Oct 12 2008

Teddy Roosevelt: not a saint, a prophet, or particularly good role model

Category: election 2008,McCain,politicsharmonicminer @ 9:19 am

Knowing a bit more about Teddy Roosevelt than the whitewash they teach in the public schools, I’ve gotten just a bit tired of hearing McCain constantly refer to him as an icon worthy of emulation. So I was especially glad to read George Will’s take on TR, and whether he’s the model for McCain. Speaking of TR, Will writes:

He was an individualist who considered the individualism of others an impediment to the social unity required for national greatness. Having read Darwin’s “The Origin of Species” at age 14, and having strenuously transformed himself from an asthmatic child into a robust adult, he advocated “warrior republicanism” (Hawley’s phrase). TR saw virtue emerging from struggle, especially violent struggle, between nations and between the “Anglo-Saxon” race and lesser races. Blending “muscular Christianity,” the “social gospel” — which sanctified the state as an instrument of moral reclamation — and Darwinian theory, TR believed that human nature evolved toward improvement through conflict.

This dark vision of progress through strife made him advocate concentrated national power to serve his agenda, which was radically more ambitious than the Founders’ vision of limited government maintaining order, protecting property and otherwise staying out of the way of individual striving.

Exactly. We owe entirely too much of the current morass of entitlement oriented “progressivism” and spiritualized statism to the late 19th/early 20th century progressives, whose instincts were frequently hard to distinguish from Mussolini’s. I really don’t want to be ruled by an elite who won’t take NO for an answer. Do you?

That’s the scary part of the populist message, which is often delivered by people who do not cheerfully tolerate disagreement on ends, or means. Even scarier, however, is the leftist message, for which ends are all that matter, and any means will do.

Which is why I’m voting for McCain, and NOT Obama. McCain shows at least some reticence to use the power of government to solve every problem, though he is willing to use it in places where I am not. But Obama seems to think the government is the answer to everything. In that sense, populists, who have a few fascist tendencies, look like old fashioned liberal democrats compared to modern progressives, for whom the state is all, and for whose candidate children sing songs of worship and joy.

If you’re not up on Teddy Roosevelt, you’ll find Will’s piece a bracing, quick read.

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2 Responses to “Teddy Roosevelt: not a saint, a prophet, or particularly good role model”

  1. Dan Rust says:

    See the YouTube video below:


    for one person’s perspective on how you can make a decision to support Obama AND vote for John McCain. Feel free to forward this to any “undecided” voters you know of. This will be a VERY close election and we need every single vote we can get.

    Demonizing Obama will get us a few votes (and also lose us at least a few votes) but I hope that a rational, positive thought process will persuade a few people who are still on the fence.



  2. harmonicminer says:

    Dan, it isn’t “demonizing” to tell the truth, backed up by references to publicly available, factual information.

    Calling that “demonizing” is “demonizing” in its own way.

    And your video, even though it finally gets around to endorsing McCain, is WAY too long. I feel asleep.

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