The View From 1776

Liberals Have to Believe in Magic

Liberal-socialism is, from the first step out of the box, founded upon mythology, and its theories are ivory-tower abstractions so unconnected with reality that they fall within the realm of magic.  John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and their fellow socialists behave like wanna-be actors auditioning for wizard roles in the next Harry Potter movie.

Blaming the President alone for disasters in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is, in effect, to attribute to his office the powers of God.  Even for atheistic liberal-socialists, who believe that the human mind creates and controls everything, it’s a big stretch to say that any President, Democrat or Republican, should have foreseen the fumbling incompetence of Louisiana’s Governor.

It’s hardly surprising that the President’s political opponents would use any news item at hand to discredit him.  It is, however, disheartening to see the extent to which the public has swallowed the liberal-socialist propaganda line.

Since the conversion of public education in the 1960s and 1970s to socialist indoctrination, public understanding has departed very far from historical reality.  Once again, let’s remind ourselves that this is because liberalism is the American sect of socialism, an atheistic and materialistic religion founded on belief in magic spells. 

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a founder of French socialism and a prime contributor to Diderot’s French Encyclopedia, admitted that he had no factual basis for his theory that private property was the cause of all social ills.  He simply imagined that in the prehistoric past property had been owned in common and that human life therefore was harmonious and tranquil.  Therefore, eliminating private ownership of property would return political society to the original Garden of Eden.  That’s another way to say that socialism is a work of fiction that advocates magic.

The most extraordinary manifestation of this alienation from reality is the idea that a vast and unimaginably complicated social and economic complex like the United States can be managed by regulations issuing from a bureaucracy in Washington and that a single person, the President, is responsible for our daily well-being. 

We hear it on all sides in political discourse.  Claims, for example, that a President “created” jobs; charges that a President failed to repeal the law of supply and demand and is thus responsible for high gasoline prices, along with the solemn pronouncement that Hurricane Katrina was caused by our failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

The coin of this magic realm is “ideas” learned at the Hogworts Schools of liberal wizardry, the elite secular universities dominated by liberal-socialist teaching faculties.  “Ideas” are thought to be magic spells that, once expounded, produce the effect envisioned by the liberal “thinker.”  Recitations of outright falsehood are believed sufficiently powerful to change the actual events of American history retroactively, as in the Soviet Union, where out-of-favor officials were simply erased from all books, photographs, and public records, as if they had never existed.

Ronald Reagan, one of the most effective Presidents in our history, was sneered at by liberals, because he hadn’t been trained in the wizardry of “ideas.”  The mindset of liberalism was famously revealed by Lionel Trilling, one of the icons of liberal literary criticism in the 1940s and 1950s.  In “The Liberal Imagination,” Professor Trilling wrote: “In the United States at this time [1950] liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition.  For it is the plain fact that nowadys there are no conservative or reactionary ideas in general circulation.”

In the world-view of liberal socialists, not to have “ideas,” not to believe in the magical power of socialistic theories, not to believe that only the Federal government, in the hands of liberal wizards, can improve the everyday lives of American citizens, is to be ignorant, to be unworthy of ordinary courtesy and respect. 

Unpleasant realities seldom penetrate the fog of magic surrounding liberals.  They look no farther than the intentions animating abstract “ideas” to regulate us into conformity with French philosophers’ theories of social justice. 

Senator Patrick Leahy’s response to my letter some years ago assured me, for instance, that I was misinformed; it was the Senator’s understanding that Great Society entitlements had, in fact, essentially eliminated poverty.  At the same time, liberal-socialists like Senator Leahy repeatedly proclaim that the income-gap between the wealthy and the poor is continually widening and that the poor are today worse off than they were in the early 1970s, in the midst of Great Society stagflation, when in the Senator’s recollection there was little or no poverty.

Liberals’ social-justice programs regularly fail to attain their goals and usually make matters worse.  One reason is their faith that conjuring an “idea” is sufficiently powerful to make everyone behave as they expect.  No allowance is made for the reactions of real people upon whom their schemes are to be imposed. 

Liberal-socialism’s “ideas” require a static world without the dimension of reactions of millions of people over time.  If liberal “ideas” envision limitations on spending to reform the Presidential election process, it doesn’t occur to them that humans will be clever enough to find a George Soros to subvert the scheme. 

