Elizabeth Warren, Philosopher Queen, Wants More Power Than Our Founding Fathers Thought Wise | Opinion

Elizabeth Warren campaigns in New York
Elizabeth Warren held a rally in New York's Washington Square Park on September 16, 2019. Drew Angerer/Getty

For those who might think that the great intellectual champion of women's rights in politics was Woodrow Wilson—him having been president when the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920—you'd be mistaken. That first champion surfaced about 2,500 years earlier in the Greek philosopher Plato. It was he who said it was critical for women to be equally involved with men in the political process.

He didn't suggest this out of some notion of chivalry; he simply thought women might have some good ideas and, as a result, should be allowed to have them shared for the benefit of all. This thought was revolutionary in his time, as were most of his other ideas. In fact, it's said today that all political thinkers for over 2,000 years have been "answering Plato."

Plato and Wilson do, however, intersect elsewhere, giving us two legs of a would-be triangle. Allow me to offer you a third leg and an attendant explanation. Let me bring in Democratic Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.

In the Republic, Plato advances a number of arguments that were original and quite radical. In addition to his sort of "emancipation" for women, one of his key elements was that in order to have a perfected society, there was a need for a "Philosopher King." This person would be of such great wisdom, virtue and knowledge that they would be able to determine what was best for the republic, as reflected in this passage:

...nature herself intimates ..., among men as well as among animals, and indeed among whole cities and races, that justice consists in the superior ruling over and having more than the inferior.

Woodrow Wilson, one of the fathers of American progressivism and the first such progressive to be elected president, shared this view. He was the first president to openly criticize the Constitution, sharing in 1913 after his taking office:

The Constitution was founded on the law of gravitation. The government was to exist and move by virtue of the efficacy of 'checks and balances.' The trouble with the theory is that government is not a machine, but a living thing. No living thing can have its organs offset against each other, as checks, and live.

Wilson believed that the government's ability to act was hampered by the design of our Founders, and that greater administrative power needed to be granted to the Executive.

Wilson came out of the world of academia, having been first a professor and ultimately the president of Princeton. Progressives of his time (and ours today) saw themselves as among the wisest in our society and therefore entitled to lead. They saw the need for an administrative state, one that could be managed by smart people and allowed to efficiently and effectively plan and organize the lives of the citizenry.

Wilson, and others like him, saw the need for Plato's Philosopher King.

Among Plato's lesser known ideas is that he also called for "Philosopher Queens": women of great wisdom and brilliance who could mate with the Philosopher Kings to produce more brilliant people capable of ruling. If this sounds a little too master race for you, keep in mind that Wilson, certainly a Plato fan, was also an open racist who embraced the ideals found in eugenics and Social Darwinism. In addition, he ushered in the era of Jim Crow laws.

All of this leads me to Wilson's ideal "intellectual mate," albeit a century too late, in Elizabeth Warren. The academic from Harvard who runs for president as the newest progressive heir, who wants to enact policies as a Philosopher Queen to make decisions for all of us who are not as smart, refined or evolved as she.

A reading of the senator's positions indicates a tremendous amount of power being seized and centralized within the Chief Executive's office and administered through what's often referred to as a "fourth branch" of government: the bureaucratic state that can create and execute policy with limited need for congressional vote. The senator wants to use the Executive to:

  • Intervene in the housing market and control the supply and funding
  • Control higher education 100 percent at the federal level by having government fund free college for all.
  • Establish a national industrial policy to dictate manufacturing practices in the name of being "green"
  • Nationalize health care and run it through a Medicare for All program

Senator Warren, who is soaring in the polls among Democrat primary voters, is casting herself in a role that places her in between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. She seems reasonable, she seems intelligent, she seems to want to help everyone who feels left behind or marginalized.

In reality, she is positioning herself as America's Philosopher Queen.

I have been sounding the alarm that both Bernie and Biden would fade and that Senator Warren is really the one to watch. Barring a new entry, at the time of this writing she is in fact the likely nominee. To many lacking an understanding of history, her ideas feel fresh and new. They're not. To others, they may be impressed with her academic background. She is a professor at Harvard. She must be smart.

I have no idea what Senator Warren's SAT scores were, nor do I know if she got accommodations for test-taking because of her Native American heritage. What I do know is that regardless of how book smart she might be, like Wilson, hers does not exceed the combined intelligence of our Founding Fathers. They were the most educated group of men in history who deliberately designed a system of government precisely to withstand the onslaught of chief executives in the mold of Warren and Wilson, whose policies vest an nearly uncheckable amount of power in the Executive.

Our Founders also read Plato. They rejected his ideas. They believed in a middle-class, not a ruling-class. They opted for a government of the people, by the people, and for the people; not for a Philosopher King.

Nor, by extension, did they choose a Philosopher Queen. In 2020, Americans shouldn't choose one either.

Charlie Kirk is the founder and executive director of Turning Point USA, the nation's largest and fastest growing conservative youth organization with a presence on over 1,400 college and high school campuses; he is also host of "The Charlie Kirk Show."

The opinions expressed in this essay are the author's own.