Russia has changed its war strategy in Ukraine from direct confrontation to simply reducing cities to rubble, often killing civilians. Avoiding indiscriminate death, destruction, and misery no longer matters to the Russians so long as it facilitates their conquest. Sadly, progressives here have adopted a similar approach to imposing their policies and ideologies.
A civil society must be willing to confront disagreement head-on, issue by issue, even though it can be challenging. The goal should be to reconcile different perspectives constructively without unnecessary collateral damage. But progressives seem willing to die on every hill, with their desired ends seeming to justify any means and any pain along the way.
Overreach is everywhere. Progressive climate policy may be the most egregious. Even without knowing the extent of climate change or humans' impact, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) has become a widely accepted goal. But progressives are like children who want what they want now. They demand immediate, indiscriminate controls on fossil fuels, or even their abolition. They oversell renewables and conceal their true costs and environmental impact. Promoting electric vehicles, they harbor delusions of unlimited natural resources and magically appearing infrastructure. They pay no heed to the limitations of the power grid. They ignore other countries' non-cooperation, and on and on. The American public pays a steep price for all this, now and for the foreseeable future.
Congress provides munitions in the form of trillion-dollar programs too large to allow for proper monitoring. Pet causes are slipped in – as if a small percentage of trillions of dollars is inconsequential – by hiding them in the fog of war. The resulting inflation lays waste to many businesses and lives.
A justifiable concern for indigent minor criminals incarcerated for lack of bail and the overrepresentation of minorities in the criminal justice system has become an excuse to release dangerous criminals who then reoffend. Many serious crimes are pled down to misdemeanors and escape recidivism statistics. Victims are paid little attention. Disincentives to crime are buried in the rubble.
The murder of George Floyd in 2020 ignited widespread destruction. Businesses, government and public facilities and neighborhoods were quite literally bombed and sacked while police were withheld, demonized, and defunded. This civil disobedience was based upon the rare occurrences of unjustified police shootings of unarmed blacks. In fact, the vast majority of the excesses were committed by the progressive mob.
The push by government for "equity" – the assurance of equal outcomes – may be the napalm of this campaign. It is the institutionalization of discrimination as a solution for discrimination. The movement is disingenuous at best, denying decades of rooting out discrimination and establishing myriad programs aimed at equal opportunity. Also, it ignores school choice, which is perhaps the best long-term solution for inequality.
Equity, by contrast, is incompatible with America's fundamental principles of fairness and equal treatment and opportunity; but for progressives, the social compact embodying them is no more valued than buildings in Mariupol.
Another example is immigration policy, a complex web of economics, morality, resources, and conditions beyond U.S. borders. Civil discourse to unravel this knot is desperately needed. Instead of participating in civil discourse to address the problem, progressives simply obliterate the border, aid and abet human trafficking, and ignore the costs of drug smuggling and supporting illegal immigrants. The concept of national sovereignty and the critical distinction between asylum and economic migration are just more rubble littering the landscape.
Most of us vehemently condemn Russia but too often remain passive victims in our own social war. We need to resist. We can, and should, refuse to be bamboozled, bullied, or cancelled.
Of course, there is always the ballot box. But too many politicians profess reasonable views during election campaigns but abandon them once confronted with party discipline – for example, the loss of campaign funding or committee assignments. Personal integrity and sound public policy are the casualties.
If nothing else, we should recognize that the carpet-bombing mentality in America today is just as immoral as the kinetic equivalent we see in Ukraine. We need to put an end to policies that do so much harm to so many.
Andrew I. Fillat spent his career in technology venture capital and information technology companies. He is also the co-inventor of relational databases. Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, is a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute. They were undergraduates together at M.I.T.