Cruz in Texas, Walker in Wisconsin, Romney on Palestine and Poland.
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They called it the “Reagan Revolution.” Well, I’ll accept that, but for me it always seemed more like the great rediscovery, a rediscovery of our values and our common sense.
The great rediscovery of our values — American values — and common sense. American common sense.
It is precisely this “great rediscovery” that finally is beginning to give conservatives the edge over progressives. Why?
Because the progressive movement is at base a foreign — which is to say “non-American” — idea that had zero to do with America’s founding principles based on English liberty.
Our friends at National Review devoted the considerable part of an issue back in December of 2009 to “The Four Horsemen of Progressivism: The Men Who Created Our World.”
In four articles by NR’s Jonah Goldberg, the University of Dallas’s associate professor of politics Tiffany Jones Miller, Bradley C.S. Watson (of, respectively, St. Vincent College, the Claremont Institute and the Ashbrook Center), and the Manhattan Institute’s Fred Siegel — the political creation of progressivism was put under the microscope.
Using four men the group collectively considered as what we might call progressivism’s “founding fathers” — exploring how America got here from there. “There” being late 19th and early 20th century America.
Their careful analysis can provide for a considerable understanding of today’s political headlines from the Ted Cruz victory in Texas to the Romney remarks on Palestine and Poland. Not to mention the polls showing Romney on the verge of upending Obama’s progressive presidency.
First, the “Four Horsemen of Progressivism.”
Ely, wrote Goldberg, laid the foundation on which is built today’s “house of contemporary liberalism.” Ely “wrote dozens of books, on monopoly, taxation, land use and urban reform, and several standard texts on general economics.”
But politically speaking in today’s climate, a fact of progressive history that would doubtless pack political punch if better understood, Ely was a “leader of the new generation of German-trained or-inspired Ph.D.s” — who began his teaching career at John Hopkins. That would be the John Hopkins that was, in Goldberg’s words, “conceived as a German-style institution in 1881.”
Which is to say, Ely was what we might call today a Europhile. A political trait vastly popular still today among American progressives (does the name Barack Obama ring a bell?) who are correctly accused of wanting to turn the U.S. into a European-style socialist state. Without doubt Ely’s most famous student when teaching at Johns Hopkins was a young Woodrow Wilson, while he counted among his ardent fans others such as Teddy Roosevelt and Wisconsin’s Governor Robert La Follette Sr.
John Dewey spent a half-century in American academia after leaving what Jones calls “the seedbed of progressive academia” that was Johns Hopkins. Dewey’s entire career was devoted to progressive principles that were obtained from a school of thought that was, says Jones, “an academic phenomenon far removed from American politics.” Jones cites the progressive Charles Merriam as approvingly citing the “intoxicating effect of the undiluted Hegelian philosophy upon the American mind” or, back to Jones, progressivism “articulated a critique of America that was as deep as it was wide. It began with a conscious rejection of the American founding and the promotion of a new understanding of freedom, history, and the state in their stead.”
Meanwhile, over on the Supreme Court, Mr. Justice Holmes was deeply taken with all of this. Says Watson: “Holmes set forth the essence of progressivism as a legal theory…”. And did it using his power as a Justice. Which meant a member of the Court was using his constitutional perch to lead “the charge to eradicate judicial reasoning that was based on principles of natural law or natural rights” that were central to the founding of America.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?