Woodrow Wilson, the only U.S. president to hold a Ph.D. may not have been as smart as he thought. Wilson’s claim to political fame was his intellect and political prowess toward liberal government. A main flaw in his thought processes was an ideology where enlightened (educated) men knew better how governments should progress to serve an evolving mankind.
Wilson believed prior statesmen could not possibly comprehend future civil situations where government modification would be required to meet new challenges. Wilson must have perceived the founders as simple men with limited resources for expanded thought. He believed their documents such as the Declaration of Independence merely reflected those ordeals in their lifetimes.
Wilson failed to realize that the founders had thoroughly studied philosophy and the histories of past civilizations, searching for the roots of human nature. Woodrow Wilson dismissed the power of human nature and a common phenomenon in which the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Addressing the Jefferson Club of Los Angeles in May of 1911, Wilson declared in order to understand the Declaration of Independence you must not repeat the preface. Purposely omitting the aspects of laws of nature and of nature’s God and those rights guaranteed, Wilson destroys the omniscient context of the Declaration and separates the authority of man’s ability for self-governance.
Accordingly, only those with intelligent progressive thought processes possessed an ability to design governments capable of ruling a growing society. Unfortunately, Wilson did not realize that progressives are also subject to the foils of human nature. According to him, well-trained administrators would be more capable of determining the needs of the citizens than those elected by the citizens.
There is no doubt Wilson would not have visualized the scope, the expanse or the expense, of governmental administrations (bureaucracy) as it has become in 2012. Would Wilson be amazed at the rebounding pendulum back toward original constitutional government many now seek? Would Wilson feel denigrated when present-day citizens show the same disdain for his beliefs that he demonstrated toward the founding fathers’ nearly the same time frame from his time as we are today?
History can be a cruel teacher but so effective if only someone will listen.
Eddie R. Dunlap