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. 

Former President Barack Obama sat down with CNN's Anderson Cooper recently for an interview scheduled to air in full on Friday. During the interview, Obama scoffed at the idea that critical race theory could be a "threat to our Republic," while claiming that "right-wing media venues" are "stoking the fear and resentment of a white population."

On the radio program Wednesday, Glenn Beck set the record straight: the right-wing media's efforts to call out the far-left have nothing to do with race in America, but rather everything to do with protecting our way of life that is being threatened more and more each day by the radical, Marxist ideology seeping into government.

"Mr. Obama, you lied," Glenn asserted. "You used the IRS to hunt down your enemy. You spied on the media. And your health care package, which was supposed to save every American $3,000 per year, has helped some, perhaps, while raising the cost of everyone's health care in double and triple percentages. But the worst thing that you did, is you planted, you watered, and you protected the Marxist seeds, by crying race."

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn:

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Our sacred republic has never been in more danger than it is today. Little by little, industry by industry, the far Left is fundamentally transforming the country we love. And it's an aggressive, hostile kind of takeover we've only seen in some of the world's darkest societies.

On Glenn TV this week, Glenn Beck exposes how the Biden administration and Democrats are aggressively scrambling to reset everything: our free and fair voting system, our kids' education, our policing, immigration and border security, our economy, our military, and our energy supply.

Finally, Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) joins to discuss how Biden's "woke" policies are threatening America's national security and our way of life.

Watch the full episode below:

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Apparel company The North Face recently stated that it would no longer make jackets for oil and gas companies because it doesn't want to be associated with the fossil fuel industry. In response, Colorado-based oil and gas company Liberty Oilfield Services rented full billboard ads to remind The North Face of the truth: "Globally, 60% of all clothing fibers are made out of oil and gas. For North Face, it is likely 90% or more."

Liberty CEO Chris Wright joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday to discuss just how much of our economy — beyond outdoor apparel and energy — wouldn't exist in a world without fossil fuels. And he warns that many companies are now deeming this truth to be "controversial."

"I have been for years, trying to get a real, honest dialogue about energy going," Chris told Glenn. "So we took this opportunity to point out that North Face jackets are ... almost completely made out of oil and gas. How can you choose not to associate with the essential material your equipment [is] made out of? So we put a billboard up ... the billboard says, 'That North Face puffer looks good on you. And it was made from fossil fuels.'"

"Most billboard companies did not want to run that billboard. They thought it was controversial," he added. "And Facebook put a hold on our brief video just saying the jacket looks good, this is what it's made out of. In today's world, that is controversial."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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During a lecture at the Yale School of Medicine's Child Study Center, a New York City-based psychiatrist told students and faculty that she fantasizes about "unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way," among several other shockingly race-hating statements.

In April, Dr. Aruna Khilanani — a New York-based forensic psychiatrist and psychoanalyst — delivered the talk called "The Psychopathic Problem of the White Mind" virtually as part of the Yale School of Medicine's "Child Study Center Grand Rounds," a lecture program for "trainees in child psychiatry, psychology, and social work, faculty, clinicians, and scientists."

On the radio program Monday, Glenn Beck shared several quotes from an audio recording of the lecture provided by Bari Weiss, a former opinion writer and editor for the New York Times.

Here are a few of Khilanani's statements from the audio:

  • "This is the cost of talking to white people at all. The cost of your own life, as they suck you dry. There are no good apples out there. White people make my blood boil."
  • "I had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, burying their body, and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step. Like I did the world a f***ing favor."
  • "White people are out of their minds. And they have been for a long time."
  • "White people feel that we are bullying them when we bring up race. They feel that we should be thanking them for all that they have done for us. They are confused, and so are we. We keep forgetting that directly talking about race is a waste of our breath."
  • "We are asking a demented, violent predator who thinks that they are a saint or a superhero, to accept responsibility. It ain't gonna happen. They have five holes in their brain. It's like banging your head against a brick wall. It's just like sort of not a good idea."

"We must take a stand. We must speak out, because this is evil," Glenn said in response to Khilanani's shocking lecture. "I don't care who you voted for, you know this is evil."

Watch the video below for more details:

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