Special to WorldTribune, January 21, 2021
by Victor Morawski
At the end of a week which saw Democrats capture both Houses of Congress and their nominee confirmed by the Electoral College as President Elect, center-right Conservatives may have felt that they could at least take some consolation in the fact that their nominee is at least only “Moderate Joe” and not a radical Progressive like Biden’s primary election opponent Bernie Sanders.
However, such musings only brought a feeling of relief to the Conservative psyche which ignored things like the campaign-trail claims of Biden’s former boss Barack Obama that Biden’s platform is “the most progressive platform of any major-party nominee in history.” Was this mere empty campaign rhetoric on behalf of a candidate who wished to run as farther left than he actually is to bring Progressives into the fold — but wants to govern from a more moderate center?
Not so, according to Biden transition team advisory board member Felicia Wong of the Roosevelt Institute. She portrayed him as more like Franklin Roosevelt, who initially ran as a moderate but shifted much more to the Progressive Left while in office. Her claim was that “much of Biden’s agenda” — including $2 trillion to build a carbon-free economy — “is transformative.”
All of which is not surprising when one considers who has essentially been Biden’s paymaster for the past decade plus. When Barack Obama claimed that it was effectively his goal and that of his administration to fundamentally remake — transform — America, he did so from the standpoint of Progressivism, a mantle which has been taken up in our own day by the likes of Bernie Sanders, AOC and the Squad. And now, it seems, Joe Biden.
They are, it should be pointed out, following the lead of the president that most conservatives consider, perhaps, the most abhorrent of the 20th Century. I speak, of course, of Woodrow Wilson. He who gifted us with the Federal Reserve, the federal income tax, and, some suggest, World War I.
President Wilson, a Progressive pioneer, suggested applying a Darwinian metaphor to the Constitution: Like an evolving species it needs to adapt to its environment to meet contemporary needs. It is a living, not a static, document.
According to Ronald J. Restritto in an article entitled ―The Birth of the Administrative State, it was President Woodrow Wilson who first suggested a way to free American government from the checks and balances placed on it in the Constitution and pave the way for Progressive reforms: Vest more and more real power in the hands of unelected administrators.
He seems to have genuinely held what strikes many as an incredibly naïve belief, namely that administrators who were experts in their own fields, would somehow be above politics and so interested in devoting themselves to serving the needs of the citizenry that checks and balances on their actions would be unnecessary.
Barack Obama learned Wilson’s lesson well. In appointing one un-elected Czar after another to positions of overriding authority in his administration, he engineered countless end runs around Constitutional safeguards. A good way to gauge the Progressivist tendencies of the incoming Biden-Harris Administration is to look at its intentions in this area, which are already becoming quite clear.
Most prominent here is the proposed appointment of John Kerry as Biden’s “Climate Czar”.
Less publicized is the appointment of Obama’s former economics and healthcare Czar Jeff Zients as the “Covid Czar” as noted by Politico. Projected also are the appointments of an “Asia Czar” to focus on China issues, an “Opioid Crisis Accountability Coordinator” and “special envoy’s” or Czars for LGBTQ+ Persons’ Rights and for “Islamic Cooperation,” these being only the first of “many more Czars to come” according to Politico.
Clearly the incoming administration is wasting no time in adopting this page of the Progressivist playbook.
While the Founding Fathers believed that governments should be instituted for the protection of individual rights and liberties, Progressivism has from its inception loathed individualism and its political expression in our founding documents.
In The Meaning of “Progressive‘ Politic” Barry Loberfeld quotes Herbert Croly, a Progressive writer, as saying that, “The Promise of American Life is to be fulfilled … by a large measure of individual subordination and self-denial, something which, in this era of Covid-19, the incoming administration has no problem asking of us.”
No wonder the great concern of center right Constitutional Originalists is that the incoming Administration, like the Obama Administration, with its unchecked Czars and unwavering Congressional support for a large and invasive government seems to think that it can advance Progressive reforms in far more than merely incremental ways. And if it does, it may finally be able to tip the balance that remakes America into a Socialist state once and for all, replacing Divinely-granted Constitutional Rights with artificially-manufactured Welfare Rights.
Victor Morawski is a semi-retired philosophy professor.