Our favorite talk show host Glenn Beck recently criticized Paul Ryan, for giving a speech in which he tried to rehabilitate progressives such as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. Beck’s criticism came after he read this post over at the popular conservative Hot Air blog, in which Ryan is praised for being a “real progressive.” Unlike Ryan, Beck has little to no appreciation for the ideology of these former presidents, and rightfully so.
In a speech he gave to the Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs on March 31, Ryan praised “progressivism.” This ideology, he said, had influenced both parties. It was, when it first came to the forefront of American politics, populist and it aimed at empowering the people. Only later did it morph into an authoritarian ideology, with no respect for individual rights, or so Ryan argued.
Beck explained that Ryan is wrong about the above. Progressivism has never been aimed at “empowering the people.” Indeed, it has always been about the exact opposite: empowering the state. Progressives are and have always been collectivists. And that’s precisely why this radical ideology is wholly un-American. After all, America was founded on respect for the individual and a believe in his ability to raise himself up by his bootstraps, and a healthy distrust of government power.
It’s troubling that a “conservative” politician such as Paul Ryan – who is one of the conservative movement’s rising stars – has such a distorted view of progressivism. He should know better, as should we all. We have to be open and honest about it: There is nothing even remotely praiseworthy about this ideology.