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Late-stage capitalism? No, we’re plagued by late-stage progressivism


Blaming “late-stage capitalism” for everything from dating apps to the rise of Donald Trump has been a routine bit of hip-lefty snark for some years now. 

It’s a nod to the Marxist idea that the “contradictions of capitalism” will eventually lead to its implosion, replaced by the workers’-state utopia. 

But, as with so many lefty accusations, it’s pure projection. 

In fact, we’re suffering from the ills of late progressivism

Think about it: The real ascent to political power of the progressives in this country began with the election of Woodrow Wilson in 1912; his second term ended a little more than a century ago. 

The ideas he brought into the mainstream — above all, hatred of how our constitutional system stands in the way of the grand aims of centralized, unchecked power wielded by enlightened technocratic administrators — absolutely dominate the thinking of today’s progs. 

The free speech right guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution?

A cover for racism and sexism, today’s progs think — time to scrap it. 

Wilson also despised dissent, ushering in sweeping laws restricting speech, and infamously imprisoning Socialist leader Eugene Debs simply for speaking out against America’s entry into the First World War.

The Senate’s constitutionally mandated non-proportional representation?

Vile oppression that stands in the way of progressive policies; get rid of it, too. 

Again, in line with Wilson’s views: When the Senate dawdled on doing his will, he called it variously “a lot of old women” and “a little group of willful men.”

The Supreme Court’s refusal to be an ideological rubber-stamp?

Time to add justices ’til we get what we want. 

Wilson’s second term in office ended over a century ago.
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FDR, Wilson’s intellectual heir, tried and failed miserably to do just that. 

Even lefty views on race have come perversely to mirror Wilson’s.

Their constant demands for racial re-segregation of schools and other spaces would have warmed the heart of the man who imposed segregation on the Civil Service. 

And Wilson’s belief in the supremacy of the state’s interests lines up nicely with the left’s contempt for parental rights, from the drive to shut parents out of deciding local school curricula to the push for government to declare that children should have unrestricted access to cross-sex hormones and surgeries — all in the name of progress. 

Fact is, America’s ills today don’t arise from the free working of markets, as the phrase “late capitalism” implies.

(Fact is, all of Marx’s ideas about how the future would work proved false.)

What’s working poorly is a government that’s grown far too ambitious, whose “experts” lack the knowledge and wisdom to deliver on their dreams (exactly, by the way, as the great Friedrich Hayek foretold).

The “contradictions” plaguing America and the West today aren’t about capitalism.

Rather, they flow from the progressive belief system, which now professes to speak for the powerless but somehow always and only ends up benefiting the powerful. 

Wokies can chisel Wilson’s name off as many buildings as they like (as happened at Princeton, of which he famously served as president). 

Yet it’s still his century; we’re just living in it. 

And until the modern left rejects not just Wilson’s racism, but all of his arrogant contempt for the nation’s founding principles, the contradictions will keep plaguing all of us. 



This story originally appeared on NYPost

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