Left Turn to Treason 2

Destroying America in order to save it.

In the first half of this article, we discussed one of the longest-running contradictions in modern politics: the fact that conservatives so often consider their liberal colleagues to be anti-American traitors even though that sort of attack tends to backfire politically.

Most ordinary American voters can't see how the leaders of a country would consciously betray it and thus diminish their own power.  The attack isn't plausible; therefore, the attacker must be lying or deluded, and so cannot be trusted.  But if Democrats do actually love their country, why do they so fervently espouse policies known to destroy it?

The coming of Barack Obama sheds new light on this conflict.

Better Red than Dead

We are all a product of our earlier life; this is true of people, and of political parties as well.  Today's modern Democratic Party evolved out of the turmoil of 1960s protests: protests against traditional morality and family structure, the established hierarchy of authority, and ultimately the war in Vietnam.

Prior to the era of flower power, the Democrats were just as robust at defending the United States from foreign threats as were the Republicans; FDR, the patron saint of Dems, was certainly no dove.  After their riotous Chicago national convention in 1968, however, the anti-war far left gained control of the party, and has mostly held sway ever since.

Boiled down to its essentials, the core belief of anti-war liberals is that war is so terrible, such an awful crime, that there is nothing worth going to war over - or that the bar of justification is so high as to have the same effect.  The old slogan "Better Red than Dead" perfectly explains this point of view: life under a brutal and totalitarian Communist dictatorship is preferable to death in fighting against that fate.

In a way, it's the ultimate expression of selfishness: obviously, a soldier's death defending his country doesn't benefit himself personally, but it does benefit his family and fellow-citizens.  If you're only concerned about your own comfort and preferment, though, there really is nothing worth dying for - and the baby-boomer generation is famously the most selfish on record.

By opposing the very concept of war - the idea that America is worth dying for - the anti-war protesters of 1968 were quite literally fighting against truth, justice, and most especially the American way.  Our nation was founded by men who "more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life", concepts utterly rejected by yesterday's hardcore protesters who are today's Democratic elites.

Barack Obama was too young to experience the 1960s, but in a way he had a worse fate: he was brought up as a "red diaper baby" by parents steeped in 60s idealism and protest tactics, who (as most parents do) tended to emphasize the admirable about their past and overlook the bad.

After his parents' marriage fell apart, the young Obama found himself raised by his grandparents and their friends - including Frank Marshall Davis, a member of the Communist Party, whose influence was so great that Mr. Obama repeatedly mentioned him in his book Dreams From My Father.  From his long association with terrorist Bill Ayers through his funding of Communist education professor Mike Klonsky, Mr. Obama's life has been spent immersed in the doctrines of American guilt, moral equivalence, and abhorrence of war no matter the worthiness of the cause.

Most Americans tend to instinctively assume that America is worth defending.  Until the end of the 60s, Democrats did too - we recall John Kennedy's stirring call in his Inaugural Address:

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

Roosevelt knew that liberty was worth defending.  Kennedy knew that no price was too great for the preservation of freedom.  After the upheavals of the 1960s, however, major forces in the Democratic Party decided that it wasn't: that, in the new nuclear age, nothing was worth fighting a war over.  Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and the rest of the far-left extremists were brought up in this new radical tradition.

Nothing Super about Being a Superpower

If war is now so dangerous that war is a price too high to pay even for the defense of freedom, what's the point of being a superpower?  Time after time, the rhetoric of the left has demonstrated their belief that America's commanding presence invites attacks.

From the days after 9-11 when many leftists declared that we had brought the terrorism on ourselves, to Mr. Obama's recent global apology tour, the unstated assumption is that American hegemony is bad - not just bad for the world, but bad for America.

To an extent, it looks like they have a point.  How many terrorists attack Belgium?  How many times has Canada been threatened with invasion by foreign forces?

Most of the rest of the so-called free world enjoys their freedom without having to "stride the world like a colossus".  Why does America have to show such swagger?

The problem is that it is precisely because superpower America stands ready and able to defend freedom around the globe that other free nations have had the luxury of not needing to defend themselves.  It wasn't the West German army that kept the Soviets on their side of the Berlin Wall, it was American forces on the ground and nuclear deterrence in silos over here.  Nobody important may particularly hate or resent Belgium - but those good feelings did not protect them from being overrun in both World Wars by an enemy who cared nothing for diplomatic niceties.

Mr. Obama's foreign policy reveals his belief that military aggression exists only in response to outside threats.  For example, with both Iran and North Korea he has suggested that we are no threat to them, and offered various proofs.  If only we can convince Kim and the mullahs that we mean them no harm, we can all get along!

That view ignores the stated goals and desires of greedy madmen.  They do not wish merely to rule hermit kingdoms; they wish to expand them at their neighbors' expense.  Iran has long desired to impose its will on Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Holy Land; North Korea is technically still at war with America over whether it will rule the South as well.

