From Bret Stephens at The New York Times, Can Liberalism Survive Progressivism?
If you permit petty vices and crimes to flourish, greater ones will usually follow. If you refuse to police quality-of-life infractions like public drug use or aggressive panhandling, the quality of life will decline. If you increase the incentives for bad behavior, and reduce the ones for good, you will inevitably achieve catastrophic results.
This is not social science. It’s common sense. It’s the basis on which the United States was able to make its streets far safer from around 1995 to 2015, when crime rates kept going down — above all to the benefit of the very minority communities that progressives claim to champion.
The Democratic Party has since thrown that legacy away. Joe Biden disavowed his 1994 crime bill. Last year’s protests often devolved into naked criminality, to which many progressives, including those in the news media, closed their eyes, notoriously including those “fiery but mostly peaceful protests” in Kenosha, Wis. Opportunities for thoughtful police and justice-system reform were squandered in the rush to defame, defund, diminish or abolish.
The term ‘Progressive’ has come to mean something Theodore or Franklin Roosevelt would never recognize. A pejorative for dysfunctional policies detached from any accountability or reason. While I have come to appreciate the aims of Progressivism at its inception, I still recognize the inevitable flaws of permanent government solutions to every conceivable social problem. Perhaps this ‘woke’ bastardization of the term ‘progressive’ was the inevitable outcome from a movement that was incapable of articulating any limits on government power.