Liberals assume they are progressive. They believe they are forward-looking pioneers who are on a mission to save humanity from itself. In fact, they are always looking in a rearview mirror intent on resurrecting old ideas that have proven their inadequacy.
Consider Obamacare. Democrats did not enact it because they found that the British state-run health care system was superior to our own. No, they did so because Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman promised to nationalize health care decades ago. They were merely fulfilling a long-standing pledge.
Or think about Iraq. Everyone acknowledges the situation is falling apart. But what do liberals do? Do they come up with a plan for saving our bacon? No, their first impulse is to resurrect old charges against Bush. He was at fault, so they don’t have to figure out something now.
Or what about Harry Reid and the nuclear option? He eliminated two centuries of tradition just so his president could appoint the officials he desired. Somehow, Reid couldn’t look far enough ahead to realize that Republicans might use this same device when they return to office.
And how about the IRS scandal? Obama says there was not a smidgeon of corruption, but even a blind sheik can see there was. With conservatives unfairly targeted and hard drives destroyed, there was almost certainly a coverup. Polls clearly show the American people think so.
Still the progressives are not worried. They have Obama and Eric Holder to protect them. They know investigations will not be pursued, citations for contempt of Congress will not be enforced and criminal accusations will not be filed in court. All is therefore well.
But if they thought ahead, they would realize that they may lose the Senate in November and the presidency in 2016. Should this happen, Republicans will be primed for payback. Having essentially been kicked in the groin, they will be eager to return the favor.
As for the mainstream media, these enablers have already sullied their reputation for honest journalism. Do they think they will recover it while unreported scandals continue to fester? Do they imagine that when Republicans come back in power, they will be treated as long lost relatives?
Progressives believe in equality. They believe in it with every fiber of their being. But they only believe in it for themselves and their clients. Their enemies do not have to be treated fairly. They do not have to be accorded any respect whatsoever.
Where did this attitude come from? Why it is hundreds of years old. Jean-Jacques Rousseau planted the seeds 250 years ago and Karl Marx tilled the field a hundred years later. These gentlemen are regarded as prophets, but their predictions have been getting a bit moth-eaten.
The experience of the Soviet Union and of the European social democracies should have sent up a flare. But progressives did not see it. They were too busy looking back to hoary utopian visions to be bothered by limitations discovered in the here and now.
Keynesianism is dead. FDR’s economic programs were a failure. But no, progressives have to try them again. And after six years of stumbling recovery, the best they can proclaim is that the recession has not returned. We have had a quarter of negative growth, but at least we have not yet had two.
Progressives are not progressive. Liberals have no new ideas. Democrats only know how to create government programs and added regulations. They are corrupt, they are old-fashioned and they are incompetent. They don’t think so, but it is time the rest of us caught on.
Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D. is a professor of Sociology at Kennesaw State University.