If you receive a standard education in the social sciences or humanities, you will listen to some progressive professor hail the original progressives. President Wilson, Upton Sinclair, and the other names etched into history are cherished symbols of progressive ideology because they cared about people and wanted to use government to make the lives of the poor better.
Of course, nobody is perfect--especially the progressives.
According to Thomas Leonard in his new book:
“Progressives did not work in factories. They inspected them. Progressives did not drink in salons. They tried to shudder them. The bold women who chose to live among the immigrant poor and city slums called themselves settlers, not neighbors. Even when progressives idealized workers, they tended to patronize them. Romanticizing a brotherhood that they would never consider joining.”
And in a recent interview:
And across American society, eugenics was popular. It was popular among the new experimental biologists that we now called geneticist. It was certainly popular among the new social scientists, the economists and others who were staffing the bureaus at the administrative state and sitting in chairs in the university. And it was popular among politicians too. There were many journals of eugenics. There were many eugenics societies. They had international and national conferences. Hundreds probably thousands of scholars were happy to call themselves eugenicists and to advocate for eugenic policies of various kinds. There’s a book published in I think around 1924 by Sam Holmes who was a Berkeley zoologist and there’s like 6000 or 7000 titles on eugenics in the bibliography.
The progressives were also imperialists, they embraced the use of coercive governmental power, and they were RACIST to the core.
Yet on college campuses across the US, progressives are idealized and the progressive movement embraced despite its historical abuses, despite the TERRIBLE and TRAGIC consequences attributed to progressive ideology, and despite the fact that these folks were often not very nice people.
You can find Professor Leonard’s excellent book here:
And his recent interview here: _