Does demonstrating our desire for peace make peace more likely?  Quite the contrary: it demonstrates that we cannot or will not stop aggressors, leaving them free to be aggressive.

In the short term, resigning as the world's policeman does benefit Americans.  It obviously saves the lives of American soldiers who won't die in foreign sands; it saves American tax dollars to be spent on doctors instead of tanks.

In the long term, though, as long as there are evil men ruling totalitarian regimes who want to increase their own strength, free nations will have to be prepared to defend themselves - and pretty much, America is the last one left with that ability.  If we stop, who'll start?

As Liz Cheney wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

The White House ought to take a lesson from President Harry Truman. In April, 1950, Truman signed National Security Council report 68 (NSC-68). One of the foundational documents of America's Cold War strategy, NSC-68 explains the danger of disarming America in the hope of appeasing our enemies. "No people in history," it reads, "have preserved their freedom who thought that by not being strong enough to protect themselves they might prove inoffensive to their enemies."

Cut Down the Tall Poppies

The other source of strife, according to the left, is inequality.  If I have food and you don't, naturally you'll be discontented; the same goes for housing, clothing, and even health care.

That's why liberals tend to be soft on crime: they view the desires of criminals as only reasonable and in some cases right, since the just reward of their parents' labors was stolen by greedy capitalists.  As far back as FDR, redistribution of wealth has been a key Democratic goal: take from the undeserving, exploitative rich and give to the downtrodden, deserving poor.

Let's hear from the great Thomas Sowell on the stupidity of this plan:

The problem with trying to equalize is that you can usually only equalize downward. If the government were to spend some of its stimulus money trying to raise my basketball ability level to that of Michael Jordan, it would be an even bigger waste of money than most of the other things that Washington does. So the only way to try to equalize that has any chance at all would be to try to bring Michael Jordan down to my level, whether by drastic rule changes or by making him play with one hand tied behind his back, or whatever.

Is it possible to improve equality?  Sure it is: shoot everybody.  Then we're all equally dead.

Failing that, no amount of effort can truly make everyone equal.  There will always be those who are smarter, stronger, or luckier; what sort of a bureaucracy could ever hope to even out every slight difference?  What would be the point other than to employ bureaucrats?

The only effect of government redistributive attempts is gamesmanship.  We've seen how virtually all of Obama's cabinet appointees were happy to levy higher taxes but didn't see the need to pay them themselves.

The left complains about the power of lobbyists, but that's only because government has arrogated so much power to itself.  If government has the power to put you out of business by subsidizing your competitor and slapping extra regulations on you, of course you're going to hire a lobbyist to head that off - and of course your competitor is going to hire a lobbyist to make it happen.  Net result: two more lobbyists who can entertain politicians at posh restaurants and on lavish "research junkets."

Early America didn't have this problem because the early Federal government wasn't given the authority to regulate and redistribute everything of value.

No, forced redistribution only makes everyone resentful, angry, ungrateful, and jealous.  It doesn't matter whether you do it by law or by force: as Monty Python's highwayman Dennis Moore discovered to his chagrin,

Blimey, this redistribution of wealth is trickier than I thought.

Security in Poverty

So we arrive at the logical and inevitable argument of leftist policies:

  • If America is no more powerful, and no wealthier, than anyone else... America will be safe.
  • If we have nothing to steal, we won't be robbed from.
  • If we have nothing worth having, nobody will try to take it away.
  • If everyone is equal, there will be nothing to fight over.
  • Then, there will be peace, love, and harmony.

What alternative world is this?  Does Bill Gates get mugged more often, or the homeless bum sleeping under a box?  Who had a happier, stabler body politic: America with its inequalities, or the Soviet Union where everything belonged to The People?  Who is more likely to be left alone: someone strong and well armed, or someone weak and without resources?

The leftist's view of the world is a utopian one.  It sounds appealing.  It offers something mankind has desired for millennia: an end to war!  An end to jealousy!  An end to hatred!  Alas, it is not rooted in reality.

This flawed world view does contain its own internal logic, however.  Barack Obama and his Democrats are not setting out to destroy our country; they really, truly believe that their destructive policies will make us safer and thus happier.  We may not like them now, but don't worry; our leaders are smarter than we are and know what's best for us.

Except that they aren't, and don't.  By the time the consequences are so obvious that even Keith Olbermann can't deny them, it may be too late - for freedoms once lost are rarely regained.

And treason, even with the very best of intentions, is treason still.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments
I've read (on this very blog, I think) that Liberals believe that it is possible to create a perfect society, while Conservatives believe that society can be *improved* but never made perfect. I do believe that there is something to this.

While I do not personally believe in the human creation of Utopias (the only perfect society humans can create is the perfectly awful), Conservatives are on their own "slippery slope" whenever they point out the folly of idealism, for it begs the question, "How much evil, then, is acceptable?"

Any answer to that question can lead to a sort of moral complacency that I think most Conservatives would be uncomfortable with if they examined it closely enough.

