Is Liberalism Dead?
By Roger L Simon
Maybe it’s just me, but I find it hard to believe liberals believe in liberalism anymore.
With the obvious global meltdown of Keynesian economics, how could anyone remotely intelligent support the continued deficit spending that is driving the Western World into bankruptcy?
And yet a large proportion of our population still backs Barack Obama for a second term. Yes, some of this is due to the reactionary identity politics the Democratic Party has practiced for so many years and some to the large number of people working for the government and therefore voting their self-interest. Even so, it’s difficult to avoid this conclusion:
Liberalism as an ideology is in its death throes. Only the power trip remains.
An indication of this ideological flimflam is the recent braggadocio from various MSNBC hosts that Obama is really the King of Austerity and has spent less than other presidents. Apparently, this assertion was based on the misleading figures of an economist who lumped nearly a year of Obama’s expenditures under Bush, including at least half the stimulus, but never mind. What you have is MSNBC, of all paleo-liberal outlets, bragging about their man’s lower government spending. Whatever happened to liberalism?
Similarly, and for some time, the Democratic Party is running as far as possible from the Occupy crowd and the relentless demands. Most Democratic leaders know what the majority of the public knows. The Occupyers are retreads from the Summer of Love more likely to be freeloaders or con artists, even rapists, than people with something positive to contribute to society.
Democrats — more of them, I imagine, than will publicly admit it — are recoiling from Obama’s attack on Bain Capital as well, anyone with an IQ in triple-digits knowing private equity firms have more potential to revive our economy than recycled government programs out of some five-year plan.
Democrats and liberals are confused. They have to be.
You see this ideological confusion filtering into the arts as well. Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest offering, The Dictator, with its clever parody of Islamic strongmen, not to mention dimwitted tree huggers, could have come from a neocon playbook until General Aladeen, played by Cohen, makes a final speech, referencing the “one percent” in a manner that sounded like Obama campaign boilerplate.
It felt so tacked on you knew Cohen didn’t really believe it. Two minutes later he’s back to “normal” with Aladeen ordering the murder of his new wife when he discovers she’s Jewish.
Given that their ideology is dying, no wonder liberals no longer want to debate the issues. They avoid serious discussion at every possible juncture, changing the conversation to putative racism, sexism, classism — anything but the proverbial elephant in the room, economic demise.
And yet — as I mentioned — the polls still show Obama even with Romney. How can we explain this? Why can’t they face reality?
Liberalism may not exist, but the lust for power does. And their need to cling to this power is so great they are willing to ignore reality and to forget their children, the ones who will suffer most from the economic cataclysm of their own ideology. They will literally do anything or say anything to maintain control. They will even contradict everything they stand for to survive.
But secretly – I am more than ever convinced — many of them know they are wrong. Our job is to bring them over. To make them comfortable. But we must bring them over soon before it is too late for all of us.
I am more confident than ever that financial reality - reaching our credit limit - is going to drive policy decisions. I recall a speech Clinton gave in 1998 or 1999 that unless we get our fiscal house in order, all of "this" (running for Congress & the Presidency) will be to decide 2% of discretionary spending; that 98% of the budget will be off the table. Here we are, 14 years later and we have not acted on his wisdom.
Sure, we could not then have foreseen 9/11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent impact it had on the US economy or the financial melt down in 2008 but here we are, with debt/GDP over 100% in peacetime for the first time in our nations history. Obama put forth a budget not 1 Democrat could vote for. This should have gotten much more press than it did. Not only is it not Liberals proudly putting for liberalism, it is not good governance. The President has a responsibility to work with Congress to put a budget together. That has not happened in years. Does this make sense to anyone?
"No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles."
-- Patrick Henry