US Constitution Project, Inc.

Our goal:
Inform every American of the threat of progressivism to our Constitution and sovereignty.

 


 

Competing Philosophies

It is broadly perceived that there is, in this country, a continuum of political belief ranging from left to right. That is a simplistic cold-war view that overlooks a crucial reality. Beginning with the presidencies of Theodore Roosevelt (Republican) and Woodrow Wilson (Democrat), American government has included individuals who held two distinctly different philosophies. While the relative strengths of the two philosophies varied over the decades, we appear to be near a 50-50 split now.

Some Specific Differences

Our Founding Principles
Progressivism
Legitimate government requires the consent of the governed. Progressive doctrine holds that the public at large is insufficiently intelligent to practice democracy. Experts must write laws, and if necessary need not share information with the public nor even with the Congress. Note 1.
Human nature is what it is, and hasn't changed measurably in all of recorded history. We have natural rights and inherent flaws. Human nature evolves. The government can grant rights as it sees fit. Note 2.
Our Constitution is stable but amendable, to be strictly construed until the sovereign people amend it. The constitution is a 'living' document, to be interpreted as progressives choose. Note 3.
While we would prefer to trust human nature, history proves that government without adequate 'checks and balances' inevitably leads to tyranny. There is no cause to fear tyrrany, and thus no need for separation of powers. There needs to be a single authority, as preached by Woodrow Wilson and practiced by Obama. Note 4.
The Constitution provides for limited government. Progressives believe government should be involved throughout the lives of the people. See note 5.

 

Notes:

1. Herbert Croly, the founding editor of New Republic Magazine, was one of the principal authorities of progressivism. The extract below (left) is from his book The Promise of American Life, a copy of which is on our web site. See the italicized words below. Likewise Dr. Gruber, an architect of Obamacare, referred to the 'stupidity of the American voter'. Gruber is an example of the 'experts' progressives believe are necessary to make government work.

Herbert Croly
Dr. Jonathan Gruber

"The national advance will always be impeded by these misleading and erroneous ideas, and what is more, it always should be impeded by them, because at the bottom ideas of this kind are merely an expression of the fact that the average American individual is morally and intellectually inadequate to a serious and constant conception of his responsibilities as a democrat." Excerpted from The Promise of American Life, 1909, page 276.

'This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. OK? . . . . Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to get the thing to pass." From a 2013 video, explaining why a lack of transparency was essential to the passing of Obamacare.

 

2. In 1910,  W. H. Manwaring and Dr. F. W. Coker of Princeton University (where Woodrow Wilson was president) published The Organic Theory of the State, further describing the characteristics of progressivism.  A primary tenet reads: “The state transcends individuals within the State in power, right or priority.” Regarding the evolution of human nature, we've had opportunity to see the cruelty of ISIS in recent months.

3. As our constitution cannot be easily changed, progressives cling to the notion that it is a 'living constitution'. Woodrow Wilson claimed 'The trouble with the theory is that government is not a machine, but a living thing. It falls, not under the theory of the universe, but under the theory of organic life. It is accountable to Darwin, not to Newton.' Darwin's On the Origin of Species had recently been brought to Wilson's attention, and he was evidently fascinated by the concept. He suggested that evolution would operate in government, not unlike The German State Theory that brought us Hitler. There are different views on just when and how the 'living constitution' idea was invented, but whatever its origin, it is the crutch progressives use to argue against the literal constitution. In a recent decision, progressive justices redefined marriage, a relationship that has been practiced from the beginning of recorded history.

4. Woodrow Wilson on checks and balances: "No living thing can have its organs offset against each other, as checks, and live." To access a complete copy of Wilson's book The New Freedom containing this and other excerpts, link to the Presidential Politics page. Likewise Obama feels he needs neither the legislative nor the judicial branches.

5. Obama gave us the best illustration of this when he invented 'The Life of Julia'. He described how the government served her from cradle to grave. He complained about the constitution that limited what government can do, as opposed to telling what it should do for its citizens.