Harry S. Truman had a famous sign on his desk: “The buck stops here.” Barack Obama seems to have one that says: “I only learned about it when you did, from the television news.” This is, of course, almost exactly what Jay Carney said in his second embarrassing press conference: “We have no knowledge of phone snooping …beyond the press reports that we’ve read.” Or, as Dana Milbank writes, Obama “responded as though he were just some bloke on a bar stool, getting his information from the evening news.” If you believe this, I’ve got a nice White House in the District of Columbia to sell you.
In fact, as USA Today reports in its lead story, the IRS “gave liberals a pass.” The newspaper’s investigation concluded the following:
As applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with obviously liberal names were approved in as little as nine months. With names including words like “Progress” or “Progressive,” these groups applied for the same tax status and were engaged in the same kinds of activities as the conservative groups.
The groups that easily got non-profit tax status were the exact liberal-activist counterparts of the conservative Tea Party outfits. The paper mentions specifically a few of them: “Bus for Progress,” “Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment,” and “Progress Florida.” All were groups that worked for goals such as increasing the minimum wage, support for “progressive” politicians, and expansion of Medicaid. The USA Today report continues:
Like the Tea Party groups, the liberal groups sought recognition as social welfare groups under Section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, based on activities like “citizen participation” or “voter education and registration.”
In a conference call with reporters last week, the IRS official responsible for granting tax-exempt status said that it was a mistake to subject Tea Party groups to additional scrutiny based solely on the organization’s name. But she said ideology played no part in the process.
It was simply an accident, of course. It was “not a partisan selection,” IRS official Lois Lerner told reporters. Before you laugh and ask “does she really believe her own words?” consider the following. One must remember that many liberals and leftists see their actions as non-partisan. After all, they are only serving the public interest by stopping conservatives from organizing and expressing their views.
Remember the administration’s early attempts to crush Fox News? Remember the calls to get conservative talk show hosts off the air? All this is par for the course for those who grew up in the 1960s and recall the advice about freedom of speech given by the philosopher-king of the Marxist Left, the late Herbert Marcuse.
Back in those heady days, Marcuse developed the theory of “repressive tolerance.” As he explained, tolerance of the speech of those who are fascist or conservative is not acceptable for a democratic society. To liberate tolerance means “intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.” This gobbledygook, remember, was viewed by serious intellectuals as brilliant. Marcuse explained his reasoning in these words:
Surely, no government can be expected to foster its own subversion, but in a democracy such a right is vested in the people (i.e. in the majority of the people). This means that the ways should not be blocked on which a subversive majority could develop, and blocked if they are by organized repression and indoctrination, their reopening may require apparently undemocratic means. They would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc.
Get that last point? If you criticize Obama Care, by Marcuse’s logic, you are what the Soviets called “an enemy of the people,” and the full power of government should be put into place to stop you. And were he still with us, he would be penning an op-ed praising the IRS for its clever action in denying conservative groups non-profit status.
Who would make that judgment? Perhaps it would be the people’s courts, the revolutionary assemblies, or the left-wing professoriate, which is acting on behalf of the people before they realize their duty to develop revolutionary consciousness.
Let me end on a serious note. The IRS personnel are probably not smart enough to read or even know about Herbert Marcuse. But they have acted in a way he would have been proud of, having obtained an understanding of how to act against conservatives all on their own. And, it seems, they have an unknowing ally who lives in the executive mansion on Pennsylvania Avenue.