Liberalism's Fall From Grace


Imagine the agony of liberal Democrats after their fall from grace in only two years. 

With the ascension of Barack Obama, in 2008, America's first black President (have you heard?), and two super majorities in the House and Senate, all the world, it seemed, was aglow with the prospect of a new, perhaps, permanent era of triumphant liberalism.  Across the liberal universe, in the media, the academy, Hollywood, the Democrat party, and among croissant-lovers everywhere, there was rapture and joy.

Just retribution, too, the faithful believed, would now befall those peddlers of heartless capitalism, the pagan moneyed classes responsible for the collapse of the economy, of income disparities, of unemployment and poverty: the "rich," "Wall Street," bankers and corporations, and that ultimate country-club preserve, the Republican Party; indeed, all of the ogres of leftist lore would receive their comeuppance.  The desperate and the disenfranchised, the unemployed and the middle class, on the other hand, would see their star rising along with the good fortunes of their friends in the Democrat party.

Internationally, the world would applaud the rebirth of enlightened collectivism and the "transnational" approach of President “citizen-of-the-world” Obama.  Through the offices of the UN and other esteemed international bodies we would work respectfully with the world community; we would reach out to the Muslim world and others; we would "engage" our most hardened enemies, mollify our severest critics, use “soft-power” to resolve intractable conflicts, and apologize for our many past sins.  Comity and understanding would surely descend upon the wounded planet. 

Yes, 2008 was a high water mark for liberalism, the well-deserved harvest of the last 75 years, after the New Deal, Great Society, and now Obamaism.

And then, poof, like a bubble or a dream, it vanished.

So sudden, so unexpected, so tragic...

What killed it? 

Why, liberalism itself.  The implausibility of its schemes; the failure of its policies; the grandiosity of its dreams; the towering price of its benevolence; the horrendous misallocation of wealth; the waste, fraud, cronyism, and so on… 

Utopia is an ever-changing vision.  No matter the assets and resources directed at the nation's failings and deficiencies, it will never be enough. There will always be some crisis, some inequity, some unresolved pocket of misery to repair. And the costs for the top-down reordering of society are unbearable; furthermore, the prescription does not work. 

With liberals in power the past two years, the nation observed their natural radical tendencies at work.  Despite extraordinary popular resistance, which elitist liberals dismissed as ignorant or racist, they crammed through an ambitious and unwanted legislative agenda: stimulus, cap and trade, Obamacare and any number of new programs and spending gushers that did nothing to improve the ailing economy but added $3 trillion of new debt. 

Utopia, indeed, has proven elusive.

For their trouble, the nation rewarded them not with greater affirmation but a serious spanking: the loss of 60 plus House seats and another six in the Senate, not to mention a bushel of state houses and governorships.  All told, some 750 Democrat seats crossed hands in the last election, an historic rout.

Liberals proved remarkably adept at concocting explanations for their defeat.  But in the end, Americans, fearing for their country, removed them from power before they could do more damage.

For liberals, America must be a profoundly disturbing place, one that remains annoyingly resistant to their progressive vision.  Why can’t we be more like Europe?

The reason is that America is not Europe. 

America is unique, a reality many liberals do not understand and may find offensive.

America was born in freedom.  It fought a long war against tyranny at its inception.  It eyed with suspicion any movement toward centralized power.  It created a Constitution that deliberately sought to enhance liberty and confine government through enumerated powers, competing branches of government, states rights, and a bill of rights. 

This was unprecedented: nations, empires, and civilizations have always based themselves not on freedom but despotism. 

American exceptionalism arose from this system, its emphasis on constraining the state, and leaving a broad field for the individual and the private sector to flourish. 

This explains America's unparalleled success, which liberalism threatens, and, even, actively seeks to undermine. 

For leftists like Obama, indeed, America is too powerful and needs to be trimmed down to create greater global parity. 

But it is not just America that recoils against the liberal project.  Other bastions of socialism, no less, have pushed back against the Obama agenda. 

Shouldn't Obama and the Democrats have taken a hint when the Red Chinese began lecturing them about deficits?  Or when the Euro-socialists argued against Obama-stimulus proposals and pursued austerity measures instead?  Or more recently against QE2, the Fed's attempt to monetize our deficits and devalue our currency?  It is an astonishing state of affairs when the US, formerly the epicenter of world capitalism, runs to the left of communists in China and socialists in Europe.

Leviathan, however, will not be brought down by a single election. 

For a true conservative ascendancy, and a rolling back of the welfare state, there must be ongoing, consecutive electoral victories until a critical conservative mass has been achieved.

Liberalism will not fade away quietly. 





  • Harvey Chaimowitz

    December 17, 2010

    Okay, I'm convinced. I want to join. Do I have to buy the whole program or can I buy some now and think about the rest? I mean if I order the deconstruction of all social programs, do I have to hate homos and nonwhite nonChristians right away or can I wait till I save up for them? I haven't met any of my fellow conservatives who love gays or even accept them without held noses, and none seem to like Mexican culture very much; in fact even my mentioning Mexican "culture" will certainly cause a few snickers. Oh, screw it! I'll take the whole program now. It'll be cheaper that way. Right? Right.

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