Friday, November 30, 2012

Savior Nation: Woodrow Wilson and the Gospel of Service

In the lead up to modern redistributive social justice, the preceding movement used to call itself the "social gospel". This has proven to be a particularly hard shell for me to crack, but thankfully I'm not the only one out here trying to learn the history of progressivism and show it to others.

An article by Dr. Richard M. Gamble titled "Savior Nation: Woodrow Wilson and the Gospel of Service". Here's the PDF downloadable version, and here's the Google Docs directly viewable version lays it all out pretty well. Here's an example:

The United States had preserved its own liberty and now as a belligerent power was “an instrument in the hands of God to see that liberty is made secure for mankind.” Wilson, who habitually reversed the logic and sequence of cause and effect in history, derived the real meaning of the past from the present, of the Civil War from the later Great War: “We did not know that God was working out in His own way the method by which we should best serve human freedom—by making this nation a great, united, indivisible, indestructible instrument in His hands for the accomplishment of these great things.” 34 American history was a clear and seamless revelation to Wilson, the meaning of the Old Testament waiting to be read in the New.

In short, it seems that for Wilson American history and its principles and even its symbols belonged to all humanity. To think otherwise would have been the epitome of national selfishness, an unspeakable crime to the humanitarian internationalists of the Progressive Era. In a remarkable speech given before the outbreak of the European war in the summer of 1914, just days after the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Wilson stood in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia on the Fourth of July and claimed that since the United States was the champion of “the rights of humanity” then its “flag is the flag, not only of America, but of humanity.”35 He divorced the symbolism of the flag’s colors and stars and stripes from their historical meaning and reinvented the banner as a universal symbol for the freedom of all mankind - an audacious claim of boundless national mission.

Dr Gamble's essay is compelling, at least to me, as to the corrupting nature of Wilson's Presidency, particularly in his use and abuse of history and the faith of the people to rationalize doing things that should never have been done.

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