“World War I on the Home Front,” By Ralph Raico

1934_cartoonThis is considerably heavier (and longer) than what I usually do on Saturday. That’s not an apology, it’s also important. Most of it comes from Nomocracy in Politics, which is a wonderful source for us. Many of you have seen my utter disgust for Woodrow Wilson, and my belief that he ushered in many of the policies that slowed down or maybe stopped the miracle that was America. And I’ll bet you haven’t heard any of this in school, because even back when I was in school, the official line was that Wilson was a great president. He wasn’t. In fact, he may have been the worst of American presidents, even including Obama, if for no other reason than Obama is inconceivable without Wilson.

The break point to me is in three parts:

  1. The income tax, that penalizes Americans for success.
  2. The Federal Reserve, that allows the government to spend money that it didn’t have, without specifically borrowing it, and
  3. World War I. This was the worst of all because the government did all sorts of things that were (and are) illegal and or unconstitutional.

In this essay, Ralph Raico, summarizes very well the pernicious changes instituted by Wilson during the war. You’ll note that most of them continue in force. As you are reading this (and do follow the link) I want you to think about how much freer our society was before these things

The changes wrought in America during the First World War were so profound that one scholar has referred to “the Wilsonian Revolution in government.”[1] Like other revolutions, it was preceded by an intellectual transformation, as the philosophy of progressivism came to dominate political discourse.[2] Progressive notions — of the obsolescence of laissez-faire and of constitutionally limited government, the urgent need to “organize” society “scientifically,” and the superiority of the collective over the individual — were propagated by the most influential sector of the intelligentsia and began to make inroads in the nation’s political life.

As the war furnished Lenin with otherwise unavailable opportunities for realizing his program, so too, on a more modest level, it opened up prospects for American progressives that could never have existed in peacetime. The coterie of intellectuals around the New Republicdiscovered a heaven-sent chance to advance their agenda. John Dewey praised the “immense impetus to reorganization afforded by this war,” while Walter Lippmann wrote: “We can dare to hope for things which we never dared to hope for in the past.” The magazine itself rejoiced in the war’s possibilities for broadening “social control … subordinating the individual to the group and the group to society,” and advocated that the war be used “as a pretext to foist innovations upon the country.”[3]

Woodrow Wilson’s readiness to cast off traditional restraints on government power greatly facilitated the “foisting” of such “innovations.” The result was a shrinking of American freedoms unrivaled since at least the War Between the States.

It is customary to distinguish “economic liberties” from “civil liberties.” But since all rights are rooted in the right to property, starting with the basic right to self-ownership, this distinction is in the last analysis an artificial one.[4] It is maintained here, however, for purposes of exposition.

As regards the economy, Robert Higgs, in his seminal work,Crisis and Leviathan, demonstrated the unprecedented changes in this period, amounting to an American version of Imperial Germany’s Kriegssozialismus. Even before we entered the war, Congress passed the National Defense Act. It gave the president the authority, in time of war “or when war is imminent,” to place orders with private firms which would “take precedence over all other orders and contracts.” If the manufacturer refused to fill the order at a “reasonable price as determined by the Secretary of War,” the government was “authorized to take immediate possession of any such plant [and] … to manufacture therein … such product or material as may be required”; the private owner, meanwhile, would be “deemed guilty of a felony.”[5]

Once war was declared, state power grew at a dizzying pace. The Lever Act alone put Washington in charge of the production and distribution of all food and fuel in the United States.

By the time of the armistice, the government had taken over the ocean-shipping, railroad, telephone, and telegraph industries; commandeered hundreds of manufacturing plants; entered into massive enterprises on its own account in such varied departments as shipbuilding, wheat trading, and building construction; undertaken to lend huge sums to business directly or indirectly and to regulate the private issuance of securities; established official priorities for the use of transportation facilities, food, fuel, and many raw materials; fixed the prices of dozens of important commodities; intervened in hundreds of labor disputes; and conscripted millions of men for service in the armed forces.

via “World War I on the Home Front,” By Ralph Raico | Nomocracy In Politics.

