Seven Rules for Progressives
Robert A. Hall
Call them liberals, progressives, statists, leftists, socialists, or whatever, there are certain rules you can expect to see them following.
1. Intentions matter, results not so much. As long as their intentions are, in their view, good, the actual outcome not only doesn’t matter, but is of little interest to them. These examples are legion. Their intention was to defeat “American imperialism” in Vietnam. That the outcome of that war was the boat people, re-education camps, the slaughter of a quarter of the Cambodian population by that country’s Reds, the steady extermination of the hill people, and a government that prohibits freedom of speech, freedom of religion and opposing political parties is of no moment to the left.
Their intention was to remove oppressive white minority rule in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. That black rule and the government of leftist hero Robert Mugabe has resulted in starvation in a country that once exported food, in hyper-inflation that has ground blacks into endless poverty, and in a decrease in black life expectance from around 63 years under while rule to around 36 under black rules matters not at all. If liberals get to feel warm and fuzzy about their intentions, that their policies resulted in tens of thousands of dead black folks matters to them not at all.
Their intention was to save the birds by banning DDT, though there are scientists who challenge that (see the interesting book, Kicking the Sacred Cow). That banning DDT resulted in the deaths of millions of black, brown and yellow people from malaria, many of them kids, means nothing to the left. Pile the dead high as long as they can’t be seen from cocktail parties in Hyde Park. We should put a mound of third-world skulls on Rachel Carson’s grave. One hopes they get bedbugs, also on the rise from the ban, as some punishment.
They fought to overturn the oppressive regime of the Shah, thus giving Iran a theocracy that got millions killed in a war with Iraq, hangs gay people, stones women for adultery, supports terrorism and is working hard on getting nukes to create a radioactive final solution in Israel.
They support multiculturalism, and if that means that little girls are held screaming on kitchen tables while their genitals are mutilated, or teen rape victims are stoned for adultery, or fathers murder their daughters and wives in “honor” killings, or women have acid thrown in their faces for going to school, or leaving the burka at home, well, that’s perhaps unfortunate, but nothing to do with them. Only their good intensions matter.
2. The ends justify the means. Actions they would scream loudly about in opponents are considered just and laudable if they advance liberal causes. Voter fraud by ACORN? No problem. Voter intimidation for Black Panthers in Philly? Drop the case. Obama taking untraceable political donations? Just so it’s not the Chamber of Commerce. (See:
Anything is permissible, in fact moral if it advances the statist cause. They see anyone who disagrees with them as evil, stupid or both. That justifies any actions needed to defeat them.
3. Demonize the opposition with vile names. Rather than answer the arguments put forward by the other side, marginalize them. Bush is Hitler. People only oppose Obama because they are racists. (Never mind that more white folks voted for him than any Democrat in recent history, or that much black voting is also clearly race based). People who oppose the extension of Shari’a law in the US are Islamophobic. Other opponents are homophobic or sexist or crazy. Are they protesting your policies? Lump them in as “teabaggers,” a loaded sexual slander. If any of this makes you queasy, see rule two.
4. Control the media and the universities. When they found much of their program rejected by the public, they gravitated to the universities where they could shut out diversity of thought and grow clones, or the media where they could try to move the public their way by selective, slanted reporting. A classic example was MSNBC filming the fellow who showed up outside an Obama speech with a rifle over his shoulder. Legit news story, but MSNBC only showed him from the waist down. That way viewers wouldn’t know the guy was black, which might have created cognitive dissonance in the line they were peddling of dangerous white racists opposing Obama.
The left is splenetic over developments which have shaken their hold on these twin propaganda outlets. They fight for-profit colleges desperately, because the for-profits are focused on education, not molding young minds in the leftist orthodoxy. They hate talk radio and Fox news not only because those news sources don’t follow the party line, but especially because they are killing the leftist outlets in audience numbers. The public is hungry for something less one sided.
The rise of the Internet and blogs has also shaken their hold, so they keep floating ideas on controlling it. This is natural, because the left always believes that other people must be controlled by elites who know best (that would be them) for the good of everyone else (that would be you and me). They will use taxation and regulations and “hate speech” laws and outright government seizure of everything they can, from GM to healthcare to student loans. They will never rest while people have the right to speak against them on the Internet or anywhere else.
5. Undermine the military. They learned that demonizing the troops in Vietnam produced a negative reaction from regular folks, so they discovered that we Vietnam vets were victims of American oppression, just like other minorities. The sudden leftist bathos for Vietnam vets is still part of the progressive approach today. If they can make the military, the bedrock of American freedom, into dependent victims, they are halfway home.
And in the view of this Marine, the sudden floating of attacks on the future existence of the Corps in no accident. The Marines have always been able to project more successful combat power, at a lower cost, than the Army. The Marine fraternity are among the most patriotic of Americans and relentless defenders of our freedom. You cannot topple what the Republic stands for while the Corps exists. So it must go.
6. Incite class warfare. “The Rich” are a convenient target for more taxes, control and confiscation, never mind that leading leftists like George Soros and John Kerry are dripping cash, not to mention the $100M Al Gore made from global warming. They will find ways to avoid the taxes and regulations, as Kerry did by docking his yacht in RI. And with 47% of the folks no longer paying federal income taxes, “The Rich” can be defined ever lower. Eventually “Rich” will mean “has a job.” The economically-ignorant public doesn’t get that it’s investments by folks with money that creates jobs, and provides the capital to banks for things like home loans.
7. Never let a crisis go to waste. By “go to waste” they mean recover naturally without expanding government. It doesn’t matter if the crisis is manufactured, like “climate disruption” (formerly “climate change,” formerly “global warming”) or real, like the economic disruption caused by the collapse of the housing market, when people couldn’t pay for loans pushed on them by the CRA, Fannie and Freddie. Every crisis is the excuse for more government agencies, more government programs and more unionized government employees.
As Hayek pointed out in the Road to Serfdom over 50 years ago, centralization of government and economic control always leads to coercion. And it’s desperately hard to reverse each little, seemingly innocuous step on that road.
The impulse towards totalitarianism, from left or right, springs from the same instinct, the view that some men are better equipped to make decisions for everyone, if only they can get their hands on power—and the means of coercion. Today’s left has that in spades—and the agony and disaster they will leave in their wake won’t matter to them. After all, their intentions are good—they’ll feel just fine.
Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts state senate. He has published three books: “CYA: Protecting Yourself in the Modern Jungle,” “Chaos for Breakfast” and “The Good Bits.” He blogs at www.tartanmarine.blogspot.com.