October 12, 2003

Or thank Eddie Rickenbacker ...

Armed Liberal (a fellow I have a lot of respect for and like to read) has a list of reasons he's a Liberal. Or maybe they are reasons he feels good about being a Liberal...Interesting points, but they raise a few doubts in my mind....

If you like the clean(er) air and water in our urban areas, thank a liberal.

If you like the idea that Condi Rice is the NSC advisor rather than an instructor at a segregated secretarial school, thank a liberal.

If you like the Internet, thank a liberal (DARPANet was created in no small part thanks to a government research grant).

If someone you know or love survived an auto accident recently, thank a liberal. (Seat belts, safety glass, crush zones, air bags - yes, I know that air bags and seat belts have killed some people, but all the stats I've seen are pretty suggestive that they have saved far more than they have killed - etc. etc.)

If you were able to own your own house without paying down 30% to get a 5-year mortgage, thank a liberal (30-year mortgages were a FDR innovation).

If you worked an industrial job for thirty years without being disabled, thank a liberal.

My first thought is, these things are all in the past! Thank a Liberal for things they did long ago. Conservatives today are no less for clean air or industrial safety, or against racism, that Liberals are, though they often have different emphases or approaches. So why be a Liberal? And if we are thanking people in the past, it makes just as much sense to thank TR and the rich Republicans who started environmentalism in the US. Or to thank Eddie Rickenbacker for four-wheel brakes.

The second cavil is that not all this stuff was done by Liberals. DARPA was purely Eisenhower's, and was severely cut back to help pay for LBJ's war. (And nobody anticipated the Internet.)

And a lot of these items are true but also distorted by Liberal myth-making. Liberals should be proud of the Civil Rights Movement, but it's a myth that the Movement was Good Liberals battling Bad Conservatives. Southern Conservatives mostly sat on the sidelines. The segregationists were almost all Democrats, and many of them were New Dealer types who can also be called Liberals. (Many of them should be called radicals.) Bull Connor was on the Democratic National Committee. Republicans did some pandering for racist votes in the aftermath, but Dems had been the party-of-choice for racists since before the Civil War.

And the problem with all good Liberal causes is that they are always Trojan Horses. Liberals don't just want to regulate auto safety, (And I do thank you, Libs, auto safety's a good thing) they want to regulate Everything's safety. Actually the people who start the movements probably just want to improve auto safety or whatever and don't intend it to be a wedge. But they instantly attract, like flies to a corpse, the Liberals who want to run the circus! And when Conservatives fight against Liberal movements, it's not because they hate the idea of safe cars. It's because they know what the real goal is-- you just need to look at the EU, which regulates the curvature of bananas! (Libertarians fight also, but they seem to me to be psychically handicapped because they share the elitism of the Liberals.)

Armed Liberal probably just wants to make the world a little better. But He's part of a group that wants to eliminate the marketplace. The marketplace is anywhere ordinary people make the decisions by choosing things (or ideas, or lifestyles or the rules of the community.) And there's only one thing that can overrule the marketplace, and that is government. It's no accident that every Liberal program aims at more government. If the Church could overrule the marketplace, Hillary would be a Bishop. But only the state has the power to say "you can't smoke in our city." Only the state can prevent the tiresome and tacky masses from shaping our world by making trillions of decisions in the marketplace.

Posted by John Weidner at October 12, 2003 7:11 PM
Weblog by John Weidner