PJ Media

Are Democrats Ignorant of Facts or Just Too Arrogant to Care?

Through various policies and legislative acts from the Progressive Era to our own day, Democrats have been inextricably linked to burdensome taxation, government expansion, limitations on individual liberties like gun ownership, and most recently environmentalism. In all these things, the Democratic Party goes against the history of free people and travels instead down the path to serfdom and despotism.

Do the Democrats do this incidentally, ignorant of the facts? Or are they so arrogant that they pursue their beloved agenda knowing the costs, yet simultaneously turn a blind eye to them?

Consider President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s response to the Great Depression. Although his fiscal policies were detrimental to prosperity, Democrats praise them.

From the moment FDR was sworn into the presidency in 1933, his solution for the Great Depression was characterized by high taxation. And while many of these taxes were on personal income, in a clear attempt to “soak the rich,” all were not. In fact, his tax hikes were so broad and varied that he actually “tripled taxes during the Great Depression, from $1.6 billion in 1933 to $5.3 billion in 1940.”

Tax increases at such astronomic levels were largely the result of various excise taxes, which FDR “levied on alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, matches, candy, chewing gum, margarine, fruit juice, soft drinks, cars, tires (including tires on wheelchairs), telephone calls, movie tickets, playing cards, electricity, and radios, [among other things].” We don’t have to be economists (or senators and congressmen) to understand that while taxes like these may have indeed soaked the rich, they did so at the expense of drenching the middle and lower classes as well.

Such tax policies dried up the coffers of many employers and forced them to forgo adding personnel to payrolls, as demonstrated by the fact that unemployment “averaged 17%” throughout the 1930s. This detrimental effect aside, President Obama and the Democrat leadership cannot wait to implement similar tax policies during the current economic downturn. Just months ago, in July 2009, Obama talked about his openness to “sin taxes,” which would include taxes on soft drinks and many of the other things FDR placed excise taxes upon.

Historically speaking, higher taxes lead to larger governments, which in turn tend toward larger deficits. So with Obama’s tax proposals in mind, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that 2008’s national deficit of just over 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) will grow to 11.4% of GDP by the end of 2009. This means part of Obama’s solution to our current economic downturn includes driving us deeper and deeper into debt nationally. It’s like FDR all over again.

In addition to repeating and renewing financial woes, Democrats have been relentless in their efforts to restrict personal liberties like gun ownership during the last four decades. In 1968 they passed the Gun Control Act. During the 1970s they were able to achieve complete handgun bans in certain cities or districts. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was passed in 1993 and was quickly followed by the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban. Then, in 1996, Democrat Senator Frank Lautenberg’s amendment to broaden the Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed, and the push for further restrictions has only increased in the 21st century.

Yet if history teaches us anything, it’s that gun control only controls law-abiding citizens: criminals will not relent from carrying and using guns because they are by nature hostile to the very laws that make carrying and using guns illegal. This much has been demonstrated in Europe and Australia, where gun bans emboldened criminals who appreciate the fact that their victims can’t fire back.

After Britain banned handguns in 1996, the four years that followed witnessed a 40% rise in gun crimes. And in Australia, where they not only banned guns in 1996 but also made it “a crime to use a gun defensively,” “armed robberies rose by 51%, unarmed robberies by 37%, assaults by 24%, … kidnappings by 43%, [and] manslaughter rose by 16%.”

Yet in 2003, Obama, while an Illinois state senator, not only opposed the right to private gun ownership but also supported an Australian-like ban on the use of guns for self-defense.

And this brings us to the Democrats’ ongoing push for environmental agreements like the Kyoto Protocols. Availing themselves of scare tactics like Bill Clinton’s 2002 prediction that “New York City is going to be underwater from global warming … in 50 years [if we don’t do something],” Democrats energetically seek to stifle technological advancement in order to save the planet — as if our wealth is the planet’s curse. Yet Vaclav Klaus, current president of the Czech Republic who lived through the Soviet Union’s domination of Czechoslovakia during the Cold War, knows firsthand “that the higher the wealth of society is, the higher [too] is the quality of the environment.” And he warns that the current environmental hysteria is but communism repackaged: “This ideology preaches Earth and nature, and under the slogans of their protection — similarly to the old Marxists — wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of … global … planning of the whole world.”

But in the face of Klaus’ warnings, Obama continues pressing for a cap-and-trade system that will charge such an exorbitant “sum for greenhouse gas” emissions that it will make coal-burning power plants too expensive to build, which will in turn make electricity more scarce and more expensive, thus forcing us to adopt green habits in order to survive.

We can only conclude that Democrats who support high taxation, larger government, gun control, and rabid environmentalism are either ignorant or arrogant. If ignorant, their liberalism is lamentable but it can be overlooked. If arrogant, their liberalism is unforgivable, for it is practiced to the peril of their own countrymen.