A follow-on from my post of 15th.:
It's usually the people on the Left who joyfully choose to be called "progressive"-there are several left of center and far Left publications that contain "progressive" in their title, for example. In this instance, however, the designation fails to fit altogether. That is because instead of moving forward, getting away from past practices, in short, instead of making progress, those on the Left are actually regressive, even reactionary, in their politics. I give you one major example.
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the fathers of the modern Left, proposed, in their Communist Manifesto, as their first order of business the abolition of private property. They and thousands of intellectuals who followed in their ideological lead over the last century and a half have believed, often sincerely, that this made them all progressives. But that is just not so.
In the era prior to the rise of modern capitalism there was virtually no acknowledgement of the right to private property for all but some at the top. It is government-by way of the monarch such as the king or czar or pharaoh-who was deemed to own everything. So when ordinary folks like you and me occupied and worked some plot of land, for example, the government had to grant this privilege. We had no right to private property, only a grant of privilege and we all had to pay taxes for it to boot. (Remember that Robin Hood didn't steal from the rich but from those who took taxes from us all, seeing how unjust this was!)
Clearly, then, the rejection of private property rights was part and parcel of much of pre-capitalist political economy, where it was government that deemed itself authorized to grant people rights. The idea that the individual has a natural-pre-political, pre-legal-right to private property was a radical, actually progressive notion which unseated government from its high and mighty position, robbed it of its phony sovereignty.
Contemporary Leftist "progressives," then, want to return to something very old fashioned and misguided, namely, the idea that government is supreme and we are all its subjects. (Sadly, the U. S. Supreme Court has given them support in this recently, via its July 2005 ruling in Kelo v. City of New London, Ct.) There is absolutely nothing progressive about what the Left wants and please realize that the term is applied either because of rank ignorance or as a simple ruse. The Left is, in fact, reactionary and regressive.
(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Page. Email me (John Ray) here.)