War may sometimes be "the least bad decision", but that is the best it can ever be. Those who consider it must consider it very carefully, and in my opinion should be required to witness its worst effects in order to keep their moral calculii in balance.
August 13, 2009 10:21 AM
I agree with werebat completely. Many years ago, I heard Colin Powell talk while he was Secretary of State. He spoke of the many state department employees who had died in the line of duty. He said it was a real bummer to give orders and have your friends who try to carry out your orders come back in body bags.

I consider this experience to be an essential qualification for President.
August 13, 2009 10:39 AM
Understanding the price of war is, indeed, an essential requirement for being President. But that cuts both ways. A President has to know the cost of war so he won't be too willing to get into it - but he also has to understand that there are certain things that must be done which only war can accomplish. Otherwise he'll be too pusillanimous.

A President who doesn't worry about the price of war is going to be like Napoleon, and kill off an entire generation (if he's allowed to). That's bad. A President who thinks war is never the answer is going to, eventually, kill off the entire country by letting it be conquered or otherwise subjugated... which is worse.

It's possible (though time-consuming and expensive) to make more Americans if you need them. It's much, much harder if not impossible to make a whole new America.

Being President - well, really, being a serious leader of any kind - is all about identifying the "lesser evils", just as all taxation is fundamentally theft but some level of it is necessary to prevent worse things (like anarchy or conquest.) The problem with pure idealists as modern liberals, is that they refuse to admit these tradeoffs even exist. How many times did we hear Obama put forward a hard question, and then dismiss it with "That's a false choice"? No - these are very real choices, with very real consequences. Making the wrong choice is guaranteed when you refuse to admit you have to MAKE a choice.
August 13, 2009 11:08 AM
There is only one infallible, unstoppable way to get Term Limits: NEVER REELECT ANY INCUMBENT!

Most folks think I am too unreasonable in asking everyone to NEVER REELECT ANYONE IN CONGRESS. They think it's an extremist position. But that's the whole point! Congress will never listen to us UNLESS we scare the bejesus out of them! To drive the point home, NEVER REELECT ANYONE IN CONGRESS.

The closer we get to a "Voter's One-Term Congress", the closer we'll get to real term limits on Congress, and thus a "Citizen's Congress.

There is only one way to make term limits happen : The American voter must IMPOSE term limits on Congress by NEVER REELECTING anyone in Congress. In other words, don't let anyone serve more than one term. That's the only way to teach them that the voter is boss! The "one term limit" can be eased AFTER we citizens get control of Congress.

Congress will never allow us to constitutionally term limit them. Our only choice is to NEVER REELECT them.
Remember too, it makes no difference who you vote for, as long as it is NEVER any incumbent.

Backup for this reasoning follows:

I believe that even a little success in a campaign to NEVER REELECT ANYONE IN CONGRESS would move us a long way toward a revolutionary change in American politics, much like 1776. Some of the reasons in favor of this approach:
. Gives us a one-term, term limited Congress without using amendments
. It would be supported by 70% of the country who want term limits for Congress
. It is completely non-partisan
. If repeated, it ends career politicians dominating Congress
. It opens the way to a "citizen Congress"
. It ends the seniority system that keeps freshmen powerless
. It doesn't cost you any money. But you MUST vote! Just don't vote for an incumbent
. It is the only guaranteed, infallible, unstoppable way to "Throw ALL the Bums Out"
. It takes effect immediately on Election Day

Nelson Lee Walker of tenurecorrupts.com

August 13, 2009 12:51 PM
Nelson, I'm afraid there's one big problem with that, as National Review sort of addresses here:


If politicians have no hope of re-election, why should they listen to their constituents AT ALL once they are elected? They have 2, 4, or 6 years to do whatever they darn well please, answerable to nobody.

As things are, at least Obama's gang feel it necessary to lie and deceive, hoping to con the voters into giving them another term.
August 13, 2009 2:56 PM
Patience, it's certainly an interesting problem. Today, we're in the position that once in office your aim is to stay in office for whatever reason. Being in office becomes the objective, not doing the work (which gets in the way of staying in office). The incentive is for politicians to stay in office, rather than do what's necessary.

This incentive attracts a certain type of person (predominately lawyers) and has created two parties that are incapable of actually performing their mandated office.

If the populace had a general mistrust (oh, wait, they do!) of their representatives, they'd be more inclined to rotate them out more often. This would do a couple of things: 1) Encourage those who don't want to make it a lifestyle, but want to serve for a limited time. Since challengers are usually the winners, the investment to win will most likely be less than the investment made to stay in office. The cost of running will go down, not up (competition). 2) You'll attract people who want to get the work done and they won't worry about reelection. They'll also know they're going back and will have to personally live with the consequences of their actions. Today, congress exempts itself from most of it's own laws. They have no consequences.

The arguments for voter imposed term limits are far stronger than those against them.
August 14, 2009 10:30 AM
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