Progressivism’s Dark Side

In early March, I had the privilege of attending the oral arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole at the U.S. Supreme Court. It was both an extraordinary and eerie experience.

The eight justices questioned Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller and pro-abortion advocate Stephanie Toti about a 2013 Texas law – passed in response to the gruesome Gosnell revelations and trial in Philadelphia – which requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals within a thirty mile radius of the place at which the abortion is being performed.

I was seated in one of the seven guest rows, where most attendees were pro-abortion. To my left: Planned Parenthood C.E.O. Cecile Richards. Fives minutes before the justices took their seats, President Obama’s top aide, Valerie Jarrett, came in and sat down in front of me.

The issue before the Court was whether the Texas law imposes “undue burden” on women seeking abortions. The progressive justices’ cross-examinations were very clinical. In fact, I have never heard the word “abortion” used so often in such a detached manner.

For instance, when Solicitor General Keller pointed out that the law would save the lives of victims of botched abortions, Justice Stephen Breyer dismissed the argument as immaterial because there were only 200 such instances out of Texas’ 70,000 abortions per year.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor snapped at Keller, asking sarcastically, “The slightest benefit is enough to burden the lives of a million women. That’s your point?” In other words, all lives don’t matter.

By the end of this morbid session, I thought I was in a eugenics court. Then it dawned on me, I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, the modern Progressive movement has been dominated by a self-anointed elite, like several of the justices, who had contempt for the common people. In the early 20th century, they even promoted social and economic policies driven by anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic impulses.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Read the excellent new book by Princeton’s Thomas Leonard, Illiberal Reformers: Race Eugenics and American Economics in the Progressive Era. Under the banner of a “New Nationalism,” progressives called for a centralized administrative state manned by expert managers and planners, who would use “scientific methods” to enhance human welfare.

Believing that social progress “required the individual to be controlled, liberated and expanded by collective actions,” progressive intellectuals perceived human persons as “lumps of human dough” to be formed on the “social kneading board.”

That molding, Leonard points out, was to be done “by the best and the brightest, those who, uniquely, ignored profit and power to serve the common good – which is to say, the progressives themselves.”

These experts denied inalienable rights. Their hero, Woodrow Wilson, called them “nonsense.” The editors of the progressive journal, The New Republic, spoke for the movement when it ridiculed individual liberties as “quaint and retrograde.” The leading progressive legal scholar, Roscoe Pound (1879-1964) author of Social Control Through Law, argued the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights “were not needed in the [founders time] and they are not desired in our own.”

Believing that the State superseded even God, progressives encouraged government officials to embrace eugenics – “the social control of human breeding” to rid the nation of perceived undesirables.

Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson

Progressive-era eugenics, Leonard writes, “required agreement upon three things only – the primacy of heredity, human hierarchy rather than human equality, and the necessary illiberal idea that human heredity must be socially controlled rather than left to individual choice.”

In 1911, N.J. governor, Woodrow Wilson, signed into forcible sterilization legislation aimed at “the hopelessly defective and criminal classes.” Numerous states and municipalities followed Wilson’s lead.

In America’s inner cities, Anglo-Saxon Progressives took aim at Catholic and Jewish immigrants. They looked upon Eastern European immigrants as inferiors who “out bred their biological betters” and agreed (with Wilson) that “low-standard races” were undercutting genuine American workers by accepting very low wages.

Progressive historian Frederick Jackson Turner accused Italians, Slovaks, Poles, and Russian Jews of turning N.Y.C. into a pipeline draining “the misery pools of Europe.”

Then there was Eugene V. Debs who said that the “Dago” worked for pittance because he lives “like a savage or a wild beast.”

M.I.T. President Francis Amasa Walker, an economist, described Eastern European Catholics and Jews as “beaten men from beaten races, representing the worst failures in the struggle for existence.”

Many progressives supported the recommendations of the Congressional chartered Dillingham Commission (1907-1910), which was created to examine the “immigrant problem.” The forty-two volume report, totaling 20,000 pages, which Theodore Roosevelt endorsed, was an anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic eugenics diatribe that claimed the new immigrants were “less-skilled, less literate, less progressive and less assimilable” than earlier immigrants from Nordic countries. The findings (which historian Oscar Handlin noted were “neither impartial nor scientific”) provided the foundations for the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act of 1924, which limited eastern and southern European immigration to 20,000, down from 700,000 yearly.

In addition to supporting literacy tests, forcible sterilization, abortion, and government control of human heredity, Progressives also called for a legal “minimum wage.”

They believed a minimum wage would deter “immigrants and other inferiors from entering the labor force” and would idle “inferior workers already employed.” In other words, given the choice of hiring a native Protestant or immigrant Catholic at the same pay, the employer would undoubtedly hire the superior Protestant. Unemployable inferiors would be institutionalized, sterilized, or banished to work in rural “celibate colonies.”

The dark side of the Progressive movement, ably described in Illiberal Reformers helps explain why Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a staunch Wilsonian, banned the term “progressive” and instead called himself a “liberal” when he ran for president in 1932.

F.D.R. ran away from the Progressive movement because he knew “the intellectual champions of the regulatory welfare state proposed using it not to help those they portrayed as hereditary inferiors, but to exclude them.”

Today, however, the new “progressives” in the White House and on the presidential campaign trail are promoting an agenda, similar to their forbears, that includes ideological conformity, suppression of free speech and religious liberty, unlimited abortion, and euthanasia.

And if they win in November, they’ll take even greater control over the federal courts, which will impose the progressive agenda by judicial fiat.

George J. Marlin

George J. Marlin

George J. Marlin, Chairman of the Board of Aid to the Church in Need USA, is the author of The American Catholic Voter, Narcissist Nation: Reflections of a Blue-State Conservative, and Christian Persecutions in the Middle East: A 21st Century Tragedy. His new book, Sons of St. Patrick, written with Brad Miner, will be published on St. Patrick's Day.

