The Republican tradition is driven by the concept of the elected official as statesman. The statesman faces the challenges of the state with principle, character and compromise.
The early American founders were not keen on the role that ideology played in the French Revolution. They were proud in their ability to take the diversity of ideas from the thirteen colonies and develop working compromises that balanced legitimate concerns.
This ability to reach compromise strengthened our nation. There is, however, one unfortunate weakness to the strategy. Once people know that statesmen are actively engaged in the process of compromise, rogues will generate artificial conflicts with the hope of molding compromises that suited their end.
To an extent, progressivism is a strategy for manipulating the statesman's desire to find working compromise.
The modern progressives seek to evolve our nation into a socialist state through a progression of baby steps. The process is remarkably easy. One agitates against the status quo, laying blame for all societal ills on the free market.
The statesman legislator, anxious to employ diplomatic skills, will reach a compromise that restricts that restricts compromise. A good statesman will then argue for the compromise. In the economic debate, a statesman will highlight whatever free market provisions are in the bill.
Rather than defending the compromise, progressives will use the speech of the statesman to frame the new status quo as the free market. They will then start a new agitation campaign against all of the ills of the compromise.
A great example of this is employer based insurance. Employer based insurance was touted a generation ago as the answer to all of the ills of the free market. It was the creation of progressives of yesteryear. The statesmen of yesteryear compromised with the progressives and made employer based insurance the norm.
Despite the anti-market nature of employer based insurance, the current generation has forgotten the origins of insurance allowing progressives to frame insurance as the free market and that more government control is needed to overcome the flaws of the free market.
This process takes place on a generational level. People simply do not have a memory that spans longer than their life time. If one can control the education system, then the game works.
Progressivism is a strategy designed to manipulate the compromise process. The fact that the left has chosen to use the strategy of progressivism to advance socialism has placed our nation in a terrible position. The spirit of compromise cannot work unless all of the parties involved in the compromise are committed to the compromise.
Don't you see the problem? By definition, progressives will not commit to a compromise. Each compromise is a step in a progression, undermining the ability to mediate with compromise.
Those seeking to preserve liberty must find a different approach than compromise. Unfortunately, other approaches create too much division.
The best approach I can imagine demands that lovers of liberty spend a lot of time studying history to help lengthen our collective memory and to engage in a discourse that points out the inherent duplicity and underhanded nature of progressivism.
When a person declares their allegiance to the strategy of progressivism, they are declaring themselves opposed to the tradition of statesmanship and spirit of compromise that was foundational to this nature.
The current state of things poses great challenge to leaders dedicated to statesmanship. Times of poisoned process require a greater dedication to truth and principles than to process.