by George Leef
In his latest column, Sheldon Richman looks at the impact of World War I on American liberties. The impact, of course, was dreadful. Most of the “progressives” quickly jumped on board the war wagon, seeing it as a means to help achieve their ends of politicizing the country. Also, most conservatives did so because they thought that harnessing the national spirit behind the war would help overcome dissident thinking they didn’t like.
Among the famous “liberals” who got right in step with the war and the supposed need to crack down on opposition to it was Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. His reputation as a civil libertarian is quite false.
What, if anything does the history of a century ago have to do with America today? Richman writes, “The devotees of Barack Obama, who has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the same Espionage Act than all previous presidents combined, still have not learned their lesson.” Woodrow Wilson and Barack Obama: both cut from the same authoritarian bolt of cloth.