I agree with some of what John Marini was talking about as far as the Progressive Era as far as Progressives back then wanting to change the country and put in public social insurance that people could use when they are in need, that we as a society a collective would all contribute to finance those services. But where Marini and I separate is that Progressives back then wanted to change the U.S. Constitution, or even be more radical and do what today’s so-called Progressives, who aren’t real Progressives, but that is a different subject, but today’s so-called Progressives are much more radical. And if anything would throw out the U.S. Constitution and replace it with something a lot less individualist and more collectivist.
The Progressives of the Progressive Era were radical back then and even through the New Deal period and perhaps even as far up to the Great Society era of the 1960s. But today they would be pretty mainstream, especially compared with Occupy Wall Street or the so-called Coffee Party movement from the New Left that came about in the late 1960s and all through the 1970s and we now see their sons and daughters carry this movement through today. People who support Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders and want them both to run for president in 2016. And these people are Social Democrats that don’t like our federal republican form of government with our individualist constitution. And would like to see more a a social democratic collectivist form of government. That perhaps doesn’t even have a Constitution.
What the Progressives of the 1930s and before that, what they were actually were moderates more mainstream leftists. You had Communists and Marxist Socialists who wanted to the U.S. Government to respond to the Great Depression by creating what is known in Europe, especially Scandinavia as a superstate or welfare state that would make the New Deal look like a child in comparison. Because there would be a boatload of new federal social insurance programs that would be designed to provide most if no all the human services that people need to live well. Education, health care, health insurance, banking, housing, childcare, pensions, unemployment insurance, energy and perhaps even more. To go along with nationalizing major sectors of the American economy.
What the New Deal Progressives wanted to do was to create a public social insurance system that people could take advantage of when they needed it. Unemployment insurance for people who are out of work. Welfare insurance for people without the skills they need to get a good job and who also have dependents. Food assistance for people who do not make enough money to feed themselves adequately and feed their kids. Public housing for people who do not make enough money to even afford an apartment. These are social insurance programs which is much different from a welfare state that is designed to take care of people and are universal so that people regardless of income level would be eligible, if not required to take them.
Now in the last years of Franklin Roosevelt’s life he even moved further left as President and proposed something called the Economic Bill of Rights. Which would’ve been the next phase of the New Deal and perhaps gone as far as creating that superstate that Socialists in the 1930s wanted. But that is not what he was talking about in the 1930s and what Teddy Roosevelt Progressives were talking about at the turn of the 20th Century. Progressives tend to be fans of the U.S. Constitution and even things like individual freedom, just as long as it is not used to hurt and prey on innocent people. Its today’s so-called Progressives, Social Democrats welfare statists in actuality, who tend not to be fans of the U.S. Constitution and American individualism.