Skip to comments.The Revolution Devours its Father
Posted on 07/03/2020 4:00:38 PM PDT by edwinland
Left-wing demonstrators and rioters have managed to achieve in a matter of weeks what courteous conservative thinkers failed to accomplish in a century: Knock Woodrow Wilson off his progressive pedestal.
More than any other figure in American history, President Wilson embodied and popularized the 20th Century ideology known as Progressivism. Wilsons eight years in the presidency created the template for the modern administrative state: a powerful executive branch, an oversized bureaucracy, the increased centralization of government, an unending demand for so-called legislative reforms, and multiplying federal agencies regulating more aspects of life.
In a sense, the Wilson program of 1913 through 1921 drew the political battle lines which have broadly remained in place for the last century: Democrats see big government as protecting smaller interests against larger interests and monopolies; Republicans see the same as the suppression of individual freedom and an impediment to widespread prosperity.
Thats why theres a healthy irony in Wilsons ejection from the liberal, elitist Princeton University. Why would todays progressives turn their backs on the political progenitor of progressivism? One supposes for the very same reason the French Revolution guillotined its leaders, once they proved insufficiently pure to the next power-hungry group of more extreme radicals.
Up until recently Wilson was warmly regarded by most on the political Left. Among the Wilson Administrations many innovations was the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC was the precursor to the wave of alphabet soup agencies proliferating during the New Deal and Great Society Democrat administrations that followed Wilsons government expansionism which he dubbed The New Freedom. One of his most far-reaching enactments was introducing the current income tax system through the Bureau of Internal Revenue, which yielded the most feared and intimidating of all alphabet soup agencies, the IRS.
(Excerpt) Read more at newbostonpost.com ...
Wilson was also the kind soul that brought us the federal income tax
(the campaign for which used the slogan: “the average working man will never pay a single dime in the income tax!”
it was sold as a “progressive” measure to punish the railroad, steel, and banking barons (you know, what the commies now call “the 1%”)
Wilson precipitated the Poncho Villa attack on Arizona.
He had secret negotiations with Villa, then double crossed him.
Wilson was a snake.
an amazing development, devouring one of their own, ha!
but commies and nazis tend to be cannibals like this
“but commies and nazis tend to be cannibals like this”
Yep! Someone needs to explain to BLM what happens to the foot soldiers after Communists win their revolution. To be blunt, blacks would be slaughtered. Black people are only useful to liberals after they get power. After an election, they’re ignored by liberals. After a revolution, they’d be killed off en masse.
Remember, your typical liberal thinks that they are vastly superior to anyone on this planet ... Both intellectually and morally. So long as their orders from their TVs tell them that some kind of action is “OK”, they’ll turn a blind eye to any atrocity regardless of the party’s prior political stances.
What liberals don’t get is that most of them are useful idiots to the people using them to secure power. Their TV refuses to tell them that.
The first Progressive Republican president - Theodore Roosevelt - might disagree.
Teddy did his best to popularize Progressivism in the Republican Party, but for some reason Conservatives never bought into the utopian, magical thinking, fantasy world that Teddy was selling.
Teddy was a eugenicist too. All the best people were.
Yup! I just
Get rid of the IRS because of its racist legacy, brought forth by Woodrow Wilson.
“Fantastic, well researched article addressing each plank of Wilson’s racist, progressive world view.” [edwinland, post 1]
Better check the record before heaping praise on Robert Tortelli and whatever editors might have the courage admit they work for newbostonpost.com. The author managed to get most of the timeline wrong and many facts too. Apparently no editor saw fit to correct his errors.
Progressivism arose from the Abolitionist movement, which borrowed its reformist ardor from a coterie of radicals who championed the “downtrodden” in the Anti-Rent Wars which began in upstate New York in the 1830s.
Allying with freethinkers, feminists, and radical Left urban labor reformers after the American Civil War, the Abolitionists (many of whom were Wesleyans) imbued Progressivisim with a strong Christian taint of a Left/reform nature. Anarchists, anti-monarchists, and Temperance fanatics were drawn in throughout the 1870s and 1880s, turning it into an international revolutionary phenomenon by 1890. The Social Gospel became a touchstone; at this time, many sects and otherwise unaligned individual churches joined. “The Church” (by which is meant the American religious establishment in its broadest sense) came to be looked on as a key advocate for and driver of melioristic social change. Progressivism was recast as Christianity for (then) modern times. Its admonitory motto: “Jesus is coming. Look busy.”
T Woodrow Wilson was the first academic (and - to date - the only PhD holder) to rise to the office of President. As his academic career took shape, revolutionary changes were happening in engineering, industrial production, and managerial practice. The idea that all this stuff could be perfectly understood with mathematical precision and managed/directed/controlled from the top down by the new technical class among the intelligentsia grew apace; Wilson rode the crest of the wave to national prominence, becoming the first public person to criticize the US Constitution and the American system of law/governance as too outdated and insufficiently flexible to cope with the problems of society that had arisen. Ever the egotist, he declared that the (then) Modern Industrial State was the only legitimate instrument of the working-out of the plans of the Almighty at that moment in human history. And because the Head of that State was the top-down manager/director, he was doing the Work of the Lord. Therefore anyone opposing the Government was going against the will of God.
