I have never done academic quality research on this, but from my observations over a business career spanning over four decades, I have observed some key things about businesses in specific and all organizations in general. It seems to me that at some point in their lifecycles, all organizations go through two identity phases:
1) When they are just starting and are growing, the entities believe the key to success is serving their constituents (customers, members, voters, etc.)
2) Once they reach a certain point of satisfaction, the entities then believe their success depends on their constituents serving them.
Of course, every entity is different and depends upon how its leadership directs it, but it seems that some never leave the former, and some move to the latter rather quickly.
One of my great frustrations in life is our political system and how it has followed the same two stages as outlined above.
From the founding of our nation until the first Civil War, roughly 85 years, America and its government were as Lincoln described it, “…of the people, by the people, for the people…”.
Perhaps Reconstruction changed that.
War necessarily produces a victor and the vanquished, and the victor must institute domination over the vanquished to erase the differences causing the conflict in the first place. I have my doubts, and doubts based on historical evidence, that Reconstruction did much to erase the idea of slavery and the belief slaves were lesser human beings. Reconstruction saw the increase in government span and control and unsurprisingly, an increase in corruption.
What Reconstruction did do was create a new class of people for to victimize – and a new class of criminals, most operating in conjunction with government (or as a part of government), that were more than happy to victimize them.
Again, that is a personal observation, a personal theory that can be debated – the point is that government’s role began to grow rapidly after the Civil War as the population of the United States grew and the nation expanded westward.
Communist and progressive movements began to rise in influence in the 1880’s and with the 1901 inauguration of Teddy Roosevelt, a two-decade run of progressive presidents began. Roosevelt hand picked his successor in Taft, but Taft proved a disappointment as he was less married to the progressive ideology than Roosevelt and only served one term. Following Taft was Woodrow Wilson, a man I consider to be the most vile, racist, and anti-constitutional president in the modern age. Wilson set the stage for presidents to greatly expand the federal government, leading to the massive expansions under FDR, Lyndon Johnson, and Barack Obama.
Of course, there were bumps along the way in the progressive march – Calvin Coolidge and Donald Trump being the two most significant – but much to our misfortune, most GOP presidents retained some of the progressive DNA of Teddy Roosevelt and marched along with the progressive band, albeit slower and a little out of step.
It can be argued that the idea of government being the servant of the people began its shift to the people being servants of government during Teddy Roosevelt’s terms.
Progressivism began as an idea that the main function of government was to improve the lives of people, to make actual progress, but by the time Wilson took office in 1913, progressivism had mutated into a ruling philosophy that stipulated for progress to take place, government must direct the largely uneducated and unsophisticated masses (which at the time, included a large and growing black population that Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, saw as lesser humans). Wilson’s view of “progress” included the resegregation the military and institution of racially motivated, discriminatory federal policies.
In my view, it was around this time that observation #2 came into play – success of government was dependent upon citizens serving it.As much as the contemporary GOP has TR’s strain of progressivism in its cells, the Democrat Party is dominated by the DNA of Wilson.
Much of what we know about the Biden administration’s plans seem right out of the Wilson playbook. From central government direction to racially motivated policies, Biden is yet another Democrat incarnation of Woodrow Wilson.
Buckle up buttercup. It is going to be a bumpy ride.