The time has come to understand something and understand it clearly: the American Left hates this country as it was founded! In short, the American Left hates individualism. It hates all things based on the individual. It hates individual rights and liberties. It hates individually owned property. And it especially hates any system of justice based on the notion of the individual and the individual’s rights. The Left has sought to destroy this system and replace it with a collectivist social structure for more than one hundred years. What’s more, they have been exceedingly vocal in making their goals known. If you have a moment, I’ll share just a few such examples with you.
The first thing we need to understand is that the American Left (i.e. ‘Liberal/Progressives’) reject individualism. We’ll start with Herbert Croly, a forgotten founder of the Progressive movement. He was an advocate of what he called material egalitarianism, or, equality of all things, especially material things (i.e. Communism by another name). He also coined the term, ‘New Nationalism,’ which was picked up and popularized by one of the first, well-known Progressives, President Theodore Roosevelt. Among other words to the same affect, Croly said:
“It is the economic individualism of our existing national system which inflicts the most serious damage on American individuality;…”
In other words, it is the effort of the individual to provide for himself or herself by competing openly and freely with other individuals that threatens the notion of American individuality. If that sounds confusing to you, it should, because it is a self-defeating statement. The Left often makes these sort of statements, where they say that freedom is actually slavery and slavery is actually freedom. This will become more clear when you read more of this quote:
“It is the economic individualism of our existing national system which inflicts the most serious damage on American individuality; and American individual achievement in politics and science and the arts will remain partially impoverished as long as our fellow-countrymen neglect or refuse systematically to regulate the distribution of wealth in the national interest. I am aware, of course, that the prevailing American conviction is absolutely contradictory of the foregoing assertion. Americans have always associated individual freedom with the unlimited popular enjoyment of all available economic opportunities. Yet it would be far more true to say that the popular enjoyment of practically unrestricted economic opportunities is precisely the condition which makes for individual bondage.”
John Dewey is known as the father of America’s modern public school system. He established kindergarten in the U.S., and is often called America’s only true philosopher. Like so many other Progressive intellectuals, he despised individuality:
“Teaching school children to read was a “perversion” and high literacy rate bred “the sustaining force behind individualism.”
–John Dewey, Educational Psychologist
But Wilson may have put the issue most succinctly when he stated:
“Men as communities are supreme over men as individuals.”
— Woodrow Wilson, Founder of the Modern Progressive Movement, ‘Socialism and Democracy,’ 1887
To the Progressive, one of — if not the — fundamental flaw with individualism is that the average individual is simply too stupid to know what is best for himself or herself, and especially for society. Consequently, these Progressives decided that the people simply had to be saved from themselves, and the people in government had every right — nay — a sacred duty to do that saving:
“And the people cannot be bothered with administration, for not only are they too busy, but they are simply unfit for and incapable of such a momentous task.”
— Woodrow Wilson, Founder of the American Progressive movement
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the [public] is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”
— Edward Bernays, the father of modern propaganda, ‘PR’ and ‘SPIN’
“The public must be put in its place, so that it may exercise its own powers, but no less and perhaps even more, so that each of us may live free of the trampling and the roar of a bewildered herd.”
— Walter Lippmann, hero of modern American journalism
These early Progressives saw themselves as intellectually superior to the masses, possessing a correspondingly superior understanding of what is best for the world. To their way of thinking, this saddled them with a moral duty to save humanity from itself. So they sought to couple their superior intellect to science so they could instill order on the whole world. In short, they set out to re-work human society by re-working human nature, and they would accomplish this goal through the application of ‘science.’
For President Woodrow Wilson, the ‘science’ of administration required the creation of a specialized group of elites. Unfortunately, he realized that this would not sit well with the American people, who would rightly see the creation of such an elite class as a modern form of royalty. Hence, Wilson lamented the difficulty he would face in creating this elite class of technocrats:
“I know that a corps of civil servants prepared by special schooling and drilled, after appointment, into a perfected organization, with appropriate hierarchy and characteristic discipline seems to a great many thoughtful persons to contain elements which might combine to make an offensive official class….”
— Woodrow Wilson
Croly came to Wilson’s rescue when he suggested the best way to create this new elite group of technocrats was through the universities:
“The best way to popularize scientific administration, and to enable the democracy to consider highly educated officials as representatives, it to popularize [today — populate] the higher education [universities].’