Pretty heady stuff, even by the ambitious standards Progressive totalitarians set for themselves. The movement lapped it up. Wisconsin rewrote its state Constitution to incorporate the ideals and goals of the Progressive movement; its state-controlled schools and colleges were reorganized and explicitly ordered to alter educational practices such that all outcomes would serve the ends of the Progressive State. It’s called the Wisconsin Model.
No other State went so far, but every State did something to honor Progressivism and to incorporate at least a few Progressive notions into their governing. One example: South Dakota wrote the “right to an education” into its State Constitution. A quintessential Progressive idea, and just one of the radical new “positive rights” Progressives formulated back in the 1880s and 1890s, which they’ve been beating the drum for ever since.
Politically significant groups could not get enough of this stuff. Progressive politicians began to get elected to office all over the country. Wilson himself got swept into office as Governor of New Jersey; when he was nominated to be the Democrat candidate in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt opposed him. The nation was thus guaranteed a Progressive President that year. The only question was, which one.
The income tax was old hat by 1913; President Lincoln imposed a version some 50 years before. IRS and the Federal Reserve were not the first bureaucratic government agencies. That honor goes to the Ordnance Corps of the US Army, set up under the War Dept in 1792. The first Progressive government agency was the Food & Drug Administration, created to implement the Pure Food & Drug Act under the Roosevelt Administration.
It’s critical to recall that President Wilson did not sneak any of this stuff on board in the dark of night while the public snoozed. Most it was done via legislation, some by amending the national Constitution - both were more-democratic processes, held by the Founders to be more accurate and reliable means of expressing the public will than any policy initiative from the Executive branch.
The claim that President Wilson tricked Mexican bandits into cross-border raids is laughable. Mexico was mired in a revolution for a decade, and many incidents occurred. The US Navy intervened in Vera Cruz in April 1914, then turned administration of the port facilities over to the US Army, which ended occupation in November. Other actions were contemplated but not undertaken. Those were the years of quasi-imperial intervention by the United States in the nations of Latin America, like it or not.
Americans who thought they could avoid involvement in World War One were unrealistic. Americans today who believe involvement was avoidable are kidding themselves. The passage of an additional 100 years seems not to have added much to their store of wisdom; if they believe involvement was underhanded, or the product of a conspiracy, they are being willfully immature and deliberate in their misunderstanding of the international situation and how it changed during 1914-1917.
Wilson broke a campaign promise by requesting a declaration of war. So what? Which was more important - a campaign promise to the public, or national security and perils besetting it during unstable, confusing, and rapidly changing strategic conditions that the United States was unable to control?
Many latter-day critics decry American trade activities during the war, condemning US trade with the Allies and faulting (lack of) trade with the Central Powers. They seem heroic in their ignorance of the realities; the Allies were blockading the Central Powers, and the blockade was enforced by Britain’s Royal Navy, which then enjoyed maritime supremacy worldwide. No neutral was allowed to trade with the Central Powers. The United States possessed insufficient power to challenge this arrangement; if it had tried, the US Navy would shortly have found itself at the bottom of the Atlantic.
Imperial Germany attempted to starve Britain out of the war by attacking merchant shipping with submarines. The Kaiserliche Marine tried many different strategies and numerous variations of policy; US/German relations suffered a number of crises and setbacks when American lives were lost to German sinkings of British merchant vessels. German leadership found themselves in a steadily deteriorating strategic situation and decided to begin unrestricted submarine warfare in January 1917. President Wilson found this intolerable, and after ship sinkings climbed for a couple months, he made the case to Congress and requested a declaration of war.
Both the Senate and the House voted for war, by large margins. Whatever one might say about the wisdom of declaring war, it cannot be maintained that the President asked for it under false pretenses.
Teddy Roosevelt was the progenitor of progressivism.
It was his intervention, as a third-party “Bull Moose” candidate, that split the GOP vote and allowed Woodrow Wilson to become President.
“Teddy Roosevelt was the progenitor of progressivism...”
The roots of the Progressive movement go back into history well before the European revolutions of 1848 - 20 years or more before Theodore Roosevelt was even born.
Theodore Roosevelt looms large in American history but he did not sneak Progressivism into his policy mix to blindside an unwary populace. He was a result of the public’s desire to implement Progressive plans, not the initiator. The same was true of T Woodrow Wilson, and of the numerous less-well-known politicians who were elected to office from 1890 onward, on promises to put Progressive policies in place.
If Americans were truly opposed to Progressivism, none of these people would have made it into office.
“Wilson was also the kind soul that brought us the federal income tax”
It was Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, plus the 13th Amendment that both sponsored, but why let inconvenient fact get in the way?
Most everyone here believes it was Wilson anyway, because our usual empty headed celebrity conservatives all parrot that line.
“Congress established the Office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue under the Department of the Treasury. On July 17, 1862”
In any case, it wasn’t a serious comment, just using the same logic now being commonly employed by the left.
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