  • Michael DeLorme

    Brilliant article; and trust Obama not to count on his new “progressives” to maintain their hold in November. He will do whatever it takes, and however illegally, to stack the federal courts as far as he can. by executive fiat, before then.

    • Veritas

      The shame is that the progressives are at the lead in both parties, they just call themselves by different names

      • Anthony Cangemi

        Progressives have also taken control of the Church of Rome. They have demonstrated a remarkable dislike for traditionalism, brooking no interference with their efforts to “modernize” the Faith. They have relegated great priests to relative obscurity. The tentacles of this monstrosity reach even into our beloved Church. Redundant but true!

      • Michael DeLorme

        Alas, we’re rarely lucky enough to pick the greatest of several goods; it almost always comes down to picking among the least of several evils.

  • Francis Miller

    What will Supreme Court cases be like when there are no well founded dissenting opinions contrary to the progressive liberal agenda? Are we there now? Will people stop showing up? Will the then consistent and predictable court establish a season of the obvious outcomes? Once the court’s sympathy of the P-L political agenda becomes obvious doesn’t any outcome become common sense? I’m rereading Brave New World after 40 years. It shows.

    • lwhite

      The progressives are never satisfied and they turn against their own when some have a new idea that others do not support. They are never “finished” because they look for a utopia that can never be a reality.

  • givelifeachance2

    The first progressives eugenicists were our own founding fathers, who saw fit to breed their slaves out of greed for power and money. This was the first instance of eugenics and it set the pace for all to follow.

    • castelletto

      I suppose that’s why most of those who could, once the obstacle of British law was removed, freed them. And why others, like Jefferson, who were trapped by slave-state laws, spent their lives trying to remove the blight of slavery.

      • givelifeachance2

        They could have done the job more efficiently by abolishing slavery in the Constitution.

        • Michael DeLorme

          The 13th Amendment did just that.

    • Harry

      Most of the Founders thought slavery would soon end anyway because of the upcoming abolition of the international slave trade — which did take place in 1808. They were wrong about that bringing slavery in America to an end.

      The thinking of the majority of the Founders was reflected in the language of the Declaration of Independence. Their desire for the colonies to be unified against Britain is why slavery was tolerated as a temporarily necessary evil. The unprecedented carnage of the Civil War demonstrated that their being pragmatic instead of acting according to their principles was a huge mistake.

      America learned its lesson from the Civil War. The law had to acknowledge the inalienable rights of ALL humanity. This is why after the Civil War every state in the Union enacted statutes that acknowledged the intrinsic illegality of taking the life of the child in the womb. Slavery had been ended, child-killing officially outlawed, and the great American experiment in government the very purpose of which is to protect the inalienable rights of all humanity was launched again.

      Roe vs. Wade overthrew that government.

      • Just a note for clarification: the civil war was not a war for emancipation. The purpose of the war, according to Lincoln, was the preservation of the union. Not until 1862 did Lincoln issue the ( first) Emancipation Proclamation–it was deemed a war measure, and applied only to Southern States. Slavery in the Civil War, as in the Founding, was a thorn in the side of politicians, who had different goals and motivations.

        • Harry

          Hi, MJ Anderson,

          Yes, it was about the preservation of the Union, but the reason states wanted to secede was to maintain the institution of slavery. An excellent book that wonderfully goes into the political shenanigans on both sides is Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, by James M. McPherson.

          • Harry, the reason for secession was States’ Rights and abusive taxes imposed from Washington. ( though many historians seem to think the only right states cared about was the right to slaves as property.)

            I have read McPherson’s book. May I offer a title for you? Human Events by the scholar Charles Adams, published by Rowman and Littlefield. An historian of taxation, Adams cites numerous sources in support of the South as within its constitutional rights to secede. He shows how 70% of federal taxes were drawn from the South. It’s an interesting financial study. He outlines the struggle between competing commercial interests, the mercantile and the agrarian–plus differing interpretations of constitutional rights.

            An intriguing speculation is to suppose that the South won, that is, that States’ Rights were preserved. State power would keep a federalized government in check. Had that happened, perhaps the leviathan of massive government infringement on citizens that threatens us now, might have been held at bay– that today we might in fact be free from government overreach, had the Constitution and States’ prevailed.

          • Harry

            I am a Confederate when it comes to state’s rights, but had I lived back then I would have been a flaming abolitionist, as I am an ardent Pro-Lifer today. The federal government has indeed become a “leviathan of massive government infringement on citizens that threatens us now” and the states are going to have to reclaim their legitimate rights and, most likely by way of a Convention of States, return the federal government to something much closer to its original size and scope.

            This time the states will have the moral high ground, as the federal government, via the Supreme Court, abruptly withdrew the protection of law from a vast segment of innocent humanity — the child in the womb — striking down laws enacted by the elected representatives of the people.

            Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address makes clear that Americans had figured out that the unprecedented carnage of the Civil War was God’s chastisement for slavery. As I said previously, Americans got the message: The law must acknowledge the inalienable rights of ALL humanity. Slavery was ended and every state in the Union enacted statutes that acknowledged the intrinsic illegality of taking the life of the child in the womb.

            Everybody seems to sense that another chastisement of some sort will soon be upon us. We have killed nearly sixty million babies since Roe. Will Americans once again “get the message” so God can allow us to continue on as a nation? Or will the God Who makes nations rise and fall decide the great American experiment is over?

      • givelifeachance2

        Most of the founders did NOT think slavery would attrit, their surface claims to the contrary. They openly discussed in the Constitutional Convention, about how slavebreeding would overtake slave imports for supplying new slaves , and they were right. The slave population bloomed in the first part of the 19th century, despite the import ban.

        • Harry

          I am basing my remarks regarding the intentions of the majority of the Founders on Horace Greeley’s A History of the Struggle for Slavery Extension Or Restriction in the United States, published in 1856 by Applewood Books, Bedford MA, pages 4 and 5. Can you direct me to precisely where in the records of the Constitutional Convention it is indicated that a majority of the Founders did not think the abolition of the slave trade would have any impact on American slavery because slave breeding would make up for that.

