The Alt-Right: Liberals of the 1890s

An interesting article from FEE: The Exterminationist Longings of Early Progressives is worth a read, if only to remind ourselves that the difference between the humanist, Enlightenment Right Wing and the humanist, Enlightenment Left Wing is more hypothetical than anything else.

It is essentially reprinted below:

Regular readers of FEE know that one of our beats has been the early history of the administrative State as built by Progressives at the turn of the 20th century. It was a different kind of State than the one that came before, a modern state knew no limits to its power to intervene in the relationships between individuals. It set in motion a century of government growth and regulatory control over every aspect of life, and all these controls have lasted to this day.

The only Respected Lord and God of our Rational, Secular Era, supported by the public education system (the official church) and the media…

…and hated by the Actual Lord and God of Creation.

Why did they do it? The textbooks say that they loved the common man. They passed laws to protect the worker. They wanted to make capitalism fair and safe for everyone. They longed for justice, fairness, and universal rights.

That’s all fantasy.

Try “top-down population control” — especially when it comes to the genetically inferior — and you’ve got it!

Over the last 20 years, an outpouring of research has shown a much darker truth. The Progressives were not about progress. They in fact longed to roll back the astonishing gains made by the marketplace of the late 19th century. They longed to put the world back together into what it once was, a place of hierarchy in which everyone knew his or her place. They used the science of their times to build a giant State apparatus to bring about results they determined to be the right ones.

And the “right results” often had racial criteria. The Progressives were obsessed with eugenics, the politics of treating human beings like farm animals to be bred and cultivated with intentionality, deliberation, and coercion. Once you understand how prominent this position was – and it was almost universally-held by the academic and policy elite – much of their work begins to make sense. This is the reason for erecting high barriers to entry into the workforce: they desired exclusion. It was the reason for marriage licenses, welfare provision, immigration restrictions, maximum working hour laws, zoning controls, business regulation, and so on.

Considers the level of the White population — in their various nations, and as a percentage of the world population.

These men would have been far wiser to have rolled back their thirst for Power and Empire before, say, 1914: there would have been far more White people today, and they would have been far freer and wealthier than they are now.

Ditching the eugenics also means ditching the contraceptives and the abortions, which also would boost the White population.

Yes, yes, those whom sophisticated, upper-class Whites have deemed to be genetically & racially inferior would have been able to live their lives out in piece… but isn’t that a fair price to pay, for the survival of your own?

(…looks around…)

Well, I guess not.

“Disinheritance it is!”

If you keep your eye on the topic of eugenics, you can understand much of the motivation of this class of intellectuals. Not to put too fine a point on it, they divided the human family into the fit and unfit and used government as a tool to stop the propagation of the latter in favor of the former.

It’s a chilling story, but once you see it, you can’t unsee it.

People say, “Oh sure, they believed some terrible things, but Progressives have changed. They no longer want to exterminate people. They want to help them.” I see. However: the institutions they created still exist, and they still defend them. Are we really to believe the early Progressives set out to make institutions designed to exclude and extinguish a whole class of people, and inadvertently created humanitarian and inclusive institutions instead?

Including that State Idol, the Source of the Law in today’s society.

I doubt that it will stand even sixty years, and certainly not a hundred, seeing how fast this culture is disintegrating.

If you really understand this literature and history, what happens to your thinking? You realize that what is today called the alt-right holds to an ideology not very different from the established Left of 100 years ago. It’s solidly reactionary in every way. That should serve as a warning. What’s more, the Left has zero credibility is talking down the alt-right’s identity-based ideology; after all, it was the Progressives who invented this stuff, not just in our time but way back in the 1890s.

Precisely right.

Drift not Right nor Left: find the liberal third way. It’s the only way forward for humanity.

Tucker is using liberal in the “Classical Liberal” sense, not in today’s immoralist Total God-State definition.

Much of the credit for pioneering the research on this topic belongs to Thomas Leonard of Princeton University, and his marvelous book Illiberal Reformers.

Leonard’s Illiberal Reformers is a good book.

But at the moment, I’d also like to throw in a snippet from Mises Wire’s Rothbard: The Progressive Movement (itself taken from The Origins of the Federal Reserve, reprinted in The Rothbard Reader)

Until the 1960s, historians had established the myth that Progressivism was a virtual uprising of workers and farmers who, guided by a new generation of altruistic experts and intellectuals, surmounted fierce big business opposition in order to curb, regulate, and control what had been a system of accelerating monopoly in the late nineteenth century. A generation of research and scholarship, however, has now exploded that myth for all parts of the American polity, and it has become all too clear that the truth is the reverse of this well-worn fable. In contrast, what actually happened was that business became increasingly competitive during the late nineteenth century, and that various big-business interests, led by the powerful financial house of J.P. Morgan and Company, had tried desperately to establish successful cartels on the free market.


It then became clear to these big-business interests that the only way to establish a cartelized economy, an economy that would ensure their continued economic dominance and high profits, would be to use the powers of government to establish and maintain cartels by coercion. In other words, to transform the economy from roughly laissez-faire to centralized and coordinated statism. But how could the American people, steeped in a long tradition of fierce opposition to government-imposed monopoly, go along with this program? How could the public’s consent to the New Order be engineered?

Fortunately for the cartelists, a solution to this vexing problem lay at hand. Monopoly could be put over in the name of opposition to monopoly! In that way, using the rhetoric beloved by Americans, the form of the political economy could be maintained, while the content could be totally reversed. Monopoly had always been defined, in the popular parlance and among economists, as “grants of exclusive privilege” by the government. It was now simply redefined as “big business” or business competitive practices, such as price-cutting, so that regulatory commissions, from the Interstate Commerce Commission to the Federal Trade Commission to state insurance commissions, were lobbied for and staffed by big-business men from the regulated industry, all done in the name of curbing “big business monopoly” on the free market. In that way, the regulatory commissions could subsidize, restrict, and cartelize in the name of “opposing monopoly,” as well as promoting the general welfare and national security. Once again, it was railroad monopoly that paved the way.

For this intellectual shell game, the cartelists needed the support of the nation’s intellectuals, the class of professional opinion molders in society. [….] The enormous growth of intellectuals, academics, social scientists, technocrats, engineers, social workers, physicians, and occupational “guilds” of all types in the late nineteenth century led most of these groups to organize for a far greater share of the pie than they could possibly achieve on the free market. These intellectuals needed the State to license, restrict, and cartelize their occupations, so as to raise the incomes for the fortunate people already in these fields. In return for their serving as apologists for the new statism, the State was prepared to offer not only cartelized occupations, but also ever increasing and cushier jobs in the bureaucracy to plan and propagandize for the newly statized society. And the intellectuals were ready for it, having learned in graduate schools in Germany the glories of statism and organicist socialism, of a harmonious “middle way” between dog-eat-dog laissez-faire on the one hand and proletarian Marxism on the other. Instead, big government, staffed by intellectuals and technocrats, steered by big business and aided by unions organizing a subservient labor force, would impose a cooperative commonwealth for the alleged benefit of all.

The Compassionate Ones claim that everything they do is for the little guy.

The Compassionate Ones lie.

Especially when they slap together some string of religious blather to baptize their oppressive – and intensely anti-Christian – goals and desires.

Fortunately – with great thanks to advancing technology and public contempt for Our Leadership, and no thanks at all to the failure & retreat-promoting Christian preachers and thinkers (excluding the pro-victory, pro-Mosaic Law, pro-liberty Christian Reconstuctionists) the power structure is going down.


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