inspired by a missionary idea. On the eve of his election in 2008, Barack Obama said tohis followers:
“We are five days away from
fundamentally transforming the United Statesof America.
conservative talks like this. Transformation is what progressives areabout. It is what motivates them to march together. More importantly, it is what makesthem progressives in the first place. It is their identity in the same way
“Christian” and“Jew” defin
e people with a religious faith.Progressive, socialist, and liberal are terms that describe members of a moralcrusade. Their goal
is “social justice”
-- social and economic
. The quest for thisutopia is what forges their commitments, defines their allegiances and justifies the meansthey use to get there. They may differ on what particular policies and tactics will advancethe cause, but those who are also Democrats see that party as the practical vehicle for making the idea a reality. It has within its grasp the power of the state, which is only waytheir future can be achieved. That is why they are willing to follow its marching orders,and advance its fortunes.The Bolshevik leader, Leon Trotsky, revealed the reasoning behind such behavior when explaining why he would not leave the Bolshevik Party even after Stalin
whowould eventually murder him -- became its absolute
We can only be right with
and by the Party,”
for history has provided no other way of being in theright... If the Party adopts a decision which one or other of us thinks unjust, he will say, just or unjust, it is my party, and I shall support the consequences of the decision to theen
Non-Bolsheviks may not share Trotsky
metaphysical certitude, but they willrecognize the principle. If the cause is about changing the world and there is only one party that can acquire the means to do it, then even though it may be wrong on this or thatoccasion, its fortunes must be advanced and its power defended. This commitment isgreatly intensified when the opposition party is viewed as the enemy of the cause. If Republicans are identified as the party of privilege at war with minorities, women and the poor, then their ideas are not only wrong but evil. The religious connotation is apt. If oneis not of the party of God fighting injustice, then one is
of the devil’s party.
This isexactly how Saul Alinsky,
President Obama’s political mentor put it in
Rules for Radicals
“One acts decisively only in the conviction that all of the angels are on one sideand the devils are on the other.”
This conviction is a powerful unifier.Verbal assaults onthe moral character of conservative opponents inspire fear in supporters of the progressive idea -- fear of being politically incorrect and joining the ranks for thedamned. This is one reason why progressives
don’t require marching orders to speak with
a single voice.
The Democrats’ campaign message
Republicans are conducting a war onminorities, a war on women, a war on the middle class
are formulations of the centralidea that unites progressives behind the party:
We are for equality, they are not.
Speech at the XIIIth Party Congress, May 1924