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What’s So New About Liberal Ideas?

American leftists are a bunch of reactionaries who defend the status quo and get angry at actual change.

by
Frank J. Fleming

Bio

March 1, 2011 - 12:00 am

So in this country we have the liberals — the progressives — and their new ideas to change the country and lead us forward. And not just lead us forward, but win the future. Their obstacles are the conservatives who are scared of change and stuck in their old ways of thinking. Conservatives get angry at the thought of change, but liberals love change, embrace the new, and break the status quo.

At least that’s the conventional wisdom: The right in this country preserves old, stale ideas while the left fights for new ones. Which leads me to what seems to be a really obvious question: What, if any, of the ideas of liberals these days are new?

Like with the election of Obama, it was supposed to be this big progressive revolution. It seemed to me more of a reactionary thing where people were sick of Bush and latched onto the first seemingly inoffensive guy they saw, but liberals assured us that this was the start of a new era — a new enlightenment. So what was the first big, new thing they did? With the economy hurting and people crying out for change, what brand new revolutionary idea did they get to first?

Have the government spend lots of money.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment. It’s a really new idea; it might take some time to comprehend a concept so novel and revolutionary as that one. I mean, it’s not like it’s the same solution the Democrats have had for everything for the past one hundred years. Maybe we should tell Europe about this brand new idea; let’s get this revolution of government spending lots of money to really spread.

And that wasn’t the only new idea the liberals had. They also had another innovative idea to save the failing car companies and fix health care. What was it? Well hold on to your hats, because it’s pretty crazy and fresh:

The government could take over private industry.

What a new idea! What a groundbreaking way of looking at things! Usually we keep government and industry separate, but this idea is to have the government run an industry — that’s mind blowing! It’s just a completely original idea. Hey, Hitler back in the 1930s, have you and your National Socialist German Workers’ Party ever heard of the idea of the government taking over a business? Of course not, you right-wing fascist; it’s a new progressive idea.

By the way, if Godwin has a problem with anything I write, he can tell me himself.

But the new ideas don’t stop there. Have you heard of President Obama’s latest idea to really get the economy going?

Build fast trains.

What an insane new idea! I mean, it’s totally something innovative that will “win the future” and not an economic solution that would seem more in place in the late 1800s.

Some of you may have been confused by those last few paragraphs; what I was doing was being insincere in a humorous way. It’s a brand new thing called “sarcasm” — just as new as all those liberal ideas.

Seriously, though, shouldn’t “liberal” or “progressive,” when used to describe the left, be in scare quotes, because what exactly are they pushing that isn’t some old, failed idea of the last century? Much of liberalism these days involves looking over at Europe and their failing economies and riots and saying, “Hey, let’s try their old ideas!” The only arguably new idea they’ve had is gay marriage, but that’s just taking an idea as old as mankind itself and applying it to more people — so at best it’s newish. And it’s not even a proposed solution to the big problems of the day (we’re not going to gay marry our way out of severe unemployment). Plus president Obama is against it.

And it’s not just that the left lacks any new ideas; it’s that they are also stuck in the past and can’t even look at current things in new ways. To them, every single war is just like Vietnam. Every single social issue battle is just like the civil rights battles of the sixties. And every big problem can be solved by another New Deal. The left are backwards-looking people constantly trying to shove the square peg of the present into the round hole of the past because then they feel like they already know how everything should turn out. If instead, they were to acknowledge that we’re dealing with modern situations where old thinking doesn’t apply, that would be scary for them, because then who knows what might happen? They’d be in uncharted territory! Frightening!

The left really only wants change in the most superficial way. Like to them, Obama was a brand new politician. Why? He’s the same old slimy, useless politician with no integrity (you hear any stories of Obama standing up against corruption in his own party? Then again, maybe there was no corruption where he got his political start — Chicago), but he’s fresh and revolutionary because he’s a new skin color. He’s a new politician like a pink M&M is a new candy.

But confront the left with actual change, and they get scared and angry. They cry “racist” or whatever else they can think of instead of actually considering new ideas, because they just can’t deal with anything new that doesn’t involve them incrementally increasing the government’s power in response to everything. Because that is what the left is in this country: a bunch of reactionaries who defend the status quo and get angry at actual change.

Because what would be real change right now? Have you ever heard of any country with a big, bloated federal government reducing it hugely before a catastrophic collapse? No, that’s an actual new idea. When people have been saying forever that you can’t touch Social Security or any other entitlements, and you’re only allowed to fiddle meaninglessly with the budget in the margins, it’s a radical new idea to say that yes, we can make these cuts — we can reduce the government before it collapses under its own weight.

And what do the left say to such things? They don’t say anything; they just scream — scream that people who support these things are racist or violent or mean. They yell loudly so as to try to drown out these unconventional ideas that alarm them. They don’t even want to hear of any other possibility besides expanding the government’s reach and size in response to every problem.

Our country faces a lot of issues right now. Our economy is hurting. We’re deep in debt. Our entitlements can’t be funded at their current rates forever. We need new solutions and new ways of looking at things. I don’t know exactly what those new ideas will be, but I know one thing for certain: They won’t come from the left.

Frank J. Fleming is the author of Punch Your Inner Hippie, coming November 11th, and the science fiction novel Superego, coming later this year, writes columns for PJ Media and the New York Post, and blogs at IMAO.us, and if he were president, he'd never be seen on the golf course during international crises, because he'd be in the White House basement playing video games.
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