In the late 19th Century in America, thoughtful political leaders sought to quell the excesses of rampant capitalism, which was producing unbounded inequality of wealth in our nation. Under the leadership of such Presidents as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, a philosophy of governance called Progressivism was developed that advanced the idea that a small group of intellectuals should run the affairs of state. Undesirable elements and ignorant people should be removed from the voter rolls—Blacks in the South were particularly targeted for exclusion.
Sociologist Robert Nisbet defined five "crucial premises" in the Idea of Progress as being: value of the past; nobility of Western civilization; worth of economic/technological growth; scientific/scholarly knowledge obtained through reason over faith; the intrinsic importance and worth of life on Earth.
As time passed, Progressivism morphed into a system that placed elite people planners into government—people who knew more about how the American state should run than ignorant every-day voters. Their elitism reminds one of the difference between Alexander Hamilton and George Washington’s idea of a strong central government, run by aristocrats and the ideas of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson in the early 19th Century who sought to validate the power of the general electorate of the country.
The philosophy of Progressivism has become more or less the philosophy of left wing politics and governance. It has still retained the ideas of elitism—the idea that the government knows more about what is right to do than the people. This idea is getting old to many in our country; and it has caused the rise of populist movements, such as that roused by the Bernie Sanders and the Donald Trump campaigns. The people of America want their government back from the people planners.
One interesting feature of modern Progressivism is that it plays very strongly to the desires of minority groups, claiming that it is the voice of the poor and the down-trodden. Progressive’s seem to need to stir up controversy by pitting one group against another. For instance, the Black Lives Matter movement is obviously a tool of the elite members in the administration and the liberal elite in the media. It pits Blacks against conservatives who appreciate the presence and action of the police.
The Progressive movement is certainly no friend of religious liberty or the poor in this country. Evidence the court case mounted against the Little Sisters of the Poor, mandating them to provide contraceptives to their employees against their religious principles. (Thankfully, that controversy seems to have been recently solved in favor of the Sisters by action of the Supreme Court.). This was an example of persecution of a group whose only motive was to help the poor and disenfranchised.
Progressives have taken up the sword against home schooling and religious private education, also. Atheist, Richard Dawkins and others have called home-schooling the equivalent of child abuse. Progressives, in concert with the left wing National Education Association have solidly opposed home-schooling. This is an example of the Progressive push against the will of parents who are trying to get better education for their children.
I long for the return of democratic principles to our republic. I am sick and tired of the authoritarian, agency-run, government with which we have to deal these days. I hope we, Americans, will get together in November and vote some real representatives of the people into office.