You know progressives like Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, but you may not know Stuart Chase, the man called the progressive prophet. An American economist born in 1888, Chase was influenced by Fabian socialists, as well as communist social and educational experiments being conducted in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. At the conclusion of his 1932 book, A New Deal, Chase wrote, “Why should the Soviets have all the fun remaking the world?”
What sort of government and economic system did progressives like Stuart Chase want to adopt if they considered constitutionalism and the free market passe? A strong centralized government controlling everything — the government, the banking system, education, employment, food, housing, medical care — so the people wouldn’t make poor decisions for themselves.
Chase had just one problem as he envisioned his utopia on earth. He couldn’t come up with a name for it. Socialism, fascism and state capitalism just didn’t seem to fit the bill. Like any good Fabian, he shied away from calling socialism by its name. Instead, he labeled America’s future system “something called X.” And as Chase believed, System X was already displacing the system of free enterprise all over the world.