User Tag List

+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: Why Understanding the Progressive Era Still Matters

  1. #1
    Points: 390,436, Level: 100
    Level completed: 0%, Points required for next Level: 0
    Overall activity: 99.9%
    Achievements:
    SocialRecommendation Second ClassYour first GroupOverdrive50000 Experience PointsTagger First ClassVeteran
    Awards:
    Activity Award
    Chris's Avatar Senior Member
    Karma
    387749
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    131,749
    Points
    390,436
    Level
    100
    Thanks Given
    12,235
    Thanked 35,317x in 26,317 Posts
    Mentioned
    1564 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)

    Why Understanding the Progressive Era Still Matters

    Why Understanding the Progressive Era Still Matters is a review of Murray Rothbard's posthumous new book The Progressive Era.

    Rothbard did not amass details merely to give readers a sense of the Progressive Era, from the 1880s to the 1920s. Rather, he uses these details to support a revolutionary new interpretation. Many people view the Progressives as reformers who fought against corruption and modernized our laws and institutions. Rothbard proves to the hilt that this common opinion is false.

    The Progressives aimed to displace a 19th-century America that respected individual rights based on natural law. They claimed that natural law and a free economy were outmoded and unscientific ideas; and argued that through applying science to politics, they could replace a corrupt and stagnant old order with a State-ordered more prosperous and egalitarian one.

    Rothbard dissents:
    Briefly, the thesis is that the rapid upsurge of statism in this period was propelled by a coalition of two broad groups: (a) certain big business groups, anxious to replace a roughly laissez-faire economy by a new form of mercantilism, cartelized and controlled and subsidized by a strong government under their influence and control; and (b) newly burgeoning groups of intellectuals, technocrats, and professionals: economists, writers, engineers, planners, physicians, etc., anxious for power and lucrative employment at the hands of the State. Since America had been born in an antimonopoly tradition, it became important to put over the new system of cartelization as a “progressive” curbing of big business by a humanitarian government; intellectuals were relied on for this selling job. These two groups were inspired by Bismarck’s creation of a monopolized welfare-warfare state in Prussia and Germany.
    Rothbard constantly overturns accepted ideas as he argues for his interpretation. Most of us have heard of the furor early in the 20th century over conditions in the Chicago meat packing industry, set off by Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle. Few people are aware, however, that Sinclair’s sensationalism was fiction, in direct contradiction to what contemporary inspections of the meat packing plants revealed.

    Rothbard goes much further. He shows how, beginning in the 1880s, the large meat packing plants lobbied for greater regulation themselves.
    Unfortunately for the myth, [about The Jungle’s influence] the drive for federal meat inspection actually began more than two decades earlier, and was launched mainly by the big meat packers themselves. The spur was the urge to penetrate the European market for meat, something which the large meat packers thought could be done if the government would certify the quality of meat, and thereby make American meat more highly rated abroad. Not coincidentally, as in all Colbertist mercantilist legislation over the centuries, a governmentally-coerced upgrading of quality would serve to cartelize: to lower production, restrict competition, and raise prices to the consumers.
    Rothbard sees in postmillennial pietism a key to the entire Progressive Era. The postmillennials preached that Jesus would inaugurate His kingdom only after the world had been reformed, and they accordingly saw a religious mandate to institute the social reforms they favored.
    Edmund Burke: "In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!"

  2. #2
    Points: 107,128, Level: 79
    Level completed: 70%, Points required for next Level: 822
    Overall activity: 54.0%
    Achievements:
    Social50000 Experience PointsVeteran
    Ethereal's Avatar Infracted Member
    Karma
    449646
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    38,401
    Points
    107,128
    Level
    79
    Thanks Given
    6,861
    Thanked 22,370x in 14,146 Posts
    Mentioned
    860 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The brilliance of Rothbard was his ability to wade into the copious historical details and synthesize them into simple descriptions and explanations.

    Incidentally, I studied American history under a self-described progressive professor in Chicago. He readily acknowledged to the class that the progressive era was characterized in large part by an overweening sense of elitism and technocracy. He wasn't the least bit shy in admitting this.
    Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.
    --Immanuel Kant

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to Ethereal For This Useful Post:

    Chris (10-12-2017)

+ Reply to Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts


Critical Acclaim
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO