|Big Government, circa 1920.|
In the Alice-in-Wonderland world of Leftist politics, words switch meanings without warning and without justification. But not without purposes.
One of the most bizarre switches has been the switch of Liberal/Progressive to mean "supporter of civil rights". Nothing could be further from the truth. Progressivism, which was what Liberalism was called and now is called since "Liberalism" went into the witness protection program, has been since its inception a program of massive government-enforced racial engineering. In other words, Progressivism was the intellectual framework for segregation in the first half of the 20th century.
The first progressive president, Woodrow Wilson, was a cold racist, who resegregated the military and the federal civil service. That's right-- re-segregated them.
Republicans, who held the White House for most of the era after Reconstruction, had desegregated the military and federal civil service. Wilson, the avatar of Liberalism/Progressivism, re-segregated them.
Malcolm Kline of Accuracy in Academia observes:
The ultimate irony is that Wilson’s attitudes on race... mesh nicely with the “progressivism”... and clash with the conservatism and libertarian impulses they eschew. After all, slavery and segregation are the ultimate form of government regulation.
Segregation was a natural part of Progressivism, as it was practiced in the South, and in fact the Progressive ideology-- the view that massive government intervention in the private lives of citizens for their own betterment is necessary-- was the primary rationale for segregation laws. Segregation was a massive government program 'for their own good'. Progressives used big government force to engineer the "beneficial" segregated racial composition of communities, schools, businesses, etc.
Damon Root at Reason:
For starters, the original progressives most certainly did not “promote true economic and social opportunity for all people.” In the Jim Crow South, as historian David Southern has documented, disfranchisement, segregation, race baiting, and lynching all "went hand-in-hand with the most advanced forms of southern progressivism." Economist John R. Commons, a leading progressive academic and close adviser to high-profile progressive politicians—including “Fighting” Bob Lafollette, Theodore Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson—authored a 1907 book entitled Races and Immigrants in America, where he called African Americans “indolent and fickle” and endorsed protectionist labor laws since "competition has no respect for the superior races."Progressives were also rabid eugenicists. Eugenics was basically the science policy of the Progressive movement. As Christine Rosen observed in her masterful Preaching Eugenics, eugenics was a mainstay of the Progressive movement not only in progressive politics but in progressive religion. In contrast, eugenics was opposed tenaciously by conservative orthodox Protestants and especially by the Catholic Church. In 1930-- at the peak of the Progressive/Liberal eugenics program-- Pope Pius XI reiterated the Church's implacable opposition to compulsory sterilization and to eugenics in all its form, and declared participation in eugenics to be a grave sin and anathema for Catholics.
As Princeton University economist Tim Leonard has chronicled, "eugenic thought deeply influenced the Progressive Era transformation of the state's relationship to the American economy." Despite the fact that this monograph favorably cites progressive hero Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes for his famous dissent in the economic liberty case Lochner v. New York(1905), the authors make no mention of Holmes’ notorious majority decision in Buck v. Bell, where Holmes and his colleagues (including Louis Brandeis) upheld the forced sterilization of those who “sap the strength of the State.”Even the Dixiecrats in the 1950's and 1960's were mostly conventional liberals-- many opposed the Vietnam war, all supported massive big-government programs, and all supported forced social engineering and the usual host of Liberal/Progressive causes. They were "conservatives" in only one sense: they wanted to conserve Progressive racial social engineering.
Segregation is Liberalism/Progressivism-- big-government social engineering-- as it developed in the racist American South. And Liberals never abandoned their passion to engineer race relations. When Liberals switched in the 1960's from supporting segregation to supporting forced busing and affirmative action, they were actually selling voters the same product-- government race-sifting-- but merely appealing to different siftees.
There is one thing that Liberals/Progressives/Democrats have never supported: a color-blind society.