Posted by Donald Bly on 19 March, 2010 at 10:30 am. 48 comments already!

I have to thank vocal left leaning proponents of progressivism for what I perceive as an irrational support of the usurpation of individual and States rights, as it has forced me to extend my research to depths that I haven’t felt necessary before. I find it fascinating that individuals can hold such views thus my quest for how they might have come to their positions.

I have begun an extensive project of research with my methodology initially focusing on one of the leading financial benefactors of the modern progressive movement, George Soros, who has directly contributed in excess of 5 billion dollars towards such organizations. This is where I began my exploration. It is an extensive list populated by a plethora of rabidly anti-American organizations. There are also numerous instances of the more mundane; labor unions, environmental organizations like the Apollo Alliance which is a project of the Tides Foundation which lists its mission as strategic planning for a spider web of philanthropic organization. In addition there is the Center for American Progress, an organization that was founded by Hillary Clinton and George Soros.

There is a massive amount of information to sift through. Much of it is very innocuous and on the surface could be seen as noble in purpose. But every now and then some real gems come to light. Concentrating on mission statements and past accomplishment of the organizations as well the bios of founders and executive officers tends to reveal more than the very carefully chosen words found on the website pages the general public would tend to visit.

On the Center for American Progress’ website, under the CEO, John Podesta’s bio page the following accomplishment was touted:

“Most recently, Podesta served as co-chair of President Obama’s transition, where he coordinated the priorities of the incoming administration’s agenda, oversaw the development of its policies, and spearheaded its appointments of major cabinet secretaries and political appointees.

On the CAP’s “About Page” under the heading “What we believe” the following excerpt is found:

“We believe an open and effective government can champion the common good over narrow self-interest,…”

Found on the CAP’s website http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/10/aspen_video.html is an article written by John Podesta entitled Progressivism’s Role in the Economy, Health Care, Education, and the Cimate he writes:

“What’s the difference between liberalism and progressivism? According to John Podesta, it is the “fire of social justice” that is often born from faith or a belief in a communitarian approach to the common good—as opposed to an individualistic approach.

This was a preface to a video where Podesta goes into much more detail, unfortunately there are many of these videos and for someone to do intensive research they must watch the video or rely on meta-tags for an inkling of the contents. Let me tell you, I can read much faster than they can speak but I did take time to watch the video where he outlined why the term progressivism over liberalism is used. The jist of his speech in regards to this topic was; liberalism has developed many negative connotations and is often used by conservatives as a pejorative whereas progressivism has much greater appeal to the masses as it embodies the idea of progressing towards a stronger society and economy.

It all sounds rather benign, however, I kept coming back to the preface of the video and the word “communitarian” and an advocacy of such a principle over the “individualistic approach”, which took me back to the “What we believe” page’s use of the phrase “common good over narrow self-interest”.

I figured I had the definition of “narrow self-interest” pretty well under control. You can’t get any narrower than an individual’s own self interest. Common good seems pretty straight forward too, the common good as used in the phrase, is more important than an individual’s rights.

But this word “communitarian”, I had to look it up. It wasn’t a word with which I was familiar, it looked a lot like communism on the surface so I did some more research.

Central to the communitarian philosophy is the concept of positive rights, which are rights or guarantees to certain things. These may include state subsidized education, state subsidized housing, a safe and clean environment, universal health care, and even the right to a job with the concomitant obligation of the government or individuals to provide one. To this end, communitarians generally support social security programs, public works programs, and laws limiting such things as pollution.

A common objection is that by providing such rights, communitarians violate the negative rights of the citizens; rights to not have something done for you. Progressives, aka communitarians assert;individuals would not have any rights in the absence of societies. Conservatives view this as a negation of natural rights.

Progressives aka communitarians believe that negative rights may be violated by a government action, but argue that it is justifiable if the positive rights outweigh the negative rights lost. They further argue that negative rights are irrelevant in the absence of positive rights.

How do the communists define communitarian?

The Socialist Alliance programme is the foundation upon which everything else is built, including in time our exact organizational forms and constantly shifting tactics. The programme links our continuous and what should be all-encompassing agitational work with our ultimate aim of a communitarian, or communist, system. Our programme thus establishes the basis for agreed action and is the lodestar, the point of reference, around which the voluntary unity of the Socialist Alliance is built and concretised. Put another way, the programme represents the dialectical unity between theory and practice.” — Weekly Worker 368, Janury 25 2001. See also: 5. The transition to the communitarian system in the same issue of Great Britain Communist Party’s Weekly Worker.

The Ism Book – A dictionary of philosophies from Peter Saint-André, editor of the Monadnock Review defines communitarianism as:

Communitarianism (Idea and Movement in politics) – “With the demise of true socialism as a viable intellectual force, communitarianism is now the most active philosophical opposition to libertarianism. Communitarianism is usually presented in vague terms, but it is probably best understood as a mild form of collectivism or “democratic socialism.”

I’ve heard many times in recent months from individuals posting on various blogs that “communism is dead”, buried under the debris of the Berlin wall. I contend that it is dead only in name and it’s core beliefs have been resurrected under the guise of “progressivism/communitarianism” A belief that the State knows better how to run your life than you do. That individual liberties have no place in modern society and that without society you would have no rights at all.

As I stated in the beginning, this is an extensive research project and I am far from done but I thought I’d post this as the first installment with more to come. Next we’ll look at how the Tides Foundation provides overarching coordination of progressivism/communitarianism’s strategy of implementing their philosophy through the activities of a myriad of non-profit organizations and how the Apollo Alliance, a project of the Tides Foundation, was a major player in writing the text of the stimulus bill to further move the USA towards a communitarian society. (it’s okay if you want to read that as “communist”, I do)

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