To the editor:
It might come as a surprise to Mr. Stephan Schemine that, despite his continual castigations, I actually try to keep an open mind toward his points of view. The problem I have with his approach to any issue — be it social, economic and/or political — is that he seems to have a one-size-fits-all approach to finding what he thinks is wrong with America.
In his letter of Feb. 4 (“Progressive politicians are keeping the poor poorer”), Mr. Schemine once again repeats his mantra that progressivism is the cause of all social evils. He continues to state that this vaguely defined movement has infiltrated both political parties and the reason this could happen is that “too many people pay little or no attention to the actions of politicians; and most who do soon forget.” Fortunately for the nation, Mr. Schemine seems to remember enough for all of us, though he rarely clarifies his theses with a description of what socio-economic mechanisms are actually in play to warrant his conclusions.
Mr. Schemine states that he believes I am unwilling to become educated on his particular points of view. In fact, I would very much like to know on what he bases his assumptions. He has often repeated his beliefs that our supposedly failed educational system, our national entanglement in the military-industrial complex, and the growing disparities between the rich and poor are all the result of the triumphant encroachment of progressive policies. In Mr. Schemine’s view, President Obama is a dictator, the United Nations is the tool of those seeking to establish a one-world government, and ISIS is a reason to worry that the United States may one day be subject to Sharia Law.
I find Mr. Schemine’s premises hard to accept — at least in the way he has stated them. But I’d like to invite him to explain his suppositions more fully. In doing so, it would be helpful if he would specifically define his terms — especially “progressive,” since what he often seems to be talking about when he uses that descriptor does not seem to conform to any dictionary or textbook definition I can find. It would further be helpful if Mr. Schemine would cite specific instances that comprise what he sees are trends.
For example, the idea that since “many governments for thousands of years” have aspired to world rule under a kingdom or dictatorship does not, in my opinion, warrant Mr. Schemine’s conclusion that there is some monolithic progressivism striving to do so today. Many empires have embraced such a goal, and it has always proven unobtainable. We can name many of the persons who have made those attempts, and we can cite historical evidence of their claims to acquire such power. Who, I would ask, are the persons or person striving to rule the world today, and what is the evidence that they can be any more successful than the megalomaniacs who preceded them?
Despite what Mr. Schemine may think, my mind is far from closed, and I would encourage him to inform me with fact, reason and logic. But, rants, tautologies and circular arguments fail to be very convincing. There are multiple ways to demonstrate cause and effect for many sociological trends, and I would appeal to Mr. Schemine to employ some of them. If, however, he would prefer to abstain from a more scholarly print discussion, I’d be more than happy to meet with him face to face over coffee. I’m in the phone book, and the treat’s on me.