Friday, December 7, 2012

Distrust of the wisdom of the citizens is foundational for progressives

In a letter to William Charles Jarvis, Thomas Jefferson wrote the following: (September 28th, 1820)
I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.

But this is the last thing that progressives want to do. For John Dewey, education is a tool to turn people into an "organ and agent of a comprehensive and progressive society", and Woodrow Wilson also made even more pointed comments in the context of education, lamenting that "You will not find many reformers among the successful men"

Alright, so people are stupid and need to be indoctrinated into the progressive world view. But what of the adults, why would progressives look at them and be put off? Herbert Croly answers this. In his book(Recommended by Theodore Roosevelt) Progressive Democracy; on page 309 Croly writes the following:

Representative assemblies, on the other hand, were supposed to embody not the will of any definite fraction of the community, but the dim religious light of public reason.

So for the early 20th century progressives, this idea of "public reason" is nothing more than a sort of voodoo political science. THAT is why they indoctrinate us. We can't be trusted.

On page 362, Croly says this about administrators:

Although the kind of administrator that I am describing must obtain the standing of an expert, he must also be something more than an expert. He is the custodian not merely of a particular law, but of a social purpose of which the law is only a fragmentary expression. As the custodian of a certain part of the social program, he must share the faith upon which the program depends for its impulse; and he must accept the scientific method upon which the faith depends for its realization. Thus with all his independence he is a promoter and propagandist. As long as he remains in the government service, he should not carry his propagandism further than the official social program justifies him in carrying it; but he should carry it as far as he can. He qualifies for his work as an administrator quite as much by his general good faith as by his specific competence.

If this paragraph were my first brush with 20th century progressivism, I would be horrified. This goes to show just what kind of "expertise" that progressives are looking for in their administrators. But the last two words are really what gives it away.

You and I don't have any "specific competence" as the progressives would define it. So we simply cannot be trusted. Above all is the belief that government has all the answers, as he said: "must share the faith upon which the program depends". The program couldn't survive a constitutionalist, now could it?

Most Americans in Croly's day didn't want to live in tyranny. That's why progressives had to change their name and call themselves "liberals" for all these years. The original progressives so scared the people with their ideas that they had to go into hiding for decades.

It's at the very core of progressivism to distrust the people.

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