Nor do they acknowledge that such reform “ideas” curtail freedom of speech.  Such blind reliance on the power and rightness of their “ideas” elsewhere has led to totalitarian repression.  Individuals have always resisted arbitrary regulation, and their liberal-socialist rulers responded, in Soviet Russia and National Socialist Germany, by liquidating a few million dissidents.

Alexis de Tocqueville in his 1856 ?The Old Regime and the French Revolution? described the French socialist intellectuals’ simplistic obsession with abstract theories to perfect political and economic society:

“This kind of abstract, literary politics found its way, in varying proportions, into all the writings of the day….this was the belief that what was wanted was to replace the complex of traditional customs governing the social order of the day by simple, elementary rules derived from the exercise of human reason and natural law….”

Tocqueville could have written the same thing about the policy “wonkism” of President-elect Bill Clinton, when he convoked a gathering of socialist intellectuals in Little Rock in 1992 before his first inauguration.  The liberal-socialist media rhapsodized that, at last, decisions will be taken out of the hands of capitalist businessmen and ignorant individuals, and again collectivized in the hands of Washington bureaucrats.  Magic “ideas” would again be the currency of political life.

The list of liberal magic incantations is lengthy.  A few samples: world peace is simply a matter of saying that you favor it; defending ourselves when we are attacked causes war; Al Queda’s billionaire leaders would make nice to us if we shared our wealth with them; redistributing wealth with President Johnson’s Great Society entitlements would eliminate crime and fully employ everyone; high gasoline prices can be fixed by imposing price controls and by mandating alternative energy sources; social justice can be achieved only by steadily raising tax rates on “the rich” (in fact, the opposite is true; tax cuts boost economic activity, which adds jobs and increases total tax revenues).

In my recent posting titled New Orleans and Germany, I described the views of Michael Harrington,  the American Socialist Party chairman, which informed President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.  That experiment in socialist magic was an unmitigated disaster that left cities like Newark, NJ, and Detroit in ruins, reduced the performance of our educational system to near the bottom of the developed world, accelerated crime rates, drug abuse, illegitimate births and single-parent families, and guaranteed the lawlessness in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

On a global scale, two egregious examples of the genre are the UN Oil for Humanitarian Aid program in Iraq, and the G8 Millennium Goals.  The former is the biggest criminal embezzlement in world history.  The latter presumes to transform African tribal culture solely by the materialistic and magical application of money. 

In both cases nothing could be more divorced from reality than entrusting development of plans for their implementation to the UN.  Comparisons that come to mind are trusting a wolf pack to perform as baby sitters, or assigning to an elephant the job of knitting sweaters.

John Luik in “Millennium Development Holes,” posted on the TechCentral Station website, notes the typical UN, socialist lack of planning and pie-in-the-sky expectations.  He writes:

“What is objectionable, however, is the fact that the agency given lead responsibility for moving the MDG [Millennium Development Goals] from platitude to reality is the incompetent, corrupt and strategically challenged UN…. Poor water and sanitation annually kills about five million people, according to the UN’s own statistics, and 50% of people in the developing world suffer from a disease associated with poor water quality and inadequate sanitation. Given these facts, you would think that there would be some carefully crafted plan, as part of the MDG strategy, for addressing these problems. Yet there is none.
“What there is instead is a wealth of empty talk about action. Kofi Annan, for instance, speaks about the “sustained action across the entire decade between now and the deadline. It takes time to train the teachers, nurses and engineers; to build the roads, schools, and hospitals; to grow the small and large businesses able to create the jobs and income needed.” But this talk is disconnected from a credible strategic plan as to how such difficult goals can be met…..

“Writing in the New York Times (9/13/05), Amir Attaran of the University of Ottawa noted that the UN’s deputy Secretary General, Canadian Louise Frechette, “instructed the organization’s scientists that she didn’t want the summit meeting being ‘distracted by arguments over the measurement of the Millennium Development Goals’ and ordered that they refrain from proposing any refinements to the goals.”
“The reasons for this reluctance to confront the measurement problem stem both from the fact that with many of the goals - such as reducing maternal and infant mortality and the incidence of mortality for instance—it is difficult to know with any degree of precision what mortality and incidence rates currently are and thus to talk in any meaningful way about progress to some goal is impossible.”

Liberals, of course, believe that mythical “international law” residing in a mythical realm called “the community of nations” is administered by the UN and that “international law” supersedes the Constitution of the United States.

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