“Progressives” Against (Economic) Progress

One week it’s ride-sharing. The next week it’s home-sharing. The week after that, cryptocurrency.  There’s no end of economic change to perpetually wring one’s hands over or, worse,  demand government action against.

Most opponents of the sharing economy, the gig economy, the cryptocurrency economy, etc., posture as “progressives” even as they openly side with corporate dinosaurs and parasitic bureaucrats and  against  workers and the entrepreneurs who empower those workers.

Let’s call these self-styled “progressives” what they really are: Reactionaries.

They’re desperate to preserve a post-World War Two American economic order which they themselves admit hasn’t worked for regular Americans for decades, if it ever really did.

How often do we hear from these “progressives” about “wage stagnation” and “lack of family leave” and what “Americans who work hard and play by the rules” should get but aren’t getting?

But when a company like Uber comes along and makes it possible for people to make more per hour than those who drive for state-privileged “medallion” taxi monopolies, while setting their own hours and taking off any time they need to, our “progressive” reactionaries side with the monopolists and support legislation and litigation to force drivers back onto the wage labor plantation.

Oh, about that extra room in your house — don’t even think about renting it out by the night for extra income via Airbnb. The well-heeled hotel lobby hates that idea and their allies, the “progressive” reactionaries, want you cleaning rooms at Super 8 and waiting patiently for another decade or three for them to deliver on their “living wage” promises, not taking financial matters into your own hands. If that means you can’t afford to keep your house, too bad — they’ll slam you for contributing to “gentrification” when you sell it to someone who CAN afford it.

When it comes to reproductive rights, these supposed “progressives” are proudly “pro-choice.” But watch that support for “choice” evaporate the instant you choose money (cryptocurrency) that can’t be easily taxed to finance their schemes. They’re a lot less interested in a bigger pie for you than they are in preserving their own ability to take a slice of that pie at will.

The late William F. Buckley, Jr. defined a conservative as “someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.” Sound familiar, “progressives?”

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Tom has worked in journalism — sometimes as an amateur, sometimes professionally — for more than 35 years and has been a full-time libertarian writer, editor, and publisher since 2000. He’s the former managing editor of the Henry Hazlitt Foundation, the publisher of Rational Review News Digest (2003-present), former media coordinator and senior news analyst at the Center for a Stateless Society (2009-2015) and also works at Antiwar.com. He lives in north central Florida.