… is from page 7 of Thomas Leonard’s 2016 book, Illiberal Reformers (footnote deleted):
The longstanding emphasis on politics and reform professionals was itself a progressive legacy. The earlier accounts of Progressivism, written by such historians as Benjamin Parke DeWitt, were self-portraits. They painted ordinary people into the background as passive victims of the rough winds of economic change. The progressives filled the foreground, a vanguard of selfless scholars and activists leading the People – if not any recognizable people – in a crusade against wealth and privilege.
Every wannabe savior – whether, in America, a Republican Führer or a Democratic czarina – needs victims who need saving. What is especially discouraging is the number of people who, scared by the phantasms that these saviors insist loom as imminent dangers, cravenly bleat for such saving.