The perverse lure of the new Progressives

February 28, 2019

Tom Fulks

OPINION by T. KEITH GURNEE

What is the lure of the local new Progressive movement?

As a Democrat most of my adult life, it’s hard to comprehend what’s become of the party that once attracted and welcomed me. As a member of this County’s Democratic Central Committee in the 1970s, it was open to liberals, moderates, and conservative Democrats alike. The composition of the Committee reflected that. No longer. Now that Committee is populated by a monoculture of new Progressives.

The Republican Party certainly has its issues, having elected a president who was a Democrat most of his life who Democrats now despise with a vengeance. In reaction, the ideological lure of the new Progressive movement has allowed it to metastasize itself deep within the Democratic Party at the national, state, and local levels while leaving its’s moderate and centrist adherents in the dust.

Today’s Democratic Party has lurched so far to the left that it is all but unrecognizable from the party of John F. Kennedy.

Let’s reflect on the term “progressive.” It’s defined by Webster’s as an adjective meaning “moving forward.” Now who wouldn’t want to be identified with moving forward as opposed to standing still or moving backward? It would be great if today’s “Progressives” fit that definition, but they don’t. Their embrace of group-think, “alternative facts”, wanting everything for free, and their intolerance of different views has them moving the wrong way. If anything, the Progressives are actually regressive.

The new Progressives have found fertile ground amongst the overindulged, social media savvy members of the “Millennial” generation– those who are now in their 20s and 30s who see the Progressive movement as their catnip. The lure has sucked them in. They’re drinking the Kool-Ade.

But today’s movement doesn’t come close to the two truly Progressive eras of the early 1900s and the late 1960s/early 1970s. As one who was the age of today’s millennial’s during the heady antiwar days of the 1960s, that Progressive era inherently distrusted big government. We viewed it as part of the problem rather than part of the solution, just the opposite of today’s Progressives.

Has the Democratic Party lost its way? Unless it makes a significant midcourse correction in the direction it’s taking, it would appear so. With the Progressives dominating the party, what’s a fiscal, limited-government conservative and a social liberal like me to do? Join the party of the Progressives? Not!

Having been vilified by our local band of Progressives in the last mayoral election, I’ve felt their single-minded, rigid ideology up close and personal. So where would they take us?

Tribune columnist Tom Fulks was one of the architects of the new Progressive movement who helped lead its takeover of the local Democratic Central Committee in 2017. He’s also its chief propagandist and a very effective one. His messaging rivals even that of Joseph Goebbels during the rise of Adolf Hitler in pre-World War II Germany. Unfortunately, that lure worked all too well.

Fulks was right in claiming that 2018 represented a huge victory for Progressives in our local, state, and national elections. But his proselytizing of those victories, his taking credit for helping make it happen, and the over-the-top performances of new Progressives in office should give us all pause. Hopefully, 2018 was their high-water mark. If not, we’re in for a scary future– one that we all may have read about already.

in rereading George Orwell’s 1984, the comparisons between that novel’s dystopian vision and that of the new Progressives are deeply disturbing. The terms and phrases used in the novel such as “newspeak”, “doublethink”, “thought-crimes”, and “ignorance is knowledge” just hit too close to home.

Local Progressive leader Nick Andre could be “big brother” or Heidi Harmon could be “big sister,” and Tom Fulks could be Chief of the “Thought Police.”

The novel’s cult of personality, its rooting out of individualism, and its stifling of alternative points of view are indelible parts of this movement. Should it continue to thrive, could we be heading for an Orwellian existence?

1984 was written in 1948 and published in 1949 shortly after World War II and upon the rise of Stalinist Russia. While 1984 did not come true in 1984, could it come true 50 years later? If you haven’t read the book, read it. If you’ve read the book, reread it.

I’d be surprised if you didn’t conclude that we’re being lured into an Orwellian existence.


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MrYan

The 1960’s and 1970’s activists did not care about big government or small government, that is an issue for conservatives. Always has been Keith.


The activists were concerned with a JUST government. Whatever size it took to get it done was not an issue.


I think you were a bit confused, but hey can I understand why you wanted to throw in with them. The hippie chicks were pretty hot from what I can remember.


I bet you still can remember the smell the Patchouli oil.


