Bill Borst
May 31, 2011
Heavy thinking
By Bill Borst

I recently asked myself the question: What thinker had the most influence on America?

I was hard-pressed to think of any recent American thinker.

No, I am looking for someone who seems to have had a long and pronounced influence on our nation in the 21st century.

The usual suspects then came to mind — Lincoln, Jefferson, and for the imperially minded — Alexander Hamilton.

These founding fathers provided us with the heavy thinking for the constitutional structure of our Republic for over 235 years.

Yet it is hard to think of them as original thinkers.

In turn each of these strongly relied on the ideas of others, such as Locke, Kant, Hume, Hobbs, Montesquieu, even the Enlightenment's Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Voltaire who impressed many democratic Americans.

So I think it is honest to say that most early American thinkers have been derivatives of European or even Classical thinkers, such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle or the Romans for their legal organization.

Millions of lawyers will likely agree with the latter.

Members of the Christian right would probably like to invoke the name of Jesus Christ.

Jews might suggest Moses.

The answer has obviously not been static. Times change and even the teachings in a large section of our country have lost favor.

It is hard to call us a Christian people anymore when we dispose of millions of unwanted babies, regard getting old as a disease and treat human life as a pawn on the chessboard of partisan politics.

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels might get the nod.

They promoted many ideas in their 1848 pamphlet, The Communist Manifesto that have given us our progressive tax structure, our educational system and the Federal Reserve system, which has had a near absolute control over our monetary policy since 1913.

Of course even more important might be Sardinian communist, Antonio Gramsci. It was Gramsci, who adapted Marxism to the culture and he is probably, along with the Frankfurt School, most responsible for the pervasive culture war that has besieged the very foundation of our Republic.

This discussion would not be replete without mentioning Nico Machiavelli, whose Prince quickly became The Dummy Book for tyrants.

In his Prince this 16th century closet atheist laid the basis for how rulers could maintain their power over their subjects. His ends justice the means doctrine has dominated American politics at least since the Civil War.

Machiavellianism has also become synonymous with treachery, intrigue, subterfuge, and tyranny. It has been even said that 'Old Nick,' the popular name of the Devil among Anglo-Saxon races, derives its origin from that of Nico Machiavelli.

Lincoln might have started the ball rolling when he threw all caution to the wind in violating personal liberty laws for the good of the whole.

Lincoln might be responsible for letting the nose of the camel in the American tent.

Even the landmark decision, Brown vs. Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas that broke the back of the segregated educational system in the South was two parts noble and one part Machiavelli.

By judicial fiat the Warren Court usurped the power of the states for the common good and totally disregarded the 10th Amendment. Its ends were noble but its means a violation of the Constitution.

The Progressives, of the early 20th century quickly accelerated the deconstruction of the U. S. Constitution. They were the forerunners of today's liberal class, did institute a brilliant Hegelian synthesis of fusing Hamiltonian means of big government with the Jeffersonian ends of social welfare and the common good.

This marriage of means and ends gave us the Gnostic policies of Wilson, FDR, Johnson and Obama.

It also gave us Roe v. Wade, which nearly completed the end of America's rule of law.

Over the years our leaders have slowly but surely ignored the Constitution in taxations, declaration of war, torts, budgets and spending, religious freedom and free association — all in the name of the noble end.

Yet many of these ends were not noble but the result of partisan politics in a hurry.

With the whole camel, now in the tent, conservative Americans have been trying to clean up the cultural and economic mess.

With the dam of constitutional restraint breeched, it gave rise to minorities and special interests, such as Malcolm X adapted Machiavelli, by stressing by all means necessary to affect what the group wanted.

It fell to community organizer, Sol Alinsky to take Machiavelli one-step further.

While the latter catered to the rich and elitist leaders of a society, Alinsky tried to wrest their power for the poor and the downtrodden, — the true inheritors of Marxist oppression.

In doing so Alinsky has emerged as America's quintessential radical. He has personified all the Enlightened thinking of the past into a synchronized whole

His book Rules for Radicals (1971) has served as a handbook for power-hungry politicians on the make, like the current occupant of the White House.

But what is more instructive and perhaps is Alinsky's profound recognition of the world' first radical — namely Lucifer, the enlightened one, who was probably the true inspiration for the liberalism and its Gnostic heritage.

It has always been my belief that the Holy Spirit of Christianity used other people as instruments of God's Divine Providence. Perhaps Lucifer has used some of the most revered thinkers in world history, like Alinsky as his instruments in attempting to thwart the Holy Spirit.

One can't read a newspaper without seeing his devilishly crafted handiwork, in wars, murders and social unrest.

Since so much of our intellectual and cultural structure has emanated from his enlightened promptings, maybe Lucifer thinking has had the most influence on American thought.

I invite and challenge other readers to find a better example that will explain the cataclysmic situation within which America finds itself.

© Bill Borst

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Bill Borst

Bill Borst holds a PhD in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) After having taught on virtually all levels of education from elementary school through the university, he had a weekly talk show on WGNU radio for 22 years. Currently he is Phyllis Schlafly's regular substitute on KSIV radio in St. Louis... (more)

Latest articles