Saturday, April 18, 2009

The First Dictator of the Twentieth Century

(More thoughts inspired from Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism)

Who was the first fascist dictator of the twentieth century? I'll give you a hint: he was not a European. Jonah Goldberg nominates our own Woodrow Wilson! Wilson wrote that giving blacks the right to vote was "the foundation of every evil." "Wilson loved, craved, and glorified power," writes historian Walter McDougall. Wilson claimed to be the "right hand of God, and to stand against him was to thwart divine will. Wilson was all about expanding the power of government, and scoffed at the Constitution's emphasis on individual rights."

Like Mussolini in Italy and Hitler in Germany, Wilson had many other kindred spirits who believed like he did. The mother of the social work profession, progressive social activist Jane Addams declared, "We must demand that the individual shall be willing to lose the sense of of personal achievement, and shall be content to realize his activity only in connection to the activity of the many." The progressives of Wilson's day tried to make Christianity a state religion; the state was "the means by which the whole nation and world would be redeemed."

Wilson and his fellow progressives distrusted families. As president of Princeton, he told an audience, "Our problem is not merely to help the students to adjust themselves to world life...but to make them as unlike their fathers as we can." Wilson wrote an "unintentionally chilling essay" in 1890, Leaders of Men. In it he explained that the "true leader" must use the masses like "tools," speaking to their passions, not their intellects.

In the 1912 election campaign Wilson said, "America is not now and cannot in the future be a place for unrestricted individual enterprise."

1 comment:

Terri Wagner said...

I am now anxious to read more about woodrow wilson, a president I never thought much about before.