Christians and conservatives need to understand what is happening in America right now with the rise of populism in the GOP. At this point, it looks all-but-certain that the nomination will fall to Trump—a populist phenomenon if there ever was one. Populism, like its near-cousin pure democracy, will mean the emergence of the peculiar depravities of the particular populace gaining ascendancy at the moment. In this case, these depravities are proving to be some latent tyrannies conservatives have expressed more or less for years: anti-immigration and warmongering built on fear and supported by hypocritical acceptance of self-serving socialistic policies.
These hypocrisies are nothing new, but their mass-emergence to the point of a popular crusade on the part of many “conservatives” and “evangelicals” will indeed be. And this popular crusade will become a tidal wave very soon. It will be loud, irrational, and nearly impossible to engage in a principled discussion. Principled Christians and conservatives need to get mentally and intellectually prepared.
One of the best preparations will be to gain a clear understanding of how populist phenomena have played out at the national level in the past, and how the depravities of tipping-point masses boil over into actual national disgraces and disasters. Understanding that we have been through this before will give us a frame of reference from which to contrast historical malaise with Christian principles.
The clearest of our historical incidents is with Theodore Roosevelt. It was for such reasons that I wrote this little eBook a couple years ago: to expose the truth about populist tyranny in America, strip away the facades of hagiography by which Christians and conservatives whitewash the depravity of pseudo-heroes, and provide a corrective warning for both history and the all-important present.
While many people are bemoaning the crudeness and buffoonery of this GOP primary season, the greater danger lies in the volcano of populist anger and fear latent beneath the surface. We need to get educated and start myth-busting a great many things quickly. To give Christians and conservatives just such a reality check, American Vision is making my study American Fascist: The Real Theodore Roosevelt available for only $5.00. Please take the time to pick up this important resource at this low price and educate yourself with a very quick and stimulating read. Providing yourself this frame of reference may give you just the piece-of-mind you need to survive the surges of popular nationalism now gracing our media.
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Theodore Roosevelt is no role model for the Christian or conservative. His life and work is riddled with war, bloodshed, and the celebration of it. His political work spans an impressive stretch of bureaucracy, executive office, campaigns, and public advocacy in which he upheld some version of just about every socialistic scheme that had been proposed up to his time. These included measures that had been among the few most pointed as chosen by Karl Marx himself: the graduated income tax, an inheritance tax, a central bank, and the regulation of industry.
TR’s plans for regulation of industry and even ordinary aspects of American life appeared early in his career, and did nothing but grow with his insatiable appetite for government power. From food and drug regulations to land grabs and “conservation,” from wealth redistribution to calls for “social justice.” And yet, in all the appeals for trust-busting and cutting big “greedy” business down to size, TR carefully avoided his cronies, particularly the Morgan interests, with only token exceptions. When a later president did apply the same legal standards even, including to TR’s cronies, TR exploded and broke friendship.
And while posterity has seen fit to blame Woodrow Wilson for all of the subsequent ills of elitist big-government, he did hardly anything that TR had not done first. This includes the two greatest financial issues signed into law by Wilson: the Income Tax Amendment and the Federal Reserve Act. Both of these were the product of Roosevelt much more than Wilson.
If these legacies were not enough, TR fundamentally altered American jurisprudence for the worse for decades to come with his ignorant and reckless appointment of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., which he did against the advice of more knowledgeable and experienced men. It may not be a stretch to say we can lay all subsequent judicial activism, including the transformation of marriage law all the way to Roe v. Wade, at the feet of TR.
Too often unacknowledged or ignored, TR’s views developed into what would later be called Fascism. He desired national corporatism, fuller regulation of all national corporations by the central government, and all with a fairly overt expression of pure-race nationalism. That’s not Progressivism; that’s Fascism.
While far from “uncommon heroism,” TR’s legacy is indeed “remarkable”—remarkable for the amazing level of evil that one man could unleash upon a civilization, and remarkable for the level of adulation he receives from worshipful admirers despite his true record. It is simply time for Christians and conservatives to acknowledge the truth of the record, and to judge that record by a truly higher critical standard. If we truly believe TR’s statement that the a knowledge of the Bible is more valuable than a college education, then let us hold TR and his record to that very standard. Let the Bible be our guide, and let TR fade into the darkness he created.