Liberals Digging Their Political Graves
Do liberals understand what they are doing? I don't think they do. I think that they are blinkered by their one-dimensional view of politics: it reduces to the struggle for social justice. In 2010 after the midterm the Obamis decided they had to punch back twice as hard against the moneyed interests that would be unleashed by Citizens United. In Seattle the activist left is planning another May Day march: “Capitalist police state... rape of civil liberties.” Oh yeah!
Liberals do not think about the real meat of political philosophy, which is not to design a perfect political system with perfect justice, but to deal with the real problem: rulers and their appetite for power. Liberals worry instead about how to flush out the racists, sexists, and homophobes that are lurking in the woods waiting their chance to turn back the clock on glorious progressive achievements. Their concern is that the ruling class of liberals doesn't have enough power to do good.
Mark Steyn has a brilliant article in The Spectator in Australia in which he does a “reveal” on the liberal war on free speech in all its embarrassing nakedness, from the silly girl at Swarthmore who is bothered by “the whole idea that at a liberal arts college we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion” to the liberal luvvies in London calling for “the first state restraints on the British press in three and a quarter centuries.”
As Dave Barry likes to say: I am not making this up.
When you go down the list of liberal free speech outrages you think: what are these liberals thinking? Do they not realize that when you shut down the opposition you are just cuing up Les Mis, barricades in the streets, and:
Do you hear the people sing?
Singing the song of angry men?
It is the music of the people
Who will not be slaves again!
And the tune is pretty good too.
Liberals are convinced that they represent a noble cause of the evolved and the educated called by History to right the wrongs of the wretched and the marginalized of the Earth. Angry men? They must be angry bitter-ender white racists and sexists. HuffPo is already worrying that the Bundy ranch activists want fresh opportunities to “exercise armed defiance.”
The thing about today's ruling-class repression is that the ruling class better decide, before it gets in out of its depth, how far it's prepared to go.
Jung Chang in Mao:The Untold Story gives us the bottom line on political repression. Back in the 1930s Mao and Zhou Enlai were just bandits running a Red Base in southwest China. They found they could govern without the consent of the governed. But they could only stay in power by using terror.
[Mao and Zhou] relaxed the purges for a while in 1931, but found that when people ceased to fear killings and arrests “they started to band together to defy Communist orders. It rapidly became clear that the regime could not survive without constant killings[.]”
That's why I don't think that our all-American liberals have really thought through their sophomoric ideas about striking a “balance between free speech in a democracy and protection against racial abuse in a multicultural society” and the use of the IRS to punish their enemies. One repression leads with iron logic to the next, and each injustice provokes its own head of rebellion. At some point, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), you and your fellow House Democrats may have to embarrass yourselves and walk back your partisan insouciance, and admit that your opponents were right about the IRS and True the Vote.
Unless you have the cojones to go for the Full Lefty. I don't think any of our liberal friends have looked around that corner yet.
Meanwhile there is hope – for Republicans.
Suppose you were to be the Republican nominee for president in 2016 and you were cudgeling your brain figuring out how to light a fire under the 4 million voters that didn't get out to the polls to vote for Mitt Romney in 2012. An aide comes in with some PowerPoint slides describing an America where liberals had forbidden conservatives to organize, where the IRS and the Justice Department had conspired to harass and maybe even criminally prosecute ordinary American citizens because they didn't fill in their incomprehensible government forms properly. The last slide has the quote from the Democratic president who had airily declared one day in 2014 that there wasn't a “smidgen” of evidence of corruption at Lois Lerner's IRS. The GOP nominee would say: where do we send the thank-you note?
I have a new catchphrase for all this: “Governing makes you stupid.”
Christopher Chantrill (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) 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. Get his Road to the Middle Class.