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Posts Tagged ‘Woodrow Wilson’

Finally We All Agree

Progressive policies don’t work.  Everyone, even Progressives agree that their vast array of policies and the programs they always birth don’t work. 

That the provocateurs of these endless policy schemes agree that they don’t work is proven by the fact that these same Progressives constantly seek to revise, revamp, and expand every program they ever impose.  If they were working why is there a need for continuous upgrades?

That Conservatives agree must be deduced by their rhetoric since they do little else except talk. That talk always sounds merely like tinkering with the system since the repeal of these failed policies seldom if ever escapes their lips, unless there is an election on the horizon.

If we now add the recently awakened, no longer silent majority, to the mix we come across a constituency that gets it: these programs don’t work.  Yes, they may accomplish some worthwhile things in the short run, but are they sustainable?  Do these building blocks of the corporate state build a monument to the freedom of humanity or do they instead build a prison for the human spirit?

Yes, everyone agrees the cradle-to-grave nanny-state programs of the Progressive corporate state don’t work. What we disagree on is the motive for their imposition and the remedy for their failure.

In the social sciences it’s impossible to run controlled experiments.  Since the mice can talk they’re always asking, “Who moved my cheese?”  And since they have a nasty habit of jumping over the walls of the maze they confound the best laid plans and preconceived results of the social engineers.  For example, though the widely accepted social engineer Karl Marx assured us that the implementation of his programs would create a worker’s paradise the pesky workers from East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and all the other beautiful places his disciples managed to turn into hell holes kept jumping off the treadmill to nowhere.  They kept voting with their feet and choosing freedom with every opportunity. 

Consult the dustbin of History for the results.  Compare the economies and lifestyles of East and West Germany, Mao’s China and Hong Kong, the USSR and the USA.  Look at the stark contrast between the economy and lifestyle of North and South Korea.  Bring it closer to home and compare California and Texas.  There is no more fitting monument to several generations of Progressive leadership than the once proud motor-city of Detroit.  The policies and programs of the Progressive social engineers have caused more misery, injustice, poverty, and destruction than Attila ever dreamed of or Genghis Khan ever accomplished.  The Progressive secular saints have left a trail of broken dreams littering their path to paradise.

Margret Thatcher told us the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money, and I will add that the problem with our homegrown Progressive policies is that no one spends other people’s money as carefully as they spend their own.  If the government confiscates ten dollars from citizen A, then takes a fifty percent administration fee to redistribute it to citizen B, how can that five dollars returned to the economy be a net plus?  To say we’ll lose a little on each transaction and make it up in volume makes no more sense when it’s government policy than when it’s an example of poor logic.

In addition, in any system dedicated to the redistribution of wealth those who do the redistribution always seem to skim a little more than a little off the top.  And while all this selfless redistribution is going on our freedoms fall through the cracks.  Progressives talk much about freedom.  They want freedom from traditions, and freedom from decorum.  They want freedom of speech if that speech agrees with them.  They want freedom to practice any religion anywhere at any time, a masque at ground zero for example, but no nativities in public squares or prayers at high school graduations. Check that dustbin of history again; the only Presidents in modern American History who ever rounded up citizens for who they were, what they said, or what they wrote were the Progressives Wilson and FDR.

So if we agree the policies of Progressives don’t work what is the dispute that keeps us from completely agreeing?  Our disagreement centers on two things: motives and remedies.

As to motives the Progressives contend they want to help their fellow man.  No one is stopping them from doing so. They could give of their own resources or volunteer at a soup kitchen any time they feel the need to create a just society.  Instead, they want to force others to pay the freight for their ideas as to what causes and what people are worthy of assistance.  This is usually accomplished by them keeping their own money in their pockets while receiving the administrator’s redistribution skim/bonus.  Here’s the disagreement.  It’s transparently obvious the motive is not to help but to re-order, not to augment the system but to change it.

