Why Are Voters So Angry? They want self-government back.

Why Are Voters So Angry? They want self-government back. By Myron Magnet.

A new kind of government has grown up inside the old structure, like those parasites hatched in another organism that grow by eating up their host from within, until the adult creature bursts out of the host’s carcass. This transformation is not an evolution but a usurpation.

What has now largely displaced the Founders’ government is what’s called the Administrative State — a transformation premeditated by its main architect, Woodrow Wilson. [US President 1913 to 1921, he also started the third and current US central bank, the Fed.]

The thin-skinned, self-righteous college-professor president, who thought himself enlightened far beyond the citizenry, dismissed the Declaration of Independence’s inalienable rights as so much outmoded “nonsense,” and he rejected the Founders’ clunky constitutional machinery as obsolete. What a modern country needed, he said, was a “living constitution” that would keep pace with the fast-changing times by continual, Darwinian adaptation, as he called it, effected by federal courts acting as a permanent constitutional convention.

Modernity, Wilson thought, demanded efficient government by independent, nonpartisan, benevolent, hyper-educated experts, applying the latest scientific, economic, and sociological knowledge to industrial capitalism’s unprecedented problems, too complex for self-governing free citizens to solve. Accordingly, he got Congress to create executive-branch administrative agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission, to do the job.

During the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt proliferated such agencies, from the National Labor Relations Board and the Federal Housing Administration to the Federal Communications Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission, to put the New Deal into effect. Before they could do so, though, FDR had to scare the Supreme Court into stretching the Constitution’s Commerce Clause beyond recognition, putting the federal government in charge of all economic activity, not just interstate transactions. He also had to pressure the justices to allow Congress to delegate legislative power — which is, in effect, what the lawmakers did by setting up agencies with the power to make binding rules. The Constitution, of course, vests all legislative power in Congress, empowering it to make laws, not to make legislators. …

That’s how it was done in the US; trends elsewhere in the West were similar.

Adding insult to injury, Wilson, his allies, and their current followers call themselves “progressives,” a fatuous boast implying that they are the embodiments and chosen instruments of the spirit of an ever-improving, irresistible future. …

[But] how is a return to subjection an advance on freedom? No lover of liberty should ever call such left-wing statism “progressive.” In historical terms, this elevation of state power over individual freedom is not even “liberal” but quite the reverse. …

Deference to the greater wisdom of government, which Wilsonian progressivism deems a better judge of what the era needs and what the people “really” want than the people themselves, has been silently eroding our unique culture of enterprise, self-reliance, enlightenment, and love of liberty for decades. …

Supercharging American anger over illegal immigration and its consequences is the politically correct ban on openly discussing it, with even the most reasoned reservation dismissed as racism and yahooism. And political correctness generates its own quantum of anger among citizens, who think of freedom of speech and debate as central to American exceptionalism.

But elite culture stigmatizes plain speaking, so that now a rapist or a murderer is a “person who committed a crime” or an “individual who was incarcerated,” says the Obama Department of Justice, or, according to the latest humbug from the Department of Education, a “justice-involved individual.” Implicit in these euphemisms is the theory that “society,” not the criminal, is to blame for crime, a long-exploded idea aimed at blurring the distinction between right and wrong.