    • Veritas

      I believe it is a much older movement than that. I’m sure it started when the human race started

      • givelifeachance2

        Yes, but in the US eugenics actually started when slavebreeding was enabled…around the 1650s the infamous “slave codes” were established that made a child born to a slave into a slave himself. Thus started the temptation to slavebreeding.

    • Gus

      It sounds like you have victimized by the progressives as well. Slavery was introduced to the country by Great Britain, 200 years before the Declaration of Independence was
      written, and while many of the founders owned slaves, primarily inherited, the majority of them were against slavery. The Founders were not the racist, pro-slavery, hypocritical old white guys the progressives try to portray them as. Do a google search of “how many of the founding fathers owned slaves” and look for the links to articles at the wallbuilders and christiananswers sites. As Walter Williams says, “Politicians, news media, college professors and leftists of other stripes are selling us lies and propaganda. To lay the groundwork for their increasingly successful attack on our Constitution, they must demean and criticize its authors. As Senator Joe Biden demonstrated during the Clarence Thomas hearings, the framers’ ideas about natural law must be trivialized or they must be seen as racists.”

      • givelifeachance2

        A good number of the founding fathers owned slaves, and allowed slavebreeding to cause their increase, even after slave imports were banned. They knew slavery would not attrit when the Constitution was written. I am probably more conservative than thou…but just more read up on Madison’s notes on the Constitution.

  • Nancy Lynne

    I’m afraid that I’m quite confused. If the old progressives wanted to keep out ” the low-standard races,” Catholics and Jews, why do the new progressives view certain immigrants like Muslims and uneducated and poverty stricken Mexicans so positively and why do they favor Muslim refugees over Christian ones?

    “Justice Sonia Sotomayor snapped at Keller, asking sarcastically, ‘The slightest benefit is enough to burden the lives of millions of women. That’s your point?'”
    Her phrase, the slightest benefit, refers to saving about two hundred babies lives according to Keller. We are so used to hearing progressives say that if restrictive gun laws save just one life, we should enact them. In the case of guns, progressives are never concerned about burdening law-abiding citizens.

    • RainingAgain

      Your (excellent) second paragraph answers your first. For progressives, mere ordinary human lives are only tools for what is their final agenda-absolute totalitarianism. For the achievement of this purpose they will say and do anything that supports it. Logic has nothing to do with it. Muslims now suit the agenda because the programme has advanced considerably since the early twentieth century, when they needed to persuade a more conservative populace with ideas that could be manipulated as being, to some, good sense. Now the population is so bewildered by “racism”, “social justice” and “equality”, including many in the Church, that the Muslims can be brought in for their particular purpose-the final destruction of what remains of Western Civilisation. Be thankful in America that it is Mexicans mostly coming in. We’re not so lucky here in Europe.

    • Anthony Cangemi

      “Justice” Sotomayor is not fit to preside in traffic court.

  • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

    I will admit my prejudice at the start and say this is the kind of article, highly important, well researched, to the point devoid of frivolous casuistic reasoning attempting to prove what is not there. Marlin makes his case with flying colors. The evidence of elitist intellectualism promoting the superior against the inferior began as doctrine with Darwin’s survival of the fittest animal evolutionary theorem and later adapted to the human condition by sociologist Spencer. Mario Cuomo called it social Darwinism. The Dutch descended patroons of New York State, the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and Roosevelts sophisticated wealthy elites took to racial superiority as ducks take to water. Eleanor Roosevelt was noteworthy for her utter disdain of Catholics. FDR had no problem in 39 turning away from the docks of NY the Saint Louis, a German liner filled with German Jews seeking refuge from ultimate death in Nazi Germany. Supr Ct Just Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr promoted the trend of eugenic racial cleansing in a decision enforcing sterilization in Virginia. Eugenics philosophy is seen in Margaret Sanger founder of Planned Parenthood. Her thoughts were Blacks are like weeds that need to be exterminated, and also founded the Negro Project to sterilize Black women. Today most Planned Parenthood clinics are in poor minority neighborhoods.

    • Harry

      It is encouraging to hear such remarks from a Catholic priest. I am not convinced that all Catholic priests are as knowledgable of these matters as you appear to be, Fr. Morello.

      There are documents that were used at the Nuremberg Trials — the minutes of meetings held by Nazi officials regarding the implementation of the Final Solution — that make clear that atheistic, Darwinian thinking was behind it all. Eugenics is the attempt to intelligently manage human evolution. But only the most egomaniacal and sociopathic among mere mortals assume they are qualified to do that.

      Contemporary societal trends continue to provide more and more evidence that the Nazis lost the battle, but Nazi ideology is winning the war.

      God help us.

    • Sheila

      It seems some catholics are asleep at the wheel when it comes to their faith and voting. Maybe they are too busy? Maybe they don’t care? God knows. It is God we face and answer to today…right now. It is His Mercy we stop and show oneanother right now…today. When we wake up it may be too late.

      Being an adult immigrant, I have always felt blessed in having the privilege of being a catholic who is allowed to vote. I became a citizen because I loved what America stood for….the Constitution and the freedom of religion to name two. No brainer. I wanted to vote. On my own, I read about and researched the candidates. I tested their lifestyle against godly and catholic principles and always voted for LIFE….No evening news.
      Some get upset at the Church for not being more political or even too political. It’s frustrating. But please don’t turn away. Let’s instead focus on God and allowing ourselves to stand up for holy and catholic principles. Let’s vote for LIFE and bless Jesus.

      • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

        Sheila you may be interested in who Margaret Sanger was. She was born in Corning, NY, just a few miles from me to Irish Catholic immigrant parents. Her father was a stonemason, her mother had eleven children and several miscarriages and died at 49. Her father a freethinker, Catholic, became an atheist. That, the early death of her mother, and less than affluent early life must have influenced her. She married a man named Sanger, an atheist and Leftist who also influenced her, particularly after she worked as a nurse practitioner with the poor in NYC. She adopted a radical anti establishment agenda, and finally her views on race inequality and eugenics, founding Planned Parenthood in 1920. My thought on her is, there go you or I but for the grace of God.

