The View From 1776

Who Are the Liberal-Socialists?

      http://www.thomasbrewton.com/index.php/weblog/who_are_the_liberalsocialists/

If there is any hope of preserving the government established when the Constitution was ratified in 1789, it’s necessary to understand who its enemies are.

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Liberal-socialists, if we include their fellow-travelers, are a huge and diverse group comprising people of varying degrees of education, understanding, and motivation.  Their point of unity is the aim to change the fundamental nature of the government created in 1787 when our Constitution was written.

Liberal-socialists in this country are not a single block of people, all of whom think exactly alike.  Nor is there a liberal conspiracy.  The number of people who are pure liberals, together with their sympathizers, probably number more than a third to a half of the nation?s population, that is to say, more than one hundred million people.  This means that combating liberal-socialism is a formidable task.  It means that the struggle, just as with the war on terror, will likely endure for generations.  But we must not relent.

In the United States, liberal-socialists fall into five general categories:

First are true-blue socialist-liberals for whom it is a matter of sincere religious faith.  These are people who have mastered the catechism of social justice and can articulate legal and sociological theories to justify their stratagems to gut the Constitution.  Many of them were radical student activists in the 1960s and 1970s and are now teachers and college professors themselves, aggressively radicalizing young students at all levels of education.  A significant portion of elected political representatives fall into this group.  A troubling number of state and Federal judges are devout socialists.  More than 70 percent of writers, journalists, and TV pundits and show hosts, including those on tax-supported Public TV and Public Radio, are self-identified true-believers.  Ditto many of the huge, tax-exempt trusts, such as the Ford Foundation, which fund the liberal jihad. 

Prominent among the true-blues is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).  It was organized in 1916-17, while the U.S. prepared to enter World War I.  Its express and exclusive purpose was to protect socialists and anarchists who attempted to sabotage war preparation efforts, a goal from which it has never strayed.  Today, to promote the cause of socialism,  the ACLU will aggressively support any legislation or activity that undermines historical traditions or banishes spiritual religion and morality from education and public life. 

These believers are no more susceptible to rational argument than are terrorist suicide-bombers.  They KNOW what political actions must be taken to end all of mankind?s difficulties and sufferings.  They KNOW that the coming of socialism will restore the Garden of Eden, making all of the earth into a heavenly paradise.  They KNOW that the only things standing in the way of this utopian dream are the selfish greed of owners of private property and people?s faith in spiritual religions and personal morality.  These true-believers therefore are prepared to do whatever may be necessary to reach socialism?s Garden of Eden.

Second are the biggest group, the fellow-travelers, a category that has several sub-groups.  They include the good-ol’-boys and girls types, north and south, east and west, who just bumble mindlessly along with the flow for no better reason than that?s what they see on TV programs and in movies.  If the Ku Klux Klan were to take over the country, they would support them too, without thinking much about it.  These are the people who can?t find their way to voting places and can?t figure out how to punch holes in paper ballots, the people whose votes are supposed to be essential for democracy.  Some of them actually have thought about election issues and can even remember the names of candidates, but their thoughtfulness seldom goes beyond calculating which candidate promises the most free-loading welfare benefits.  Issues of constitutionality or economic feasibility don?t register on their radar screens.

Another sub-group temperamentally related to the good-ol’-boys and girls are today?s college students and the fellow students of the 1960s student-radicals, who found the image of youthful rebellion attractive, but never really got into serious study of socialist doctrine.  They can rattle off a list of atrocities supposedly committed by Americans around the world.  They find it exciting to take to the streets carrying placards with slogans they can?t explain or justify, especially when the liberal media give them respectful news coverage.  They are hangers-on who appear never to trouble themselves about the financial, social, and political costs of the social-justice slogans they mouth.  Few of them inquire whether social justice actually works, or what in fact the real-world results of social justice have been.  Self-centered greed leads some of them to support political candidates who promise new welfare programs that will benefit them personally.  Whether such welfare programs are beneficial to the general well-being of the nation is a question that doesn?t enter their minds, nor would they, in most cases, have the knowledge or interest to answer such a question. 

For the good ol’ boys and girls and for the student hangers-on, socialism is a very undemanding religion.  They don?t have to change their lifestyles, diets, or drinking and drug habits.  They merely have to go with the flow.  They don?t even have to understand the ideology to which they are giving lip service.  They are happily guided by Hollywood personalities who appear on talk shows and by comedians who ridicule morality and spiritual religion.  Participating in a mass demonstration is a sort of spiritual communion with The Religion of Humanity, a proof of their self-worth.  If a street demonstration isn?t available, they can worship their socialist god by sitting at their favorite bar, watching TV, ordering another beer, and denouncing people who question their beliefs.

Another sub-category among the fellow-travelers are the so-called liberal Republicans, the group known in the 1970s as Rockefeller Republicans.  Many are from influential and wealthy families and have acquired a noblesse oblige attitude in Ivy League, upper Midwestern, and Left Coast universities.  Few of them have faced the need to scratch out a living from the wrong side of the tracks, so they think in great and noble, but abstract terms about ?helping the people.?  They seem unaware that their social justice programs are about as helpful as giving ever larger doses of heroin to a drug addict.

