Saturday, June 02, 2012

Centuries pass but liberalism is unchanged

In 1790, Edmund Burke wrote about the French Revolution (full text here).  As you may remember, the French Revolution, in contrast to the American one, was quite unsuccessful: it led to extreme violence and decades of tyranny.  I was struck by the similarities between Burke's description of the revolutionary Jacobins then and Obama and his ilk today.  Consider how Burke described the Jacobin approach to public policy:
[T]hey abandon the dearest interests of the public to those loose theories to which none of them would choose to trust the slightest of his private concerns.
In his private life, would a liberal advocate that a person facing bankruptcy solve his problems by increasing spending?  Certainly not.  But the Stimulus bill is just that on the public stage and was based on nothing more than the "loose theory" of Keynesianism and was pursued over the objections of economists from Monetarist and Rational Expectations schools of thought.  Obamacare and "green energy" are likewise supported only by the loosest of theories.

Burke continues:
The public interests, because about them they have no real solicitude, they abandon wholly to chance: I say to chance, because their schemes have nothing in experience to prove their tendency beneficial.
In other words, liberal policy prescriptions are so poorly thought out because liberals don't really care about them.  They just don't care that previous experiences with economic stimulus or government medicine or whatever don't support their current plans.

So, what do the Jacobins care about?  On that point, Burke is emphatic: their goal is raw power:
They proceed exactly as their ancestors of ambition have done before them. Trace them through all their artifices, frauds, and violences, you can find nothing at all that is new. They follow precedents and examples with the punctilious exactness of a pleader. They never depart an iota from the authentic formulas of tyranny and usurpation. . . . [I]n their desire of obtaining and securing power they are thoroughly in earnest.
Whether it is Dan Rather and his fake documents, or union thugs beating Kenneth Gladney, or Eric Holder's assistance to the New Black Panthers and their mission of carrying billy clubs in front of polling stations, the liberal use of "artifices, frauds, and violences" continues.

In sum, issues are unimportant to Jacobins; it is power that is important.  To use New Left phraseology, Burke is saying that, for Jacobins, "the issue is never the issue, the issue is the revolution."

My friend, The Gunslinger, tells me that liberals now are more dangerous than ever and that society may have fallen too far to save.  I say that the threat from liberals/progressives/Jacobins has always been around.  That is why now, as ever, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

Support your local Tea Party.

Hat tip: Instapundit and TheOtherMcCain.

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