Those of us who inhabit the reality-based community are often struck by how liberals are always hitting the panic button.
Chicken Little was calm, cool, and collected compared to modern liberals.
Doom, gloom, crisis, and the collapse of civilization are seemingly always just around the corner. It’s as if Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famously upbeat “we have nothing to fear but fear itself” has been transformed into “we have everything to fear but fear itself.”
The dominant theme of contemporary liberalism is one of impending doom. Time and again you hear from liberal activists and politicians about the disastrous or soon to be disastrous state of the world, and in particular the Western world. (If only America looked more like Sub-Saharan Africa, with no power plants, the world would be a better place?)
Our economy is about to collapse because of trade; pollution is killing off life on earth; energy consumption is creating a global climate crisis; diseases such as SARS and the bird flu (remember these?) are set to wipe out large swaths of humanity; millions of Americans are one paycheck away from homelessness; income misdistribution is creating a newly Dickensian world; American international policies are creating worldwide disapproval of our country and our culture; internal security measures to combat terrorism are creating a police state; the war against terror and al Qaeda is being lost….
You name it, no matter what we are headed for disaster.
Except that we are NOT headed for disaster. As a matter of indisputable fact, the world has been getting to be a better place for human beings for a couple of centuries, after a millennium of near stagnation. Human life spans are increasing, wealth is spreading across the world through trade, the environment is getting cleaner in the wealthier parts of the world, and even the exotic diseases we seem to worry most about (ebola, bird flu, and other exotic diseases) have taken only a few hundred human lives each.
Since I was born in 1964, world population has nearly doubled, while the proportion living in poverty and without enough food has declined dramatically. The World Bank predicts that the ranks of the poorest of the poor will fall by half between now and 2015. Sounds like progress to me.
Even the Iraq War, which liberals are declaring a fiasco, is not obviously so by any normal measure. During the Vietnam War, Americans losses in just 1967, 1968, and 1969 totaled over 39,000. Since the beginning of the Iraq war, America has suffered fewer than 1/10 that many deaths. Obviously, if we are losing in Iraq, it has more to do with a lack of will than that we are suffering unbearable costs. Yet Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declares the war ‘lost’ and liberal Presidential candidates scramble to be the most in favor of immediate surrender.
Even the anti-Americanism that we fear so much is ridiculously overblown, as the elections of Angela Merkel in Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy in France demonstrate.
So, why are liberals so pessimistic? Why the doom and gloom, the disaster around the corner scenarios? What is the deeper cause of the never-ending predictions of disasters from modern liberals?
It’s pretty simple, really, once you understand that the truth of their predictions is utterly irrelevant. The coming disaster, no matter what its origin, always has the same solution: increase taxes, increase the size of government, hand over more and more power and control to government, and by the way, hand over power and prestige to liberals.
In other words, once you sweep past the hyperbole, the coming disaster scenarios, and the supposed policy descriptions, contemporary liberalism is really only about two things: money and power.
Gone are the days of heady liberal optimism, of righting wrongs, of fixing the world and making it safe for the poor and middle class. The smart liberals—the ones playing the majority of liberals for a group of chumps—are all about money and power and nothing else.
That’s why you see the “environmentalist” Al Gore jetting around the world from mansion to mansion to preach about austerity; that’s why Presidential candidate John Edwards, millionaire trial lawyer of the $400 haircuts and the palatial estate, constantly whines about income inequality and the “two Americas;” that’s why Hillary Clinton can accuse others of indifference to the law and corruption. It’s nothing but self-conscious BS.
It’s all sophistry, and nothing more. It is all a shorthand for “give me power” so I can give you safety against the coming disasters I am predicting. It is demagoguery at its worst.
Conservatives need to fight back, and not just by correcting liberal errors. The world is getting better, not worse, and it’s getting better because freedom and free markets work. The only forces that can stop this march of progress stem from the enemies of freedom and free markets.
Conservative optimism is not a pose, a particularly good way to get votes. It is based upon a basic understanding that free people working through free markets will inevitably build a better and more prosperous world—because that is exactly what free people desire and are willing to pay for. There is a market demand for a better world, and almost no market for the disasters that liberals are always predicting. That’s why they need governmental power to prosper.
So next time you get the gloom and doom spiel from a liberal, just remember that what he is really saying is “give me all your money and all the power, or else.” Then laugh at him.