We hear this word thrown around a lot these days, but what does it actually mean?
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Emma: Hey, Brittany.
Brittany: Hi, Emma.
Emma: So I have a question for you to start out, Brittany. Okay. What comes to your mind when you hear the word progress?
Brittany: Ooh, that’s a good question. you know, I think a couple of things. I think of a progress report, which is what they gave me in elementary school, and a progress report was just like a report card. I don’t know why they wouldn’t just call it a report card. Yeah. but, you know, but a report card or would be like, how much progress have I made? How much have I gone in the right direction? Right. Let’s say I was getting, I was doing not so well in math one semester, and then I worked really hard and I progressed. Right. I did better at math. So progress to me is like something getting better. It’s moving forward in a positive direction.
Emma: Yeah. I like that. I think that’s pretty darn accurate. the definition I was gonna read today is that progress is a movement toward a higher, better, or more advanced state or position. So that’s pretty much right in line with what you were just saying. Nice. But it’s interesting because typically when you hear the word progress today, it’s in the context of progressive, which the word progressive and progressivism and progressive politicians are not really in line with what actually causes progress. So why do we hear that word thrown around all the time by these people who don’t believe in the progress and who, whose policies actually make it harder for us to achieve that better, higher quality of life? So a lot of that comes from the progressive movement that started in the late 18 hundreds. And this movement centered around a lot of social and political causes. one of the big ones was union organizing and, you know, calling for better workplace conditions. A big part of it was women’s suffrage, which obviously is a good thing. We like women’s suffrage, we like being able to vote. but it was interesting because there were all of these social, movements happening at the same time. And the progressive cause basically became, it became like this catchall term for people who wanted to advance into the next stage of civilization. And they wanted to modernize America. And some of it was really great, but some of it also was sort of rooted in Marxism. So calling, themselves progressives, these organizers, it was actually a very clever marketing act on their part, because who doesn’t like progress, right? Who wants to be the people that are saying, no, I don’t like those progressives, because whoever’s, opposing the progress is gonna sound like some boring, crusty old person who’s like, we hate.
Brittany: Yeah. We hate anything we wanna say the past and Yeah.
Emma: Yeah. We hate progress. And we’ve even talked about the candlestick makers Union and like yes. People, the Luddites who don’t want things to move along. So it’s a very smart way to brand a movement. But in reality, like I mentioned this idea of progress and this progressive movement had a lot of roots in Marxism, which was very popular at the time over in Europe. And there were all of these Marxist movements going on, especially in Russia. And one of the bigger instances was of this sort of Marxist stuff going on within the progressive movement was that the organizers encouraged factory workers and low-wage employees to see their bosses and to see property owners in general as their enemy. And that was pulled from Marxist theory, Carl Marxist theory of class warfare between workers who are the proletariat, and the owners who are the Bourgeoisie. And he basically said, Hey, workers and property owners can’t coexist in peace. There must be class warfare. You’re always gonna be against each other. You can’t help each other out. So we might as well just speed it along and cause conflict. So today’s progressive politicians share a lot of those fundamental beliefs like far-left Democrats, Bernie Sanders, AOC, the squad, they all consider themselves progressives. But there’s a really big difference between claiming that you believe in progress and actually enacting policies that lead to progress and that lead to prosperity. So it’s an interesting, you know, juxtaposition comparison that we see between like claiming that you want us all to be moving forward and then actually enacting policies that can make that happen.
