You’re a Progressive — a short story

Posted on 2015 June 4

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%22you're a progressive%22 tweedles

It’s fun talking politics with you, my friend, but I simply have to make an observation. You think you’re a conservative, but you’re not. You’re a full-blown Progressive: welfare state, semi-socialist, Social Justice, the whole kit and kaboodle.

“What the hell are you talking about?!? I am not a Progressive!”

Yeah, you are. For example, obviously our society needs some sort of safety net, so people who fall on hard times can get some help.

“Well, of course, but not too much.”

And there are some things only government can do, like police and courts and roads and bridges.

“Why not?”

Exactly. For instance, every kid in America should get an education. And it should be provided by a neutral party, like regional government.

“Yes, we want local control over how our schools operate. What’s wrong with that?”

And you favor certain recreational drugs, like beer and shots, and disapprove of others, like marijuana.

“What’s liberal about that?”

The Left also favors certain drugs, like wine and weed, and disapproves of others, like tobacco. Different drugs, same idea.

“Just because we disagree about which ones to regulate doesn’t mean it’s wrong to regulate them.”

Precisely. Now, there’s no way on Earth you’ll let them take away your Social Security, right?

“Damn right! I paid enough into it.”

And then there are those pesky business leaders who sometimes commit fraud or try to corner a market. For that we have federal regulations to keep them from going off the rails.

“And your point is…?”

Also they’re rich, so they should shoulder most of the tax burden.

“Damn right! I sure as hell don’t wanna pay any more taxes.”

Meanwhile, we’ve all come to realize that bigotry is a thing of the past. Blacks have joined the mainstream in so many ways. Nobody raises a peep. And now gays can get married. It’s really none of our business.

“I guess not.”

Let’s continue. Sometimes other countries get uppity and maybe even try to sucker-punch us. So we go in there and teach them a lesson.

“You got that right.”

We then have to fix what’s wrong with them, especially those old-fashioned dictatorships, and set up democracies. Everybody knows democracy is the best system. This is expensive, but it’s worth it since we’re bringing them the virtues of our own way of life.

“Yeah. Well?”

Well, you’re not really conservative at all. In fact, you’re almost perfectly in line with Progressive ideals. 

“That’s insulting!”

Let’s review. You favor some sort of welfare state, socialized education and retirement funding, public utilities, social justice, drug control, centralized business regulation, and nation-building. Congratulations! You’re the perfect Progressive citizen, beyond the wildest dreams of lefties a century ago. Your beliefs reflect beautifully what you were taught in government schools, and your politics blend nicely with what’s advocated on the nightly news. But…

“You better say something nice, buddy!”

But I’ve gone too far. I should take it back and re-christen you as a conservative. After all, it’s been tough for your side, fighting a rear-guard action for a hundred years, backing and filling, trying to accommodate the Liberals, who always seem to make right wingers look like selfish bad people. Piece by piece, over the decades, you’ve accepted nearly the entire Progressive program. What’s left is minor details and clean-up.

Still, we should call you a conservative. Because “conservative” is now a special category in politics. A modern conservative … is a Slow Progressive. You want all the same things as liberals. Just not too fast.

“You’re— that’s not— you’re … Dammit, I think you’re right. This is awful. I have to sit down.”

Here, use my lounge chair. Let me get you a stiff drink. Oh, and would you like some marijuana? Or a cigar?

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Posted in: Fiction, Humor, Politics