Column #375       November 4, 2022What’s Progressive?

Wikipedia explains that “Progressivism” is a “way of thinking that holds that it is possible through political action for human societies to improve over time. As a political movement, progressivism purports to advance the human condition through social reform based on advancements in science, technology, economic development, and social organization.”1 2

Apparently, everyone is a progressive to some degree or another. The history of man has always been a struggle for advancement or—at the very least—survival. It’s always been an individual struggle, a family struggle, a community or tribal struggle, a state struggle, and a national struggle all ongoing at the same time.

Obviously, as we peer back in history we see that the struggle for advancement has not been a linear upward-sloping track. Everything seems to cycle. Some individuals become greater at what they do, but eventually they die or even fail. Some families rise up and become famous dynasties, but they too eventually fade into obscurity. And I don’t need to tell you that businesses, communities, states, and entire nations rise and fall in importance.

The cycles of life have persisted throughout recorded history. And throughout recorded history there have been advancements in science, technology, economic development, and social organizations. Obviously, those advancements aren’t why nations and their people become great and stay great. Learning how to drive a car, use a cell phone, and be on Twitter doesn’t lead to exceptionalism. And for an absolute fact I don’t believe it’s possible that simply through political action that human societies will improve over time and keep improving.

People become great, societies become great, and nations become great when most of the citizens adhere to stringent principles which include religion (our Founding Fathers were mostly Christian), family values, respect for law and order, strong work ethics, sacrifice, restraint, national borders, awareness of history, sound money, and living under an insightful Constitution. But because people are people and political leaders are political leaders, being progressive means that what brought them to the pinnacle won’t be enough—for they always want MOAR. And MOAR means that religion, family values, respect for law and order, strong work ethics, sacrifice, restraint, borders, awareness of history, sound money, and living under an insightful Constitution get in the way of progress.

Take the USA for example. When it comes to traditional religions, family values, respect for law and order, strong work ethics, sacrifice, restraint, borders, sound money, and constitutional laws the modern progressive belief is that those values are now restricting Progressivism. I think the people who believe that make up a very large percentage (maybe more than 50%) of all Americans.

Rather than explain why each of the necessary attributes is required for becoming great, I’ll focus just on sound money because it involves more than one aspect and applies equally to individuals, families, communities, states, and countries.

For any one person, business, or nation to become financially independent and sustainable there has to be a strong work ethic, a willingness to sacrifice, respect for law and order, historical knowledge, and restraint in terms of debt management. These days most Americans flunk these tests. For the past 100 years both Democrats and Republicans have been addicted to borrowing and spending. Growth financed with more debt has been the guiding light. In 1914 the Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) was established to create perpetual prosperity. If that’s not a political movement to advance the human condition nothing is and the consequences of it have been a disaster.

The Fed created a method for managing the growth of debt without the normal risks which  are avoided by restraint. Consequently, debts have grown nonstop since 1932 and the companies, institutions, and individuals that should have gone bankrupt during normal business cycles were just refinanced. The attributes of restraint, sacrifice, and the importance of saving for a rainy day were discarded as old-fashioned nonsense. The result is our country, individuals, corporations, and Federal government are members of the walking dead now that interest rates have reversed their 40-year declining trend.

Today, with just a few months of rising interest rates, just the interest alone on the Federal debt exceeds what’s budgeted for defense. With higher interest rates coming, interest expense will increase which will force the government to borrow (print) more paper money unless expenditures are slashed. If the Federal government decides to continue to spend more than it takes in, it won’t be long before the dollar and all dollar-denominated bonds will no longer be accepted in the marketplace. They will have no value whatsoever.

This may sound extreme. But it’s the reality of progressivism. Newsweek just released a poll it commissioned where 63% of the respondents said the Federal government should issue new stimulus checks to tackle inflation. Forty-two percent said they “strongly agree” while only 18% disagreed. Fifteen percent said they neither agreed nor disagreed. I couldn’t make up this level of insanity with a straight face because nothing could be worse than adding more debt at this time. More debt will rocket prices higher, along with interest rates, accelerating the destruction of the dollar and dollar-denominated debts.3

This can only happen because most people have no clue as to what the word inflation means and what causes price inflation. Yet history is loaded with examples of why it happens and its devastating consequences. It’s the death knell of nations. Yet how could it be that so few people know so little about history? How is it people do not know that the word “inflation” describes the excessive creation of money and/or credit in relation to the goods in the marketplace? Don’t they know that rising prices are symptoms of inflation and not the cause?

The point of this column is that to be really progressive, individuals, families, communities, states, and entire countries must be “stick-in-the-muds.” Merriam Webster Dictionary defines stick-in-the-mud this way: “The meaning of STICK-IN-THE-MUD is one who is slow, old-fashioned, or unprogressive; especially: an old fogy.”

If the truth be known, being woke and/or progressive is regressive. Being modern is staying on top of advancements in science, technology, economic development, history, and social development. Unfortunately, that alone doesn’t mean living conditions will improve or countries will become and stay great by manipulating knowledge to fit social goals. Advancing the human condition requires that a majority of citizens are knowledgeable regarding the true history of man and the actual teachings of religion, family values, respect for law and order, strong work ethics, sacrifice, restraint, borders, sound money, and insightful Constitutions and they actually employ those standards. It’s the latter case which actually sets the stage for lasting advancements in living conditions.

Without knowing the lessons of history, man will be lured into repeating all the prior mistakes of the past. Even though they can operate a cell phone, without being taught the importance  religion, family values, respect for law and order, strong work ethics, sacrifice, restraint, borders, sound money, and insightful Constitutions—every new generation starts over from scratch. How progressive is that?

To your health.

Ted Slanker

Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.

Don't miss these links for additional reading:

1. Progressivism from Wikipedia

2. Progressivism in the United States from Wikipedia,

3. Majority of Americans Back New Stimulus Checks To Combat Inflation by Khaleda Rahman from Newsweek Magazine