Progressivism and Majority Rule vs. Individual Liberty, Part 5

by Tom Licata

Progressivism – so pervasive in today’s Democratic Party – is the ideology of American suicide and specifically of American Constitutionalism. This is the fifth in a series of writings dissecting and analyzing Progressivism’s ideological beliefs and ideas, to which the just stated conclusion will become self-evident. “Suicide” is an emotive term but here I use its cognitive ‘self-inflicting’ meaning. That is, the demise of American Constitutionalism is coming almost entirely from internal or domestic sources, rather than external or foreign.

The frameworks of these writings are largely taken from James Burnham’s 1964 work, “Suicide of the West,” a detailed analysis of liberalism’s history and beliefs, which ends in the conclusion that “Liberalism is the ideology of Western suicide. 


In this fifth of the series we’ll exam the kind of political and world views Progressivism sees as most advantageous in achieving their ideal society of peace, justice, freedom and material well-being for all mankind.

Progressivism holds a majoritarian-democratic theory of government, where legitimate government is based solely on the general or popular will of the people expressed through the arithmetic – one man, one vote – electoral process. Thus, Progressives distrust and object to those processes (i.e. federalism) and institutions that interfere with the direct expression of the majority will: The Electoral College in choosing a President; the non-proportional basis for electing U.S. Senators (where tiny Vermont shares the same number of Senators as California); and States’ Rights are all interferences to Progressivism’s majoritarian-democratic rule.

Progressives often refer to the United Nations rather than the U.S. Constitution in promoting their beliefs and Article 21 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states their majoritarian claim: “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage….”: No mention of separation of powers or States’ Rights here, just pure arithmetic majority rule.

And this is exactly what Barack Obama was getting at when he recently opined for the idea of mandatory voting in the United States: “If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country… it would be transformative if everybody voted.”

Thus centralizing governmental power – primarily in the federal Executive Branch – becomes the priority for Progressives in their attempt to thwart federalism’s separation of powers and States’ Rights, whose central objective is the securitization of individual liberty through limited government.

And from a theoretical point of view there’s no reason why majoritarian rule should halt at any particular nation’s door, as Progressivism sees nation states and borders as outdated and looks to all “mankind” for their new democratic world order.

James Roosevelt, oldest son of FDR, edited “The Liberal Papers,” in 1962, which included the follow passage: “…liberal foreign policy must assume that liberalism and democracy can only flourish or indeed survive in a suitable environment, that such an environment under present conditions can be no less extensive than the entire world, and that, therefore, liberal foreign policy must look at the world as a whole. Any form of isolationism and regionalism is obsolete. The nation that would save itself must subordinate its immediate interest to the maintenance of a peaceful, stable, and just world. That is the assumption that the United States and other nations made in establishing the United Nations.”

And this is exactly the motivation behind Barack Obama’s recent negotiations with nuclear-Iran and his dealings with Islamic terrorism.

Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr. and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. were among the prominent Kennedy-Johnson administration officials who were founding members of the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), along with Eleanor Roosevelt. ADA was founded to be a lobbying organization for Progressive policies born out of FDR’s New Deal and their leadership of today includes current members of Congress.

ADA’s Platform declared that “support of the principles of the United Nations is the cornerstone of our foreign policy.” And in its official Program, ADA describes itself as “dedicated to the achievement of freedom and economic security for all people, everywhere” (do you recall the Obama Administration’s recent call for “jobs” in combating Islamic terrorism?).

ADA’s 1947 Charter declared: “The establishment of a world government with powers adequate to prevent war must be an objective of the United States foreign policy to be achieved at the earliest possible dates.

The difference between 20th and 21st century Progressives lies only in their honesty and deception, respectively, for identical ends.

If it’s not already self-evident that Progressivism and American Constitutionalism don’t go together and are mutually exclusive, then read the first four of this series (found here: and the sixth, coming out shortly.

Tom Licata is a member of the Ethan Allen Institute board of directors


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