Philip Dru: The Novel with no Plot and a Dictator

English: Lesson 120

Is this novel a defense of liberty?

The book, Philip Dru: Administrator, A Story of Tomorrow, written by Edward M. House, seems to only have been written to describe what he would do if he was in power. House was the advisor to President Wilson from 1912 to 1919, and Wilson read the book and enjoyed it. Knowing that piece of information, it is hard to think that House was not trying to convey some kind of message to the president and people in power. The plot, or lack thereof, is just there to disguise House’s real message: Progressivism.

The Progressive movement is not centred around liberty, so we cannot expect a man who writes a book about progressivism to be defending liberty. The book tries to justify taking away liberties. The main idea behind progressivism is to eliminate waste and simplify government, making it more efficient. But this quest for efficiency often goes against the progressives’ quest for democracy. A centralized government takes the power away from elected officials and gives it to professional administrators and experts, who are not elected often. This change of power is meant to make government less corrupt, because according to progressives’, experts make better decisions than local politicians and the people. None of this is sounding very democratic or defending liberty.

There are many reasons why the book, Philip Dru: Administrator, A Story of Tomorrow, is not a defence of liberty and instead is for a centralized government and even a dictatorship. Firstly, House does not care about a plausible plot, and creates a character who is an ex-lieutenant who hates war then starts a bloody revolution and who hates dictatorship then starts a dictatorship and a new world order. Very plausible indeed.

Dru was now ready to march upon Washington, and he issued an address to his soldiers which was intended, in fact, for the general public. He did not want, at this time, to assume unusual powers, and if he had spoken to the Nation he might be criticized as assuming a dictatorial attitude.

Philip Dru, pg. 64

Most people do not think of freedom when they hear the word dictator. They think of communism and the freedoms of people stripped away. On page 64 of the book the character, Philip Dru, does not want to take on a dictatorial attitude.  Then on page 65, he decides to take on the powers of a dictator so that he can purge the government more quickly and easily.

General Dru now called a conference of his officers and announced his purpose of assuming the powers of a dictator, distasteful as it was to him, and, as he felt it might also be, to the people. He explained that such a radical step was necessary, in order to quickly purge the Government of those abuses that had arisen, and give to it the form and purpose for which they had fought.

Philip Dru, pg. 65

The entire character of Philip Dru is implausible, and certainly not freedom-oriented. At the start of the book, Philip Dru declines a position of power in the government. He did not want power in a government system he did not like. By the end of the book, he has torn down the old system and replaced it with a dictatorship where he has taken complete control of the U.S.

One last thing that proves this book does not a defence of liberty, is what House writes at the end of his book. Philip Dru, now in complete power, talks about setting up clubs for young women. These clubs are meant to “uplift” women by means of singing, reading, dancing, and plays. The books and songs which these young women are to be “uplifted” by are specifically curated by matrons, and are to ingrain in the minds of these women certain agendas and ideas. Pure brainwashing!

Have clubs for them, where they may sing, dance, read, exercise and have their friends visit them. Have good women in charge so that the influence will be of the best. Have occasional plays and entertainments for them, to which they may each invite a friend, and make such places pleasanter than others where they might go. And all the time protect them, and preferably in a way they are not conscious of. By careful attention to the reading matter, interesting stories should be selected each of which would bear its own moral. Quiet and informal talks by the matron and others at opportune times, would give them an insight into the pitfalls around them, and make it more difficult for the human vultures to accomplish their undoing.

Philip Dru, pg. 113

I could mention more about the lack of liberty and complete failure of the plot in this book but will leave it at that. House wrote a book that does not defend the liberties of the people, but which takes them away and sets up a dictatorship, and creates an implausible character of a man who hates war, but starts a revolution, does not like dictators, but then becomes one.

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