OK, I really did not want to have to re-hash this because I’ve already done it several times in the past. But, unfortunately, our education system is such that few are taught enough history to understand how to read someone like Wilson, so I will use Wilson’s words and the historic record to demonstrate that Wilson did embrace the philosophical foundation of Marxist ideology. To fully understand Wilson, you need to read more than just one of his essays, but we can get what we need for the purpose at hand from just this one:
But before we look at Wilson’s essay on administration, we need to address a few key points you need to watch for in all of his writings. First, there is a fundamental deception within the majority of Wilson’s arguments. While he speaks about democracy often, Wilson does not actually support democratic rule. For him, the idea of democracy is nothing more than an appeal to populism: a means to an end, if you will. And the end for Wilson is a democratically elected dictatorship based on a cult of personality surrounding a popular leader. Once elected, Wilson believes there should be very little restraint on that leader’s actions, save the will of the people. But Wilson said it is the leader’s duty to “sense” the will of the people and follow it, but also to “lead” them into the direction they want to go. This is all a flowery way of BSing people into accepting his argument for unrestrained dictatorial power once elected.
The next thing you need to understand is that the majority of Wilson’s work is fundamentally contradictory. Wilson asserts that society and government are both living organisms. For Wilson, this is a fact. He also holds as fact that these organisms are greater than the sum of their part. Finally, Wilson embraces Darwinism; he believes that society and government “evolve.” However, at the same time he is holding these things up as uncontested truth, he argues that they can be managed, directed, and that this can be done through “scientific administration.” In other words, bureaucracies staffed by technocrats who are appointed for life should be in a position of ultimate control over the shaping and governing of society. And therein lies the contradiction in Wilson’s work. According to Darwin, organisms evolve through natural selection, which is happens through a random process. But is man steps in and tries to consciously direct that evolution, it destroys the process of natural selection and, thus, ceases to be “evolution.” This amounts to nothing more than the tyranny of the species (not to mention a subverting of the natural order of things). It belies the Wilson’s conceit, and it smacks of Hegelian/Marxist theory through-and-through (anyone who understands Hegel’s dialectic principle understands that it is an insane idea based on the assertion that man kind will “evolve” to escape the universal and fixed law that every action has a reaction — which is why I have ever asserted that ANYONE who embraces ANYTHING based on Hegel’s dialectic is literally insane).
Now, with that behind us, let’s look at Wilson’s essay:
Let’s start with the fact that Wilson has no concern for what government should do, he only looks for what it can do:
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.
Well, if you are a socialist or Communist, there is nothing government can’t do. Eventually, as history has borne out, this will apply to the Progressive, as well. It is embodied in their mantra that everything is political. This is all tied together by the Frankfurt School of Germany and the cancerous ideas they brought with them when they moved to the United States.
Next, Wilson starts to address the founders of Marxist ideology – by name – but without calling their contribution to political thought by its name (i.e. Marxism):
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.
Now, setting aside the fact that this is a false assertion (many philosophers openly stated they were in search of universal understanding of man and nature, our founders among them), Wilson continues to indirectly name the influence of Marxism in Europe:
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.
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. The perennial discords between master and workmen which now so often disturb industrial society began before the Black Death and the Statute of Laborers; but never before our own day did they assume such ominous proportions as they wear now.
Anyone who is familiar with Marxism will see Marxist influence in Wilson’s acceptance conceptualization of this view of history. [As an aside, for those who follow my argument against the corporate structure, THIS is where it first took root – with the words of Blackstone. And I found it here, in my research into the Progressive movement. Though they are wrong about how to address the problem, they are not wrong about the problem, itself. And to undermine Blackstone is to undermine the entire American experiment.]
And, finally, Wilson openly admits that he is pointing to, embracing and seeking to “Americanize” the work of the Marxist movement in Europe:
But where has this science grown up? Surely not on this side the sea. Not much impartial scientific method is to be discerned in our administrative practices. The poisonous atmosphere of city government, the crooked secrets of state administration, the confusion, sinecurism, and corruption ever and again discovered in the bureaux at Washington forbid us to believe that any clear conceptions of what constitutes good administration are as yet very widely current in the United States. No; American writers have hitherto taken no very important part in the advancement of this science. It has found its doctors in Europe. It is not of our making; it is a foreign science, speaking very little of the language of English or American principle. It employs only foreign tongues; it utters none but what are to our minds alien ideas. Its aims, its examples, its conditions, are almost exclusively grounded in the histories of foreign races, in the precedents of foreign systems, in the lessons of foreign revolutions. It has been developed by French and German professors, and is consequently in all parts adapted to the needs of a compact state, and made to fit highly centralized forms of government; whereas, to answer our purposes, it must be adapted, not to a simple and compact, but to a complex and multiform state, and made to fit highly decentralized forms of government. 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. It must learn our constitutions by heart; must get the bureaucratic fever out of its veins; must inhale much free American air.
Here is where our schools intentionally fail us. Who are these French and German professors who were developing this new social and political science in Europe at the time Wilson was writing? They were Marxists. How do we know? Because the Fabian Society’s own Secretary admits in his own memoirs on the founding of the Fabian Movement that – before they solidified in the 1920’s, the only socialist movements of any import before then were all Marxist in nature, and that they dwelt on the Continent and not yet in England. And, when understood in the context of the time, this is an open admission that Wilson was looking to “Americanize” the Marxist thinking of his time. From here, one needs to go read this:
History, when known in depth and properly understood, ties everything together for us. But when you do not know it, or you only know jingoistic slogans connected to major historic events, then you cannot see the connections and, thus, are susceptible to whatever story is given to you to take the place of what really happened.
And as for those who say that the things Wilson wanted to do are irrelevant: here is why they are as relevant now as the founders were to his time — and still are today:
A “modern” Progressive is just a “modern” Marxist — pure and simple.