Hi Matt–good point. But I’d say it gets even better. For over a century, post-classical liberalism has been about “bigness,” whether in business, labor, or government. The relationships have changed over the years, as the Bigs have jockeyed to check each other.
Look at the calendar:
* Mid-19th century liberalism spawned big business (through its values of free enterprise and association).
* Late-19th century liberalism spawned big labor to protect us from big business.
* Early-20th century liberalism (Progressivism) spawned big government to protect us from both big business and big labor.
* Late-20th century liberalism merged big government with big labor to protect us from big business (that, at least, was the claim).
* Early-21st century liberalism, personified by Obama, merges big government with big business and big labor to protect us from…ourselves. (For example, the federal government now owns 50% of GM and the United Auto Workers owns 40%.)
Progressivists were rightly excited by the election of the first truly Progressivist president in decades. But, as Hanson is able to observe from practical policy alone, they have been “had.” Progressivism, as articulated by Herbert Croly in 1909, was supposed to be big government to protect the little guy against big business and big labor. Obama’s brand of Progressivism bears more resemblance to 1930s European fascism – or, at best, to the nationalization, crisismongering and thought police of Woodrow Wilson (and perhaps even a certain George W. Bush).
With all the (deserved) talk of a Republican identity crisis, Progressive liberals are rapidly finding themselves strapped with one of their own. Have Progressives been betrayed, or is this the real road of Progressivism?