Dreams from Obama


Liberal Fascism


By Jonah Goldberg


 


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by Jonah Goldberg

On February 12, 2008, the night Barack Obama won the Maryland, D.C. and Virginia Democratic primaries, he held a massive rally (does he hold any other kind) at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “Where better,” Obama asked, “to affirm our ideals than here in Wisconsin, where a century ago the Progressive movement was born?”

On the one hand, one has to give Obama the benefit of the doubt and assume he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. After all, the University of Wisconsin progressives were soaked to the bone racists, nativists, eugenicists and imperialists. Many of the founders of the “Wisconsin school” of progressivism would be horrified by a black president, particularly one with an African name. Indeed, if they had their druthers, Obama’s father would never have been allowed to enter the country, never mind marry his mother. And at least some of the most prominent Wisconsin progressives might have wanted her sterilized against her will.

On the other hand, one has to give Obama points for honesty. While Obama certainly harbors no affinity for the “race patriotism” of the Wisconsin progressives, he certainly agrees with them in other ways. He is, in the most fundamental sense, the most authentically progressive president since at least FDR, and perhaps Woodrow Wilson.

One problem with talking about progressivism is that the word has been shorn of its meaning. To say you’re a progressive these days is like saying you’re in favor of good things. We talk about “progressive music” as if the word simply confers a kind of spiritual blessing.  But progressivism was, and is, a real ideology with good aspects and very, very bad ones.

Obama’s progressivism stems mostly from his unshakeable conviction that he and his likeminded brain trust have an almost Jedi-like understanding of what is good and right: Constraints on their ability to pursue them are unwise, even unpatriotic. They agree with the French philosopher Condorcet that there is “a science that can foresee the progress of humankind, direct it, and accelerate it” – and they are the scientists who need to run the show.

This idea evolved until the Progressive era, when philosophers like John Dewey and the Progressives at the University of Wisconsin came to believe that individual liberties, particularly economic liberties, were an impediment to progress. If only the experts, or “planners” could be left in charge, they could make everything right. This is why Woodrow Wilson – the first U.S. president with a Ph D and a founder of the American Political Science Association -- and Dewey had such contempt for the American constitution and bill of rights. All of those messy checks-and-balances interfered with their ability to do “what works.” This is why Stuart Chase, the progressive  intellectual reputed to have coined the phrase “the New Deal” insisted that America must be put under control of an “economic dictatorship.” After all, he said, “why should the Russians have all the fun remaking the world?”

Now President Obama surely doesn’t see himself as a dictator, and he isn’t one. Indeed, this country does not tolerate tyranny well. We are a liberty loving people, with a strained, but still functioning republican constitution. Nonetheless, in much the same way Wilson and Roosevelt exploited crises, mainly war and the Great Depression, to expand the scope and size of governmental and presidential power, Obama clearly has similar ambitions. Indeed, the motto of his administration is “never let a good crisis go to waste.”

In terms of public policy, the most striking continuity between classical progressive thought and today is, again, economic policy.

People remember Teddy Roosevelt as a “trust buster” and he was one as president. But afterwards, when he became a fully committed Progressive (he was the Progressive Party presidential candidate in 1912) he abandoned trust-busting in favor of “combination,” the binding together of powerful economic forces for efficiency’s sake.  “The effort at prohibiting all combination has substantially failed,” Roosevelt explained. “The way out lies, not in attempting to prevent such combinations, but in completely controlling them in the interest of the public welfare.”

The credit for Roosevelt’s intellectual evolution from anti-monopolist to monopolist should go to Herbert Croly, the godfather of the progressive movement, founder of The New Republic and author of the Progressive bible The Promise of American Life. “Cooperation” was Croly’s maxim.  He once said “[i]t should be the effort of all civilized societies to substitute cooperation for competitive methods.” In short, the idea was to yoke big businesses – the bigger, the better – to the state and use them as extensions of state power.  The old market system, whereby firms were kept honest and prices low through competition, needed to be replaced by the enlightened rule of experts.  Hence, in The Promise of American Life, Croly yearned for a “national reformer . . . in the guise of St. Michael” and an “imitator of Christ” who will crush laissez-faire capitalism and cruel individualism. Indeed, he wrote, an “individual has no meaning apart from the society in which his individuality has been formed.”

As we watch Obama take over the auto, banking and student-loan industries. As we watch him argue for a new nationalized healthcare system and for economic and tax policy to be guided by the notion that the wealth should be spread around and that we are all our brothers’ keepers, it’s difficult to see how he doesn’t share this core progressive conviction. And, it is not crazy to suggest that, at least for some Obama supporters, “The One” is that imitator of Christ.

In his acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention, then-candidate Obama explained that the “American Dream” must, in large measure, be replaced by “America’s Promise.”  The American Dream is, after all, an individualistic ideal. We all pursue our own conception of happiness, as is our right under the Constitution. America’s Promise, however, is a collective enterprise in which politics becomes the new science of human progress. That is the Progressive’s Dream – and Obama’s.