        • Alicia123

          Father, your last sentence is beautiful,
          “…but for the grace of God” . When I hear convert’s stories and their spiritual struggles, see Protestants jumping from one denomination to another, and hear atheists and the likes lost going round in circles, I always think of what a blessing it was to be born in a Catholic family, and to receive a good Catholic education. I had nothing to do with it. It was a gift from God.
          “…but for the grace of God ” !!!

          • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

            Alicia I love your spiritual encouragement.

        • Sheila

          Yes, thank you. I understand how our choices and those of others, esp. in our families, can be influenced and actually turn us to God or away from Him. The grace of God is active and abundant throughout. I cannot judge. Here is my story I’ve never shared with others before now. It is about Grace I believe. My father was the oldest in his catholic family of about 14 children. I never knew any of my grandparents as they passed before my birth. I always wished I had. Stories tell of how my grandfather chained my father to a post when he was young. I have a vivid picture of that in my mind. There are blanks in the story and I wouldn’t even attempt to fill them in. When my father was 18 he went into the Seminary to be a priest. (huge grace) After one year my grandfather died and my own father left the Seminary to take care of the family. (grace ? maybe yes fir later). He later married my mother. My dear softspoken mother was farmed out to help her aunt’s family when she was 8 (a grace for later?). My mother and father were lovely people – to everyone. Never a bad word about anyone. Their first child died when he was 5. My mother’s heart was quietly broken til her passing at 73. She asked me one day why God took my brother. It brought us very close to God. My parents had three more children. I was the youngest. I had a faith as vibrant as any living saint. I remember how I loved Jesus. I was his bride when I married Him when I made my First Communion. (grace for later) But the next year the enemy of my soul crouched at my door to try and destroy God’s work in my innocent life. I was molested at the park. It affected me throughout the years until a complete healing later in life. I never blamed God. My parents did not know until I told them when I was in my 30’s. My parents were married forever. My marriage was not so blessed, except for my children. I After 20 years of turmoil, fear and several attempts to kill me, I divorced my spouse and later left the Church. Later on I came back to the Church my first Love and had my marriage annulled. That was almost 20 years ago. It’s Jesus and me as I learned to embrace those bad years, even as a Grace to me because it has taught me to love Jesus more and to trust Him through his Divine Mercy. When I suffer I see that as a Divine Mercy. Mother Angelica suffered so much in her life and I truly believe she felt like I do that all that suffering was a Grace to help her embrace it and draw closer to Jesus. For that I am most grateful to the Way of Christ. I pray that for everyone who is hurt in life.

          • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

            Dear Sheila God clearly loved you and loves you greatly. The terrible event in your innocent childhood, the abuse and threat to your very life during marriage were as we know permitted by God. Sheila my only thought is the story of Job who God deeply loved but permitted Satan to severely test Job’s love. Job in the end after all his suffering and sense of rejection still turned back to God. Previously Job cursed the day he was born and threw the gift of life back to God in anger. He repented and God blessed him a hundredfold as He did you.

          • Sheila

            I never associated myself with Job. I’ll have to ponder that more. Thank you Father. I was thinking about Margaret Sanger and the two thieves on the cross. Both saw the same Jesus yet one said yes and the other never responded. I wonder what Margaret’s last breath was like? Was her final hours of life written about in the book you mentioned? I will definately look into it. God will use that info. to His good. Today being Divine Mercy Sunday… we can ponder how Jesus’ Mercy extends even to our last breath. Blessed Day to you Father! Thank you.

        • ThirstforTruth

          …and why are you and I blessed ( and saved) by this grace of God; but
          for different life circumstances, might Margaret Sanger been so graced.
          This, more than anything else, seems to point up the “unfairness” and “injustice” experienced in this life. Some seemed ‘graced” while others seem likely not to have been and never experience, through no fault of their own, the grace of God paving the way for them. It seems not to be only a matter of choices but circumstances.

          • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

            The Saints say God is incomprehensible. Therese of Lisieux believed as I do that God chooses whom He wills. Aquinas says the same. The rationale Aquinas gives is that after the Fall none of us deserves salvation nor can we merit it. God in accordance with His freedom chooses those He wishes to save, which we cannot understand why. All I can add is that we can still reject the gift. Thank God He gave us that gift, and that we have accepted it.

          • ThirstforTruth

            I am sorry if I misapprehend your response but it seems to smack of predestination which (1) seems to fly in the face of God’s merciful
            and infinite compassion and (2) not really the teaching of the Catholic church.
            I guess ultimately we must take God on faith and in obedience, that He
            will always be merciful to those who desire His forgiveness and trust in His Infinite Love for all His creation.

          • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

            Yes. You are correct in your summary. But you make a good point. It may seem like predestination if we believe that God’s freedom to act in bestowing a special grace as He chooses obviates freedom to determine our destiny. That prerogative of God does not preclude that saving grace is available to all. All men and women, it is certain are given the opportunity to respond to grace. That is why Christ asks we pray and sacrifice for the salvation of all. The exception seems to be that God makes exception for some like our respondent. That exception for some does not mean that others, who are not especially favored by God are not given grace, and do not respond to that grace and are saved. It is grace that saves and some do not respond. And there are examples of real exceptions. The Apostle Paul was a persecutor of the Church, had many Christians killed for their belief in Christ. What differentiated Paul from Caiphas, who had Jesus condemned? Why did Our Lord choose this nemesis of Christianity and not one of the other Apostles to be his witness to the gentiles? We cannot determine what we believe God should or should not do.

