July 31, 2013 by David K. Sutton
Observation of the Day: Robert Reich Says ‘Regressives’ Have Taken Over Republican Party
The fundamentalist constituency, eating the Republican Party alive, should be known collectively as “regressives,” according to a Facebook post by Robert Reich. There is nothing conservative about them. They do not wish to preserve the status quo, they wish to destroy it, and with it, all the progress over the past century. Reich calls them “regressives” while I have referred to them as “extreme right-wing radicals.”
So today I elevate Robert Reich’s Facebook post to “Observation of the Day” status.
Robert Reich — Some of you aren’t comfortable with me calling those who have taken over much of the Republican Party, along with several Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices, “regressives,” because the term sounds as nasty as the name-calling that has taken over too much of our public discourse. But I think it aptly describes who they are and what they seek. They are not conservatives; they do not want to conserve what we have achieved. Their goal is rather to take the nation backwards — before the environmental movement, before women gained reproductive rights, before civil rights, before the Great Society (Medicare and Medicaid, food stamps, consumer safety); before the New Deal (Social Security, the minimum wage, the right to form unions, the 40-hour workweek); even before the Progressive Era of the early 20th century (the graduated income tax, antitrust laws, national parks, the Fed, food and drug safety). They want to return to the Social Darwinism that prevailed in the late 19th century.
Progressives, by contrast, want to move forward, toward the ideals of equal opportunity, stewardship of the environment, and protection of the most vulnerable members of our society — ideals that have animated reformers for well over a century. In other words, the battle now being waged across America is not between conservatives and liberals. Nor is it between right and left, or between libertarians and communitarians. It is between regressives and progressives — a battle rendered all the more urgent by a level of inequality we have not experienced in over a century, and by human-induced climate change already threatening us and much of the rest of the world, both of which regressives deny.