There were, of course, precursors going back at least to Lincoln and becoming noticeable in Theodore Roosevelt’s, and Taft’s administrations but, they were just that: precursors. This is when Progressivism got its real hold on our country–much to our detriment.

Can we go back? I doubt it, at least not all at once, unless the whole thing falls apart, like the Soviet Union in 1989, and that’s a hard way to fix things.

Should we? Yes we should. We were the wonder of the world, some things were harder but on balance we did more for ourselves–and for the world–than we have since. This is where we came from and how we did it.

Maybe not all the way, all at once. It did take us a hundred years to get this screwed up, but we need to change the direction, or we will go off that cliff at some point. If that happens, everything we have stood for, individual liberty, free market success, free innovation and all the rest will be lost, including the free world, maybe for a long time, maybe forever.

But remember, on this journey, you are responsible for you and yours, no one else is.

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About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

26 Responses to “World War I on the Home Front,” By Ralph Raico

  1. Surely WW I, or the Great War helped shape the 20th Century! I had the blessing of knowing and talking some, as a young man, to both of my grandfathers who fought in the so-called Great War, of course as Brit’s. (They both died in the 1970’s) And that war did change them, as it did so-called Great Britain. This was the first of the total and modern War! And as many historians feel the Second World War was a continuation of the Great War, certainly in many places of ideology, and even fanciful ideas as one can see in the German Nazi nationalism and racism! But such were really many ideas in the European nations, especially the hatred and myth toward the Jews! And it actually still exists in the world today! For WE have yet to come to our last human roundup in War, which will surely come in a literal Armageddon, centred around the literal Modern Nation of Israel! (Zech. 14) And btw, the Jewish chemist and Zionist (1918), Chaim Weizmann, found a way to increase the production of acetone, an essential component of explosives. His reward was the British Balfour Declaration pledging British support for a Jewish homeland. We have been on the road to Armageddon, especially since WW I, and Two! And we can see also how T.E. Lawrence (known to us as Lawrence of Arabia), who was in 1915 a young but unconventional second lieutenant in the British Army’s Department of Intelligence. Btw, already in WW I Lawrence had lost two brothers. Lawrence of course set the stage between the West and Arab nationalism, which again will only end in Armageddon, around the modern nation of Israel! Where will the USA be or align?

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    • NEO says:

      A very good question that, that until 2008 would have never occurred to me.

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      • Yes, my great awakening was in Gulf War I, and watching Bush senior let so many Iraq Republican Guard return home? WE should have taken them out then! Such is the reality of real war! Not to mention seeing the reality of the Arab-Muslim hatred in Radical Islam, for the Jews and West! We have seen but the tip of the spear for the WAR that’s coming with Radical Islam, and just all the other evils of this age! Mankind or humanity will not end well, but God In Christ must come Himself, to save the essence of the planet and creation!

        But yes, just where will be the USA, and the British Empire? It does seem laying waste in great apostasy and sin! (Lk. 18: 8) And only a “faithful remnant” will survive, verse 7!

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        • NEO says:

          It may be so.

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        • Sadly, I believe it WILL be so! And I really wish I were wrong, but this has quite nothing to do with me, and my feeble mind, but GOD’s Sovereignty of both His grace, purpose and glory! And to this, only Holy Scripture itself reveals! Note HIS “purpose” includes both His grace and glory, and IN the Face of “Christ Jesus”! We must get back to a Christianity that is Judeo, and also earth-bound, and not just ‘pie in the sky’!

          Wow, just noted all the exclamation marks…! 😉 Aye the old preacher in me… 🙂

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        • NEO says:

          Yep, there’s a few of them. -)

          I don’t disagree with you, just haven’t studied that part very well, so I will just Have to trust Him, in this as well! Guess I can’t go far wrong there. 🙂

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        • It is rather funny or strange, but my great life – “study” here was connected it appears with both my great-gram, (a PB or Plymouth Brethren)…being Catholic myself, but closely connected to her “Biblicism” growing-up, and then of course my own reality much later in Gulf War 1, which pressed me away from my then A-Mill views, to the Post-Mill, then finally to the Historic Pre-Mill. What a trip and providence I believe! 🙂 Yes, we shall all see in the end, and say Amen, for God is God, and ‘In Christ’!

