The Corner

Hillary The Progressive

Yuval, I basically agree with you and Ross. But I’d make to smallish points. First it is less surprising than some are making it seem that Hillary prefers “progressive.” She is deeply steeped in the social gospel strands of Methodism. This was a point made very well by the late Michael Kelly in his famous “St. Hillary” piece for the New York Times (which is almost impossible to find, save in his collection of writings).

Second, I guess I’d disagree with you that the progressives were social Darwinists. That’s a term largely invented or popularized by the left (like neocon and Robber Baron) to describe the “bad guys.” The progressives were indeed raging Darwinists, but they were, in the useful but largely forgotten phrase of Eric Goldman, “reform Darwinists.” Social Darwinism was a term of scorn for laissez-faire liberals (like Herbert Spencer), which is the last thing progressives were. It’s also why using the phrase “social Darwinism” to describe Nazism is so unhelpful. Unless, of course, one wants to say that the Nazis were laissez-faire.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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