          • kathleen

            God is all knowing. That is why he chooses some people for special ministry like Paul. God knew how he would respond. We are all given an opportunity to respond to God – some of us delay in responding, some reject the call. God never gives up on us. That is why He wants us to pray for the conversion of sinners. I must say Father Morello I thought your first response sounded like predestination and I was puzzled. Jesus came to bring all of us home to the Father if we respond to the call. He needed to die on the Cross for our salvation. It’s that serious. No one comes to the Father except through Him. We need to accept Jesus and take the narrow road. I am sure you believe all this, Father. But, to repeat, your first response was difficult to understand. I am glad you made the clarification in subsequent posts. Thank you and God Bless.

          • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

            Kathleen I can speak for myself and say that God literally called me out of darkness into His own wonderful light. As a youth in Brooklyn I was far from Christ. Almost all of my peers are dead, most dying prematurely. Only my best friend Joe and one other survived. Joe is now suffering Parkinson’s, depression in a Diocesan priests’ retirement home. I know in my heart God gave me a gift I don’t deserve. We may ask why not the others? But I absolutely do not question the pure gift and His patience with me through the years. I don’t question. I ask God to give me more, everything. I thank him and rejoice.

          • kathleen

            Thank you, Father. And thank you for saying yes and for your priesthood. God our Father called me out of darkness about 27 years ago and I am so grateful. There are so many things I could say about my conversion. Suffice to say that God has been so merciful and I know He is real and that Jesus died for me. Jesus continues to intercede for me and His Blessed Mother does too. And my special friends in Heaven (I now have a new one – Mother Mary Angelica!). I need all the prayers I can get as I continue to pray for my own conversion and the conversion of my loved ones, and other intentions the good Lord puts on my heart. I often pray for holy perseverance. As St. Paul tells us: work out your salvation in fear and trembling.

          • Alicia123

            “God in accordance with his freedom chooses those He wishes to save.” Isn’t this a heresy? Didn’t Christ die for EVERYBODY? To give everybody the opportunity to be saved?
            He told us what to do and that if we asked for help we would get it. – knock and…-
            I’m sure that throughout her life Margaret Sanger heard many different ideas, teachings, maybe at the hospital from priests, nurses, patients. She must have seen people acting, and reacting in different and surprising ways to life’s circumstances. If she had intellectual honesty, she should have questioned herself, her beliefs, regardless of her husband’s and father’s atheism. She made a choice and is held accountable for it.
            Besides, we don’t know where she is, nor Hitler, nor anybody else, and it’s none of our business. Who knows what their last thoughts, and their final moments
            were?
            I firmly believe God throws a line to everybody, winks to everybody, and it’s up to the person. Humble or too proud ? You decide.
            God knows people’s degrees of weaknesses, their lives’ circumstances and according to these He decides the distance each person must go, the amount of sincere effort each must make before He carries him the rest of the way, to heaven or purgatory. For some it may be 20/80% , 50/50%, 80/20%, or 10/90%. He makes the call. Circumstances ? Yes, but remember – to those that much has been given, etc…-
            Today is Sunday of Divine Mercy. Why did Jesus bother asking St. Faustina, over, and over, and over to pray for the conversion of sinners, the salvation of souls .? Why did Our Lady in Fatima insist that we pray for the conversion of sinners.?
            Why bother if they are not on the list.?
            God is love, unconditional, amazing love. Would He have created people for a predestined ‘ Damned List ‘ ?

          • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

            Alicia. If you read my reply to ThirstforTruth posted below, posted the same time as your reply to me, you should have a clear understanding of what I am saying. God does and has favored certain people, as He specifically favored the Apostle Paul, which is not to say that he omits salvation to others. No one has ever accused me of heresy. You are the first. And the parishioners I preach to know that I teach them the truth of our faith in Christ.

          • Alicia123

            Father, I’m sorry my comment on heresy was offensive. I don’t doubt for a moment your faith and your ministry, on the contrary, , if I did, I wouldn’t bother replying to you.
            I came back to the comments section to write something to you that I just read. I’ve been reading Sister Faustina’s diary. I read it once a week, 30,40 pages, and put t down. It’s too much to digest. I just read the following and thought – I have to write to Father M. right away.
            It’s on Notebook II #926.
            Just before Lent, she saw the last two days of carnival and was heartbroken with all the sins, etc that took place. She wondered that God allows humanity to exist, and says.
            ” And the Lord gave me to know who it is that upholds the existance of mankind: it is the chosen souls. When the number of the chosen ones is complete, the world will cease to exist. ”
            I read this and thought I had to write you because I owed it to you after my previous post and all my mumbling
            ‘ theology ‘ to a priest.
            I am soooo confused ! As with all the emotional and physical crosses I’ve picked up and carried without complaining, and just asking for His help in carrying them (He always did !), this time too I’ll say – You know best. Thy will be done.-
            This is a hard one for me. You were right.!
            It just breaks your heart to know that there are people walking around who haven’t been chosen. So, soooo sad.

          • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

            I should have realized also Alicia that what I said. without clarification, could be misunderstood and that you were simply responding as you understood the comment. I understand. The main approach to salvation is as you said, God would not expect us to pray for the conversion of souls if he did not desire their salvation. Take for example Judas. My belief has always been that God’s initial call was benign, that he chose Judas to be a holy Apostle. Some clergy think otherwise and believe Judas was predestined. My response was God cannot will evil, creating someone destined for Hell simply to fulfill a plan. Persons who believe that misinterpret God’s omniscience as predestination. St Peter Speaks as if Judas were predestined. He really referred to the fact that Our Lord Knew beforehand that Judas would betray Him. It was indicated in the OT. God’s will cannot be other than for the good of others including Margaret Sanger. Yet some seem to receive greater favor. Our Lord says “More will be expected of those who receive more”. Insofar as St Faustina it is private revelation. We can assume it refers to the end of time, which is God’s decision, and that necessarily there will be a certain number of persons saved since the creation. At any rate Alicia I need to accept criticism and adversity as something beneficial to me.

