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.

 

On Monday's episode of "The Glenn Beck Radio Program," Glenn opened up about the tragic death of his brother-in-law, Vincent Colonna Jr., who passed away unexpectedly on April 5. He also shared some of the important thoughts and insights he's learned through the grieving process.

"Last Monday, I was sitting in this chair ... the two-minute warning comes and Stu said to me, 'You ready for the show?'' ... And that's when my wife [Tania] came to the door of the studio here at our house and said, 'I...' and she held the phone up. And then she collapsed on the floor in tears," Glenn began. "Tania's brother had passed. To say this was a shock, is an understatement."

Glenn described his brother-in-law as having "a servant's spirit."

"He was always the guy who lit up the room. He was always the guy helping others. He would never stop, because he was always helping others," Glenn said of Vincent. "He was on the school board. He was a little league coach. He was the soccer coach. He helped build the church. He took care of the lawn of the church. He was constantly doing things, raising money for charity, working over here, helping to organize this. But he was never the guy in the spotlight. He was just the guy doing it, and you had no idea how much he had done because he never talked about it.

"We also didn't know how much mental anguish he was in because he never talked about it. And last Monday morning, after spending Easter with the family ... he killed himself. This is now the third family member of mine that has gone through this. And I keep seeing it play out over and over and over again, in exactly the same way."

Glenn described his thoughts as he, Tania, and her family struggled to come to grips with the devastating loss.

"I learned some really important things as I was watching this wake. I'm seeing these people from all walks of life ... the people that were there, were there because [Vince] made a difference in their life. He was a true servant. As I'm watching this, all that kept going through my mind was, 'by their fruits, ye shall know them.' The fruits of his labor were on display. He was a servant all the time. All the time ... he found a way to love everybody.

"There are two great commandments: Love God with all your heart and mind and soul. And love your neighbor. So those two great commandments boil down to: Love truth. Because that's what God is," Glenn said.

"Love thy neighbor. That's where joy comes from. The opposite of joy is despair, and that is the complete absence of hope ... and how do you find joy? You find joy by rooting yourself in the truth. Even if that's a truth you don't want to accept. Accept the truth," he added. "But we have to stop saying that there's nothing we can do. What are we going to do? Well, here's the first thing: stop living a lie."

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn:


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.

After imprisoning a pastor for refusing to follow COVID-19 restrictions, Canadian officials barricaded his church. And when some church members retaliated by tearing down part of the fence, Canadian Mounties arrived in riot gear.

Rebel News Founder Ezra Levant joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to give his insight on the crazy situation. He described the new, armed police presence surrounding GraceLife Church in Edmonton, Alberta, and how it not only encouraged hundreds of protesters to stand with the church in support but forced congregation members underground to worship as well.

What's happening is eerily similar to what occurs everyday in China, Levant says, and it must stop. Who would have thought this type of tyranny would be so close to home?

Watch the video below to hear Ezra describe the religious persecution taking place in Canada.


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.

Enough prayers? Why is supposed Catholic Joe Biden suggesting that Congress ought to stop praying for after someone commits acts of gun violence?

On Friday, Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray filled in for Glenn and discussed President Joe Biden's remarks during his speech on gun control. "Enough prayers. Time for some action," Biden said. Stu and Pat were surprised how dismissive Biden appeared to be on the idea of prayer.

Watch the clip to hear more. 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.

Just days after Canadian pastor James Coates was released from prison for refusing to bow to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, several police officers showed up at another church to ensure restrictions were being followed. But Polish pastor Artur Pawlowski of the Cave of Adullam Church in Alberta, Canada, knew his rights, telling the cops not to come back until they had a warrant in hand.

Filling in for Glenn Beck on the radio program this week, Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere played a video of the interaction.

"Please get out. Please get out of this property immediately. Get out!" Pawlowski can be heard yelling at the six officers who entered his church.

"Out! Out! Out! Get out of this property immediately until you come back with a warrant," he continued. "Go out and don't come back. I don't want to talk to you. You Nazis, Gestapo is not allowed here! ... Nazis are not welcome here! Do not come back you Nazi psychopaths. Unbelievable sick, evil people. Intimidating people in a church during the Passover! You Gestapo, Nazi, communist fascists! Don't you dare come back here!"

Watch this clip to see the heated exchange:

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.