American Spectator senior editor Angelo Codevilla has published a spectacular review and analysis of the Leftist takeover of America. It was a gradual bipartisan effort, beginning with the Republican-dominated Progressive era.
You owe it to yourself to read his analysis in its entirety. It has two drawbacks for the modern reader: first, the article is very long. I recommend you print it out, take your time: have some coffee or your favorite beverage, maybe a cigar. Decide to ponder and learn, look up unfamiliar names, digest the ideas. The effort will reward you. The second drawback in a minute.
Codevilla correctly notes the religious thrust behind Progressive tyranny: liberal Christians who adopted Darwinian social theory:
As the 19th century ended, the educated class’s religious fervor turned to social reform: they were sure that because man is a mere part of evolutionary nature, man could be improved, and that they, the most highly evolved of all, were the improvers.
Thus began the Progressive Era. When Woodrow Wilson in 1914 was asked “can’t you let anything alone?” he answered with, “I let everything alone that you can show me is not itself moving in the wrong direction, but I am not going to let those things alone that I see are going down-hill.”
Gary North, on his subscription site, has published an insightful commentary on Codevilla’s article. On this particualr excerpt, North penetrates to the religious issue here: original sin, total depravity.
Codevilla correctly identifies the source of legitimacy for the ruling class: Darwinism. Darwinism removed God from the vocabulary of self-accredited academia. Once liberated from the doctrine of original sin, the Progressives regarded as illegitimate the Constitutional limits placed on the Federal government.
Note well the direction of Progress: Deny original sin, deny limited government. There is a corollary: Humanism, Tyranny.
Deny original sin, deny the need for divine regeneration and renewal. Yet mankind is “moving in the wrong direction,” according to the Progressive creed. It still needs a “savior.” Say whatever you want about God—Wilson was a Prebysterian, Ph.D.—salvation, that is, “improving,” must come in the form of the enlightened forcing the unenlightened to live, act, eat, work, buy, socialize, educate, reproduce, exercise, breathe, and think rightly. Don’t call it tyranny, call it Progress.
Progress continues today, and the end still justifies the means. One of my favorite parts of the article illustrates both contemporary instances and their corruption:
If, for example, you are Laurence Tribe in 1984, Harvard professor of law, leftist pillar of the establishment, you can “write” your magnum opus by using the products of your student assistant, Ron Klain. A decade later, after Klain admits to having written some parts of the book, and the other parts are found to be verbatim or paraphrases of a book published in 1974, you can claim (perhaps correctly) that your plagiarism was “inadvertent,” and you can count on the Law School’s dean, Elena Kagan, to appoint a committee including former and future Harvard president Derek Bok that issues a secret report that “closes” the incident. Incidentally, Kagan ends up a justice of the Supreme Court. Not one of these people did their jobs: the professor did not write the book himself, the assistant plagiarized instead of researching, the dean and the committee did not hold the professor accountable, and all ended up rewarded. By contrast, for example, learned papers and distinguished careers in climatology at MIT (Richard Lindzen) or UVA (S. Fred Singer) are not enough for their questions about “global warming” to be taken seriously. For our ruling class, identity always trumps.
Unfamiliar names in familiar situations; familiar names in rarely reported situations. Ethics don’t matter; moral laws don’t matter; Progress matters.
Compare the academic career of Martin Luther King, Jr. It is widely known today that he plagiarized in many of his academic papers, including his doctoral dissertation. Boston University, after an official investigation, found him “guilty,” yet refused to revoke his doctorate degree. Instead, they placed a note on his dissertation noting that some quotations lack appropriate citation. Even merely lacking appropriate citation should invalidate a doctorate. No one else would pass by even this diminished standard, let alone plagiarism. King did. It’s not because of his ethics or integrity. It’s because he had a Progressive dream.
Do you really think we can take America back via the avenue of law and Constitution when the entire bipartisan Republicrat Progressive machine is built, oiled, and fueled by ignoring law and Constitution? After all, Progressivism created the “living Constitution” idea. It does not believe in a Constitution. “Constituion” literally means “that which is fixed.” Therefore, the idea of a living, evolving Constitution is a contradiction in terms. Yet this is the basis of Progressivism. In the face of a contradiction, one side will overcome the other. For Progressivism, Progress overcomes Constitution. Both Republicans and Democrats in general believe and practice Progressive ideals.
We need a comprehensive plan and method to counteract the elitist Progressive takeover of America. This is the second drawback of Codevilla’s article. He provides no real action steps. One would hope a 12,000 word exposé of political corruption and tyranny would offer something of an answer to the problem. Granted, Codevilla hints at some answers—a return to localism, the merit of homeschooling, Congressional power to remove Supreme Court jurisdiction (Article 3, section 2)—but these come only in passing.
At the American Vision Super Conference last month I gave a talk entitled “Christians in the Trenches.” This talk envisioned Ten Steps to Reclaim America, but I only got to a couple due to time. The DVD will be available soon. My research preparing for that talk led almost inevitably, for several points, to the measures adopted during the Progressive era. This includes the Federal centralization of the military, the evolution of America from Example to Empire, the ascendency of Central Banking climaxing with the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. Essentially, the Progressive consolidated centralized power over arms and money, two key avenues of power.
There is much more. I plan to expand this work into a major practical project. It will address these issues, including Social Security, education, local politics, and more.
Please read Codevilla to see what we are up against. Then pray. Then comment, blog, advise, link, email, and donate to American Vision, so that we can continue working towards these goals.
There is genuine progress for society, but it must be toward freedom and peace. It will only come through Christian ethics and rule of law, and it will lead to limited government. Anything else purporting to be “Progressive” is evil, period.
Always ask Progressives: “Progressing where? How? And who pays the fare?” Tell them to buy their own ticket, far out of town.