I have had enough of the media covering for their political allies in this Administration and their private handlers who put them there. The last straw was this story:
In response to these comments by Congressman, Allen West:
Here’s the problem for Ms. O’Brein: Congressman West is right, and not because he “thinks” Progressives are Communists, but because the primary founding father of the Progressive movement in America, Woodrow Wilson, said so. To deny Wilson’s definition and goals of Progressivism is to deny Jefferson’s assertions as to what he meant by the words he wrote in the Declaration of Independence.
The truth of West’s assertion is found in Woodrow Wilson’s essay, “The Study of Administration.” It is in this essay that we find the clearest picture of what the Progressives seek to accomplish, as well as why they call themselves Progressives, so it is with this essay that we begin. But before I begin, I want to make it known that I make no excuses in my refutation of Wilson’s ideology: I believe it to be the very epitome of tyranny and, as such, I reject it outright.
Wilson starts by trying to argue that government is and should be a science. He calls it the study of administration and either directly or indirectly implies his praises to the Europeans for leading the way in this new “science,” while at the same time, implying a condescending attitude for what he seems to consider America’s “backwardness” in rejecting this new “science.” This central theme is summarized in the opening paragraph of his essay:
I suppose that no practical science is ever studied where there is no need to know it. The very fact, therefore, that the eminently practical science of administration is finding its way into college courses in this country would prove that this country needs to know more about administration, were such proof of the fact required to make out a case. It need not be said, however, that we do not look into college programmes for proof of this fact. It is a thing almost taken for granted among us, that the present movement called civil service reform must, after the accomplishment of its first purpose, expand into efforts to improve, not the personnel only, but also the organization and methods of our government offices: because it is plain that their organization and methods need improvement only less than their personnel. It is the object of administrative study to discover, first, what government can properly and successfully do, and, secondly, how it can do these proper things with the utmost possible efficiency and at the least possible cost either of money or of energy. On both these points there is obviously much need of light among us; and only careful study can supply that light.
I could write a book about this one paragraph. First, there is no “science” of administration – not in the sense he wants us to accept. Second, the presence of political science in college curriculum is not proof of a need to know it; given Wilson’s assertion that schools should be used to indoctrinate students into his way of seeing things, the presence of this curriculum is just as likely proof that he and Dewey were successfully putting their plans into practice – a conclusion that the state of modern education would seem to support far more than Wilson’s assertion of proof of need (it must be remembered that Wilson was more of an academic than a career politician). This paragraph also hints at the germination of what will later become known as community organizing, as well as the growth of government bureaucracies. But it is in the claim that this “science” can and will make government more efficient and cost effective that we find the fatal flaw in Wilson’s entire argument: it is a self-contradicting argument. There is nothing either efficient or cost effective about any organization which is divorced from all accountability, and as we see in reading more of Wilson – including the rest of this essay – Wilson envisions the most efficient government as that which is divorced from any accountability to the people who established it.
Shortly after this, Wilson starts to expose one of the primary influences on his philosophical thinking by citing the father of modern socialist ideology and mentor of those who ascribed to it, Hegel. Marx was a student of Hegel. Wilson says:
That political philosophy took this direction was of course no accident, no chance preference or perverse whim of political philosophers. The philosophy of any time is, as Hegel says, “nothing but the spirit of that time expressed in abstract thought”; and political philosophy, like philosophy of every other kind, has only held up the mirror to contemporary affairs.
Not only does this tell us that Wilson endorsed Hegel’s view on this issue, it also tells us that Wilson has the causal effects in human history reversed. History shows us that changes in philosophy generally precede a change in the popular sentiments of the time, not trail or “reflect” it. I believe this reversed view is symptomatic of the mindset common to most people who embrace an unconstrained view of human nature in that it shows a belief that everything about our nature is created by and subject to our will and can only be changed through an act of our will. It also explains Wilson’s apparent belief that society can be perfected by perfecting human nature by the deliberate application of what we learn through science. It’s why he continually stresses science in much of his writing and why he tries so hard to tie his arguments to the popular embrace of science at the time. This tendency is at the very heart of the utopian dream and the understanding of the term “progressive:” the enlightened design of the perfect citizen, society and – ultimately – government through “progressive,” scientifically directed steps.
Wilson also attempts to incorporate the more conservative (or traditional) American opinion in his argument by citing Sir William Blackstone, a prominent legal commentator at the time of the Revolution and founder of the American system of jurisprudence:
One does not have to look back of the last century for the beginnings of the present complexities of trade and perplexities of commercial speculation, nor for the portentous birth of national debts. Good Queen Bess, doubtless, thought that the monopolies of the sixteenth century were hard enough to handle without burning her hands; but they are not remembered in the presence of the giant monopolies of the nineteenth century. When Blackstone lamented that corporations had no bodies to be kicked and no souls to be damned, he was anticipating the proper time for such regrets by full a century.
