Tuesday, July 19, 2011
There is an on-going argument among conservatives that Obama and the Progressives are simply misguided and ignorant, on the one hand, or that they are deliberately bent on America's destruction on the other. That argument is perhaps best exemplified by the thinking of Michael Medved in the first case and that of Rush Limbaugh in the second. I believe Limbaugh is correct.
Both men are deeply rooted in the Western Tradition's norms of civil society, and that is a good thing. Limbaugh, however, is canny enough to recognize that Progressives, while careful to appear otherwise, entertain no such notions. They are deconstructionists whose sole motivation is the will to power, and they well understand that their ends can only be achieved by the calculated and deliberate dissolution of American society and its roots in the heritage of the West.
Mr. Medved, like other "moderate" conservatives, naively -- and dangerously -- assumes that the Hard Left upholds the same values and plays by the same rules honored by the Right. He fails to see that Progressives have launched upon a course of triangulation in aid of division and conquest: the fascist "third way" .
The Third Way and the Debt Limit Debacle
It is apparent to me that Obama and the Democrats have no intention to bargain in good faith on this (or any other) contentious issue, and it is equally apparent that Republicans -- despite all evidence to the contrary -- persist in the expectation that they will.
There is also a widespread expectation in the Congress and general public that Mr. Obama and his minions share the nation's concern that the contest over the debt limit will be resolved in such a way as to avoid the economic and social consequences that might follow from the exercise of the President's options. What are his options?
In my view the Republicans do not hold a winning hand. They haven't the power to force legislation that might constrain the growth of government -- spending, taxation and regulation. It would seem that the best they can hope for is to propose laws that are symbolic and designed to capture public support, but that cannot pass through the senate or the President's veto. In addition to the political disadvantage is one of a civil society mindset. They cannot imagine that Obama might actually want the economy to fail, and, so, create the kind of crisis that cannot go to waste. If Republicans (with the help of some Democrats) should prevail in refusing to raise the debt ceiling without commensurate reductions in spending, The President could withhold payments to Social Security, Medicare and debt service in favor of other government spending, provoking American social unrest and further international economic instability. That would serve his own ends as well as those of the EU oligarchs who are similarly disposed in further cementing their power. Third way Progressives could hardly ask for a better opportunity to take power amidst the chaos that would likely ensue.
Progressives: Are We There Yet?
I do not believe this will happen, but only because the Progressives have not yet put in place the political infrastructure required to seize power . That is a pragmatic matter rather than a failure of will and intent. However the debt crisis (largely fabricated) is resolved, the Hard Left will have made progress in raising the level of animus between the contending parties, further weakening them politically.
The hardening of the Left has been evolving for a century, and it is, and has been, largely the work of Progressives. One can argue that the Right has also hardened, and I would agree. But the first case is sui gereris, whereas in the latter it has been defensive. In this context the reader may well ask how I defend my assertion that the Left is not bound by the rules of civil society. Primarily I base my view on the Left's refusal to debate disagreements (please note that in the debt controversy, and others, Democrats are unwilling to argue their principles and assumptions with Conservatives). Traditional standards of debate require an agreed willingness to lose or win on the merits of argument, whether by the marshaling of compelling facts or by the force of argumentation skills. Liberals, by my observation, are persuaded by facts only when they support liberal interests. In the case at hand the numbers that clearly demonstrate the destructive consequences of excessive spending, taxing and regulation on the economy and generally on society are hardly acknowledged by the Left. The facts do not support their pursuit of redistributive "social justice", so they may be ignored. That brings us to another element of civil society and the law -- respect for truth.
Deconstructionist relativists believe that facts and logic are instruments of oppression and that power (winning by political or main force in support of their agenda) is all that matters.
Finally, in another breech of civil society's norms, there is the ever-present tendency to violence on the Left. Contrary to our current (and long held) dominant meme that the Right presents the threats and reality of violence, the facts -- those pesky things -- argue otherwise. The locus of violence is and has been (at least from the French Revolution) predominantly a phenomenon of the Left . From Marxist socialism and its German and Italian variants to the Maoists to union violence to the anarchists of 60's America nothing has changed.
However egregious the consequences of their behavior, Progressives are not ashamed; they want a better world -- one that they can control. If force is required, if it comes at the cost of liberty and prosperity, if human misery is the result, so be it. The long march to Utopia is what matters.
1. The "third way" methodology -- fomenting bitter contention between the dominant opposing ideologies, so that both are weakened and vulnerable to authoritarian rule -- is perhaps best explained in Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. Social and economic collapse -- or the real threat of it -- are necessary conditions for "third way" leaders to seize power.
Ironically, as has been the case in all modern collectivist revolutions, the worker bees of the movement (useful idiots) are among the first purged by those who have come to hold power. I suspect there is space reserved under the proverbial bus for Mrs. Pelossi and Mr. Reid.
2. Much of that infrastructure is already in place in the form of the institutional Left, represented by enormous mostly liberal government (state, county and municipal) bureaucracies, media, education and unions. What seems to be missing is reliable control of the nation's courts and law enforcement. Gaining that control is a work in progress.
3. I don't argue that the Right is without its own history of violence -- the early Christian Church and the killing of blacks in the American South are examples. Often cited by Liberals are predations of Hitler and Mussolini, which only strengthens my case. It is well to recall that these men were leaders of the socialist Left; they were characterized as right wing at the time only by Marxists who resented their heresy against international communism when they opted for national socialism. In any case the sheer scale of murders and imprisonment by socialists and communists causes the violence of the Right virtually to disappear.
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