          • Alicia123

            Father, you’re very kind and mercyful. Thank you. I needed the shower of humility. After all, I pray for it everyday: to be humble, meek, and no pride. I do get those showers on all three once in a while and clearly see it, so my prayers are being answered. I’ve improved, but still have a long way to go. That sermon on the mount haunts me, not all of it, but those three and ” Be perfect like the Father is perfect” What ? I’m going for His mercy on that one. I tackled forgiveness, it took about two years and a lot of constant prayers for help. He slowly showed me how and I found myself sincerely praying for those persons and then realized that I had forgiven. Ahhh the peace was amazing, the poison holding me back was gone. Honest, sincere prayers are answered.
            Ref Judas, Jesus told Faustina that what most hurt him wasn’t the betrayal, but that he didn’t trust and ask for His mercy, as Peter had done.
            Thank you for that opinion about the chosen ones being at the end of time. It’s very wise and makes perfect sense. Those who chose to turn their back on Him will not be chosen. I have no problem with His justice. He’s respecting the free will He gave us.
            Thank you father, very wise ! God bless you.

          • kathleen

            Alicia: You echo my own thoughts. Yes, Jesus told St. Faustina that the prayer that pleased Him most was the prayer for the conversion of sinners. And He said that prayer is always heard. And, yes, most importantly Jesus died for ALL – we are all sinners. If we accept Him and His message – the Gospel, and live it to the best of our ability, we will make it to Heaven. That’s His promise and Jesus always keeps his promises.
            God Bless.

  • grump

    Funny how Man tries to breed the best in animals but when it comes to human beings anything goes. Nonetheless, admittedly mutts can make for great dogs.

    • Anthony Cangemi

      Do you deny “natural selection”? Do you believe that there should be a central authority which should “breed” humans as we do cattle, swine and dogs? Well, we now come close to that. We have mostly liberal universities in which liberal males and females can meet and procreate. They can inculcate their offspring with liberal lies before sending them too into the world to “be fruitful”. It is their hope that eventually the rest of us will simply disappear.

    • Sheila

      I have several loving, sweet and loyal mutts and 2 crazy and personable beagles that love food more than me. But knowing full well that they are all dogs…. I love them all.

      But if it us up to me the next dog I get will definately be another mutt because they are more loyal!!

      I.E. Conservatives vs Liberals.
      Vote conservative you’ll have a higher chance to get a loyal candidate.

    • Kmbold

      Yes, that is called God-given freedom and command: Increase and multiply. Within marriage. A truly wonderful gift, indeed.

  • lwhite

    The only bulwark against the dominance of the fallen nature of man, with results partially described in this article, is the Catholic religion, with the faith centered on Christ the King, lived fully in all areas of life.

    But for the past 50 years, the leaders of the institutional Church have joined forces with the political and social progressives, abandoning the mission given it by Christ and diminishing the Catholic religion to simply another “choice”, leaving the faithful Catholic to fend for himself with only the interior fortitude he might have.

    The world, abandoning Christ, will continue down its downward spiral to slavery and barbarianism when Truth is denied and the powers and principalities and rulers of the darkness continue to increase in number.

    Satan is ruler of this world. He rules with an iron hand and as his influences completely take over the mind and heart of man, the hardened heart is abandoned to its own devices.
    Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life is the only answer to the spiritual war that is, and always will be, the war fought in this world until Christ comes again in glory and wins the battle once and for all.

  • Thank you for this history lesson on Progressivism.

  • Manfred

    This is a keeper, Mr. Marlin. Thank you.This helps to explain why the Church dropped the support for Humanae Vitae and why moral theology and catechesis have not been taught in the U.S. for fifty years
    .Not to worry. Bishhop Robert Barron assures us that “98%” of all people are “saved”. This includes the pro-abortion judges as well as their supporters in the seats near you.

    • Sheila

      Ugh. I so agree

  • PCB

    Very insightful essay – If Scalia’s untimely passing demonstrates anything (to me), it may be that it is the time to consider eliminating judicial appointment and life-time tenure, (I do not know if this would require Constitutional Amendment), in favor of judicial election and retention elections for judges and Supreme Court Justices, especially at the Federal level; In the very least, term-limits and/or mandatory retirement. I understand this is a proposal that cuts both ways; However, in my view, with what has emerged in the U.S. today, and I have to believe, in direct contradiction to what the Founders could have intended or envisioned, is a Federal Judicial Branch, namely, the U.S. Supreme Court, which has grown to dominate, in an unchecked and unbalanced manner, (and largely unquestioned), the role of Congress and the Executive, behind the façade of Absolutism of their rulings, and most detrimentally to a free-society, which has, subtly and gradually, and without the expressed consent of the citizenry, usurped from them their guaranteed right “to be their own rulers”, (portion in quotes taken in part from First Things, by Hadley Arkes, Princeton University Press, 1986, pg. 420).

    In Pennsylvania, where I reside, there has already been moves by “Progressive” elements to advance legislation through State Legislature which would seek to eliminate the current system of judicial elections, to be replaced by a system of Executive judicial appointments, at least at the State level, especially of the State Supreme Court. The motivation is obvious and the implications far-reaching.

    Is there a chance in Gehenna to eliminate judicial appointment at the Federal Level, not likely; would raising the issue in a serious way be a shot across the bow for the Progressives and for the Judiciary – Perhaps?

  • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

    “Organized charity is itself the symptom of a malignant social disease” (Margaret Sanger in The Pivot of Civilization 1922). “Sentimental charity is ridiculous and useless, it enables deficiencies and brings the degradation of the individual” (Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, 1924, p. 27). There is no essential difference between these two presumed progressive views. Charity is the heart of the Catholic faith, and evidence of our love of God. This administration has done whatever it can to curtail the effectiveness of Catholic charitable institutions.

