The Obama Agenda: Part 1 - Jonah Goldberg

Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg

In his Philadelphia speech kicking off his inauguration weekend train ride to Washington, Barack Obama proclaimed "What is required is a new declaration of independence, not just in our nation, but in our own lives - from ideology and small thinking, prejudice and bigotry - an appeal not to our easy instincts but to our better angels."

Few sentences give us a better sense of Barack Obama's – dare I say – ideology.

Look at the things then-President-elect Obama lumps with the i-word: small-thinking, prejudice, bigotry. It certainly sounds like Obama thinks ideology is not only bad, but really bad. This is hardly the first time he's made it clear that he thinks ideology is backward and undesirable. Remember his famous comment that small town folks who bitterly cling to their guns and religion because of the lack of jobs and other progressive economic policies? The press downplayed the rest of the quote. He went on to say that the same people might also cling to "antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

In other words, ideology is something people who don't know better, who can't tell right from wrong, use to explain the world. Or, even simpler: Ideologues are people who disagree with Barack Obama.

In remarks shortly before the inauguration, Obama cast himself as an open-minded pragmatist. He said that he's receptive to new ideas wherever they come from, Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal. But he also insisted that the one thing we all know is: "only government" can fix the mess we're in. Never mind that this, too, is an ideological position. Indeed, Obama holds any number of ideological positions, on abortion he's to the left of NARAL, he believes everyone is better off when we "spread the wealth around."

Now, I disagree with many of Obama's positions -- but not because they are ideological. There's nothing wrong with ideological positions. Heck why is "anti-trade sentiment" an ideological position but pro-trade sentiment not? For the record, I'm very, very pro-trade. But I'm not ashamed to admit mine is an ideological position. Ideology is simply a collection of principles, a checklist of aims and priorities we hold up to important questions. "Does this protect our liberties?" is an ideological question, and a good one. I'm not embarrassed to ask it.

But this misses the point. Obama is laying down a rhetorical perimeter around his administration: Any criticism that questions his assumptions will be deemed "ideological" and, hence, illegitimate. Everything he does will be cast as pragmatic problem solving, every objection will be dismissed as the rants and gripes of dogmatists and ideologues.

This is a very old tactic. Woodrow Wilson, the first PhD president, insisted that his policies were rooted in the immutable laws of science and anyone who objected was a boob, a rube or, sometimes, a traitor. FDR promised that he, too, was a "pragmatist" who would take good ideas from his supposedly dispassionate Brain Trust. The New Deal itself was sold to the American people as a "post-ideological" enterprise. Whatever the merits of the New Deal, few people today looking back at it think of it as an ideology free effort. It's worth noting that this was precisely the argument laid out by fascist movements across Europe, who proclaimed themselves to be "beyond ideology" and "neither right nor left."

John F. Kennedy unveiled precisely the same argument. Don't worry your pretty little heads, Americans, we have the best and brightest here and they know what to do, Kennedy told Americans. "Most of the problems ... that we now face, are technical problems, are administrative problems," Kennedy explained, and these problems should be taken out of the give-and-take of politics and left to the experts. Even Michael Dukakis tried to play this card, arguing in his Democratic acceptance speech in 1988 that the issue of the election was "competence, not ideology."

What's offensive about this argument is not only that it assumes anyone who disagrees with liberal conventional wisdom is somehow unhinged from reality, but that liberals themselves have a monopoly on commonsense.

But that doesn't mean it isn't effective. Americans like to think they're pragmatists. They've been taught for years that being ideological is bad. Worse, mainstream journalists are convinced they're objective and dispassionate (stop laughing). This post-partisan rhetoric is exactly what they love to hear because it confirms all of their biases. That's why the national press loves politicians like Michael Bloomberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Their nominal Republicans who define their "post-partisanship" as signing onto every liberal assumption about the role of the state.

The size and cost of government will expand enormously over the next 12 to 18 months. If you have a problem with that don't be surprised when you're called an "ideologue."

Jonah Goldberg, an LA Times columnist and National Review editor-at-large, is the author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning.


Glenn Beck joined Fox News' Tucker Carlson on Thursday night to discuss Visa Inc.'s "horrifying" new plans to flag firearm sales by separately categorizing purchases at gun shops, a move that Glenn aptly described as "the next step in banning guns."

In what's been hailed as a major victory for gun control activists, Visa agreed to adopt the International Organization for Standardization's (ISO) new set of standards by creating a special merchant category code for gun and ammunition sales.

In his appearance on "Tucker Carlson Tonight," Glenn shared a letter written by Robert B. Thomson III, a senior vice president at Visa, showing that the credit card company initially pushed back on the ISO's new rules.

“We believe that asking payment networks to serve as a moral authority by deciding which legal goods can or cannot be purchased sets a dangerous precedent,” Thomson wrote in the letter to pro-gun-control lawmakers, including Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Just days later, however, Visa had agreed to comply with the ISO's plan to establish a new merchant category code for gun stores. So why did Visa suddenly flip?

As Glenn explained, it all comes down to pressure from America's largest union-owned bank, the Amalgamated Bank, one of the only unionized banks in the United States and a proud proponent of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investing.

"This is the next step in banning guns," Glenn asserted.

"It's horrifying!" Tucker responded after several seconds of stunned silence.

"I'm so grateful you did the reporting on this," he told Glenn. "I'm not sure why it falls to you since we have a couple of very large daily newspapers in this country you'd think would want to report this, yet none of them did. So, Glenn Beck did."

