Saturday, November 24, 2012

Progressivism: Transforming the executive into a legislator

Herbert Croly was a man of vision. He had a vision of future presidents where they didn't merely just execute the laws passed by congress, but the president himself was head legislator. Sound familiar? It should, that's how just about every president has acted since the progressive era. In "Progressive Democracy", the following is written: (page 355)
In the plan of state government which I have sketched in a previous chapter the executive has become essentially a representative agency. His primary business is that of organizing a temporary majority of the electorate, and of carrying its will into legal effect. He becomes primarily a law-giver and only secondarily an agency for carrying out existing laws. Yet he is none the less at the head of the administration; and the great majority of the progressives want him to be more responsible than he is now for administrative efficiency. They want him, that is, to have the power of appointment and dismissal over the upper grades of the civil service in very much the same way that the owner of a private business would have over his employees, and they want to liberate the power of appointment from the partisan abuses which have resulted from the custom of confirmation by a senate.

But they propose to grant this power to the executive in the interest not of frequent changes in administrative personnel, but in that of a relatively prolonged official tenure. The more clear-sighted progressives almost unanimously believe in a body of expert administrative officials, which shall not be removed with every alteration in the executive, but which shall be placed and continued in office in order to devise means for carrying out the official policy of the state, no matter what that policy may be. Such is, of course, the situation in European countries. The executive changes more or less frequently in nations governed by a Parliament, but the administration remains.

Now this is exactly what we have today. Presidents run for office saying they'll do this or that, raise or cut taxes, get x policy done, or repeal something.

Is this how an executive acts? Or is this how representatives act?

Recall Woodrow Wilson's declaration that he would be an unconstitutional governor. What was Wilson saying? Among other things, he was saying that he would shirk his constitutional duty to execute, and be an active legislator.(and as President, he continued this) The lines are blurred over seas in European parliaments, with respect to who has power to do what.

Our constitution prescribes a strict separation of powers.(one which progressives widely have disdain for)

Anybody who truely seeks to get rid of this national ill called 'progressivism' will at some point have to address this. We need to stop the president from legislating and put him back into his constitutional box. Since the era of Roosevelt and Wilson and the activist presidency, our liberties have become less secure, not more secure. The Founding Fathers gave us these firewalls on purpose, because protecting Liberty is much more essential than any "getting things done".

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