Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Progressives, Totalitarians NOT in Disguise

Several prominent conservative commentators recently have expressed surprise, sometimes cheer, that Obama has made 'centrist' appointments. Their views are sadly mistaken and their cheer premature. Obama is a Progressive and will govern as such. He has neither said nor done anything that would make a careful observer think otherwise.

It's baffling how anyone could think that Hillary Clinton, one of the prime movers of socialized medicine in the 90s, is a 'centrist'. Her stance on Iraq does not disqualify her. Even Progressives can be in favor of military action. They're not all now, and certainly historically have not all been 'peaceniks'. Wilson and his henchmen were the biggest warmongers around in 1915. FDR urged the country repeatedly to go to war with Germany. B. Clinton was happy to send planes to bomb Serbia.

It's equally silly to suppose that someone like former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker is an advocate of capitalism. According to the New York Times when Greenspan replaced Volcker, "The main philosophical difference between Mr. Volcker, a Democrat, and Mr. Greenspan, a Republican, appears to be in their views of the structure and regulation of the banking system. Mr. Volcker has tended to resist deregulation of banks while Mr. Greenspan is more favorably disposed to it."

Christine Romer is another Keynesian technocrat and no friend of the free market. She wrote, for example, that "The recovery from the Great Depression was spurred largely by the abandonment of the gold standard and the ensuing monetary expansion." And, "The fundamental cause of the Great Depression in the United States was a decline in spending (sometimes referred to as aggregate demand), which led to a decline in production as manufacturers and merchandisers noticed an unintended rise in inventories."

Eric Holder, appointee for Attorney General is no fan of individual rights. He was Deputy AG under Janet Reno, one of the most anti-liberty Justice Departments in the 20th century. He was also a member of Obama's Vice-Presidential selection team. No friend of freedom would recommend Joe Biden for the slot.

So, the commentators alluded to above are simply wrong on the facts. There's nothing centrist about people who propose that every social or economic problem should be solved by government involvement.

Worse, those commentators misunderstand the nature of the Progressive threat. A Progressive by nature is a totalitarian. He invariably advocates plans to control individuals in every sphere of life, for the sake of whatever happens to be his cause du jour.

Health care system less than ideal? Advocate universal health care, mandated by government. The fact that this has failed abysmally everywhere from Britain and Canada to Massachusetts is of no concern to a Progressive. It will work nationally here, somehow, now that we have a 'smart' President and a progressive-dominated Congress.

That such programs intrinsically abrogate the rights of voluntary trade between doctor and patient is of less than no concern to a Progressive; it's a positive problem, to be solved by still more government control.

Global warming 'threatening the planet'? Control CO2 emissions from every business, and require ranchers to cap methane output from cows while you're at it. That the AGW hypothesis, always weak, is increasingly weaker with every passing month is no problem. Simply assert that all the counter-evidence is either non-existent or a smoke screen put up by shills for the oil companies. That all cap-and-trade schemes are inherently impractical and pointless is no concern.

That, here again, the proposal would swamp the property rights of everyone concerned isn't just unimportant, it's mandatory. The pursuit of material well-being, or as Progressives prefer to phrase it "consumerism" and the 'greed' that drives businesses to satisfy it, is the basic problem. We have to drag people into the future, they declare — by force, since they won't listen to reason.

Economy in the pits? Bailout. Stimulate. Create public works programs. Tax the ever-defined-down rich to give to the ever-defined-up poor. The evil rich guys did it, so they deserve it. And anyway, we have to 'save the system' not for the rich bastards but for 'the common man'.

Compromise here and there. We don't want to frighten the masses who haven't yet had their consciousnesses sufficiently raised. But keep the progressive eyes on the prize: ever increasing government control.

With all these examples, you would think that sooner or later induction would prompt conservatives to see that Obama and his cohorts in Congress really mean it. We can only hope. Time is running out.

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