Monad

“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” — George Orwell “1984”


“Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” — Donald Trump, 2018


nazbol gang

Trump and Orwell are both right in this case.

Some say that the real difference between the dominant American media and the old Soviet Pravda is that the Russian people knew they were being propagandized, American’s either don’t or don’t want to accept it. It’s much more dangerous in the American case.


nazbol gang

Hmmm… I’m not sure where to start unpacking this. I hate to say it but American political consciousness is really bad. I guess what immediately sticks out to me is, what exactly do you think is so left wing about the Democrat party? They’re basically what would have been considered Republican 30 years ago. And the SLO progressives, they aren’t progressive I agree. They are solidly liberal, not leftist. Sanctuary cities and gay rights aren’t leftist ideals, those are liberal ideals. Americans have this idea that liberal means left wing, which isn’t true. Liberalism is the center in America. We were founded on liberal principles. There is a very narrow political spectrum in America and very little difference between the parties regardless of who thinks who is literally Hitler, dang that’s a tired meme. (Oh and Orwell went from communism to Trotskyism to finally settling on socialism, fun fact if you like Orwell) In America we have a kind of classical liberal party, the Republicans. That’s what you remind me of. And we have a less classical liberal party, the Democrats. The Democrats used to be more progressive, more willing to implement the Keynesian programs that defined economics between WW2 and the Reagan era. In practice it’s hard to draw a line, remember it was Nixon, the big bad Republican that gave us big evil gubmint programs like the EPA. Now socially speaking the opposite has occured, the Republicans have gone closer to the Democrats. The Republicans now support open borders, gay rights, abortion, etc. Foreign policy wise they are equal, they all support the same wars, Israel etc etc. So you would fit best in the current day Republican camp. So to clarify, Democrats aren’t leftists by any stretch of the imagination (no, Bernie isn’t actually a socialist, he’s not going to seize the means of production, he’s simply what the Democrats used to be before the Reagan era). And Republicans aren’t conservatives by any stretch. Both parties are globalist, economically liberal, socially liberal, and support a neo-conservative foreign policy. (fun fact, the neo-conservatives are the ex-Trotskyite communists). Anyway, there’s very little difference between the two American parties and leftism and conservatism don’t exist in any meaningful way in America. Sorry for being all over the place but American politics is what you call a turd sandwich. So maybe concentrate on the merits of different policies in your articles rather than going around invoking Orwell and the Goebbels. I mean come on man, Morro Bay isn’t going to invade Poland, and Heidi Harmon isn’t going to industrialize the feudal peasantry of downtown SLO in a series of ambitious 5 year plans. (would be sweet though)


tj

Paragraphs breaks are your friend.


Wildrnes

Big Brother TKG, the tone in your op-ed is full of paranoia and fear. You must be deeply scared of a take-over from the far left. This means they are getting stronger.


mesaman1651

Too many people think that politics, political parties, and politicians are really going to solve our problems somehow. If we could just get the right person in office, then everything will somehow get better….I don’t think so. Democracy is suppose to be by the people, for the people. Not anymore.

Now we have career politicians that care about power, money and their own egos. Something is gonna give someday, and it’ll all come crashing down.


c.d.cox

For all of you progressive,regressive oppressive socialist if you think socialism is so great go to any European country an see how you like paying eighty percent in taxes. You want your separation of church and state go to Germany and pay ten percent church tax. When you register to vote they ask your religion if you say none sorry you can’t vote.


Monad

You are sounding all sourgrapey to me, Keith. And disingenuous too. You have not brought up one progressive platform that you argue against. Instead, only phony BS like “big government,” “wanting everything for free,” “alternative facts,” etc. From where do you get this stuff?


Why don’t you talk about actual progressive platform positions like universal healthcare, or addressing massive and growing wealth inequality, or ballooning national debt?


I voted for you in the last election, which you lost in a landslide. I’m not a fan of Heidi, but now I’m glad you lost.


TKG

Monad, you answered your own question. If the Progressive position is against the “ballooning national debt” that now stands at $22 trillion, why is it advocating the Green New Deal” at a coast of nearly $100 trillion? Brilliant! Thanks for your worthless vote and keep drinking that Kool-Ade!


mercut1469

In the long run it’s going to be much more than $100 trillion to clean up the ravages of climate change—we’re already seeing it in California—not to mention the spiraling cost of health care if we don’t move to a universal style system. France pays 9% of its GDP on health care and gets better results than us—longer lives, lower infant mortality, etc. We’re approaching 20%. Talk about trillions of wasted dollars.


