Benign Dictatorship and the Progressive Mind

Recently, I received a rare visit from my brother-in-law. He is a smart guy, having graduated valedictorian of his high school class and currently running a successful business. Unfortunately, his politics run 180 degrees counter to mine, as he grew up in the socialist environment of his Swedish homeland.

As we talked about the weather and other neutral subjects, he stared into my library. Among my compilation of Holy Bibles and Vince Flynn novels, he noticed my Glenn Beck book collection. "Do you believe in that stuff?" he asked, giving me a repulsed look as though they espoused the philosophy of satanic pedophilia. "I do," I replied resolutely, upon which he began a long diatribe on his vehement hatred of George Bush and the fascist dictatorship he created.

President Obama, he declared, although he has his flaws, "means well." I won't go into my rebuttal of that statement, but his final thought on the matter was: "Of course, the perfect form of government is the benign dictatorship."

I have been thinking about that perception for a while now -- not because I believe it's true, but because it may help explain the motivations of the progressive leftists in this country. I am continually attempting to truly understand the conceptual thinking of progressives, as it is so foreign to my analytical personality. Like Star Trek's Mr. Spock, I am driven by phenomenological facts and data. Progressives apparently can function with neither.

Over a year ago, I wrote about my theory that liberals "crave a master" who will instill stern discipline and mete out harsh punishments to a deserving citizenry. This was based on my belief that progressives have a predilection for "moral masochism." While I still maintain the validity of this argument, I am beginning to understand that much of their apparently illogical craving for domination is actually agenda-driven.

To the committed progressive, the leftist priority agenda issues are so pure and righteous that the frustration of not having them immediately implemented is unbearable. For instance, "climate change" legislation is a progressive, neo-religious, life-or-death cause for whose achievement many would gladly give up all of their (and our) democratic freedoms and liberties. 

The U.S. Constitution is a preventer rather than an enabler of the progressive agenda and therefore must be removed as an obstacle. Obama once called it a "charter of negative liberties." And so the dream of a benevolent dictator who will powerfully push aside all opposition and enact just and virtuous laws throughout the land dwells in the psyche of the left. Human beings will always succumb to the corrupt temptations of power, but that doesn't stop progressives from trying. There is no doubt that Obama has successfully amassed power to himself unlike any American president before him in just his first eighteen months. To be fair, George Bush gave him a running start.

The fact that our normal American safeguards have thus far failed to contain this unprecedented expansion of executive power is itself deeply troubling. This failure is due in part to the fact that the executive branch has followed a determined strategy of obfuscating, delaying, withholding information, appearing to yield but then refusing to do so, and dissembling in order to frustrate the efforts of the legislative and judicial branches to restore a healthy constitutional balance.

So spoke Al Gore in a 2006 speech on the Bush administration's abuse of the Constitution. He railed on about Bush's power grabs, including the use of warrantless wiretaps and surveillance, efforts to control the internet, and imprisonment of citizens suspected of terrorism without an arrest warrant or due process.

Following in Bush's footsteps but with a longer gait, Obama has maintained and expanded the wiretapping and surveillance of citizens' communications, recently including warrantless seizure of private e-mails. He has been granted the power to shut down the internet at any time he deems necessary, and he is working diligently to further control all communications through the FCC and his Marxist communications diversity czar, Mark Lloyd. 

Most distressingly, Obama has reserved for himself the right to declare any U.S. citizen a "terrorist" and target him for assassination without a trial or due process. Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano has identified veterans, states-rights advocates, people who oppose abortion or illegal immigration, and members of right-wing groups as potential domestic terrorists. To paraphrase Newsweek magazine, "We are all terrorists now."

The pieces of the "benign dictatorship" of Obama have been set into place. The two primary components are the gargantuan monstrosities known as ObamaCare and the Financial Reform Bill. They were intentionally designed to be indecipherable. Read the statements of our most brilliant legislative minds in Congress:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): "[W]e have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI): "What good is reading the bill if it's a thousand pages?"

Christopher Dodd (D-CT): "No one will know until this [financial reform bill] is actually in place how it works."

An August 5 Wall Street Journal editorial on ObamaCare said this:

Earlier this week, the Congressional Research Service reported that the new bureaucracy the bill created is so complex and indiscriminate that its size is "currently unknowable." Capitol Hill's independent policy arm added that among "the dozens of new governmental organizations or advisory bodies," it is "impossible to know how much influence they will ultimately have."

The bottom line is that it doesn't matter what is written in these convoluted legislative nightmares. They are merely concepts to be molded and interpreted in any way the administration desires. The people who will perform these interpretations are the very scary regulatory czar Cass Sunstein and history's largest assembled collection of '60s radicals appointed as government bureaucrats. They, along with Obama, are now in complete control of our lives.

Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA) may be an elitist and a fool, but I believe he was correct when he recently said, "The federal government, yes, can do most anything in this country." With a total disregard for the U.S. Constitution and no discernible moral compass, Obama's Chicago-style administration looks like it is heading toward dictatorship, though hardly benign, no matter what my brother-in-law and others may believe about Obama's intentions.

Andrew Thomas blogs at