The 1926 case Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes is a favorite liberal American story. On one side, a substitute accused of teaching evolution, the famed progressive attorney Clarence Darrow, and science itself. On the other, the state of Tennessee, creationism, and the populist demagogue William Jennings Bryan, who by the end of the trial was only days from death. Scopes lost the battle, but reason and progress won the war and the film adaptation. The Scopes Monkey Trial, as it was called, is a progressive touchstone, and in the minds of many it continues to describe the difference between the two mainstream American political ideologies.
When one revisits the primary material, however, the mainstream liberal narrative is far too simple. Jennings Bryan railed against evolution, true, but not just evolution as we understand the theory today. His never-delivered closing statement indicted the “dogma of darkness and death” as a danger to the country’s moral fabric. It sounds far out, but at the time evolution came with a social agenda that its proponents taught as fact. Jennings Bryan didn’t use its name; today, we call it eugenics.
Scopes was charged for teaching from a textbook called A Civic Biology: Presented in Problems, published in 1914. The book taught Darwin’s doctrine as fact, but it didn’t leave his conclusions there. The author, George William Hunter, not only asserted the biological difference of races, he insisted on the vital importance of what he called “the science of being well born”—eugenics. Like most progressives of the time, Hunter believed in “the improvement of man” via scientific methods. That meant promoting personal hygiene, proper diet, and reproductive control. A Civic Biology also has suggestions for what to do with “bad-gened” people, in a section called “The Remedy.” “If such people were lower animals,” the books says, “we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading. Humanity would not allow this, but we do have the remedy of separating the sexes in asylums or other places and in various ways preventing intermarriage and the possibilities of perpetuating such a low and degenerate race. Remedies of this sort have been tried successfully in Europe.”
I would say the fundamental problem of so-called progressivism and its adherents is that it has a downright Satanic obsession with death and destruction. They cannot merely live apart from people who are different from them; instead they plot to kill those who are different from them (i.e. inferior to them) simply because they cannot bear the thought of someone existing who may simply be different from them.
The history of eugenics in early progressive thought is woefully underreported, and the name Margaret Sanger is basically a by-word these days. Suffice it to say, though, that progressives have since the dawn of their existence been obsessed with killing their inferiors. They wanted to kill off those they believed to be genetically inferior. They generally support abortion and euthanasia. They talk about wanting to kill their opponents. They are a sick people, obsessed with death.
Or maybe not. I suspect it would be more accurate to say that progressives are ultimately obsessed with power, as an ends unto itself.
There is great power in bringing forth life, but greater power lies in taking life. Members of a traditional society are content with the power of bringing forth life* and leave the decision of taking life to God and/or those whom He has appointed as administers of justice. Viewed from this lens, progressives are truly Satanic in that they wish to follow the example of Lucifer and ignore their duty of bringing forth life and usurping God’s duty of taking life. As such, the ideal Progressive is a barren man woman who plots to control the fate others. Undoubtedly, they have their reward.