We are at a crossroads in our nation’s history and presented with two distinct choices; liberty or tyranny. We either believe in American exceptionalism and the founding principle that man can rule himself. Or we choose a style of governance that centrally plans our very existence. We either believe in the principles espoused by Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, et al...or we believe in the principles espoused by Marx, Engels, Bismarck, Lenin, et al... Following The Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin said “we have a Republic if we can keep it.” A warning against apathy and a call to arms that freedom requires eternal vigilance. Reagan planted his flag and asked, “if not us who, if not now, when?” We are presented with a choice, between a style of government whereby the power is derived from the people and a style of government that usurps all power from the governed. Progressivism is a villainous perfidy and a style of government completely antithetical to our founding principles.
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By Michael Ozga
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Michael Ozga
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Chapter OneTHEODORE ROOSEVELT 26TH PRESIDENT
"Personal property ... is subject to the general right of the community to regulate its use to whatever degree the public welfare may require it. Every man holds his property subject to the general right of the community to regulate its use to whatever degree the public welfare may require it." Theodore Roosevelt "The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property." Karl Marx
It's disturbing that someone who is carved in stone at Mount Rushmore as one of our greatest presidents and patriots is eerily similar in ideology to Karl Marx. It's not to suggest that TR was a Communist, it's meant to illustrate the blood lines (i.e. political DNA) that course through Progressivism, Fascism, National Socialism and Communism. TR was no less a statist/collectivist than Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini and Hitler. Whether its tyranny by force (i.e. Lenin and Stalin) or tyranny by perfidy (i.e. TR, Wilson, FDR, Obama) its still tyranny. Soft tyranny, as Mark Levin suggests, is no less insidious than tyranny by force.
Roosevelt gave a speech in April 1912 describing "Who is a Progressive?" Included in the speech were the following statements; "... We of today who stand for the Progressive movement here in the United States are not wedded to any particular kind of machinery, save solely as means to the desired ends. Our aim is to secure the real and not the nominal rule of the people ... For this purpose we believe in securing for the people the direct election of United States Senators ... Every man is to that extent a Progressive if he stands for any form of social justice ... The big business concern that is both honest and far-sighted will, I believe, in the end favor our effort to secure thorough-going supervision and control over industrial big business, just as we have now secured it over the business of inter-State transportation and the business of banking under the National law ... I stand for the adequate control, real control, of all big business ... when I protest against unfair profits ..."
Roosevelt was proud of his Progressive ideology; which advocated social expediency over natural rights, redistributing private property in the name of social justice, expansion of national government, state control over numerous aspects of public life, nationalize private business,centralizedandbureaucraticstate,elasticviewofConstitution and secular in nature. Progressives like TR operate under the guise of altruism, righteousness, social justice and benevolent social control. Their elitist mindset and theoretical goal for some earthly utopia/ panacea always decays into coercive legislation, depravity, usurping liberties and subverting the Constitution. The Constitution specifies general welfare, not special welfare.
Obama may have run a campaign based upon 'Hope and Change', however, the roots for the welfare state/social justice politics was born more than a century ago and ushered into prominence by TR. Roosevelt took full advantage of the bully pulpit when president issuing 1081 executive orders, By comparison, his two predecessors, Presidents Cleveland and McKinley issued 122 combined. Article I, section I, paragraph I of the Constitution states, "All legislative or lawmaking powers granted by this Constitution shall be vested exclusively in the Congress of the United States." Despite this usurpation of enumerated powers, Roosevelt stated in defiance; "I decline to adopt the view that what was imperatively necessary for the Nation could not be done by the President unless he could find some specific authorization to do it. My belief was that it was not only his right but his duty to do ANYTHING that the needs of the Nation demanded unless such action was forbidden by the Constitution or by Law. Under this interpretation of Executive power I did and caused to be done many things not previously done by the President and the heads of the Departments. I did not usurp powers, but I did greatly broaden the use of Executive power." This set the precedent for Progressives (i.e. Wilson, FDR and Obama) to centralize power and usurp the Constitution under the guise of altruism.
To put TR's incessant power grab into perspective; there were a combined 1262 executive orders issued from George Washington in 1789 through William McKinley in 1901. As stated above, Teddy Roosevelt issued 1081 from 1901 – 1909. Roosevelt set the precedent for fellow progressives Woodrow Wilson and FDR. Wilson issued 1803 executive orders during his tenure, 1913 – 1921. FDR issued an astonishing 3522 during his tenure, 1933 – 1945. These three presidents combined, TR, Wilson and FDR issued 6406 executive orders in 28 years of service. The remaining 41 Presidents served a total of 193 years an issued a combined 8803. The Founders warned against any consolidation or centralization of power in Washington particularly within the Executive Branch. TR, Wilson and especially FDR expanded the power of the Executive Branch based upon their own interpretation of constitutional powers.