But this passage also presents us with another of the Progressives arguments: that the needs of government have changed as a result of the growth in social complexity and technical advancements. But this is a fallacy: given these advancements in technology, there is no reason to accept that the corresponding growth in social complexion dictates we alter our system of government as Wilson asserts. The issue is relational, not proportional. As technology and understanding grow, so does our ability to handle them using the same philosophical frame work upon which our constitution was founded. All Wilson and the Progressives are doing is creating a smoke screen behind which they hide their demand for tyranny – with themselves being the self-appointed, intellectual ruling elite. This is evidenced in the fact that corporations were formed as a means of getting around the legal constraints of Blackstone’s time as much as Wilson’s arguments were designed to get around the constitutional restraints of his. Furthermore, corporations are supposed to be more efficient and cost effective ways of doing business, the very goal he purports to be seeking in relation to government, yet Wilson decries corporations as abusive while – at the same time – missing or ignoring the obvious comparison to a more centralized and corporatized system of government. This is part of the internal contradiction in Wilson’s argument – and the Progressive movement as a whole.
As evidence that government can run things more efficiently and cost effectively, and that this supposed improved efficiency creates a necessity for government to take over larger aspects of society and the economy, Wilson says this:
…The utility, cheapness, and success of the government’s postal service, for instance, point towards the early establishment of governmental control of the telegraph system. Or, even if our government is not to follow the lead of the governments of Europe in buying or building both telegraph and railroad lines, no one can doubt that in some way it must make itself master of masterful corporations.… And these, as I have said, are only a few of the doors which are being opened to offices of government. The idea of the state and the consequent ideal of its duty are undergoing noteworthy change; and “the idea of the state is the conscience of administration.” Seeing every day new things which the state ought to do, the next thing is to see clearly how it ought to do them.
This is nothing less than a justification for government to take over any and every aspect of our nation it sees fit to seize because, as government is the “conscience of administration,” it is somehow superior the private sector. Aside from again illustrating the internal contradiction of Wilson’s argument, we need but look at the mess in which the U.S. Post Office is currently finds itself and ask ourselves whether we would be better off if this same “efficient” government were running ATT, Verizon and our cable TV companies, as well?
Had Wilson actually applied science to the issue of government administration, he would have discovered that it does nothing as efficiently or cost effectively as the private sector. But this was not Wilson’s purpose. Wilson was arguing for the application of the European model of communist/socialist ideals. But he also recognized the need to “Americanize” it if it was to be enacted it his nation as he so clearly states here:
If we would employ it, we must Americanize it, and that not formally, in language merely, but radically, in thought, principle, and aim as well.
As he was still an American who was born and raised at a time when individualism and liberty were still very much a part of our national character, Wilson still saw some need to give a nod toward working more traditional American ideals into this European model of socialist principles. Never the less, by this point in his essay, Wilson has not only connected his embrace of socialist/communist goals, he has built the framework around which he would sell it to the American people: the notion of “progress.”
At the time Wilson was President, Americans were enamored with the notion of progress. But they had a different picture of what progress meant. To the average American, progress was taming the last refuges of the American wilderness; building great economic and social infrastructures like the railroads; and constructing massive feats of engineering marvels like the Golden gate bridge and Empire State Building. So Wilson chose the term “Progressive” to convince the American people to embrace it by implying a political agenda that sought to “progress” government in this same light as the rest of the nation. But in reality, the term meant something entirely different. True, it meant Wilson intended to achieve his goals progressively – little by little – but his goals were decidedly un-American in nature – as he so clearly explains in this essay. And lest the reader have any doubt as to my assertion of Wilson’s true intentions and use of the term Progressive, consider these words carefully (also from this essay):
The recasting of French administration by Napoleon is, therefore, my second example of the perfecting of civil machinery by the single will of an absolute ruler before the dawn of a constitutional era. No corporate, popular will could ever have effected arrangements such as those which Napoleon commanded. Arrangements so simple at the expense of local prejudice, so logical in their indifference to popular choice, might be decreed by a Constituent Assembly, but could be established only by the unlimited authority of a despot. The system of the year VIII was ruthlessly thorough and heartlessly perfect. It was, besides, in large part, a return to the despotism that had been overthrown.
Just on their face, these words may not hold a very sinister meaning to most readers. But to those who are aware that Wilson also wrote that a nation’s ruler – once elected by a direct democratic vote – should rightfully be free of any restraint and free to rule absolutely – without interference from any other branch of government – then these words take on the true foreboding they have proven to represent. This desire for absolute rule is evidenced both here, in the words of this essay, and in Wilson’s desire to get around the constraints of the U.S. Constitution. And so it has been that, since the birth of American communism in the guise of the Progressive movement, our constitution has been progressively destroyed and our liberties eroded little by little.