Myself

Here is a little suprise about climate change, in the 70’s when you dropped into the L A basin from the top of the Calabassas it looked like a big ceegar was burning from all the smog and pollution, then we didn’t have great big fires and all this other stuff that goes on, with todays “clean” cars and trucks we don’t see that cigar smoke but what we do have is large fires and other made up problems the politicians can dream up to glean money from us, looks to me that the climate has changed to toward the worst, just about every green idea some wack job has come up with has done nothing but cost the consumer big time, MTBE in the gas, the greenies wanted this, when it failed they forced the gas companys to pay for for the clean up, today the greenies want particulate traps on diesel engines and use some phoney crap to inject into the exhast to help clean it,guess what the def fluid is now found to be harmful, but some one has their finger in the pie and we are stuck with this junk.


nazbol gang

I remember the pollution in the LA basin at that time. And it has gotten better. But we’ve only outsourced the environmental destruction of globalism to the 3rd world. Pollution now blows in from China. And I agree, environmental efforts have largely been ridiculous or too little too late. But that’s not because the idea is bad.


Monad

So you think large fires are made-up problems? Interesting.


oxforduniversity

The democratic party has gone so far left that the party is going to split between the socialists democrat party and a moderate democrat party. The bottom line is democrats aren’t defending Americans anymore, they’re defending illegal immigrants when they used to defend our borders but now today they want votes, so they want open borders because immigrants are coming in the country on a daily basis will eventually become future do, this is all done by design to build up the democratic Party. The democratic party is growing up its Latino base and it’s pushing the African Americans and native Americans in the back of the bus again. The ACLU, Southern Poverty Law, SEIU and etc organizations are defending illegal immigrants not defending US citizens when these groups used to defend US citizens, native Americans but look at today these agencies are now toocorrupt because they’re building up a party giving all these false premises of all this free stuff to come into our country illegally, to become future pemocrats and moving the US into overpopulation. We are getting too many illegal immigrants in the country every minute, we’re getting 130 every hour, we’re getting 3000 illegal immigrants on a daily basis which equals 1.1 million illegal immigrants per year, so with all our socialist programs and the welfare programs, with the rising population of homelessness of Americans being put out of work because the Democratic party wants votes so that means open borders. We can’t stain more and more people but we’re doing it and we’re doing it legally are California government Sacramento is corrupt Mexico has meddled in our election in 2008 2010-2012 2014-2018 and guess what we didn’t talk about it. They are some packing our elections. We have more anchor baby Democratic politicians in Sacramento than we’ve ever had in history. Mexico is making more money on money orders from illegal immigrants sending money back to Mexico then Mexico produces and oil. More than 30 billion dollars every year it’s getting sent to Mexico of money orders. 137 billion dollars is being lost on the cost of illegal immigrants in the United States every single year and more. Did you know that $60 billion dollars that that money would pay for college tuition nationwide and yes it would be free but because of illegal immigration filling up or jails filling up or welfare systems, free education, free healthcare(Pro 187), free food stamps, free housing, all that money is being wasted because we won’t close our borders and we won’t force our immigration laws.


The Democratic Party doesn’t care for society, it’s all about party first, control that’s all it wants to control. United States will become socialist I predicting the next 10 to 15 years we will be a communist Nation think I’m wrong we’re heading there slowly but we’re going to get there, because of the Democratic party.


Monad

Do you know the difference between the policies of Democratic Socialism and communism? Do you know that “illlegals” can’t vote? I’d guess not.


mercut1469

Lots of statistics but no citations. Jerome Corsi, Dinesh D’Souza, Alex Jones?


nazbol gang

Democrats aren’t letting them in for votes. Republicans love immigration too. Remember it’s Reagan who first put the pedal to the metal on mass immigration. Capitalism is what demands open borders. It’s the nature of our economic system. That is what is driving it, and both political parties support that. (and Trump was a rhetorical anomaly, he has stated over and over again he loves immigration,”more immigration than ever”, just legal immigration)