Jonah Goldberg, a syndicated columnist, is the author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, now out in paperback. 

Michigan barber Karl Manke isn't a troublemaker. He's a law-abiding citizen who did everything possible to financially survive during the COVID-19 lockdown. pandemic. Eventually, he had no other option: he had to reopen his business in defiance of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home orders.

In an interview on the "Glenn Beck Radio Program," Manke, 77, told Glenn, "I'm not backing down" despite Whitmer's seemingly vindictive attempts to shut down his business.

Shortly after reopening, Manke was ticketed for violating Whitmer's stay-at-home order and charged with a misdemeanor. When he still refused to close his doors, the governor's office went a step further and suspended his barber license.

"It's kind of a vindictive thing," said Manke. "I've become a worm in her brain ... and she is going full force, illegally, when legislatures told her that she was out of place and this was not her assignment, she decided to take it anyway."

On Thursday, the Shiawassee County Circuit Judge refused to issue a preliminary injunction against Manke. Read more on this update here.

Watch the video clip from the interview below:

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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 multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Time after time, Americans have taken to the streets to defend our constitutional rights, whether it was our livelihood at stake -- or our lives. But, what was the point of all the civil rights movements that came before, if we're about to let the government take our rights away now?

On his Wednesday night special, Glenn Beck argued that Americans are tired of having our rights trampled by "tyrannical" leaders from state and local governments who are ignoring our unalienable rights during this pandemic.

"Our nanny state has gone too far. The men and women in office -- the ones closest to our communities, our towns, our cities -- are now taking advantage of our fear," Glenn said. "Like our brothers and sisters of the past, we need to start making the decisions that will put our destiny, and our children's destiny, back into our hands."

It took less than two months of the coronavirus tyranny to make America unrecognizable, but some Americans are fighting back, risking losing their jobs and businesses or even jail time, as they battle to take back our civil rights.

Here are just a few of their stories:

After New Jersey's Atilis Gym reopened in defiance of the governor's executive order, the Department of Health shut them down for "posing a threat to the public health." Co-owner Ian Smith says somebody sabotaged the gym's toilets with enire rolls of paper to create the public health "threat."

Oregon Salon owner, Lindsey Graham, was fined $14 thousand for reopening. She said she was visited by numerous government organizations, including Child Protective Services, in what she believes are bullying tactics straight from the governor's office.

77-year-old Michigan barber, Karl Manke, refused to close his shop even when facing arrest. "I couldn't go another 30 days without an income," he said. But when local police refused to arrest him, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's (D) office suspending his business license instead.

Port of Seattle police officer Greg Anderson was suspended after he spoke out against enforcing what he called "tyrannical orders" imposed amid coronavirus lockdowns.

Kentucky mother-of-seven, Mary Sabbatino, found herself under investigation for alleged child abuse after breaking social distancing rules at a bank. After a social worker from child protective services determined there was no sign of abuse, he still sought to investigate why the Sabbatino's are homeschooling, and how they can give "adequate attention to that many children."

Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther was sentenced to seven days in jail after she defied the state-mandated stay-at-home orders to reopen her business.

Watch the video clip from Glenn's special below:


Watch the full special on BlazeTV YouTube here.

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It took less than two months of the coronavirus tyranny to make America unrecognizable. Leaders from state and local governments across the U.S. have flattened the curve of some of our most basic constitutional rights, but some Americans are fighting back — and risking jail time or losing their businesses.

On Wednesday night's GBTV special, Glenn Beck argued that we're witnessing the birth of a new civil rights movement — and it's time to build a coalition of common sense to keep America as we know it free.

Watch the full special below:

Use code GLENN to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

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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 multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

On the radio program Thursday, Glenn Beck sat down with chief researcher Jason Buttrill to go over two bombshell developments that have recently come to light regarding former Vice President Joe Biden's role in the 2016 dismissal of Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

"Wow! Two huge stories dropped within about 24 hours of each other," Jason began. He went on to explain that a court ruling in Ukraine has just prompted an "actual criminal investigation against Joe Biden in Ukraine."

This stunning development coincided with the release of leaked phone conversations, which took place in late 2015 and early 2016, allegedly among then-Vice President Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Ukraine's former President Petro Poroshenko.

One of the audiotapes seems to confirm allegations of a quid pro quo between Biden and Poroshenko, with the later admitting that he asked Shokin to resign despite having no evidence of him "doing anything wrong" in exchange for a $1 billion loan guarantee.

"Poroshenko said, 'despite the fact that we didn't have any corruption charges on [Shokin], and we don't have any information about him doing something wrong, I asked him to resign,'" Jason explained. "But none of the Western media is pointing this out."

Watch the video below for more details:


Listen to the released audiotapes in full here.

Use code GLENN to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

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 multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.