I have not reread this little classic article from 9 years ago, until a customer in California found it and complained that it was outrageous that the state would actually allow such a person as its author to operate anything in a state park. So I suppose it is worth relinking, if just for that reason. Most of it holds up pretty well, though I regret the jab implying that progressives supported suicide bombers. Here is an example:
Beyond just the concept of individual decision-making, progressives are hugely uncomfortable with capitalism. Ironically, though progressives want to posture as being "dynamic", the fact is that capitalism is in fact too dynamic for them. Industries rise and fall, jobs are won and lost, recessions give way to booms. Progressives want comfort and certainty. They want to lock things down the way they are. They want to know that such and such job will be there tomorrow and next decade, and will always pay at least X amount. That is why, in the end, progressives are all statists, because, to paraphrase Hayek, only a government with totalitarian powers can bring the order and certainty and control of individual decision-making that they crave.
Progressive elements in this country have always tried to freeze commerce, to lock this country's economy down in its then-current patterns. Progressives in the late 19th century were terrified the American economy was shifting from agriculture to industry. They wanted to stop this, to cement in place patterns where 80-90% of Americans worked on farms. I, for one, am glad they failed, since for all of the soft glow we have in this country around our description of the family farmer, farming was and can still be a brutal, dawn to dusk endeavor that never really rewards the work people put into it.
This story of progressives trying to stop history has continued to repeat itself through the generations. In the seventies and eighties, progressives tried to maintain the traditional dominance of heavy industry like steel and automotive, and to prevent the shift of these industries overseas in favor of more service-oriented industries. Just like the passing of agriculture to industry a century ago inflamed progressives, so too does the current passing of heavy industry to services....
Take prescription drugs in the US - isn't it pretty clear that the progressive position is that they would be willing to pretty much gut incentives for any future drug innovations in trade for having a system in place that guaranteed everyone minimum access to what exists today? Or take the welfare state in Continental Europe -- isn't it clear that a generation of workers/voters chose certainty over growth and improvement? That workers 30 years ago voted themselves jobs for life, but at the cost of tremendous unemployment amongst the succeeding generations?