Progressivism and a Neo-Victorina Era


Michael Barone has an interesting piece called Is America Entering a New Victorian Era? over at Real Clear Politics.

Today, several widely unanticipated trends — certainly unanticipated by me — suggest that America is in some significant respects entering a new Victorian Era. Some may regard that as regrettable, others as welcome, still others as a mixture of good news and bad news. But it’s certainly news, especially to the aging baby boomers who expected the Age of Aquarius to continue indefinitely.

Read the whole thing. His piece got me thinking about the connection between the Victorian Era and what became American Progressivism around the turn of the twentieth century. A significant aspect of the goals of many early Progressives was control over the lives of others. Prohibition comes to mind.

A hundred years ago, the big bugaboo was booze. Now, it may be campus sex. Of course, drinking to excess and promiscuous sex are dangerous activities. Religion,  common sense, and our moral betters all warn against them. Where our moral betters fail us and themselves is by failing to realize that they are morally powerless to control anyone’s behavior but their own. Failing that, they try to use coercive power. For Progressives, that’s the power of the state.

Prohibition. The War on Drugs. Yes Means Yes. Perhaps a cycle is repeating.

De Blasio and Uber (and the NRA)


Ben Smith has a piece up at BuzzFeed called Can Bill De Blasio Turn Uber Into The NRA?, and it contains several interesting ideas.

So will Bill de Blasio pry the Uber app from his constituents’ cold dead hands?

The article goes on to deal with some of the ins and outs of the coming fight between the Mayor of New York and the popular ride sharing service as seen from a leftwing point of view. It ends with a line musing over

 whether Uber becomes as partisan and polarizing as guns, or as American as the iPhone.

Hmmm. Notice the implication that being associated in any way with the NRA (which is, after all, the country’s oldest civil rights organization) is an undesirable bug rather than a feature. Uber is popular because it provides people with more options in how they travel and in how they earn a living. Through its advocacy of Second Amendment rights, the NRA has helped people be free to defend themselves. Both organizations provide more freedom to more people while being opposed by elements of the nanny state. While the company may or may not like being in the same philosophical boat as the NRA, it is.

Read the whole thing.