Monday, August 25, 2014

The liberal alliance

At the American Thinker, Bruce Robinson juxtaposes quotes from Charles Krauthammer and Charles Murray:

“[John Stuart] Mill held that truth emerges from an unfettered competition of ideas and that individual character is most improved when allowed to find its own way uncoerced. Modern liberalism’s perfectionist ambitions...seeks to harness the power of government, the mystique of science and the rule of experts to shape both society and citizen and bring them both, willing or not, to a higher state of being.”

Krauthammer’s observation is closely allied with what Charles Murray said more recently in his June 30 Wall Street Journal article, “The Trouble Isn’t Liberals. It’s Progressives,” where Murray writes: “...progressive intellectuals were passionate advocates of rule by disinterested experts led by a strong unifying leader. They were in favor of using the state to mold social institutions in the interests of the collective. They thought that individualism and the Constitution were both outmoded.”

Marxist, Leftist, socialist, Fascist, Communist, corporatist, statist, liberal, progressive...they run together. Wikipedia has a good definition for liberal: “Modern American liberalism combines social liberalism with support for social justice and a mixed economy.”

Here’s my attempt:

Charles Murray identifies as a libertarian, hence his defense of liberalism in the Journal. Libertarians are liberal in all aspects but one. They trade the socialist flaw of redistribution for radical individualism, which has its own problems. They accept completely man as monad, whereas the liberal prefers to patronize the materially needy while ignoring their spirit. That’s the only qualitative difference.

Thanks to liberalism’s fait accompli by President Obama, liberals may deemphasize redistribution in order to forge an alliance with libertarians. In fact, redistribution can be folded into the larger concept of freedom from the demands of civil society. Or, if you’re on the outs, as libertarians historically have been, you can forge an alliance with liberals.

Some libertarians, like the Bexar County Republicans Liberty Caucus, operate under the illusion they can reforge the Reagan alliance of libertarians and conservatives. In their vision, though, it’s an alliance of no give and all take. The alliance appeals to them insofar as conservatives abdicate their principles.

As is libertarians’ wont, they pay lip service to economic liberty, but naturally align with liberals. It makes you wonder what their real priorities are.

Cleghorn and other Libertarians say the social issues are repelling younger voters who lean toward the low tax and limited government part of the GOP, but can’t align themselves with issues like opposition to gay marriage. For many Millennials, same sex marriage is a ‘settled issue’ much as desegregation was a ‘settled issue’ for Baby Boomers who were in their position in the seventies.

Libertarians want the panoply of “lifestyles” at their behest, but same-sex marriage and drug legalization are the touchstones. “Reproductive freedom” also makes the Liberty Caucus’s list; although, libertarians are split on that issue.

David Harsanyi is more realistic about today’s libertarians:

Millennials aren’t libertarians. They’re socialists who want to buy legal pot.

And not be called homophobes.

The Reagan alliance is dead. We are in the years of the Clinton alliance: an alliance of progressives (Obama, Martin O’Malley), liberals (Clintons), and libertarians (Rand Paul, Murray), with liberals holding the center, will dominate American politics until the empire’s last days.

For example, read this rash of O’Malley boosterism at Business Insider:

Through innovative methods and a data-centric approach, Western Maryland Regional Medical Center, has become the cornerstone in Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley’s ambitious makeover of the state’s healthcare programs.

The facility, which is located in a far corner of the state, has managed to strike the elusive balance of cutting costs and improving the quality of patient care — all while improving access to preventative care and the relative health of the community. Specifically, the facility has served as a showcase for O’Malley’s plan to reduce preventable hospitalizations throughout Maryland.

Jo Wilson, the vice president of operations at the hospital, said last week that there had been a 21% year-over-year reduction in admissions, helping to contribute to an overall 11.5% decrease in preventable hospitalizations per 100,000 Marylanders between 2011 and 2013. That decrease exceeds O’Malley’s goal of a 10% reduction by the end of next year.

At the same time, since November, the hospital has saved $3.5 million in costs. A new clinical center has saved patients approximately $1.4 million.

All those numbers are a key part of the legacy O’Malley, who is seriously considering a run for president in 2016, wants to leave behind as Maryland’s governor. O’Malley discussed his healthcare program in an interview with Business Insider last week when he traveled to Cumberland to highlight the hospital’s success.

The rationale for reelecting liberals to run the country after the disaster they’ve created is competence, captured perfectly in the above article by the term “data-centric.” This taps into the cost-benefit analysis fetish libertarians like drug dealer Gary Johnson have, and liberal fears of Cro-Magnon conservatives taking the country back to the dread ’50s when people were happier, families were stronger, and stigma was attached to drugs’ ability to lay waste to people’s wills.

Progressives are, on the surface, less ideological because they don’t have to be ideological. The infrastructure is in place for a socialist America. The president can play chicken with Congress because he doesn’t need them anymore to govern. Progressives don’t want to undo the madness. They want to manage it.

Related: John C. Wright distinguishes Fascism and Communism.

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