James Madison said ... "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government are few and defined ..." "... They must be told that the ultimate authority, wherever the derivative may be found, resides in the people alone." "... If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself." "I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations ... This danger ought to be wisely guarded against."
George Washington said ... "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence – it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and fearful master." Alexander Hamilton also warned against abuse by those in authority; "For it is truth, which the experience of all ages has attested, that the people are commonly most in danger when the means of injuring their rights are in the possession of those toward whom they entertain the least suspicion." The quotes illustrate the original intent of the constitution; providing freedom from abuse by those in authority and to protect against the natural tendencies of perpetual expansion. Whether it was an exercise in self-aggrandizement, ego-mania or simply a reflection on human nature; it is very clear that the expansion of Executive powers via executive orders by TR, Wilson and FDR; represents the usurpation of powers that the Founders warned against. Therein lies the genius of the Constitution; it was designed to control something which has not changed and will not change – human nature.
Article I, Section I, Paragraph I of the Constitution states very clearly the lawmaking powers vested within the Constitution. Despite the lack of ambiguity and testament to his own ego and self-interpretation of powers granted, TR was defiant to the very end ... "While President I have been President, empathically: I have used every ounce of power there was in the office and I have not cared a rap for the criticisms of those who spoke of my 'usurpation of power'; for I knew that the talk was all nonsense and that there was no usurpation." The hallmark characteristic of Progressives is their paternalistic attitude towards the governed. It is an elitist, statist mindset born of arrogance not altruism. TR believed in the supremacy of the state, which in and of itself is a rejection of principles within the Declaration. TR viewed personal pursuits as an impediment to a utopian state. TR was an advocate of an all powerful central government; and promoted what French historian Alexis de Tocqueville described as soft tyranny.
President Howard Taft described TR as a "dangerous egotist" and a "demagogue." A relative described TR as follows; "When Theodore attends a wedding, he wants to be the bride, and when he attends a funeral, he wants to be the corpse." Whatever the description, TR was, first and foremost a politician. As such, he pandered to the progressive/populist movement prominent during the early 20th century. Whether or not TR was a true ideologue like authors Upton Sinclair and Lincoln Steffens, he catered to their visions. These visions and other populist's agitations affected law as government tinkering slowing progressed to government takeover. This agitation promulgated by populists led to law. Among these laws was the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887. Activism (i.e. populist agitation) may have given birth to legislation such as the ICC; it was progressives within (i.e. TR) that provided the teeth.
In 1906, The Hepburn Act was enacted under TR, which greatly enhanced the power of the ICC. These were landmark acts because it was the sentinel moment where bureaucratic regulation of private business at the federal level began. The ICC and Hepburn Act gave the federal government the power to decide what was unjust and unreasonable with regard to price. In other words, the government determined prices instead of the railroads and customers (i.e. producers and consumers). The government became a participant in the free market instead of a referee. Prior to the ICC and Hepburn Acts, and left to the free market, railroad prices decreased as profits increased. Following the ICC and particularly The Hepburn Act, profits for railroads decreased as prices increased. Once again, policies that were well intended but ill-advised by the 'wise and knowledgeable few'. By 1909 under TR employees within the ICC grew fivefold from its inception in 1887.
The tact used by TR was coercive power. This coercive use of power on the free market was viewed by economist Dr. Milton Friedman as the fundamental threat to freedom. The existence of a free market does not obviate the need for government. However, government should serve as a forum for determining the rules of the game and as umpire to interpret and enforce said rules. The government should not become an active participant, once this occurs the market loses its impersonal character via centralized authority. TR obviously chose central planning over private markets, top down vs. bottom up, socialism vs. capitalism. The entire premise of our founding was based upon the principle of limited and decentralized power. Government should serve as a means, neither to grant favors and gifts nor master to be blindly served. The private sector is a check on the powers of government. TR drove us to centralization and was intent on extending the scope of the federal government. Again, as history as proven, men of good will and intentions are the first to rue its consequences.