On a recent episode of "The Glenn Beck Program," Glenn broke down the details of this latest attack on the Second Amendment and revealed how this is a step toward something even worse than federal gun registration. Watch the video clip below for more details. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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Glenn Beck: Here's why Stacey Abrams' fetal heartbeat remarks are hilarious but TERRIFYING

(Left) Image source: video screenshot/ (right) Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams has a new pro-abortion conspiracy theory: "There is no such thing as a [fetal] heartbeat at six weeks ... it is a manufactured sound designed to convince people that men have a right to take control of a woman’s body."

On the radio program Thursday, Glenn Beck and producer Stu Burguiere agreed Abrams' latest "misinformation" is not just ridiculous but could be dangerous if people are actually willing to believe her.

"If you want to defend abortion, go ahead and defend it. Defend what you're actually doing. Stop denying what is reality," Stu said. "If this is such a great defensible policy, then just come out and defend it, but they never can ... you notice how they can't go to the actual thing they say is so important. They keep defending these other things that aren't true."

Glenn said the pro-choice movement was successful for a long time because most people want the decision to be up to the woman and her doctor and that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. But when leftists began "celebrating" their abortions or calling for "abortion on demand" at any point in the pregnancy, that's when they start to lose support.

"Because they've celebrated abortion and are losing regular people, you can't put that genie back in the bottle. So, what do they have to do now? They have to take the insane step of discrediting medical machines and technology," Glenn said.

"This is after two years, by the way, of them claiming the biggest scandal in the world was people suggesting the voting machines were hacked — after they previously said that voting machines were hacked in elections they [Democrats] lost," Stu pointed out.

"Honestly, gang, think this through because this is where life gets very scary. This is where you go to authoritarian rule and you can kill millions of people because you're truly now discrediting things that everyone knows is true," Glenn warned.

"So, if you disagree ... you can say that is an evil magic box that has made up sounds in it to convince people. If they will buy that, you're at the Salem witch trials. 'If she doesn't float, she wasn't a witch.' That's what you're looking at right now — and what's frightening is, [Abrams] can say this with a straight face and no one discredits her," he continued.

"You don't think that they can convince those people that you are a terrorist because of the way you vote? [...] You don't think they can convince half the country that you should be eliminated, liquidated, put into a camp, whatever authoritarians love to do? ... We are headed towards dangerous, dangerous times. We better wake up and stand together because this is frightening — it's hilarious — but because people are taking it seriously, it is terrifying," Glenn added.

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis, and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

A big question Glenn Beck has always had about “The Amazing Do-Over” is: How do you get the most powerful and wealthy nation that has ever existed to accept, “You will own nothing … and be happy”? A foundational principle of this country from its very inception has been land ownership. We worked hard, were fiscally responsible, and stayed away from high debt, but the progressive era began to erode all of that.

The Clinton Global Initiative recently gathered the ruling class to tell the plebes how to run their finances and called anyone who dared challenge their ideas “climate change deniers.” Glenn argues we are dangerously far down the “Road to Serfdom” and exposes the progressive playbook to keep us in line. It’s a 600-year-old medieval model that’s been the plan all along.

We’re already feeling economic pain, and yet they’re playing “Game of Thrones” with our lives. Turning us into serfs is their ultimate goal. How do they finish the complete restructuring of the American financial system and our way of life?

On Wednesday night's "Glenn TV," Glenn connects it all on the chalkboard and details the solution to fighting back against the ruling elites.

Watch the full episode below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis, and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

These days, it seems like everything is about politics, and comedy has been one of the biggest targets. Many comedians are walking on eggshells, but stand-up comedian and "Saturday Night Live" alum Jim Breuer isn't one of them.

Breuer joined Glenn on the latest episode of "The Glenn Beck Podcast" to talk about why he’d rather be funny than fearful and what inspired his hilarious comedy special, “Somebody Had to Say It," which has garnered almost 1.5 million views as of this writing.

Breuer made it clear that he does not consider himself to be political. "I'm not. I'm 100% not [political]," he told Glenn, before explaining how people started calling him political when he dared to ask questions about a certain shot that we're not allowed to mention, let alone question.

"When did medicine become political?" Breuer asked.

"What kind of price have you paid for being called political?" Glenn asked Breuer.

"To be dead honest with you, once COVID really kicked in, and ... once you realize we're not going to be here, that we're on borrowed time, and I do have God in my life ... you come to terms with reality on a deeper level. And when COVID kicked in, I said, 'You know what? All bets are off.' I already knew I wasn't in control. But now, not only am I not in control from the natural order of life, but now the puppet masters ... are in control," Breuer answered.

"It made me realize I don't have time to worry about what people think of me. I know where I'm at in life. I know where I'm at spiritually. I know where I'm at with my family," he added.

"That's tremendous power," Glenn said. "But it spooks the hell out of people."

"But it shouldn't!" Breuer exclaimed. "I'm excited that other people get this ... but they're stuck. We ain't got time for stuck. To me, this is the time of, 'You gotta rise.' For years and years and years, you allow fear to control your life. Fear of dying. Fear I might get sick ... everything's based out of fear. It's time for the fearless."

Breuer also revealed his secret for dealing with tough times, and he’s seen his share. But he also said he's seen miracles, including the incredible (and hilariously told) story of how he found faith, how God saved his marriage, and why one family friend was convinced his wife belonged to a cult.

Watch the full episode of "The Glenn Beck Podcast" below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.