Looking at remedies, the Progressive’s answer to the fact that their Plan A always fails is to try Plan A again except this time make it bigger.  The remedy seen as purely commonsense to everyone else is Plan B.  Take the current mad rush to insolvency as an example.  We recently had a watershed election shouting as loud as possible, “STOP THE SPENDING!”  And what does the Progressive leadership of the twin parties give us, more spending, more spending, and just for good measure more spending.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that when you are trapped in a hole the first thing you should do is stop digging.  When you’re bleeding to death the first thing to do is stop the bleeding.  Just look at the trial balloons floated by even the most fiscally responsible pragmatists the media call conservatives: return spending to what it was under George II.  That was unsustainable.  It was merely a slower ride to the poor house.

What we need is real change: balanced budgets, policies that will re-industrialize America, an end to wars we won’t win, open borders, and an end to inflationary monetary policy that will eventually collapse our economy.  Can we finally all agree on that?

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

Political End Runs

By Thomas Sowell
12/28/2010
The Constitution of the United States begins with the words “We the people.” But neither the Constitution nor “we the people” will mean anything if politicians and judges can continue to do end runs around both.

Bills passed too fast for anyone to read them are blatant examples of these end runs. But last week, another of these end runs appeared in a different institution when the medical “end of life consultations” rejected by Congress were quietly enacted through bureaucratic fiat by administrators of Medicare.

Although Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Senator Jay Rockefeller had led an effort by a group of fellow Democrats in Congress to pass Section 1233 of pending Medicare legislation, which would have paid doctors to include “end of life” counselling in their patients’ physical checkups, the Congress as a whole voted to delete that provision.

Republican Congressman John Boehner, soon to become Speaker of the House, objected to this provision in 2009, saying: “This provision may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia.”

Whatever the merits or demerits of the proposed provision in Medicare legislation, the Constitution of the United States makes the elected representatives of “we the people” the ones authorized to make such decisions. But when proposals explicitly rejected by a vote in Congress are resurrected and stealthily made the law of the land by bureaucratic fiat, there has been an end run around both the people and the Constitution.

Congressman Blumenauer’s office praised the Medicare bureaucracy’s action but warned: “While we are very happy with the result, we won’t be shouting it from the rooftops because we are not out of the woods yet.”

In other words, don’t let the masses know about it.

It is not only members of Congress or the administration who treat “we the people” and the Constitution as nuisances to do an end run around. Judges, including Justices of the Supreme Court, have been doing this increasingly over the past hundred years.

During the Progressive era of the early 20th century, the denigration of the Constitution began, led by such luminaries as Princeton scholar and future President of the United States Woodrow Wilson, future Harvard Law School Dean Roscoe Pound and future Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis.

As a Professor at Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson wrote condescendingly of “the simple days of 1787” when the Constitution was written and how, in our presumably more complex times, “each generation of statesmen looks to the Supreme Court to supply the interpretation which will serve the needs of the day.”

This kind of argument would be repeated for generations, with no more evidence that 1787 was any less complicated than later years than Woodrow Wilson presented– which was none– and with no more reasons why the need for “change” meant that unelected judges should be the ones making those changes, as if there were no elected representatives of the people.

Professor Roscoe Pound likewise referred to the need for “a living constitution by judicial interpretation,” in order to “respond to the vital needs of present-day life.” He rejected the idea of law as “a body of rules.”

But if law is not a body of rules, what is it? A set of arbitrary fiats by judges, imposing their own vision of “the needs of the times”? Or a set of arbitrary regulations stealthily emerging from within the bowels of a bureaucracy?

Louis Brandeis was another leader of this Progressive era chorus of demands for moving beyond law as rules. He cited “newly arisen social needs” and “a shifting of our longing from legal justice to social justice.”

In other words, judges were encouraged to do an end run around rules, such as those set forth in the Constitution, and around the elected representatives of “we the people.” As Roscoe Pound put it, law should be “in the hands of a progressive and enlightened caste whose conceptions are in advance of the public.”

That is still the vision of the left a hundred years later. The Constitution cannot protect us unless we protect the Constitution, by voting out those who promote end runs around it.

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