But on one basic claim, Beck is spot-on correct: the Progressives gave birth to modern government. He reserves his greatest invective for President Woodrow Wilson, an Ivy-educated intellectual (sound familiar?) who brought us, among other things, the graduated federal income tax. But his screeds against the Progressives would apply equally well to Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, who both did their share of federal state-building along the banks of the Potomac.
Since the 1960s, to be sure, Republicans have won office by demonizing federal programs and especially federal spending. And we heard plenty of that in this election, with the GOP’s constant barrage against “Obamacare,” the bank bailout, and the stimulus.
But something else was at work, too. To Beck and his minions, the real problem isn’t simply a bloated federal bureaucracy or runaway deficits. It’s government, plain and simple, which has run roughshod over the individual rights and freedoms that our founding fathers held dear.
Hence Beck’s constant paeans to the American Revolution (tea party, anyone?) and his equally routine attacks on the Progressives, who supposedly sold our birthright of liberty for a pottage of government regulation and control.