American Elephants

So What’s a Progressive? They Say They’re All Progressives Now. by The Elephant's Child

In a recent article from the blog at The American Heritage Foundation, the author quoted an excerpt from historian Thomas G. West, author of The Progressive Revolution in Politics and Political Science:

The Founders thought that laws should be made by a body of elected officials with roots in local communities. They should not be “experts,” but they should have “most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society” (Madison). The wisdom in question was the kind on display in The Federalist, which relentlessly dissected the political errors of the previous decade in terms accessible to any person of intelligence and common sense.

The Progressives wanted to sweep away what they regarded as this amateurism in politics. … Only those educated in the top universities, preferably in the social sciences, were thought to be capable of governing. Politics was regarded as too complex for common sense to cope with. … Only government agencies staffed by experts informed by the most advanced modern science could manage tasks previously handled within the private sphere.

The Progressives did not intend to abolish democracy, to be sure. They wanted the people’s will to be more efficiently translated into government policy. But what democracy meant for the Progressives is that the people would take power out of the hands of locally elected officials and political parties and place it instead into the hands of the central government, which would in turn establish administrative agencies run by neutral experts, scientifically trained, to translate the people’s inchoate will into concrete policies.

This, the blog says, is why you have Obama’s Energy Secretary telling auto makers how they must build cars.  This is why Obama’s health care plan empowers a panel of “experts” to reorganize one-sixth of our economy from the top down.  Commonsense questions like “Won’t our electricity bills go up if we mandate power companies to use more expensive alternative energy sources?” and “Won’t our health insurance premiums go up if everyone is charged the same price and nobody can be refused coverage”” can’t be tolerated.  People voicing such criticisms must be isolated and silenced.

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