In the spirit of C.S. Lewis’ SCREWTAPE LETTERS, the comments below were originally provided to a childhood friend, who has long wandered in the desert wastes of the Liberal/Progressive Movement. Over the years we have exchanged views, testily at times, although I have of course remained a paragon of libertarian decorum at all times. My goal, as always, has been not to defend my views but to effectively explain them, providing further elucidation where required. My theory continues to be that anyone capable of following my logic will, in the course of time, become convinced of its efficacy. Hence my effort to avoid heated argumentation in favor of the introduction of relevant factual and logical support. As a rational optimist, I harbor constant hope in the capacity of truth to win over the lost, but I’m not sure how that’s going with my friend Fred.
“Fred: I must begin by retracting the earlier appellation I applied to you when I affectionately referred to you as a “loon.” Far from being a loon, you are the gift that keeps on giving. We should begin the shredding of your Liberal/Progressive fantasy-world by reestablishing that I am not a member of any political party, although I did in my misspent youth affiliate myself for a time with the liberal-wing of the Democrat Party, stood as the President of the Young Democrats during college, worked strenuously for George McGovern (yes, mine was a misspent youth) served as the Vice President of a faculty union at one point and was up to my late teens a thorough-going member of the Marxist Proletariat. I completed my intellectual journey to the libertarian movement by my late-20’s and have remained within the ranks of the Enlightened ever since.
I am ever so entertained when you presume to speak for me, since there is literally no one who can do that anywhere except myself, and as I am quite happy to do so, your speculation is unnecessary. Once again, you are full of the usual Liberal/Progressive nonsense, which is a nice way of phrasing that your bullshit rewriting of American history falls short of a critical review. So let’s take a walk through your ever so target-rich post and see where reality may interface with your musings, however tangentially.
First, the issue of the Democrat Party’s proud history of support for slavery, the Klan, the Black Codes, the Jim Crow Laws and other unsavory racist enterprises must be addressed. Of course the historic role of the Democrats as the defenders of the institution of slavery, the Fugitive Slave Act, the Dred Scott decision and the post-Civil War terror campaign waged by the Klan/Democrat Party is beyond dispute. Had a Republican President, U.S. Grant, not dispatched Federal troops under Generals Sherman and Sheridan to contest the Democrats’ efforts to re-enslave the South’s new African American citizens, the old system of slavery would likely have been recreated surreptitiously.
As the 20th century began, the Democrats were quite willing to include within their ranks the Southern racists and White Supremacists, along with the corrupt Democrat machines in the major Northern cities and the emerging Progressives, who were essentially the American version of Marxists, with the Communists, Fascists, Nazis, and Socialists comprising the European national branches of the common Marxist/Collectivist tree. The Progressives initially infected both national parties, with TR and Woodrow Wilson being the first Progressive Republican and Democrat presidents, respectively. This continued sporadically into the 1930’s, with Herbert Hoover being the last GOP Progressive elected as the US President until much later. Reading the thoughts of the early Progressives like Wilson, Margaret Sanger of Planned Parenthood fame and others is quite enlightening. Wilson was a profoundly racist person, who segregated the US armed forces for the first time, and Sanger’s theories on eugenics were conceived to bring about the eradication of the African American population, through forced abortions and sterilizations. The Progressive-controlled Congresses under Wilson created Prohibition, the Federal Reserve, the Progressive Income Tax and countless Federal bureaucratic agencies. Wilson favored the concentration of power in the Executive Branch, and mused about the elimination of free elections until he experienced his stroke, whereupon Mrs. Wilson took on the running of the government until Wilson’s term expired.
The Federal Reserve’s mishandling of a cyclical recession in 1929, when the Fed tightened the Money Supply at the exact moment it should have been eased, brought about a bank and investment panic that the Republican Progressive President Hoover and his Democrat successor Roosevelt exacerbated by experimenting with Progressive economic theories like the creation of Federal “Stimulus” programs and expanded Federal bureaucracy. Incipient private sector-based recoveries were repeatedly choked off by very bad Progressive policies. Only the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and America’s entry into WW II restarted the US economy. During that time, FDR, Joe Kennedy and other Progressive Democrats allowed the Jews of Europe to be rounded up and exterminated rather than entering into conflict with Hitler or Mussolini, who they both admired as fellow Collectivists. Even after America’s reluctant entry into WW II, FDR refused to bomb the railroads of Europe, which might have offered the potential of slowing progress of the Nazi’s “Final Solution.”
Skipping forward to the 1960’s, the Democrat Party was still the party of the Klan, as the Southern Democrats in the Senate, some of whom had served as high officials in state Klan chapters in South Carolina (Strom Thurmond) and West Virginia (Robert Byrd), attempted to kill the Voting Rights and Civil Rights Acts through the use of the filibuster. Only Republican support allowed those acts to become laws. LBJ’s “Great Society” programs were designed by Johnson to, in his own words, “Keep those Ni**ers voting Democrat for twenty years.” Unfortunately, LBJ’s Great Society had the hopefully unintended consequence of bringing about the collapse of the African American family, which had survived slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow and the Klan, but could not survive the rank stupidity of Liberal/Progressive politicians and bureaucrats.