  • DLink

    A corollary to this well written article is that progressivism, as opposed to classic liberalism, rests on destruction. They regard it as a small price to pay for “progress”, never mind that millions of lives have been sacrificed in its name. Traditionalists and classic liberals recognize that true progress comes from an evolution in thought and practice that remembers the First things and values them. Today’s political conflicts in the western world are the result of being cut off from traditional values and attempting a secular world of no accountability and a maximum of personal license. The ash heap of history abounds with previously great cultures that have gone this route.

  • Fulton J. Waterloo

    Oh, I get it Mr. Marlin, lets have some guilt by association. If I belong to a union because I get EMPLOYEE provided health care (as oppossed to OBAMACARE) I am some kind of eugenicist. Nice smear try using guilt by association. “Jesus is againt the minimum wage.” Uh hum.

    • Sam

      Clearly, you don’t get it. One can’t even be sure that you read or are responding to this article.

    • Admiral Nissan

      Actually, the Unions would hate Jesus for what he actually said. Learn your scriptures! Especially Matthew 20: 1-16.

    • me3123

      You appear to be ill, please go see a psychaitrist with your “EMPLOYEE provided health care”!!!!

    • Kmbold

      Whaaaat?

    • Alicia123

      Fulton, go back and reread the essay. It’s not against the minimum wage or its merits. It explains why it was passed. The reasoning behind it was that it was a way of getting rid of undesirables like Catholics, blacks, etc.
      The waiver for your union health care is just payback from Pres. Obama to the biggest donors of his presidential campaign, the unions. As usual, politicians for sale.

  • Sheila

    Excellent. Bingo! The lights are on. Thank you very much for this enlightening article. Having worked for our US immigration system for many years and being an immigrant myself, I am now looking at the whole immigration story or “picture” with a different lens. In the past I was never one to look at political history like I should have. I was not interested. But now later in life, I see the importance and necessity in doing so. Being trained in US immigration law I learned how to use it fairly and appropriately. I learned the history of the attrocities placed upon some new immigrants and how the law was eventually changed to correct it. My family history is Irish and I understand why they emmigrated to America. I also knew they were called “dogs” and treated as such. Most early immigrants had these kinds of predidices against them, except for Germans who were intellectuals and inventors. I remember thinking briefly this was odd and did not connect the dots. The political aspect did not enter into the training I was preparing. OK I am a little slow to see the bigger picture of the political involvement in the immigration process. I can SEE it today. How relevant with the election season in high swing.

    Can anyone recommend a good bòok that shows a timeline of the conservative, progressive and liberal movement in regard to how our laws and court systems have been influenced Thank you.

  • me3123

    Good article! Eugenics in America started with Planned Parenthood’s own Margaret Sanger

  • Steven Barrett

    Excellent piece! I cringe every time the names Woodrow Wilson and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. enter a discussion. No sooner than those names get dropped into the conversation, it’s as if anybody who doesn’t want to be seen as the neighborhood knuckle-dragger, all also of a sudden find ways to get in their begrudged nodding assents so they get the hell out of a situation when and where they might be awfully tempted to leave the spot looking like Sherman left Dixie. After all, we cannot ever leave the so-called or self-described anointed progressive ones an accurate impression that they really are as civilized as they’d love to believe about themselves.

    • givelifeachance2

      So, I cringe when I hear the name James Madison. His 3/5 of a person notion solidified the power of the southern slaveholders and made them consider slavebreeding as not only a way to make more money, but to gain more power, even after the slave import ban of 1808. The constitution framers knew slavery would never attrit, because they acknowledged, in 1787, slavebreeding could make up for an import ban to freshen the slave supply.

      • Michael DeLorme

        And yet, despite a world full of greedy and selfish people, slavery managed to get itself abolished. When the “good people” get born?

      • Orwell’s Oracle

        Your history is the somewhat selective history that we often hear from Progressives. And who mentioned Madison? You have conflated effects with cause…and with motive. Let’s turn the discussion on its head.

        What would have happened if there were no 3/5 compromise? Simple…there would be no constitution. Therefore no United States, and no constitutional republic. And what chance would there have been for the abolition of slavery in the New World if there had not been a constitutional republic ratified in 1789? A much, much smaller chance than if slave holding colonies remained unbound to a constitution and a bill of rights that would ultimately force the issue into a very bloody resolution, and the end of slavery for all the states.

        The 3/5’s compromise is always used by the Left and their fellow travelers as a cudgel to prove the political point “that the US was founded by racists” and the 3/5 rule “proves it”. Nonsense on stilts. The compromise was prudential judgment at work, and a somewhat complex example of double effect.

        • givelifeachance2

          The problem is that the US *was* founded by racists and eugenicists, who went and reversed the very Declaration of inalienable rights, by the entrenchment of slavery in the Constitution. This is one issue that the leftists just happen to be right on – the Constitution *is* racist, or at least it supported slavery and slavers, a profoundly anti-Declaration stance. The 3/5 “compromise” didn’t have to happen, I argue, and it only festered slavery and in fact tied the slave women down to be raped for their $$$progeny$$$ for another four score years. It roiled the country so badly that 600k lives were lost in the Civil War – that bloodbath would not have happened if the Constitution had given that “peculiar institution” a kick in the rear. Britain managed to kick the habit because it didn’t have slavebreeding down to the science our founding “fathers” did.

          What the leftists are wrong on is that America’s current totalitarian leaders are disjunct from those original racists – Obama and all of his fellow rag-puppets are taking money from the political heirs of the same financiers as held our “founders” smelly slave mortgages. The appropriate form of reparations for slavery would be to conduct a Nuremberg trial of the mercantilists and their ideological descendents. They should stop trying to hide behind the skirts of the “white people” and the rest of the white people should disown the reprehensible practice of slavery and recognize the damage it did to our country since its inception.

          Read “Masters of the Dream” by Alan Keyes. And oh by the way, Keyes Please 2016.

          • Orwell’s Oracle

            I will grant your initial point…hyperbole excepted. But it is largely irrelevant, as all countries were founded by racists to some degree or another, regardless of their racial or ethnic orientation. Racism is one of the fundamental elements of the broken nature of original sin, and has always been, and will always be a factor in the behavior of people and therefore nations. The current cultural obsession with racialism in the U.S. is a prime example.