Related to the liberal Republicans are executives of large corporations who, counter-intuitively, actually prefer big government with a heavy regulatory hand.  First, it?s easier for big companies to deal with a single set of national regulations than to deal with fifty sets of state regulations.  Second, having to deal with millions of pages of conflicting government regulations gives them an advantage against potential competitors, the newer, smaller companies that can?t afford the armies of accountants and lawyers required to deal with Federal regulatory agencies. 

Few people today know that among the supporters of socialist state-planning in the 1920s and 1930s were, astonishingly, President Herbert Hoover and major corporate executives like General Electric’s President Gerard Swope.  Hoover, a professional mining engineer, was temperamentally attracted to the idea of state-planning and social-engineering.  As Secretary of Commerce in the Coolidge administration, he advocated industrial self-regulation through granting trade associations legal powers to fix prices and promulgate their own rules of competition.  When the 1929 stock market crash precipitated the Great Depression during his Presidency, Hoover turned to leaders of big business like Swope, from whom he got active support to fix wages at high levels and to take other measures to run the economy as if it were a private company. 

Needless to say, these measures were unsuccessful.  The net result was fewer workers at high wages in big business and mass unemployment among those who had worked for the nation’s small businesses.  Many of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal policies were foreshadowed by state-planning actions started by President Hoover in conjunction with leaders of the nation’s largest corporations.

The fellow-traveler sub-group includes many ordinary people who look favorably upon some of the avowed aims of social justice, but fail to understand that, like Faust, they must sell their souls to the Devil to get the promised rewards.  Most of them are middle-class residents in the older and larger cities, where they have been surrounded all their lives by media, teachers, and politicians for whom the only imaginable form of good government is the welfare state.  Some of these folks are nice, personally decent people whose education and family upbringing have impressed upon them the desirability of making life easier for the poor, the elderly, the sick, and the crippled.  Others are dogmatic believers who don?t fully understand the implications of liberal-socialism.  In the impersonal atmosphere of large cities it?s easy for them to believe that the rich have gouged the poor and that re-distributing some of their ill-gotten gains is the only appropriate policy.  The generalities of social justice sound good to them.  They are sure that warnings about the inherent dangers of socialism are greatly exaggerated.  Surely a rich country like the United States can afford to help the less fortunate.  Why, they wonder, could anyone possibly object to benefits like socialized medicine?

Liberal Republicans and the basically decent, ordinary citizens share a common viewpoint.  Without consciously articulating it, they feel that individualism and the forces of market-place competition will necessarily produce injustices for people in lower economic classes.  In their view, business and “the rich” will inevitably oppress the average citizen, unless big government steps in to regulate everything.

Opportunity is defined by them as the government giving special privileges to selected social and economic groups, because they don’t believe that an ordinary citizen can get ahead in life by his own exertions.  The little guy, they believe, can’t compete in the free-market world and must be sheltered in the embrace of Big Brother.  But the “little guy” is never an individual, it’s always selected racial, economic, or social classes.

Their education and the pervasive message of the media give these liberal Republicans and large-city Democratic voters a picture of economic conditions as static, and therefore controllable by restructuring society.  They have no conception of the actual fluidity, up and down, in the economic scale.  The poor are implicitly viewed as permanently consigned to a category of economic inferiority, oppressed by a permanent cadre of hereditary rich who year by year grow richer at the expense of the poor.  Even if the poor become richer, these sub-groups of liberalism always look to the fact that the rich also got richer.  Nor do they note that few people remain in the rarified top-income brackets for long; many drop out with reversals of fortune, as others rise to take their places. 

They fail to note that as many as eighty percent of ?the rich? in the IRS?s top tax brackets are either owners of small businesses whose business income is reported on their personal tax returns, or individuals who have hit the jackpot via one-time cashing-in of stock options, as in the dot.com boom of the late 1990s.

No account is taken of the fact that a huge percentage of the poor are teen-agers in their first jobs, people who will in a few years be climbing upward into the higher income brackets with more experience and greater skills acquired along the way.

Liberal Republicans and the basically decent, ordinary citizens think that it is only fair that the Federal government have the authority to impose arbitrary regulations on businesses and individuals restricting their economic freedoms and the rights of private property.  They simply ignore the fact that our political ancestors went to war with Great Britain in 1776 precisely to preserve individual economic freedoms and the rights of private property.

Because they are generally college-educated and have been taught only the dogma of socialism, liberal Republicans and the basically decent, ordinary citizens are certain that any intelligent person will agree with the aims of socialistic social justice.  They are confident that planners can improve social and economic conditions, but they are usually vague about specifics, except in the areas directly touching them.  For them, it is sufficient to identify conditions that they regard as unjust.  The presumption is that all injustices can be rectified by government regulation.  Adverse secondary effects of such regulation are ignored.