Wilson would greatly expand on this suggestion, and I’ll cover it in part two of this three-part series. What he focused on first was establishing a justification for what was — essentially — an elected dictatorship. To this end, Wilson wrote:
The competent leader of men cares little for the interior niceties of other people’s characters: he cares much-everything for the external uses to which they may be put. His will seeks the lines of least resistance; but the whole question with him is a question of the application of force. There are men to be moved: how shall he move them? He supplies the power; others supply only the materials upon which that power operates. The power will fail if it be misapplied; it will be misapplied if it be not suitable both in kind and method to the nature of the materials upon which it is spent; but that nature is, after all, only its means. It is the power which dictates, dominates: the materials yield. Men are as clay in the hands of the consummate leader.
–Woodrow Wilson, ‘Leaders of Men,’ June 17, 1890
Here, Wilson reveals a common trait among his fellow Progressives: the tendency to think of people as things upon which these self-appointed elite work their will. How do we know it is a common trait? Because the father of the ideology admitted it:
“For the bureaucrat, the world is a mere object to be manipulated by him.”
And that Wilson’s agenda was Marxism for America has been attested to by modern Marxists:
“It was under Wilson, of course, that the first huge parts of the Marxist program, such as the progressive income tax, were incorporated into the American system.”
In short, the Progressive sees himself or herself as a god, and humanity is the medium from which they form their creation — or, in this case, re-creation. Lest you doubt me, I would ask you to consider whether or not this is — in fact — the very sentiment being expressed by Dewey when he wrote that man is his own god:
“The teacher is engaged not simply in the training of individuals, but in the formation of the proper social life…. In this way, the teacher always is the prophet of the true God and the usherer-in of the true Kingdom of God.”
With those words, Dewey openly states that man is his own god, that he is creating himself according to his own desires, and that the teacher is the prophet of this new religion. It would be a grave mistake to think this belief was confined to Dewey, because it wasn’t. Dewey was just one of the few bold enough to express it so clearly.
So, we go back to Wilson. He would work out his argument that society is superior to the individual, and that it should rightfully be thought of and treated as a living organism. He would also argue that the only proper way to do so is through a ‘scientific administration’ by appointed elites. These elites were to be lead by an elected dictator, and the whole system of ‘scientific administration’ was duty bound to manipulate the masses such that they would make the ‘right’ choice when they elected this dictator. Finally, Wilson asserted that there should be no line between what this dictator and his ‘scientific technocrats’ should be able to control. To Wilson, everything in society belonged to the government:
“The Progressive idea “…proposes that all idea of limitation of public authority by individual rights be put out of view….” and “…that no line can be drawn between private and public affairs which the State may not cross at will.”
–– Woodrow Wilson, Founder of the Progressive movement
So far, I have focused on the words of just a few Progressive founders to make my case about the Early Progressive movement. However, in this case, I selected three Progressive founders that would be equivalent to American Founders, Jefferson, Adams and Madison. That is how influential Wilson Croly and Dewey were. But we should not think their goals ended there. The Progressive agenda has carried forward.
“To achieve world government, it is necessary to remove from the minds of men their individualism, loyalty to family traditions, national patriotism, and religious dogmas.”
-– Brock Chisholm, first Director UN Health Organization (this is a liberal paraphrase — which I tend to agree with — of a longer argument written by Chisolm)
That was said some time after WW II ended, but the sentiment was still alive and well in 1993
“If the personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution inhibit the government’s ability to govern the people, we should look to limit those guarantees.”
–Bill Clinton in an August 12, 1993 speech.
We have an even more recent reference to these Progressive founders and to their original agenda, and it comes from a figure that is no less influential today as they were in the early 1900’s. On Feb 6, 2016, during the Democrat Party primary debates, Hillary Clinton made a statement to the affect of:
‘I’m a Progressive, but I’m a Progressive in the vane of early 20th Century Progressives like Woodrow Wilson.’
[Note: I heard her say it, and I used to have clips of her saying this. It stuck with me because she stressed her allegiance to the Wilson idea of Progressivism. I knew she was talking to the people behind the scenes when she said that, not to her voters. She knew they have little to no idea what she was saying, but the power behind the scenes does, and they were the ones to whom she made that comment. However, every time I post the pull clip, it gets scrubbed. You would have to watch the complete debate to see it, and there are few of us who will suffer 1 hr and 47 minutes of Hillary and Bernie. Still, if you want to verify me, Feb 6, 2016 Democrat Part Primary Debates: go YouTube it and have fun 🙂 ]
Part II to follow: Weaponizing the Education System.