March 2, 2009

" the conscious atmosphere of corruption and payoff..."

From Maimon Schwarzschild, Not the Spirit of the New Deal:

....There are different streams of ideas on today's politcal left than there were in the 1930s. There is the idea that prosperity and growth are bad: bad for the "planet", hostile to the environment, vulgar, and linked to immoral individualism. There is the idea that a humbler, poorer, less powerful America would be a good thing. These are fundamentally pessimistic ideas, pessimistic about America at least: very different from the buoyant and self-confident (if sometimes, or often, misguided) outlook of FDR and the liberals and leftists who made the New Deal (and who went on to fight the Second World War.)

The spirit of the Obama-Pelosi "stimulus", and the conscious atmosphere of corruption and payoff that surrounds it, is consistent with today's negative, if not sour, leftist worldview. The New Dealers believed they were building a more "scientific" and much more prosperous world. There was a great deal of genuine idealism among them. Today's triumphant political class does not seriously imagine that it will promote economic growth and prosperity. The political class is, at best, ambivalent about whether it even wants such things. What today's political class wants is a massive transfer of power and money to itself. This is what the "stimulus", and much else that will follow, is openly intended to do. If there were a spirit of optimism and generosity and idealism about it, as there was among the New Dealers, there would at least be reason to hope that things wouldn't quickly degenerate into corruption. It seems to me that there is little such spirit, or none at all, today. ..
(Thanks to Chicagoboyz)

SO, are these people, in fact, liberals at all? I'd say Schwarzschild is missing the interesting part of the story, though he's right on the edge of it.

"the liberals and leftists who made the New Deal (and who went on to fight the Second World War.)" Right. They led a great war to overthrow fascist dictators, end genocide, and bring freedom and democracy to oppressed peoples. Today's leftists had an opportunity to do the very same thing. And what happened? They HATED it! Hated it even when things were going well, and millions of Iraqis were braving terrorism to vote in elections. Hated the man in charge (who was the real liberal).

I'd say what we see is NOT merely a "pessimistic outlook." It is nihilism. (Tune out if you've already heard me on this subject.) Leftists are like a church that keeps reciting the Creed every Sunday, even though all faith and belief has leaked away. "Liberals" are NOT liberals, and our world will not make sense as long as you keep thinking they are.

Posted by John Weidner at March 2, 2009 10:20 AM
Weblog by John Weidner