If seniors complain that prescription medicines cost too much, then why not impose price controls on the drug companies?  Or import price-controlled drugs from Canada, which amounts to the same thing?  Even if more than half the nation’s electric power is produced by coal-burning generating plants, why not impose environmental regulations that limit the use of coal and increase production costs?  Why not, at the same time, impose regulations to reduce prices of electric power made more costly to produce?

Liberal Republicans and the basically decent, ordinary citizens believe that any intelligent person will happily accept socialized cooperation as the clearly better organizing principle for society.  That?s why they define teaching socialism in our schools as ?learning to think.?

Third are the politicians who understand cynically that the surest way to win elections is to buy votes with a never-ending stream of hand-outs, at the expense of the top six percent of the populace who pay more than fifty percent of the taxes.  As noted, a few of them are true believers, steeped in the dogma of socialist religion.  Most of them, however, are like the token, Christmas-and-Easter-only, Christians who want to identify themselves with the beliefs of their liberal constituencies, without the need for a personal religious commitment.  For them, social justice is just business, and their job is to manufacture new welfare products that have a big market and can be sold for the maximum number of votes.  This is known in campaign parlance as ?fairness? and ?fighting for consumers and for the little guy.?  Needless to say, such politicians are not concerned with assessing whether their vote-pandering produces good results or bad.  Winning elections is all that matters.

Fourth, there are the politicians? fellow cynics, the trial lawyers who organize massive class-action law suits and collect tens of millions of dollars in fees per action, while the typical member of the plaintiff group gets a tiny fraction of that as his share of the settlement.  These lawyers fund organizations like Ralph Nader?s group to create new complaints and new ?rights? as the basis for Congressional vote-getting and future law suits.  These tort-bar attorneys are among the largest donors to liberal politicians? campaign coffers.  Minor matters such as depriving people of medical care by raising malpractice insurance premiums and driving doctors out of medical practice fade into insignificance compared to the multi-million dollar fees litigators grab for themselves.  It should be no surprise that the Democratic Party, the beneficiary of huge donations from the tort bar, blocks every attempt to prevent this extortionate manipulation of the legal system.

Finally there are the labor unions.  Union members are ready to fight anyone who questions what unions have gained for them.  However, as with all class-based socialist state-planning, what they gain is at others’ expense.  That’s what’s involved in imposing egalitarian social justice via state-planning.  The government will directly take from some and give to others, or will support a favored position for unions permitting them to do the taking.

When unions raise their members’ wages, the rest of the country pays higher prices and suffers from the effects of general inflation.  Huge increases in wages and benefits packages extorted from businesses by a surge of strikes immediately after World War II raised American labor costs and enabled Japanese and German companies to wipe out American steel, auto, and household appliance manufacturers in the 1970s.  Michael Moore’s first so-called documentary, “Roger and Me,” pictured a heartless General Motors intent on shutting down plants in Moore’s hometown Flint, Michigan, for nothing more than the pleasure of oppressing workers.  Michael Moore appears not to understand that it was not General Motors, but labor unions, who shut down those high-cost, uncompetitive plants.

Whatever good may have come from labor unions must be balanced against the fact that unions have been openly acknowledged here and in Europe as among the principal agents of socialism.  Most of American labor union leaders since the 1920s have been openly socialists, a few of them members of the Communist Party.

Today the biggest growth area for unions is in government employment.  The two largest public employees’ unions, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME), both are run by veterans of the militantly radical anarchist student groups of the 1960s and 1970s.  As Lowell Ponte notes (“How Socialist Unions Rule the Democratic Party,” FrontPageMagazine.com, July 14, 2004),  “The nightmare for such unions is not a weak economy, as it would be for private sector workers. Government workers get their money not from a free marketplace but from coerced taxes. And many SEIU workers not employed directly by government are hospital and nursing home staffers paid indirectly by government dollars for Medicare, Medicaid and welfare patients. For this reason the government unions are the party of American socialism.”

The National Education Association (NEA), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and the AFT?s New York affiliate, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), depend upon liberal political control of education at the state and Federal levels.  One should therefore not be surprised that they are the largest fund sources in many major political campaigns and one of the most formidable get-out-the-vote organizations.  These unions focus much of their energy upon promoting causes that require more union members.  Only so many slots are available to teach traditional academic subjects like math, history, chemistry, physics, and English. 

To jet-propel growth of their membership and political influence, they and their friends in the teacher-training colleges keep open a never-ending stream of new special-education requirements and so-called affective education courses (designed to influence students? attitudes), along with new teaching methodologies.  Consequently, the ranks of special-education teachers and administrators grow, while educational performance of students drops.  Every generation of American students since the 1960s has been less well educated than preceding generations.  But the dues-paying membership of the teachers? unions continues to expand at growth-stock rates. 

And, most importantly, affective education courses promote group-think, socialistic attitudes.  Inexperienced young students are taught that the moral values of their parents are outmoded and that America?s history is one of repression and imperialistic crimes against humanity.  Many of today?s young students thus will grow up as converts to the secular religion of socialism.