by: J. Dale Weaver, M.Div., M.A. 15 January,2021
When Abraham Lincoln prosecuted the war against the Confederate States, forcing them to remain in the Union, he escalated and multiplied the size and power of the Federal Government irreversibly. Since the time of the Civil War and Reconstruction, Government has never ceased to grow, enlarging itself at the expense of American Taxpayers, Inalienable Liberties, and the First Principles of our Founders. While there have been periods when such growth was arrested, or even temporarily reversed in certain sectors, overall, any “reduction” of Federal power and size has been an illusion – a dangerous mirage. Since the end of Reconstruction, when Lincoln and the Radical Republicans set the Precedent, there have been four additional “waves” of “Progressivism” that have washed across this nation, like a Tsunami over a Pacific atoll.
The first great wave was the Progressive Era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, beginning on the heels of the Spanish-American War of 1898, and lasting until 1919, a year after the end of “The Great War,” when Americans got fed up with both war and Government, and moved toward a “Return to Normalcy” which was pitched by the successful – and generally Conservative – campaign of Republican Warren Harding.
The second great wave of the Progressive March began in earnest in 1932, with the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and the consequent implementation of his “New Deal.” While the previous Republican Administration, under President Herbert Hoover, had attempted some of the “progressive” approaches at reform once the Great Depression started in late 1929, he was met with failure, and an often uncooperative Congress. FDR faced neither of those obstacles, and pushed both the size of the Federal Government, and the scope of their involvement in the business of the States as well as the personal lives of individual Americans to a new, bigger, and more obtrusive high. Once again, however, it was war that actually “ended” this wave of the “Progressive March.” FDR died in April, 1945, just as the war was about to end, and the US had been largely rescued from the Depression by the frenzied military-industrial complex that supplied our war effort, and would continue at a heightened state of production into the early Cold War. Truman could do no more than retain the programs of FDR’s New Deal, as his “Fair Deal,” which would have expanded the Progressive March once again was largely rejected and times became more prosperous in the post-war without government interference.
The third wave of the Progressive March came, unsurprisingly, in the 1960’s. It might have started under John F. Kennedy, had he lived long enough. But, as fate would have it, he was assassinated before he was able to fully implement his programs of social and government reform. And, JFK actually demonstrated a tendency toward some more “conservative” principles and ideas than had other Democrats in the past few generations, so, it’s arguable how his legacy might have turned out had he lived. Instead, his Vice President, Lyndon Baines Johnson, succeeded him, and went through a political metamorphosis that only a Democrat could have. He was a Southern Segregationist Democrat who, once JFK died, “embraced” his social agenda – and pushed it farther Left – perhaps much farther, than JFK would ever have attempted. He called his program “The Great Society,” and from it, he and the Democrat-dominated Congress passed more “social welfare” programs and policies than any other Government since the first FDR term (1933-1937). From 1965 to 1969, it was LBJ and the Democrats in Congress that gave shape to the United States “Modern Welfare State,” not only creating more entitlement programs than any previous Federal Administration before, but also leading in the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act – approved in Congress by mostly Northern and Western Republicans and Democrats – but without almost all Southern Democrats, who were Segregationists. The Supreme Court also became much more “Activist” during this period. In reality, the Court became more “Liberal” and loose in its interpretation of the Constitution in the 1950’s, while most of the nation was content with Eisenhower as President – and with the Status Quo. But with Johnson in office, appointing even more Activist judges to the Federal Bench, it was a matter of due course that the Court would eventually rule that Prayer and Bible Reading in Schools was “unconstitutional,” that hanging the “Ten Commandments” on the wall of Schools was “unconstitutional,” and eventually, that the aborting of unborn babies was “a right of women,” rather than a matter of the rights of the unborn child. But the American People tired quickly of LBJ’s “Great Society,” not so much because of its progressive domestic agenda, but because it went hand-in-hand with the Vietnam War, which Johnson could not extract himself from. The huge Leftist Counterculture that formed early in the 1960’s, to include the Civil Rights movement, the Hippies, the Free Speech Movement on College Campuses, and the Anti-War movement, all began to fall apart as well, leading to the ebb of this third wave by late 1969.
Then the fourth and last of the waves of the Progressive March was the Obama Era. Barack Obama, when elected President in 2008, proclaimed that he and his Party would “Fundamentally transform” America. It was a refrain he would often repeat. And indeed, they did. In his two terms in office, there was more change than at any other time in US History to that point. What passed for government-run healthcare, “ObamaCare,” was enacted. Social and welfare programs were extended further than at any time since the Great Society of LBJ in the 1960’s. Trillions were wasted in supposed “stimulus packages” to improve the “Great Recession” economy. The Federal Debt doubled – in just 8 years. Military spending was actually cut, but the demands on our Armed Forces remained high, though their mission was often redefined to that of humanitarianism or charity workers rather than warriors or defenders. The General and Flag Officers corps, and the Officers corps, were “purged” of many, if not most of the “relics” of the patriotic past. Careerists, globalists, and social engineers within the ranks became Generals, commanding officers. “Same sex marriage,” unthinkable just a few years before, became federal law. On the cover of the February 11, 2009 edition of Newsweek magazine, less than a month after Barack Obama took office, the editors loudly and proudly proclaimed, “We are All Socialists Now.” And they thought we – Americans – were. President Obama and the Media certainly went a long way in attempting to solidify that into reality.
Since that time, Americans have once again retreated from full on “socialism,” choosing instead to elect a Nationalist Populist, not to mention a billionaire reality TV star, in Donald J. Trump. The “Progressive” resistance to this President has never before been this vehement, this heated, this hateful, this threatening. Progressives of today are revealing their “true colors,” their heretofore hidden aims and objectives. They so fear losing power that they are tipping their hand, showing the nation that they aren’t “moderate” or “centrist” in any form. In reality, they never have been. They are Marxists, through and through. They began the march to overthrow this nation, the Constitutional Republic, well over 100 years ago, perhaps as long as 150 years ago, but, their methodology was not immediate, violent revolution, as occurred in Russia in 1917 with the Bolshevik Revolution. Instead, it was “incrementalism,” changing, converting, nudging Americans, a little bit at a time, toward Marxism, never giving up their façade of “liberty, democracy, equality.” Loaded words to Progressives. In this present day, they see many of their achievements, so close to becoming complete, to be threatened by an upstart, outsider – a billionaire no less! How dare he.
The Progressive March was being blocked, till November. But in a few short days, we will lose the one man who acted as a restrainer, the only defense against their angry, hateful and power-seeking modus operandi. There is no doubt remaining as to their tenacity and designs. Progressives will not stop. They will press on, undaunted. They want power. They want control. They want to establish the State as the supreme entity – they want to be in charge. If they cannot secure it by incremental means any longer, then the will, as all Marxists do, eventually resort to violence. It’s a matter of time.
This is who the Progressives are.