Friday, June 21, 2013

Was World War 1 the progressives first attempt at "fundamental transformation" of America?

In the first hour of his show on monday, Glenn discussed the revolutionary nature of large wars and how they change everything. He specifically mentioned WW1 during the show, which is something I've long thought of myself but I also thought perhaps I was being too aggressive in my beliefs. Coinciding with this blog post, I also posted an article from The Nation which was published in 1917, in which the progressives' eagerness cannot be contained:
Our cause, then, can give us a calm conscience. But that is not enough. The question is whether we can remain true to the American tradition in time of war. War necessitates organization, system, routine, and discipline. The choice is between efficiency and defeat. Pork will have to go. Government by "deserving Democrats" will have to go. The executive side of the Administration will have to be strengthened by the appointment of trained specialists. Socialism will take tremendous strides forward. A new sense of the obligations of citizenship will transform the spirit of the nation. But it is also inevitable that the drill sergeant will receive authority. We shall have to give up much of our economic freedom. We shall be delivered into the hands of officers and executives who put victory first and justice second. We shall have to lay by our good-natured individualism and march in step at their command. The only way to fight Prussianism is with Prussian tools. The danger is lest we forget the lesson of Prussia: that the bad brother of discipline is tyranny - which our fathers fought to put down and our immigrants came to our shores to escape. It would be an evil day for America if we threw overboard liberty to make room for efficiency.

Blandly titled " The American Tradition and the War", it's disgustingly obvious that the target was the fundamental transformation of 'The American Tradition'. It's not like this is the only example, John Dewey published an article titled "The Social Possibilities of War". Now think about that for a second - in war, the progressives see "social possibilities". In the past I've flippantly made comparisons to Rahm Emanuel, but when you read articles like this it becomes pretty clear that the progressives knew full well what they were doing, and why.

After all, the progressives pushed through four constitutional amendments in two presidential terms.(Four of them!) What is that, if not revolutionary?

After World War 1, Wilson's war-time centrally planned state was largely dismantled, but consider the "American culture". Between the movies and media, the changes in how women behaved(via feminism), the beginnings of the non-profit/leftist-"civil-rights" axis, continued Union agitation, and a whole host of other things outside of government(Largely, the "American culture" that we recognize and live with today), the progressives did indeed achieve one of the most fundamental transformations they could achieve: (as Aldous Huxley points out; correction)

In the past we can say that all revolutions have essentially aimed at changing the environment in order to change the individual. I mean there’s been the political revolution, the economic revolution, in the time of the reformation, the religious revolution. All these aimed, not directly at the human being, but at his surroundings. So that by modifying the surroundings you did achieve, did one remove the effect of the human being.

Again, the cultural differences compounded with the governmental differences of not just four constitutional amendments and their effects, but then you have the changes in judicial behavior, the Federal Reserve, and the regulatory state that harasses the people, by that time, was well under way.

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