By Eric Beck, CommentaryPublished 8:00 am EST, April 3, 2019
For the first time in its history, a 2018 Gallup survey revealed that Democrats view socialism more positively than capitalism. This finding confirms what many traditional Americans and political conservatives already knew; that the Democratic Party is now being run by radical far-left progressives. Therefore, to fully appreciate the significance of this finding, one must first understand the political philosophy of the progressive Left and how it differs from that of our nation’s Founders.
Since the days of FDR’s New Deal, progressives have been working hard to fundamentally transform the American Dream into something that is very different from that envisioned by the Founders. Where center-right Americans have always supported the Founder’s vision of equal opportunity, the progressive Left has abandoned this objective in favor of equal economic outcomes.
America’s Founders signed a Declaration of Independence that declared government’s purpose is to secure inalienable (aka fundamental) rights granted to us by our creator (i.e., God). These rights as outlined in the Constitution include, but are not limited to, the right to own property, the right to specific freedoms such as speech, religion, assembly, and to bear arms. Progressives reject the notion of inalienable rights believing instead that rights can be created or changed arbitrarily by any prevailing majority in government. Therefore, progressives believe in what James Madison once called “tyranny of the majority.” In more modern-day terms, one might also recognize this approach to government as a form of fascism.
Progressive philosophy and its
arbitrary notion of rights is grounded in their belief in a “living
Constitution.” By “living,” progressives mean that our fundamental rights, and
the state’s power to undermine these rights, can change and evolve over time to
suit the political whims of any prevailing majority in government. For example,
consider the words of our first progressive President, Woodrow Wilson, from his
book Constitutional Government in the United States.
underlying understandings of a constitutional system are modified from age to
age by changes of life and circumstance and corresponding alterations of
opinion. It does not remain fixed in any unchanging form but grows with the
growth and is altered with the change of the nation’s needs and purposes.” – President Woodrow Wilson, 1917
Wilson rejected the idea that our
Constitution serves as a legal standard that would constrain his actions, or
that of Congress and the Judiciary, by preventing them from undermining our
fundamental rights. Now compare Wilson’s view of the Constitution with that of
former Vice President Al Gore that he expressed while running for President. Both
men express strikingly similar sentiments about the Constitution.
“I would look
for justices of the Supreme Court who understand that our Constitution is a
living and breathing document, that it was intended by our Founders to be
interpreted in the light of the constantly evolving experience of the American
people.” – Vice President Al Gore, March
Progressives will often say they simply have
a different way of interpreting the Constitution than conservatives do,
recognizing that conservatives believe in interpretation based on the original intent
of its Framers. Unfortunately, this is a dodge. In fact, progressives see the
Constitution as a frivolous annoyance that obstructs their ability to “evolve”
public policy to achieve their new vision of an American Dream based on socialism.
interpretations of the Constitution carry with them no recognition of the
lessons of history. The Founders established our Constitution to define the
terms and structure of a limited federal government, one that would serve as a
bulwark against arbitrary legal interpretation that seeks to undermine our fundamental
rights. Changing or evolving interpretations of legal text, whether it be applied
to statutes or a constitution, have historically been the scourge of tyrants.
One only needs to read the Declaration of Independence to see examples of such
tyranny in how arbitrary interpretation of law was imposed by the British
Government upon the American colonists under King George III. Herein lies the great
paradox of progressivism; the name implies progress forward, but instead the
movement takes us backward toward a government based on coerced philanthropy
and where our fundamental individual rights are undermined in favor of the collective.
Millennials, according to reports,
have had a growing taste for what some describe as “Democratic Socialism” ever
since the 2008 financial crisis. It is no wonder that with such a traumatic
disruption to our financial system, some would call into question whether
free-market capitalism is innately flawed. But here is a news flash: capitalism
is flawed. That is why efficient and effective regulation is important in a
free market, regulation that should be designed to ensure that “win-win”
business transactions are the norm. However, the shift in attitudes amongst
Millennials, and that for progressive Democrats, has a root cause that goes far
deeper than financial turmoil.
Independent studies show that a large percentage of Americans are not proficient in their understanding of basic civics and economics, leaving them in many cases unprepared to effectively evaluate public policy. Why is this the case? For several decade America’s public schools have been doing an inadequate job of delivering competent education in these two critical disciplines. Without a competent understanding of civics and economics, a citizen voter is left without the analytical framework required to effectively evaluate policy by determining whether it may be legally or constitutionally permissible, or economically realistic.
As we head into the 2020 Presidential election, we are now seeing Democratic candidates propose policies that fail on Constitutional grounds and in terms of economic viability. For example, progressive proposals citing “Medicare for All” lead us to question whether the Constitution would legally permit federal enactment of such a program. Likewise, we should also question how our nation can afford to pay an estimated $32.7 trillion for this program when Medicare already has more than $37 trillion in existing unfunded liabilities.
Unless we can improve
civic and economic literacy in America, the public will remain susceptible to progressive
influence that seeks to promote the coerced philanthropy of socialism instead
of protecting our rights.
The danger of progressivism is
sometimes difficult to observe because it does not come at us like a wolf at
the door, for that threat would be far too easy to see. Progressivism comes to
us more like termites in the basement by slowly eating away at our fundamental
rights and constitutional protections. That’s why remedial education in civics
and economics becomes so important. It will help the average American see this
danger more clearly before it is too late.
In order to do our part to solve the
problem of civic and economic illiteracy, Free Nation Media will publish The
Exceptional American blog. Beginning April 3, 2019, our weekly blog
will offer commentary on a wide-rage of public policy concerns that include,
but will not be limited to, economic policy, income inequality, healthcare
reform, immigration, the environment, climate change, education, the judiciary,
race relations and other important issues. Our commentary will always focus on helping
the reader develop a deeper understanding of these issues by competently applying
a civic and economic analytical framework. Therefore, we intend this
publication to shape your perspective on public policy in a manner that enables
both economic prosperity and constitutional consistency.
We at Free Nation Media hope you will
Exceptional American content both interesting and informative. More
importantly, we intend this content to be relevant to your concerns about
America’s future, and that for the future of your children as well.
To learn more about how the Progressive Movement is undermining our Constitution and the American Dream, order a copy of Conquering the Political Divide – How the Constitution Can Heal Our Polarized Nation. This book makes a great read for Millennials who have not had grounding in what makes America exceptional. Order your copy today by clicking here.
If you would like to suggest a topic for a future blog, or to provide us with feedback on this commentary, email us at: feedback@FreeNationMedia.com
Eric BeckEditor-In-ChiefFree Nation MediaGreenville, South Carolina
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