Brittany: Well, and I think it’s really interesting because nobody wants to be, I think a lot of times Progressives like to see conservatives like who, you know, right of center people, it’s like the enemy of progress. Right? And I think that’s wrong cuz they assume that their progress means basically using government force to make. Write. To, write what they perceive as wrong. right? to, do whatever it is to progress. So for example, minimum wage, right? They don’t think people make enough, so they wanna say, all right, let’s use the government to make progress on, you know, worker rights. Which I think ties right back to what you were saying with Marxism, Emma. So, I think that’s one of the biggest problems with progressives is they want all these social to be, and economic advancements to be done through force. And as we know, that’s just, it ignores the individual. We don’t wanna be coerced, we don’t wanna be forced. Yeah. So in reality, it’s also just not that simple. It’s been tried many, many times and it’s failed every single time. The Soviet Union doesn’t exist anymore. USSR. And it, part of it is cuz it wasn’t feasible, it couldn’t work. We are seeing Venezuela in real time crumble. Venezuela used to be an extraordinarily wealthy country, and now it’s, their people are eating pets. I mean, it’s devastating because there’s no food. Yeah. And meanwhile, a couple of years ago, like their leader, like through a like multimillion-dollar birthday party for himself, well people don’t have medical supplies and it’s quite terrible. I mean, you talk about breadlines these people, it’s worse than anything you can imagine. And Cuba, Cuba used to be another prosperous country. I really like the show. I love Lucy. I watch it a lot. Yeah. And there’s one episode that I love, it’s in the later seasons where it tells like the story of how Lucy and Ricky met and Americans are coming over to Cuba to visit and the Cubans are so excited and they’re getting all their goods ready to sell them because that was a big part of their economy. and you know that you don’t see that anymore. There isn’t a free market economy in Cuba anymore. And you know, you have China, China’s, Connor and I just talked about China and how, how terrifying that has been. So yeah, we’re seeing that none of these places that use force work right? They’re all crumbling. I mean, China is not crumbling, but it’s even more terrifying than that. Right. We’re seeing grave abuses towards the people. So that’s almost scarier to me because Yeah.So yeah, it’s, it never ends well.
Emma: No, not at all. And when you have the government trying to control the economy, our money is a huge expression of our freedom as well. So when you give the government control of your money to say, Hey, why don’t you tell me what’s, the best way to use this money? Or my property or my talents, or whatever it may be, the government can invade a lot of other parts of your life too, if they have control over your money. Cuz your money is your way of putting food on the table. It’s your way of paying for your house. So it’s, a lot of people basically want to outsource, you know, outsource their innovations to the government. But we saw this with the USSR, with the Soviet Union. You can’t do that successfully because the only way that you can really breed these ideas that lead to a higher quality of life, right? Things that make our lives easier and more comfortable and safer and healthier. Those things come from embracing freedom. Those things come from when the government says, we’re going to embrace free markets and let people, you know if you set up a successful business, we’re not gonna take it away from you. We’re actually going to allow you to flourish. And what do you know when these companies come up with great ideas, they hire lots of people, they create lots of jobs. Yeah. Create lots of opportunity. And, it’s, they get demonized all the time because what do you know, the owners of these businesses who work really hard and who come up with these great ideas, they do get wealthy as a, as a part of what they’re doing. Like if you come up with an idea that changes the world, there’s a good chance you’re gonna get a great economic reward from that. But that’s not a bad thing because that incentivizes people to make other people’s lives easier and better and offer these products that help. So, you know, America’s not a perfect free market by any means. We talk about all sorts of problems with our economy and with the way the government tries to control it. But the problem isn’t that we have capitalism in America, it’s that there are a lot of people trying to reign it in and trying to move us to a more quote-unquote progressive economy and get us to basically embrace these policies that make it so hard for people to run a successful business or to create jobs for their neighbors.
