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The Roots of Progressive Authoritarianism

The Roots of Progressive Authoritarianism

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By Thursday, 03 December 2020 11:30 AM Current | Bio | Archive

If Democrats win the two Georgia U.S. Senate seats in January, in the words of Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., they will "change the world."

To impose their political will and to maintain control of the nation, Democrats will end the Senate filibuster, pack the federal courts, eliminate the Electoral College, and make the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, the 51st and 52nd states.

The guiding principles of the Progressive power brokers will be moral relativism and equality of results. In the name of autocratic efficiency, they will eliminate the idea of common man democracy.

Their belief that there are no absolute truths, no unconditional principles or laws, and that customs must be replaced with concepts that are efficient, politically correct, and materialistic, is not new.

In fact, it has been the foundation of the Progressive ideology for over a hundred years.

The first Progressive president, Woodrow Wilson (1913-1920) rejected the preamble to the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

"If you want to understand the real Declaration of Independence," Wilson said, "do not repeat the preface."

For Wilson, the historian, Ronald Pestritto, has pointed out, "the state must move beyond the narrow and outdated role assigned to it by the founding generation. . . .  Wilson was not concerned with the liberty of the individual. . . .  Liberty, he explained, is not found in freedom from state action but instead in one’s obedience to the laws of the state. . . .  [O]beying the state is the fulfillment of true freedom."

Wilson was devoted to using the power of the administrative state to transmute American society and the U.S. economy to conform to leftist ideological whims.

Another hero of the early Progressive movement, was U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes (1841-1935)

Holmes, an atheist and sceptic, held that nothing can be known with certainty.

Based on his epistemology, Holmes concluded that absolute truths and, consequently, all religions are illusions. If there is no God then there is no design and man cannot really possess objective values. Holmes held that "truth was a majority vote of the nation that could lick all others;" not absolute, but relative to time and place.

In Holmes’ Godless world, there can be no natural law, no first principle: "The jurist who believes in natural law seems to me to be in a naïve sense of mind." There is only legal positivism — authority based on force.

Without transcendent standards of morality, there are no "oughts," and, as a consequence, the dominant group in power has no limitations. Those with power implement whatever has economic, social, or political utility.

Public policy is whatever that dominant force wants, even if it is mob violence. Holmes said: "I am so skeptical as to our knowledge about the goodness or badness of laws that I have no practical criticism except what the crowd wants."

In this might-makes-right environment, the survival of political minorities depends on the sympathies of those in power. "All that can be expected from modern improvements," Holmes wrote, "is that legislation should easily and quickly, yet not too quickly, modify itself in accordance with the will of the de facto supreme power in the community, and that the spread of an educated sympathy should reduce the sacrifice of minorities to a minimum."

The Constitution, for Holmes, is only an experiment: "the claim of our especial code to respect [the Constitution] is simply that it exists, that it is the one to which we have become accustomed, and not that it represents an eternal principle."

Therefore, judicial decisions reflect nothing more than the workings of the moment. They have no ultimate or absolute value beyond "what is" at any moment in time.

There are no ultimate ends because that would infer an objective norm. Law is only descriptive, it describes what has happened, not what should happen.

This approach to the law did not die with Holmes. Ronald Dworkin suggests in "Law’s Empire" (1986), that the purpose of law "is to legitimate the community’s exercise of force."

Another Progressive, John Rawls, has argued — in "A Theory of Justice" (1971)—that rational decision makers must be "situated behind a veil of ignorance."

If the heirs of Wilson and Holmes gain complete control of the federal government in January, expect them to transform American laws and culture to reflect their ideological view of its best interests.

They will be unapologetic crypto-authoritarians who will deny the intrinsic value of individual Americans and will seek greater control over their lives.

To them, liberty will mean obedience to the uncertain will of Progressive elites.

George J. Marlin, a former executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is the author of "The American Catholic Voter: Two Hundred Years of Political Impact," and "Christian Persecutions in the Middle East: A 21st Century Tragedy." He is chairman of Aid to the Church in Need-USA. Mr. Marlin also writes for TheCatholicThing.org and the Long Island Business News. Read George J. Marlin's Reports — More Here.

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If the heirs of Wilson and Holmes gain complete control of the federal government in January, expect them to transform American laws and culture to reflect their ideological view of its best interests.
holmes, schumer, wilson
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2020-30-03
Thursday, 03 December 2020 11:30 AM
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