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        • NEO says:

          Quite a story (and a true one) you have there

          That we shall for God is God, and is indeed in Christ. 🙂

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        • Yes, those of us who have been tied to God’s grace & glory, will say Amen, and forever! (Rev. chapters 4 & 5) THIS world-age, as it is, has nothing on the Redeemed of God, it is our sojourn-journey now, but NOT our lasting memory! But, WE will see the wound-marks of Jesus forever… and cry Glory!

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        • NEO says:

          So we shall!

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  2. the unit says:

    I do love reading here, and you and Fr. Robert ‘s comments. I can’t go deeply into scriptures like y’all do (forget various doctrines). I learned basically in the late ’40’s and early ’50’s, Jesus loves all the little children, red and yellow, black and white. That’s what Mama taught and I believe now. And that was in Mississippi mind you.
    Like the Sgt. Benavidez says…Americans, skin color don’t matter, look to colors of the red, white and blue.
    http://www.greatamericans.com/video/Portraits-of-Valor-Roy-Benavide

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    • NEO says:

      Ha, we’re tame, you should see the controversies on Jess’ site. But that’s a lot of it right there, Unit, we’re all God’s kids, and our uncle is named Sam. 🙂

      Like

  3. the unit says:

    As usual you entice me to look back into the past. According to family lore my great uncle fought
    in the Spanish American War. I had quite a bit it contact with him in the 50’s and early 60’s and never was there any mention of war memories. He had a auto repair garage and it was baseball, baseball, baseball as to interest, not much as to auto repair business.
    Anyway Auntie, his wife, gave me what she said was his Springfield 30-40 Krag. so I’ve not ever doubted the family lore. I still have it.

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    • NEO says:

      Neat thing to have, I’ve only seen a couple of them.

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      • the unit says:

        I wonder if IT killed anybody. Like you know a news story of someone run over and killed by a SUV. 🙂

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        • NEO says:

          Yeah, I wonder 🙂

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      • If ya watch some of the re-runs of your Hogan’s Hero’s, Shultz has a 30-40 Krag sometimes…I guess they could not find a real German 8m Mauser? The 30-40 Krag also came in a shorter carbine too.

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        • NEO says:

          Geez you would have thought an 03 Springfield would be close enough as well.

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        • Indeed, but the 30-40 Krag rifle is very long. Give me an old .303 Enfield myself! 😉

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        • NEO says:

          True enough, all thing considered, I still like the M-1 Garand 🙂

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        • I won’t get into the stories of the British Commando knife or blade, or the V-42 Stiletto! 😉 (Note I have a few of both!)

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        • NEO says:

          Someplace around I have a Vietnam era Gerber Mark II that I like a lot. 🙂

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        • Did not General George Patton say that the M1 Grand and the American infantryman (with a few Marines) won WW II? 😉

          I have shot an M1 Grand, as too the M1 Carbine (as an old O3A3 Bolt Action 30-06.) Very sweet weapons! I know the VC loved to get their hands on the M1 Carbine! A young boy or woman could shoot it!

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        • NEO says:

          Actually he said it was the greatest battle implement ever invented. 🙂

          Only trouble with the carbine, from what I’ve read, everybody loved it, but it was short on stopping power. Compared to 30-06 certainly, wonder how it compared to 5.56 NATO though.

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        • Oh the .556 is hell to pay close-up and to about 100 meters or so! But, not so great in the open desert in my opinion. I remember Marine Recon and Scout snipers using the scoped M-14 in the Gulf, 7.62 or .308 NATO round. And that was very sufficient!

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        • NEO says:

          Yep.

          Like

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