            However, you did not actually answer my point(s). There were 8 of 13 colonies who were committed to slavery and who would never have signed the or ratified the constitution without some type of compromise. Truth is a harsh mistress.

      • Richard_L_Kent

        His 3/5 temporary solution saved the Constitution until slavery was purged of it. I know it doesn’t fit your narrative but then neither does reality.

  • givelifeachance2

    Wednesday, August 22, at the Constitutional Convention:

    “He [Rep. Elsworth] said however that if it was to be considered in a moral light we
    ought to go farther and free those already in the Country. — As slaves also multiply so fast in Virginia & Maryland that it is cheaper to raise than import them,”

    And, I might add, also, more political-power-boosting if they get 3/5 of a margin on slaves. Not for nothing we had so many presidents from Virginia.

  • highschoolsportsfan

    But why do so many Catholics support the democrat party?

    • mrteachersir

      Because in the 1930s, the American hierarchy abandoned traditional Catholic acceptance of the individual’s responsibility to administer the corporal acts of mercy. This was done as FDR implemented the New Deal, and in it, began the federal and state governments’ involvement in the works of mercy (namely, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give shelter to the homeless). This appeal to the works of mercy drew many from the perceived “hard-heartedness” of the Republican party, and toward the statist Democrats. In their defense, though, the machinations of the Republican bosses in the turn-of-the-century presidential elections, demonstrated a lamentable departure from the ideal of self-government and individual responsibility, and toward the politics of money. FDR consciously courted Catholics as a means of creating the coalition of voters that gave him the election in 1932.

  • bernie

    I have always felt that there was a real connection between Progressivism, Modernism and Americanism, the latter having been the subject of a severe Papal criticism directed to Cardinal Gibbons as “Primate’ of sorts of the U.S. Not quite an Encyclical, it addressed the uncontrolable American personality that seemed to see unlimited individual, material and National progress. Perhaps this might have formed part of your excellent article as well as Teddy Roosevelt. Eugenics, abortion, contraception and family limitation were not yet, part of that earlier time, but one twisted thing does lead to another in the mind of a Progressive. Kind of weird that the unbounded Individualism of Americanism has led to the State oppression of the very ‘individual’ who is its boast. Perhaps I do not have it properly analyzed, but the whole period and its movements seem so intertwined

  • David Kenny

    Speaking as a Canadian and serious Catholic, we have the same problem with our Supreme Court overriding Parliament. the only way I can see to solve this for both countries is to change the Constitution to limit judges to decisions based purely on the written law with no interpretation allowed no matter how old it is including the British Common Law basis in both countries which in turn dates back to Anglo- Saxon times and Magna Carta. The Living Tree argument is a pernicious attack on the protection of the WRITTEN law, which was the whole point of Magna Carta. St. Thomas More referred to this as well in his discussions of Henry VIII’s drive to dump his only valid wife. Today in the principle English culture countries the written law is freely reinterpreted to conform to the personal ideology of individual judges; generally liberal progressives and politically correct adherents. In Canada the homosexual marriage law was brought in under a Supreme Court decision defining a need for Parliament to rewrite the federal marriage laws. at a time when only 40 % of the population supported homosexual marriage. It was then imposed by a Liberal government unwilling to take on the Supreme Court even in the face of a Notwithstanding Clause in the constitution allowing any government in Canada ( provincial or federal) to ignore any Supreme Court decision for a 5 year term when it could be renewed by a new vote of Parliament. Quebec has used this clause 37 times to protect its supremacy of the French Language. We are all rapidly losing our prime democratic rights of free speech and freedom of conscience.Once these are gone so is our democracy. And by the way any logical analysis of abortion can only lead to the conclusion that once conceived there is a human being growing in the womb. The fertilised egg can only become a human being; not a fish or a pig or a rabbit, etc.. Arguments about when it is human in the gestation period are non-sensical. Killing it can be murder or manslaughter. Either way it is a crime. Otherwise, is it a crime to kill your annoying neighbor? In Anglo-Saxon times there was no specific penalty for murder; there was just the wergeld or mangold payment to the surviving relatives. Perhaps we should return to that.

    • Sean

      Are you arguing that a law should be constitutional the moment it is passed by the legislature?

      If the judiciary is not allowed to interpret the written law then how do you prevent the legislature from passing a law that obviously violates your constitution?

  • Stephen_Phelan

    Thank you, Mr. Marlin and Dr. Leonard. Some may find the connection between the overt racism of early progressivism and today’s elites unjust, but the challenge must be heard. Today’s elites use the same methods to eliminate the poor and weak, but their case is wrapped in different language that (dishonestly) places the agency in those who oppressed. Hence the language of “reproductive rights and health”.

    My guess is that many progressive elites actually believe they are helping due to the deceptive language, though every once in a while one of them slips up as Justice Ginsburg did a few years back. Planned Parenthood gets grants to promote the reckless behavior in its sex “education”, sells the methods that supposedly make this behavior “safe”, then sells abortion when it fails. And they call this social justice.

  • Dennis Embo

    I look forward to reading Thomas Leonard’s book Illiberal Reformers. A few years ago I read what I think is the best treatment of the Eugenics Movement overall, a book by bestselling author Edwin Black – War Against the Weak. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Margaret Sanger, and John D. Rockefeller II were also outspoken American proponents of Eugenic race theory. Both the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations poured enormous amounts of money to fund bogus “IQ” and psychological testing to weed out “mental defectives.” In our own time, former Jesuit seminarian California Gov.Jerry Brown (St. Ignatius must spin in his grave every time that man opens his mouth) is leading a fanatic anti-life crusade to imitate his eugenic predecessors and turn California into an abortionist’s paradise, much as the state of California a hundred years ago strove to become the model state for forced sterilization of the “unfit.”



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