
Think about it. Extract justice from mercy, and truth from compassion, and you have contemporary Liberalism. Add in a dose of sarcasm and cynicism with personal attack, and you have Progressivism. Both stem from a refusal to submit to Reality – the first out of fear and the second out of anger.
Ever visit the Facebook page of a progressive friend? Chances are it will have personal attack as its dominant theme. It is no coincidence that secular progressives as a rule disparage individuals rather than ideas, policies, or actions. Just watch any MSNBC evening show and you will see it within two minutes. It usually takes the form of ridicule and sarcasm. Currently the main target is Trump, but before that it was Bush, then Reagan, then Nixon.
ometimes it’s a characterization of a “religious” person portrayed as racist, sexist, or anti-science. It is a way to channel hate, and is a universal phenomenon of the Left. But why? Let’s go beneath the surface.
Hatred becomes the natural human condition in a post-Eden fallen world. It begins with hating sin and injustice, and, since we succumb to our own imperfections, continues with hating self. This turns into anger, with an ironic combination of rationalizing one’s own evil while blaming others for our misery. This condition demands a scapegoat, a way to channel one’s own hate onto another in order to gain some semblance of peace, albeit a temporary and hollow one. This is a universal phenomenon found throughout history.
Similarly, there is widespread animosity toward anyone that disagrees with the progressive agenda to make sin ‘acceptable;’ and the perceived leader of this opposition, often a conservative president, is routinely its target and scapegoat.
Christianity, however, provides the world with the one real Scapegoat to remedy this condition, the “Lamb of God.” No longer is it necessary to hate oneself or others; in Christ’s sacrifice hate and death are conquered. Yet, in rejecting Him we make our own ‘progressive’ retreat from Truth (Jn 14:6) and Love (1 Jn 4:8), and contribute to a culture of death. Ultimately, the ‘progressive’ movement is a movement away from God and His will, coupled with a deep aversion to His voice echoing throughout the centuries.
Dr. Paul Murano teaches philosophy at Rivier University and North Shore Community College and hosts Beneath the Surface radio show on 980 WCAP. Paul has a doctorate in marital theology, is certified in bioethics by the NCBC, and teaches adult ed. at St. Patrick’s in Nashua. He is founder of Heartbeat Pregnancy Help in Burlington, and is a singer-songwriter-musician. E-mail Paul at PJDM@aol.com