Ask any knowledgeable conservative to identify their least-favorite president, and more and more the answer these days will come back: Woodrow Wilson! But this was not always so. For a long time FDR held the crown, but in the last generation a number of closer looks have come to recognize that Wilson, and the broader current of Progressive ideology he did so much to champion, is the real turning point (much for the worse) in American political and constitutional thought and practice.
This week I sat down with one of the pre-eminent interpreters of Wilson, R.J. Pestritto of Hillsdale College. R.J. is the author of one the very best books about Wilson’s rich political philosophy, Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism. In this wide-ranging and fast-moving conversation, I talk with not only about what’s wrong with Wilson and his legacy, but why conservative thinkers missed his significance for such a long time.
And what’s a show about Progressivism without some progressive rock? Bumper music this week is “And You and I” from Yes, and “Mister Quality” (which Woodrow Wilson was not!) by Gentle Giant.