Brittany: No, I think that that’s absolutely right and it, it’s, you brought something, to point that I think is really good and that’s why people think that these innovators should be punished. Cuz that’s essentially what they’re saying, right? when you’re complaining about like, how dare they get so rich? How dare they do this? You’re like, wait, so should we punish them because they had good ideas? Yeah. Like, and I think it’s always those, it’s what Iron Rand called the Moochers. It’s always those who’ve not done anything particularly extraordinary, right? They’re not out there creating things and it’s this envy it’s jealousy. Yeah. That they think like, well why does this person have what I don’t have? And it’s funny, like I am not a super rich person, right? And there are sometimes I’m like, it would be nice to have money, but I’m almost, I admire those who’ve been able to create an idea that creates value and to bring in like a lot of money, right? Because you think it takes a lot of effort to get an idea off the ground. Most people can’t do that. And you know, you have states like California that literally California’s like favorite thing to do is to punish people for being successful. That should be California’s motto. Yeah. And then you have people like Elon Musk and Peter Teal. I think also, I could be wrong on that, like moving out of California cuz they’re saying we’re not gonna do this anymore. Again, very Atlas shrugged. And there’s, you know, we have the Tuttle Twins book about that where they’re saying, all right, if you’re gonna try to steal from what’s fine and penalize me for making these great adventures, like, I’m gonna leave. Yeah. It’s not worth my time to be here when you not only don’t appreciate me, but you’re trying to punish me for creating a good idea. So it really feels like the world has gone mad. But when you call it progressive, people think like, oh yeah, it’s progressive to make these billionaires and these millionaires pay more taxes. And it’s just, it’s silliness.
Emma: Right? Yeah. It is silliness. And a lot of it too, I talked earlier about how it was sort of a marketing thing and it was like, Hey, it’s progressed to wanna say that the government should control these things. And I think that’s why there are so many young people that have kind of fallen into this trap of loving Bernie Sanders loving AOC and these, open socialists. Because a lot of what they’re calling for sounds really nice when you first hear it. They’re talking about let’s pay everyone a, living minimum wage and let’s tax the rich so that we can give the poor the things that they need to have a happy life. And that stuff sounds pretty good if you don’t totally understand what all of that entails and what it could mean and what the side effects could be like, it’s not a bad thing to want poor people to have an opportunity and to wanna to help them into a better situation. It’s not bad to want those things. But when you are using government force to make it happen, you know, on one hand it’s immoral to take away from one person to give to another forcibly through government coercion that is immoral. It’s wrong. But also on the other hand, it’s not as simple, and Brittany touched on this a bit, but it’s, you can’t just say, all right, well we’re gonna have the government come in and tax all these corporations at this really high tax rate and we’re gonna take the money and we’re gonna distribute it around and helps end poverty. And it’s just not that simple. We’ve had our government fighting this quote-unquote, war on poverty for decades now. I forget which president it was that actually said, I’m declaring war on poverty. Brittany, do you remember off chance?
Brittany: No. , I’m trying to think.
Emma: It sounds like an FDR thing, but I don’t think it was. No, it was Linda.
Brittany: It was Lyndon B. Johnson.
Emma: It was LBJ. Yes, it was LBJ. Yes. So the war on poverty has been going on for a very long time and, it has not really worked because the things that have actually ended poverty and have lifted people out of those poor situations is opportunity. And, opportunity does not come from government control. So it’s interesting to think about the differences between what people say, therefore, right and what progressives say, therefore, we’re for progress, we’re for making people’s lives better.
Brittany: It sounds great.
Emma: It does, it sounds awesome. But then you look at the types of policies that they’re pushing for and how they’ve actually played out in other countries. Like Britney said, Soviet Union, Cuba, China, Venezuela, there are actual tragedies that happen as a result. So it’s not just that we’re thinking about, oh, this is just a silly way to go about things. It’s actually really dangerous and quality of life in places that embrace these quote-unquote progressive policies is very low. And it’s, often actually dangerous physically for people’s health. So, just my encouragement to you guys would be, as we’re kind of wrapping it up here, to think about the root words. Like, we always say, think about the root words and think about when you hear someone say, well, I’m a progressive, or I’m a this or that. think about what that actually means and what they want you to think it means. So that’s my kind of closing thought. Brittany, anything you wanna add to that? I think you did the perfect closing thought. Hit the nail in the head. Awesome. Well, we will talk to you guys soon. And thanks for listening.
Brittany: Talk to you soon.