In the pages of the Arizona Jewish Post, as well as other non-traditional Jewish venues, I hear and see a phrase consisting of two words which belong together like oil and water: “progressive Judaism.”
The underlying philosophy of Judaism is ethical monotheism. This means that we believe in one God, our Creator, Who established the universe according to laws, Who deals with humanity ethically and besides Whom there is no other. This is in contrast to the deities worshipped in the ancient world who were seen as operating entirely according to their whim, without regard to ethics or morality.
The underlying philosophy of progressivism is materialism. This is the belief that all that exists is matter. There is no soul or spirit, no God or devil, no angels or demons; only that which can be seen, heard, smelled, tasted or felt. Progressivism as a philosophy is unconstrained by any thought of a just God who sees all.
When progressivism has the power to do so, it gives us such abominations as eugenics, the so-called progressive income tax and political correctness.
Eugenics is the scientific management of the human species as one would manage a flock of sheep or a herd of cattle. In the nineteen-teens and -twenties, government eugenicists chose who would be permitted to reproduce and who would not. Those deemed “undesirable” were forcibly sterilized against their will. (Their 20th-century counterparts in Germany, Russia and China actually slaughtered “undesirables” by the millions.)
The progressive income tax is designed to control people’s behavior in order to engineer a society to the liking of progressive-utopian social theorists. There are more efficient ways to bring revenue into the treasury. Even the Soviets eventually learned that a re-gressive tax system is more conducive to general prosperity than a progressive one. And in the end, utopians invariably become tyrants, once they have the power to do so.
Political correctness is a movement designed to control speech and expression, in an attempt to control what ideas may be discussed in the public sphere and which may not. Progressivism gave us a federal agency during the Wilson era called the Committee on Public Information. Its function was to mold how the masses thought and spoke, so that the “enlightened ones,” the Progressive technocrats, need not be concerned about such formalities as elections. With thought and speech properly controlled, any candidate from either of the two major parties would be acceptable. In other, openly autocratic governments the corresponding agency is called the Ministry of Propaganda.
“Progressive” and “Judaism” do not belong together. There is no such thing as materialist monotheism.
— Joel S. Heller