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Obama’s presidency has failed miserably, but it has accomplished one thing: it has revealed for all to see the lethal pathologies of progressive ideology. This doesn’t mean progressivism will go away. We thought the New Democrat Bill Clinton had put progressive ideas to rest when he said that the era of big government was over, and then reformed welfare and cut government spending from 23.5% of GDP to 19.5%. Yet despite the success that followed his rejection of failed liberal policies, here we are in the fourth year of Obama’s term, saddled with $5 trillion in new debt, a stalled economy, a National Labor Relations Board carrying water for the unions, a blatantly politicized Department of Justice, and rapidly metastasizing entitlement programs. Meanwhile the president indulges in class-warfare rhetoric young a century ago, and calls for even more redistributionist deficit spending to benefit his political cronies and clients.
The worst economic recovery since World War II that Obama and the Democrats midwifed has exposed the failure of the notion that the government can create economic growth and wealth rather than merely expropriating it from the creative and productive, and that centralized planning and regulating by “experts” can more efficiently allocate resources than the free market does. But more important is the underlying idea of progressivism that Obama’s policies is predicated on: Perfect justice, prosperity, and equality are possible if enlightened elites are given the power to organize and run society according to “scientific” knowledge about human nature and behavior. For two centuries this hubristic idea has led to failure, misery, and murder on a vast scale, yet progressives continue to increase government power in order to create this impossible utopia. Obamacare is just the latest iteration of this frequently demonstrated fallacy that complex human behavior, which reflects the unpredictable free will of millions of unique individuals, can be organized, controlled and regimented in order to achieve some dream-world utopia. That progressives still cling to this exploded idea despite the evidence of history and a disintegrating E.U. shows just how reactionary and blinkered they are.
But the list of progressive fallacies exposed by Obama is much longer. He has laid bare the hypocrisies and failures of the race-based identity politics that lie behind affirmative action and other racialist policies. Only by dint of the Jim Crow one-drop rule can someone who is half-black, who was raised in one of the least black states in the union by white grandparents, who had no exposure to black American culture and mores in his formative years, and who graduated from exclusive, elitist, predominantly white universities be considered authentically black. Moreover, his manifest ignorance about everything from pronunciation of common words to the basics of history and economics has exposed the gross inflation of his abilities by whites, one based not on performance but on assertion. Remember the presidential historian who claimed, with no evidence from transcripts or test scores, that Obama was probably the smartest president ever? Obama illustrates the truth that progressive racial policies are based on the illiberal idea that predicates minority identity on simplistic group stereotypes and the presumption of victimhood based on nothing other than melanin quotient and hair texture.
Then there’s the obvious dishonesty of progressive claims to care for the welfare of the “people” and battle for their interests against the elite. Remember Al Gore’s 2000 campaign slogan, “The People vs the Powerful”? Or Occupy Wall Street’s “We are the 99%”? In the progressive worldview, public employees who earn more than private sector workers, enjoy greater job security, and get gold-plated health and retirement benefits are the downtrodden workers that evil capitalist stooges like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker are eager to destroy. Twenty-something Occupy Wall Street riffraff––with federally subsidized, useless college degrees and the leisure to befoul public spaces and vandalize private property in order to promote decrepit bumper-sticker politics––are “dissident” idealists bravely opposing the “man.” Zillionaire movie stars and pop divas with little or no education are noble, enlightened protestors against “income inequality” and the depredations of the “1%.” Well-heeled global-warming alarmists gorging on federal “clean-energy” subsidies and trailing King-Kong carbon footprints are admired champions of the environment being ravaged by corporate barbarians.
In fact, it is the progressives who are the party of big-money elites out of touch with the average American. In 2008 Obama reaped a third of a billion dollars from blue-state plutocrats like Goldman Sachs, the University of California, Time-Warner, Google, and Microsoft. This trolling for cash in America’s richest zip codes is continuing this election cycle, which has seen Vogue editor Anna Wintour offer hoi polloi a chance to win a seat at her fundraiser for Obama. Even liberal Juan Williams saw the class snobbery of letting “someone who reeks of ornamental excess announce that the peasants can have a place at the table.” But why are we surprised? As David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin document in their just-published The New Leviathan, progressive tax-exempt foundations, with a near-trillion-dollar war chest, outspend conservatives 7-1, while currency manipulator George Soros pour billions into progressive causes. Meanwhile, the most populist, grass-roots political movement in decades, the Tea Party, is slandered as racist hillbillies clinging to their guns and religion.
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