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  • Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on March 2nd, 2009 (All posts by )

    The spirit of the Obama-Pelosi “stimulus”, and the conscious atmosphere of corruption and payoff that surrounds it, is consistent with today’s negative, if not sour, leftist worldview. The New Dealers believed they were building a more “scientific” and much more prosperous world. There was a great deal of genuine idealism among them. Today’s triumphant political class does not seriously imagine that it will promote economic growth and prosperity. The political class is, at best, ambivalent about whether it even wants such things. What today’s political class wants is a massive transfer of power and money to itself. This is what the “stimulus”, and much else that will follow, is openly intended to do. If there were a spirit of optimism and generosity and idealism about it, as there was among the New Dealers, there would at least be reason to hope that things wouldn’t quickly degenerate into corruption. It seems to me that there is little such spirit, or none at all, today.

    Maimon Schwarzschild


    9 Responses to “Quote of the Day”

    1. Shannon Love Says:

      The biggest sea change in the history of leftism happened in the 1960’s when leftist stopped being technological and social optimist and switched to being overall pessimist. Prior to the 60’s, leftist viewed western culture and as the bleeding edge of human civilization and the pattern towards which all other cultures would evolve to. Now they view as a lurching horror that needs to emulate preindustrial cultures.

      Prior to the 60’s, leftist staked their claim to power on the idea that they could better provide the bounty of modern technology to the masses. After the 60’s, leftist staked their claim to power on the idea that they would protect people from evil technology.

      The vision put forward by leftist is a pessimistic one. You listen to leftist and you realize that they’re selling a vision in which our children will live in rabbit warrens without cars and who will dream not of starting their own business but of getting a really good government job.

    2. sol vason Says:

      Is it politically incorrect to suggest that the Left is controlled by countries and guerillas and terrorists that want to destroy the US? They champion free speech – but only for their own message. They champion freedom of assemble – but only for their own cadres. As Clausewitz points out – the arena of public opinion was a legitimate battlefield in his day and perhaps it is today.

      Perhaps the Vietnam War has never ended. Perhaps the Left are still at war, a bloody real war, but they haven’t declared it. Perhaps they see themselves as guerillas – home grown Che Guevaras. Perhaps this is why the Left proactively argues that it is patriotic. Perhaps it isn’t loyal to our constitution – just loyal to the Land (whatever that means). Perhaps the fog of war has clouded our perception of reality.

      Perhaps that is why they attack opposition blogs, radio shows, leaders and supporters with such military precision.

      “What if there was a war and they didn’t invite us?” ?” (anti-war bumper sticker, 1969)

    3. ironchefoklahoma Says:

      I think Schwarzschild is, unfortunately, buying into the New Deal mythology that still prevents Americans from understanding the lessons of the 1930’s.

      Yes, some of the New Dealers were rosy, scientific, and idealistic. A large subset of New Dealers were gimlet-eyed revolutionaries (or outright Communists) who were thirsty for power and the opportunity for class warfare.

      Schwarzschild is right to point out the motives underlying the current Administration. But it is a serious mistake to contrast those motives with some Camelot of the New Deal. As Shlaes and others have documented, our received history is not only inaccurate, but dangerously so.

    4. fred lapides Says:

      But Shlaes also point out the good that got done via FDR and his people. The conservatives want to deny that FDR’s programs worked and cite the WWII as making things better, but it was the massive spending brought about by the way that was the Keynsian help that was needed. Even today, a number of economists claim that the money being pumped in to stimulate the economy is far less than is needed. Remember, please, that Obama and the Dems would not gain so much power had the GOP failed in the recent years in power.

    5. Shannon Love Says:

      Fred Lapidies,

      …but it was the massive spending brought about by the way that was the Keynsian help that was needed.

      There is no evidence that this was the case. WWII did not stimulate the economy by non-productive military spending. WWII stimulated the post-war economy by completely suppressing consumer demand for 5 years. When the war was over, people needed a lot of new stuff as did the Europe and Japan did in rebuilding. We forget that Asian and Europe the years of depravation lasted from 1929-1954.

      Had there been no WWII we would have continued to slug along indifferently as the government meddling prevented recovery. Had Hoover and Roosevelt not tried to micromanage the economy in the first place, we would not have had a “Great” depression in the first place.

      The standard mythology of the Great Depression is a fabrication helped along in no small part by the legions of journalist, academics and artist FDR hired with government money to sell that mythology during the depression.

    6. seanf Says:

      >>Is it politically incorrect to suggest that the Left is controlled by countries and >>guerillas and terrorists that want to destroy the US?

      One could suggest the world is flat, but that wouldn’t make it true.

      Here’s a question: after 8 years of national decline under a conservative administration, what does conservatism in the US mean any more?

      I watched a bit of CPAC online and all I could hear was “Obama wasn’t born in the US”, paeans to a Republican leader who became President when a growing percentage of the electorate wasn’t even born, criticism of those scary evil leftists, and an eerie rewriting of Bush out of history.

      I’m no ideologue but I live in the liberal heartland, Pelosi is my Congresswoman and I’m proud of her. And the liberals surrounding me don’t resemble what talk-radio fulminates against in mind, spirit or character.

      For CPAC, the Rush address summed it up for me: “we don’t need any new policy ideas.”

      The party of WFB has become the party of Rush and the blame must at least partially fall on movement conservatism. Requiring adherents to check their brains at the door is a recipe for long-term disaster.

      Obviously, conservatives can go on propounding theories about leftism, leftists and why they they like oranges and not those unpatriotic apples that leftists adore. Unless they actually have something to meaningful say though, I suspect they are not going to be able to add much to the national discourse.

      N.B. New Right thinkers like Patrick Ruffini or Daniel Larison are excluded from this critique. They actually do have something to say. But the ideologues don’t want to listen.

    7. Frank Says:

      If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have? Answer – four, calling a tail a leg does not make it a leg.

      Calling Bush a conservative does not make him a conservative.

    8. Shannon Love Says:


      For CPAC, the Rush address summed it up for me: “we don’t need any new policy ideas.”

      That a pretty funny criticism coming from the side of the political spectrum that has not advanced a new idea my entire adult life. The Democrats are trapped in the 70’s and have not come up with a single original policy since then. Pick any area, medical care, taxes, defense, education etc and you see the same tired old ideas trotted out.

      Those on the right have been the progressives trying to alter the behemoth laid down in during 1933-1980 era. School vouchers, medical savings accounts, insurance deregulation, privatizing social security etc all represent new solution for the 21st century. The left by contrast offers nothing but mid-20th century solutions.

    9. router Says:

      “The conservatives want to deny that FDR’s programs worked ”

      the liberals ignore the depression of 1920