Another example of TR's paternalistic exertion of power; was his 'wise and far sighted' approach to environmentalism. He declared tens of millions of acres of land be set aside for national parks. Thereby rendering these lands off limits to the private sector (i.e. mining, logging, and farming). The trade off here is between the 'wise and knowledgeable few' (i.e. bureaucrats) and the less wise and less knowledgeable many (i.e. private owners). Rather than put trust in private stewardship, TR at the behest of environmentalist, put trust in the federal bureaucracy. The federal government became a means to an end for the progressive environmentalist, which continued throughout the 20th century and into the 21st. Another example of TR's incessant desire to exert power over others via an expansive and active central government; a hallmark of the progressive. TR's land grab was nothing more than redistributing private property in the name of social justice. TR, as part of his New Nationalism theme, called for the federal government to take an active role in economic policy through the superintending of private property.
With regard to private property, TR is quoted; "We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is obtained and well used. It is not even enough that it should have been gained without doing damage to the community. We should permit it to be gained only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community. This, I know, implies a policy of a far more active governmental interference with social and economic conditions in this country than we have yet had, but I think we have got to face the fact that such an increase in government is now necessary." The reader can judge; does this quote represent top down or bottom up? Central planning or private markets? Socialism or capitalism? Collective right or individual right? The progressive mind set during this period, which TR subscribed to can best be summed by Social Gospel advocate, Walter Rauschenbusch; "Socializing property will mean that instead of serving the welfare of a small group indirectly, and the public welfare only indirectly, it will be made more directly available for the service of all."
Once again the underlying theme in both quotes is the belief in government expansion, benevolent social control, and coercive means in the name of altruism. The Progressives movement during the early part of the 20th century ran concurrent with TR's tenure in the Whitehouse. Social advocates and fellow Progressives, Upton Sinclair, Lincoln Steffens, John Dewey, Jane Addams, Walter Rauschenbusch, Herbert Croly, Robert LaFollette, John Hopkins University, et al... were no doubt an influence on TR. Again, whether TR was indeed a true ideologue or simply a politician who pandered to the populist movement, the following quote from 1901 summarizes his elastic view of the Constitution and his 'altruistic' belief in a centralized, bureaucratic state; "The tremendous and highly complex industrial development which went on with ever accelerated rapidity during the latter part of the nineteenth century brings us face to face, at the beginning of the twentieth, with very serious social problems. The old laws, and the old customs which had almost the binding force of law, were once quite sufficient to regulate the accumulation and distribution of wealth. Since the industrial changes which have so enormously increased the productive power of mankind, they are no longer sufficient."
Altruistic or not, the overwhelming arrogance of this statement makes it very clear how TR and fellow progressives viewed The Constitution and the pernicious nature of their movement. Contrary to what TR and the progressives believed; The Constitution is not an elastic document, it is static, a document relevant to any time. The Constitution was relevant in 1789, 1820, 1861, 1901, 1933, 1978, and 1999 and remains relevant in 2010 as we head in to 2011. The reason for its relevance, regardless of social and economic conditions, is the fact that it addresses something that never changes, human nature. Basic human nature is no different today under Obama, Clinton, Reid, Pelosi, et al... than it was under TR, Wilson, Croly, Chase, FDR, LBJ, et al... than it was under Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Wythe, et al... Again, the inherent beauty and genius of our founding documents is their relevance to any point in history not withstanding social and economic conditions.
TR did not feel bound by Article III of the Constitution, which defines enumerated powers of the Executive Branch. TR believed his powers to be plenary; which he defined in his autobiography; "... insistence upon the theory that the executive power was limited only by specific restrictions and prohibitions appearing in the Constitution or imposed by the Congress under its Constitutional powers. My view was that every executive office, and above all every executive officer in high position, was a steward of the people bound actively and affirmatively to do all he could for the people, and not to content himself with the negative merit of keeping his talents undamaged in a napkin. I declined to adopt the view that what was imperatively necessary for the Nation could not be done by the President unless he could find some specific authorization to do it. My belief was that it was not only his right but his duty to do anything that needs of the Nation demanded unless such action was forbidden by the Constitution or by the laws." TR sums up not only his mindset but that of the progressives in this statement; they were and continue to be the self designated 'wise and knowledgeable few'. TR and the progressives became self appointed interpreters of the nations needs.
Excerpted from Progressive Dystopia by Michael Ozga Copyright © 2012 by Michael Ozga. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Theodore Roosevelt....................1
Chapter 2 Woodrow Wilson....................27
Chapter 3 FDR....................59
Chapter 4 Barack Obama....................101
Chapter 5 Personal Best ....................180
Chapter 6 Personal Worst ....................200