Two Major Bastions
Generally speaking, despite the decision in the steel case, the Roosevelt-Truman Court continued on its way. Even Dr. Carl Brent Swisher, by no means unfriendly to the Court‘s “liberal” trend, has said (in his book American Constitutional Development) that “No New Deal or wartime regulation of economic matters was deemed too extreme to fit into the pattern of the Constitution.” And, in a classic of professorial understatement, he remarked: “Because of the individualism of the newly appointed justices and their lack of traditional reverence for settled law and for the Court itself, the disturbance during this period was particularly great” (italics added).
As Dwight D. Eisenhower took office in 1953, the sovereign American states and their citizens had become bound up in the ropes of federal authoritarianism until it seemed that only a St. George could cut the knots. The Roosevelt-Truman Courts had slashed a gaping hole in the Constitution, and through that hole could now march all those who wanted to bring to Washington complete domination and control over every phase of our economic life—something never before possible under our Constitution. Thus we were carried a great distance along the totalitarian road. But the journey was by no means complete. Americans going about their business paid too little attention to what was happening to them. They still thought they were living in free, sovereign states that would protect them against the ultimate tyranny of an all-powerful central government.
In a way, they were right, for there remained two major bastions which the revolutionists had to take before their task was finished. One was the public schools, where the minds of future generations could be controlled. The job there was being done partially by the “modern” educationists—the progressivist revolutionaries—who, through “progressive” education, were under-educating class after class of young Americans in order to make them willing tools of the “new social order.” But the outcries against them were rising. And the schools were still locally controlled. Hard as they had tried, the collectivists in Washington had so far been unable to bring the state and locally supported and managed public schools under their direction.
The other bastion was our awakening to the communist-socialist menace in our midst, and our efforts—through both state and national action—to protect ourselves, our institutions, and our liberties from the home-grown and imported practitioners of the worst tyranny the world had ever known.
We had a right to expect, with the first change of national administration in twenty years, that these two bastions at least would be protected. But it is one of the tragedies of our time that Eisenhower appointees to the Supreme Court, plus holdovers from the Roosevelt-Truman era, have given to those who would bring all power to the center the means to storm these last two bastions. We are thus brought face to face with perhaps the greatest constitutional crisis in our history.
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