Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Progressivism

Progressivism and Fascism

In a breathtaking essay Joshua Lerner uses the concept of the political from Carl Schmitt to illustrate the radicalism of Progressivism.  Schmitt was the German legal theorist whom Leo Strauss critiqued in an essay central to his return to the ancients.  See his early work and Strauss's here.  Schmitt became a supporter of the Nazis. 

Lerner does not engage in drive-by slander of the Progressives as Nazis.  Rather, he paints a compelling portrait of the perilous parallels between the two radical movements:

In many ways, seeking redemption via politics is the quintessence of the primacy of the political. But once we have established that politics is of at least some primacy and provides a meaningful source of ethical values--again, think of any number of liberals or leftists who feel the need to politicize even the most mundane of consumer activities--we must move on to another very powerful conclusion: political primacy means the irrelevancy of the practice of politics.

       It is rather well known that Progressives were rather contemptuous of common politics; they hoped to replace it with scientific administration of essential tasks....

Lerner is the co-editor of Counterpoint, the undergraduate University of Chicago conservative journal, where his essay appears.  The current issue features a symposium on conservative films, including Diana Schaub on Shane, Abe Shulsky on Casablanca, and Thomas Pavel on Bladerunner.  

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