Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Enemy Has His Own Problems

On the brighter side, not all is gloom and doom this fine snowy Sunday. Borrowing a phrase from Robert Tracinski, who used it in relation to the jihadists in the Middle East, the enemy has his own problems. Progressives like Matthew Ygelesias are whining that "the progressive agenda has ground to a halt."

Oh, if only it were so!

Careful not to get too cheered by this. What they mean, of course, is that the headlong rush into all-out fascism has slowed by a measurable amount. Personally, I don't have a speedometer that precise, but the fact that Reid is still wrangling with Democrats over the precise form of the health care insurance takeover is some reason for hope, I suppose.

Conservatives are equally worrisome in the form of their response, however. Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit approvingly quotes,
"If you hadn’t become seduced by the delusion that Obama is a ‘progressive’ and that last year’s election represented some kind of historic realignment in favor of ‘progressive’ policies you might have seen this coming."
Unfortunately, Obama is absolutely a Progressive and last year's election was absolutely an historic realignment of the electorate. Twenty years ago, perhaps even as little as ten, a man like Obama could never have been elected, and by a comfortable margin, even running against a nothing like McCain.

That the office, events, and the pale counter-currents of the opposition have caused Obama or Congress to delay Cap and Kill, struggle on "health care reform," send a few troops to Afghanistan, and so forth doesn't change that. That these things are the leading topics of debate and legislation in the first place is proof that the Progressive agenda is doing just fine, thank you very much.

Just because the enemy has to reload, and occasionally regroup, doesn't mean the battle — much less the war — for freedom is going well. I'm sure people like Glenn Reynolds know that, so this little bit of bravado seems very out of place. Optimism is one thing. Declaring the tide is running in your favor is quite another.

What would make me share Mr. Reynolds optimism? Well, there are many possibilities, but here are a few:
    If SCOTUS actually showed any life and started threatening to strike down just about everything Congress has done the past year, or even a part of it (such as the "individual mandate"),
    If Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Henry Waxman, and Barney Frank all lose their jobs in 2010 [Admittedly, Reid is a definite possibility],
    If, instead of 100,000 Tea Party protestors in D.C. on one day there were five million that camped for a month until Congressional leaders surrendered their agenda of the past year, and last, but far from least,
    If the Progressives ruling the House and Senate actually had some principled, effective opposition [though I give Rep. Michelle Bachmann and a few others big points for trying].
Anyway, it is a fine snowy Sunday and it's time to listen to some Harry James and then watch John Wayne in The Fighting Kentuckian. I hope and trust you all have similar delights to keep you sane.


Ted Amadeus said...

First up, a huge thanks for calling these birds "Progressive", since they are not and never were liberal in any sense of the word.
Second, it's a miracle/pure grace we're not in cattle cars or concentration camps right now and the internet completely shut down with people like HITLERy Clinton and George Soros (s)electing our Presidents and Nancy Pelosi ramming his fascism down our throats.
Last, due to the design of the systems of this world, liberty will always need diligent defending. Ben Franklin said "Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner. Liberty is a well-armed sheep contesting the vote!"

Jeff Perren said...


On names: It's a tough call.

"Progressive" is historically accurate (even to the present), but the name itself is absurd, since everything they advocate is regressive. Personally, I refer to them as Anti(s) because they're consistently anti-anything that actually helps living individuals thrive. But that hasn't caught on, so I use the more common term.

Second: "Second, it's a miracle/pure grace" With respect, no, it's owing to the remnants of the Enlightenment philosophy, and the efforts of those Americans - known and obscure - who continue to fight against the fascists.

Thanks for the extended Franklin quote. I knew the first part but had never read the last line. Great!

Ted Amadeus said...

You might wish to check your premises on that "EnLIEtenment" FOOLosophy, my friend, as many of the Progs are textbook Rousseauian pragmatists, as was the lot of alleged "Conservatives" that preceeded them.
In the final analysis, there are only two political factions: Those who want absolute control over your life to wring it out of you, and those who have no such desire.

Jeff Perren said...


I agree with your division between the two factions, as a general scheme.

And, I have to acknowledge that Rousseau was indeed a progressive - since he invented it. Also, it's a minor point, I'd say the 'Progs' are largely pragmatic Rousseauians rather than Rousseauian pragmatists.

But on the issue of Enlightenment philosophy in general, we disagree profoundly. I'm not sure why I'd need to check my premises when I can check primary and secondary sources. What I find there is that Rousseau was opposed to every major feature of the Enlightenment, particularly it's exaltation of reason and reason's chief products: science and art, and their products in turn, along with private property and civilization in general, all of which he decried.

See Stephen Hicks, Explaining Postmodernism, pg 92 and following for details.