The 1960’s and 1970’s again saw Progressivism in the ascendant in America, although the Progressives had rebranded themselves as “Liberals” to escape the failure and hatred of earlier “Progressive” policies and laws. Johnson was followed by Progressive Republicans Nixon and Ford and then by Progressive Democrat Jimmy Carter. Following failed Progressive policies like “Wage and Price Controls” and greatly expanding the Federal bureaucracy by the creation of the EPA, the Department of Energy and the Federal Department of Education, Nixon, Ford and Carter devastated the US economy by restricting domestic energy exploration and production, hobbling the private sector and creating run-away inflation. The 60’s/70’s Progressives also introduced “Affirmative Action” policies that established government hiring quotas which discriminated on the basis of race, in clear violation of the Constitution’s “Equal Protection” clause and the 10th and 14th Amendments. The consequences of this Second Progressive Era were the destruction of the US economy, the development of runaway inflation and unemployment and the re-racialization of American society by the creation of government-favored racial groupings. At the same time America’s role as the exemplar of individual freedom, free markets and limited government suffered greatly, with Third World theocracies like Iran and Communists in Russia and Cuba challenging America’s weak Progressive leaders openly.
When President Ronald Reagan assumed the Presidency in 1980 he brought libertarian economists like Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell and others into the Federal government and allowed them to reshape America’s monetary and fiscal policies. This ushered in the longest and most successful economic expansion in US history, which stretched from 1982 – 2008, with minor cyclical recessions that were effectively dealt with by the utilization of proven free market-oriented policies and the employment of brilliant libertarian economists like Friedman and Sowell and later John Taylor, in key positions.
With our usual collective amnesia, Americans may have elected and reelected Our Dear Leader, Barack Hussein Obama, in 2008 and 2012. I say “may,” because Obama’s supporters like George Soros and Attorney General Eric Holder employed Federal agencies to suppress the activities of Our Dear Leader’s strongest opponents, the TEA Parties, and Holder did his best to stop efforts to prevent voter fraud under the weak theory of somehow protecting “minority rights.” As a result Obama’s election victories, especially 2012, will always be tainted and his Presidential authority diminished by the likely use of dirty political tricks in his campaigns. Obama’s performance in office has attempted to employ the old, failed ideas from Wilson, FDR, LBJ and the other earlier Progressives to reshape the US government and our economy, but in addition to practicing deception and dirty tricks at every turn, Obama has shown no interest in governing nor any skill in doing anything but reading speeches written by others on multiple TelePrompTers, while engaging in a perpetual campaign and fundraising program. Under Obama, we have managed to snatch defeat from two wars the Bush Administration had already won, ceded hegemony in the Middle East to Russia and Iran, lost the confidence of our staunchest allies, Israel and England, slowed domestic energy production while destroying the American coal industry, given aid and support to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and other terrorists, doubled the National Debt that had accumulated under 43-previous Presidents, failed to bring about a job-creating economy after 5-years and demeaned the Office of the US Presidency to a degree never before seen in our history. In many ways Mr. Obama and his failed attempt to nationalize healthcare in America are exemplars of the abject failure of the Neo-Progressive Movement. The only things exhibiting growth under Barack Hussein Obama have been taxes, redistribution of incomes and assets, unproductive regulations, pay-offs to the President’s political cronies and the illegal use of Federal agencies to attack Obama’s political opponents.
To close this walk down American History Lane, I’ll respond to you attributions as to what I might have said, if I were the Snidely Whiplash that you like to attack. First, Jim Crow Laws did not end 100-years ago, as many remained in place under Democrat control well into the 1950’s. The Klan, another Democrat-related organization, continued as a force well into the early 1970’s. I know because I traveled through the South in support of Civil Rights activities during that time and experienced the charm of the Robert Byrds and Strom Thurmonds personally. As to the efficacy of OSHA, the EPA, and other Progressive bureaucracies, the issues they deal with are serious issues, but under our system of government none of them are appropriately Federal government issues. We’ve seen quite recently how effective the Fed’s are at building a very basic website, which several of my own companies could have completed and tested within 12 -18-months. The damage done to the US economy by Federal government intrusions into our lives under Obama has been massive.
I take great exception to your mischaracterization of my views on the value of human life. As a libertarian I view every human life as the most sacred possession each individual citizen owns and any government interference with the freedoms of individual US citizens is contrary to our Founders’ values and our Constitution. But each American citizen is also responsible for his or her own well-being and our decisions are our own to make, without government coercion. The exceptions to these freedoms are for those who violate the freedoms of other American citizens, who are thus subject to sanctions appropriate to their crimes. We are all free to shape our individual economic well-being, and I have generally used my freedom to create and build my own ventures, employing talented people without regard to race, religion or any of the other little boxes on useless Federal forms. If someone else wants to avoid the risks and the stress of meeting payrolls and creating returns for investors, that is their right as Americans. But I have also have no obligation to subsidize the much easier and less stressful lives they elect to live.
So, Fred, my old friend, those are my actual thoughts on the interesting issues your posts raised, rather than the straw men you chose to create on my behalf. My views are based on the history of the last 3,000-years, and especially the last fifty or so. Dispute them as you please, but don’t presume to speak on my behalf, as you are singularly under-qualified in those efforts. Warm regards, CDE”