Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Progessives

The United States has elected 43 presidents before the Obama Administration took over the Oval Office. We fought and won, two world wars, liberated millions of people worldwide from tyranny, and worked cooperatively with other sovereign nations to rebuild entire continents. Some might say the character of our nation is well established considering we have been a democracy for just over 230 years now. But, President Obama, told the United Nations General Assembly, "For those who question the character and cause of my nation, I ask you to look at the concrete actions, we have taken in just nine months."

As a candidate, Obama said that he wanted to 'fundamentally change the foundations of America'. He may not call himself a "Progressive' as Hillary Clinton does, but, he certainly is a member of the Progressive Party nonetheless..

Professor R.J. Pestritto, wrote the following for the Glenn Beck Show:

Many on the left today call themselves "progressive" and they do so not just because it's a nicer way of saying 'liberal', but also because they intend to revive
the political principeles of America's original Progressive, from the Progressive Era of the late 1880's through World War I.""In a big-government push for change, the First Reform Era, began years before the Civil War with attention to working conditions, the treatment of mentally ill people and prisoners. This was an effort to help the social problems that developed during the Industrial Revolution. The frontier had been tamed, great cities and businesses developed, and an overseas empire established, but not all citizens shared in the new wealth, prestige, and optimism."

The second Progressive era began during Reconstruction and lasted until the American entry into World War I. The New Deal came from the Progressives, who had dominated American politics and intellectual culture a generation prior and many say that the New Deal is the source of big government and the welfare state that we have today.
The second Progressive era owes their success to the media, or writers who detailed poverty, urban slums, dangerous factory conditions, and child labor and supported the conservation movement, railroad legislation and food and drug laws.

The Progressive added new amendments to the Constitution: a new way to elect senators, prohibition and suffrage. Social workers operated settlement houses as a means to protect and improve the prospects of the poor. However, the needs of American Americans and Native Americans were poorly served or served not at all — a major shortcoming of the Progressive Movement.
According to Pestritto:
"While our founders understood that our national government must have the capacity to be strong and vigorous, they also were very clear that this strength must always be confined to very limited ends of responsibility: government while not weak, was to strictly limited."

The Progressive conception of government, was the opposite: Progressives agreed on the idea of a "living" constitution. They wanted government to take on whatever role the times demand. They argued that people of their own time wanted a much more activist government, and that America should adjust according."

Progressives hated the principles of American government and the Declaration of Independence. Woodrow Wilson, said that "if you want to understand the real Declaration of Independence, do not repeat the preface'-- the part which talks about securing individual natural rights as the only legitimate purpose of government. Theodore Roosevelt, used the federal government to take over private businesses during the 1902 coal strike and is attributed with saying, "To hell with the Constitution when people want coal"! So, moving forward, there are two connections between the original Progressive Era and the crisis we face today according to Constitutional Blog:
The first connection is the abandonment of the Constitution. Politicians of both parties, Republican and Democrats, have spent the better part of the 20th century disregarding the Constitution, as they looked to the government (as career politicans) to solve every human problem. The Constitution's limits on government are not part considered as politicians debate the intervention in our economy and society.

The second connection has to do with policy. The Progressives knew our original system of government was not capable of handling all of the new task. They envisioned a vast set of bureaucratic agencies with broad and vague Congressional laws to delegate the power and discretion to them.

The TARP bill is a perfect example of the Progressive Plan. Our Congress said to the Treasury agencies: here a trillion dollars, here's the legal authority, determine what is best for the public and regulate accordingly. Coming soon: Healthcare, Cap and Trade, Fairness Doctrine...These are the steps that Obama is using to "fundamentaly change the foundations of America"

Laura and Michelle

1 comment:

  1. Fine post Laura.

    The issue of Progressive accretions on the election process was addressed by our co-conspirator Fr. S. Edwards in his post "Some Modest Proposals".

    Deeds of course used the "P" word to describe himself to me and connected Obama to himself in the same sentence at the 7th Street Marketplace back in July.