Jonah Goldberg on Socialism: Progressives are the car salesmen of the State

by Skip

Except one: More government.  Progressives are the car salesmen of the State, and there’s always more undercoating to sell.  More government is the one indispensible conviction of modern progressivism. Everything else is up for negotiation.

And he is right on the money; as he points out, Democrats/Progressives/Socialists CAN’T tell the truth (reformatted, emphasis mine):

7. You can’t trust liberals.

Progressivism: It Never Ends

Watching Sanders and Clinton last night, two things were obvious. First, the sexual tension was palpable. It was like they were auditioning for a remake of Cocoon.  Second, as with previous debates, both candidates spent a huge amount of time talking about how much more intrusive the government needs to be when it comes to health care. One candidate said it needs to be a lot more intrusive, the other said it should be much, much, much, much, more intrusive.

This shouldn’t be surprising except for the fact that we were told — quite a lot — that Obamacare had fixed our broken health-care system. I recall someone saying it was an effing big deal or some such. And yet, even before it’s fully implemented, we’re now being told we need so much more. The exact same dynamic is at work for Wall Street regulations. With Dodd Frank, the Democrats passed some huge — and hugely awful — legislation to regulate Wall Street. Both candidates agree that so much more needs to be done. Their disagreement has nothing to do with direction, only velocity.

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and countless other Democrats insisted they opposed same-sex marriage. Conservatives said they were lying. Democrats protested, often with great and haughty indignation. They said it was outrageous to question their commitment to traditional family values, religious principle, etc. And then, when the issue was ripe, they “evolved.” Now, I always believed that Obama and Clinton were liars when it came to gay marriage (and not just gay marriage). But even if that weren’t the case, it doesn’t change the fact that liberals can’t be relied upon to stick to any principle if that principle becomes remotely inconvenient.

Except one: More government.

Progressives are the car salesmen of the State, and there’s always more undercoating to sell.

More government is the one indispensible conviction of modern progressivism. Everything else is up for negotiation.

When they were asked about reducing government last night, we got the usual word fog about eliminating duplicative programs and other inefficiencies. I am in favor of that stuff too, of course. But cutting inefficiency has very, very little to do with reducing the size of government and may in fact increase the scope of government.

A mobster’s goons can be really inefficient in how they go about shaking down local businesses for protection money. “Stop taking the bus!” the Godfather might yell. Or, “When they ask to show you pictures of their kids, say ‘No!’” Making the thugs more efficient is good for business, but that doesn’t make the business good. Now, the government isn’t perfectly analogous to the mob (don’t tell Kevin Williamson), but that doesn’t mean it should be doing everything it does, either.

Socialism Is Back

I’d intended to make this “news”letter an extended riff on the subject of William Voegeli’s essential book, Never Enough. Bill’s point is simply that liberalism is politically, psychologically, fundamentally, metaphysically, ontologically, structurally, and morally incapable of articulating and then sticking to a limiting principle for government. But I have written about all that before.

Instead it occurs to me that the best single illustration of what I mean — and Voegeli’s point — is the inability of the Democratic party to state in clear and simple terms how it differs from socialism. They can’t do it. Or at the very least they won’t do it, and in politics “won’t” very often means “can’t.”

We all know how many times the titular head of the Democratic party, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has been asked to distinguish between socialism and whatever dog’s breakfast the Democratic party stands for. Clinton gets asked that question often as well, and usually responds with her patented “I Don’t Like Your Question So I Will Laugh To Distract You” Cackle®.

For generations, if a conservative said there was no difference between Democrats and socialists (however defined!), liberal eyes would roll right out of their heads. Such statements were like gassy flares from the fever swamps of the cranky, crazy American Right. Even at the dawn of the Obama administration, this was still the case. Indeed, I wrote a perfectly reasonable and reasoned piece for Commentary asking, “What Kind of Socialist Is Barack Obama?” (My answer: a neo-socialist). Liberals tittered and scoffed.

And now, because a septuagenarian (self-described) socialist is popular with the kids today, it is now verboten to suggest there is a difference between Democrats and socialists.

Whatever socialism is — or isn’t — it hasn’t changed in the last ten months. What’s changed is the rigidity of liberal spines. They’ve gone from flexible to flaccid to liquefaction. And that’s why you can never trust them, even when you agree with them. They’ll always want more, because more is the only thing they really believe in.

And in the end, The Bigger the Government, the smaller the citizen.

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