The Liberal Bubble of Self-Deceit
Back in 2008, I decided to vote for Barack Obama because I wanted the Democrats in charge of foreign policy. I never thought that they would do a good job, but I felt that they needed to own U.S. foreign policy for a while. For eight years they had been ragging on President Bush as the stupidest, most warmongering president in history, who was flushing civil liberties down the toilet with his Patriot Act. But now, Andrew McCarthy writes:
After four years of watching Obama enthusiastically adopt what he once condemned, we now know Bush detractors were animated by politics, not conviction. We now know that, across a broad spectrum of Obama progressives and national-security conservatives, there is consensus about an aggressive counterterrorism model.
OK, so the liberals finally signed onto the war on terror -- kinda-sorta -- but don't tell anyone. Now, McCarthy urges, we need the president to push for a "national security court to deal with the unique legal challenges of a war against transnational terrorists."
President Obama could do it - he could deliver plenty of Democrats. Together with the strong Republican support that is guaranteed, we could very quickly have an enduring, constitutionally sound counterterrorism framework. We could craft legislation that provides broad executive discretion but avoids the dangerous excesses of the Justice Department white paper.
Only President Obama won't lead. He just had the attorney general produce a secret white paper that authorizes him to kill Americans who act as enemy combatants. But forget about formalizing his policy in legislation.
You can see why. The president and his fellow Democrats are afraid to lead their progressive base back onto the reservation. They spent the entire decade of the 2000s raging about Bush the mad bomber and human-rights violator, and now they can't face their base and break the bubble of deceit.
It's the same with domestic policy. Democrats won't touch entitlement reform. Instead they keep driving their voters towards the buffalo jump that will send Grannie's Medicare over the cliff.
And so on, with welfare, global warming, mortgage mayhem. Arthur Laffer has a piece in the Wall Street Journal about how a woman on welfare with two kids usually faces a marginal tax rate of about 100 percent if she starts to work. No wonder the president wants to increase the marginal tax rate on the rich -- just to make it fair.
What do Democrats really think is right for the country? Never mind. If it doesn't keep the Democratic majority steadily emerging, they are not interested.
So liberals have to deceive themselves. It all started right after the Great Society legislation. According to Charles Murray in Losing Ground, liberals had instrumented their new programs with lots of reporting so they could measure and trumpet their success to the world. When the programs didn't work out, and the reports showed it, liberals sent the reports straight to the stacks. It's been that way ever since.
Here's some reality for you. Mr. Skinflint here has finally sprung for a copy of Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics at Half Price Books. At $9.99, why not?
Dr. Sowell sensibly starts out his book with "The Role of Prices." Really, everyone should read Sowell on prices once a year. You need to do that in order to flush out all the mainstream media misdirection, not to mention the special-interest ifs, ands, and buts, that endlessly muddy your brain.
Sowell writes about price controls, especially rent controls. The science is in on rent controls -- has been for decades. They reduce the supply of housing; they result in housing decay and abandonment. And the rich benefit while the poor get screwed. Still, even the black Sowell family got to benefit from the rent control in New York City in World War II and actually contributed to the housing shortage. But they didn't have a clue what was wrong. Sowell admits the shameful truth:
My own family, which occupied a two-bedroom apartment in 1939, before the war, occupied two apartments with a total of four bedrooms in 1944, and of course two kitchens and two bathrooms. Yet we were as baffled as everyone else as to why there was a housing shortage.
It's not too hard to understand how liberals manage to live in denial about rent control. Maybe they have a friend with a rent-controlled apartment. Maybe Grannie is panicking at giving up the apartment she's had for 50 years. And of course, if you were the New York Times, you wouldn't want to rile up your liberal readers with unpleasant truths about basic economics.
I suppose that's the reason why we have speech codes, and why the mainstream media doesn't want to talk about the lefty politics of the LA police killer. Liberals need to stay safe in their bubble of self-deceit.
Christopher Chantrill (mailto:email@example.com) is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.