The End of Popular Consent
Always, the liberal wants to change the laws so that he is not obliged to change his habits. "I don’t believe you change hearts," Hillary Clinton said to a Black Lives Matter delegation during her 2016 presidential campaign. "I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate."
It is the new liberal message, spoken to a few but intended as an instruction to the Democratic Party: You do not change hearts; rather, you acquire power through any means available, and then you change the system. The liberal mind, cosmopolitan to the end, can imagine no higher form of governance than the European models: socialist regimes dreaming of taxes, bound irretrievably into unsustainable entitlement programs; coalition governments divided by uncompromising ideologies, distracted by intriguing factions, forever chasing after small matters of politics, unable to provide for the defense of their citizens and bending in supplication for the wealth and favor of Evil.
"In every government on earth," wrote Thomas Jefferson, "is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will discover, and wickedness insensibly open, cultivate, and improve. Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone." The Founders of our nation represented the genius of human thought in the maturity of its moral purpose. We are nourished in the currents of a historical expansion of intelligence and creativity made possible by fundamental law and a Bill of Rights, a continually restorative enactment of justice beyond the expression of those first principles of government. But this observation is lost on the progressive movement, for which the American Constitution is not a foundation of law on which to build a prosperous and self-governing society, but rather an impediment and hazard to its social justice program.
Progressive elements in the party of Democrats have long understood that by circumventing the Constitution through executive orders and administrative regulations that have the effect of law, they can lead society into a settled acceptance of unpopular State actions. Any reasonable person might suppose that an enlightened self-interest would sufficiently deter an immoderate faction from so unwisely angering the people that they would vote its leadership out of office. Nevertheless, due to the combining interferences of successful vote farming tactics and the misinforming power of the media, the new liberal order has cast aside that necessary concern for popular consent.
Progressivism is not about consent -- it is about rule. This is the wrong argument and the wrong action to carry into the 21st Century. It is a violation of the common trust, an intrusion of exclusive, radical interests upon settled law and upon the vital institutions of civilized life. It would open the American system to all the entrenched socialized ills of the European.
Progressivism is not an end; it is rather a means of habituating the people to rule by bureaucratic authority. It is an activist and proselytizing force, a process not of reformation but of unremembering, of unbuilding, and undoing. It is the soul of deconstruction, emphasizing that the language of justice is unreliable and open to continual interpretation and suggestion. It would innovate upon the American Constitution until its words dissolved in a cauldron of political expediency. Its scripture embodies a perpetual dissatisfaction with truth, with moral understanding, with principles of established order, limit, and clarity. As a political declaration, the new liberal doctrine of power is a necessary precursor to authoritarian rule, to self-appointed government, to the tyranny of an elite political class, to oligarchy -- to socialism -- not yet the thing itself, though immune to none of its evils, but serving as a pathfinder, a leveler, and maker of footholds. Its own testament erases meaning and value as it redefines the terms of social contract.
The liberal speaks in a new Orwellian language. He tells us that injustice is stronger than justice; and his interference with the democratic process has now rid the Democratic Party of its moderate voices. The intellectual desire to engage in dialectic -- an instrument of reason by which we may understand both sides of an argument -- is forfeit to tribal hatreds. Any appeal to reason is now the mark of cowardice. Any attempt to reconcile differences with the conservative opposition is the action of treason. A readiness to shut down debate, to violate the free speech and assembly of opposing groups on college campuses and in many other social environments is proof of one’s oath and loyalty to the emerging extremist movement. Political correctness is the new social contract. Collective salvation is the new secular order of acceptable truth. The determination to believe one’s own lies is a perfect measure of commitment to the progressive cause of social justice. INGSOC revisionism emerges on the American left in the radical newspeak of SOCJUS: Error is Progress, Subsistence is Growth, and Weakness is Strength.
Social justice represents, in modern culture, a wave of moral inversion -- a means of justifying bad behavior with good intentions. Rather than repairing social inequities, progressive doctrine simply provides centralized government the means of further harvesting the fruits of inequality for political gain. The new liberal farmer gathers no crop in solving the problem. If the nation’s poor and disadvantaged were able to shake off their dependency on federal entitlement programs and to enjoy prosperity through opportunities hitherto denied them by liberal oppressions, there would no longer be a Democratic Party.
Progressive doctrine is fundamentally an argument incompatible with the principles of limited government and constitutional order. The tactical force of neoliberal planning works unilaterally to diminish or to withdraw the American citizen’s inalienable right of consent to the actions of government and to their irreversible consequences. The new liberal order is the product of elitist inbreeding, compounded by many recessive traits of reason and made legitimate by force. Its scripture involves a subversion of the democratic process. If its votaries insist that social justice for a few is not possible without claims upon the civil liberties of all persons, there can be no basis of consent. There is no significant distinction between the new left’s desire to impose its ideology upon the American people and the Islamic State’s desire to impose its doctrine upon the Muslim world. It is a matter only of degree: the former represents Error in its first character -- the latter in its last.