Ripping Off the Left’s Mask

Writing at Townhall on Sunday, Kevin McCullough recalls Rush Limbaugh’s vintage observation that “If the Left (Democrats) ever told America what they actually believed they’d never win another election.” McCullough makes the point that every now and then, however, the mask slips, and we are able, as Michael Walsh has maintained for some time, to see the face of evil clearly.

McCullough was responding to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s revelation that he believed it was appropriate for a couple of medical professionals and a mother to decide to terminate the life of a newborn child, as a recently failed bill in the Virginia Legislature would have permitted. Similar legislation just passed, to gruesome celebration, in New York, and other such measures are pending or have passed in other states controlled by Democrats.

Those who believe that abortion amounts to infanticide have had their worst fears confirmed. Those of us who reject the thought of the Left owe it to our fellow Americans of good faith to explain why this is so, and Northam’s gaffe (defining “gaffe” as a politician accidentally telling the truth) is just one small revelation.

The party of Barack Obama also believes in passing massive “reform” measures, like the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), which takes over a great swathe of our economy and is thousands of pages in length, so that no one can actually understand what the measure does. As the stunningly opaque Nancy Pelosi put it, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it. . . .”

Democrats, then, are not the “party of the people.” They are, rather, the party of a faceless bureaucracy that the president calls, with reason, the “deep state.” They follow the “progressives,” Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt, in the belief that we are best governed by “experts” in the agencies, rather than popular sovereignty.

The Left, and some of their fellow-travelers on the Right, who are now part of a permanent governing class of lawyers, legislators, lobbyists, and consultants in and around the corridors of power in Washington, have somehow managed, through the magic of appropriating “other people’s money,” to turn that formerly sleepy Southern metropolis (which was once said to combine Northern charm with Southern efficiency) into some of the richest counties in the nation.

It is wholly marvelous that this has been done by people with only a limited grasp of what the world is actually like, and with an ideology that if not actually demonic, is at least naïve. Thus President Obama clearly believed in a sort of Fabian Socialism, while the current darling of the Left, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and her more grizzled legislative colleague, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), describe themselves with the more oxymoronic term “Democratic Socialists.”

Socialism (and its 20th century twin, Communism), when put into operation at various times over the past two centuries, caused the deaths of hundreds of millions, and led to widespread, disorder, despair, and dystopia (see, for example, the Soviet Union, Venezuela, North Korea, and China’s “Cultural Revolution”). But the undeniably brilliant, if misguided intellectual leaders of the Left, like Karl Marx himself, believe that with just a little tinkering they can get it right this time.

Thus Harvard Law Professor Mark Tushnet, some decades ago, one of the founders of the Frankfurt-School influenced Critical Legal Studies (CLS) movement, and still one of our leading constitutional scholars, explained that if he were a judge, he would adopt whatever was then the leading grand theory on the bench and simply do whatever was necessary to promote socialism. Elaborating further, his CLS colleague, the dazzling theorist Peter Gabel, called for the establishment of “an open and decentralized socialism that has yet to appear in developed form anywhere in the world.” Sadly, the reason such a government has yet to appear is that socialism somehow constructs an impersonal, centralized, inhuman and all-powerful politburo rather than a workers’ paradise.

Gabel and Tushnet were at least intellectually honest (and, indeed, both are warm and caring individuals), but others in our ruling class seem to stand for little except self-indulgence and corruption. Bill and Hillary Clinton are, of course, Exhibit A, but the wealth accumulated by such as Lyndon Johnson, John McCain, and Barack Obama after a time of government service does give one pause.

One can’t help but wonder whether those on the Left (and the Right) who favor open borders and who seek to frustrate the president’s plans to secure border security are acting from motives that are pure. If nothing else, it is now clear that Democrats believe that their power is best maintained by extending the franchise to undocumented foreign nationals in residence in the country and insuring a future flow of such persons.

As Limbaugh and McCullough maintain, this is rarely acknowledged, because it is not exactly a winning electoral platform in most of the country. There are many other machinations of the Obama administration that, if widely understood and acknowledged, would seriously damage the future of the Democrats, including, just to give some examples, John Kerry’s and Barack Obama’s financial aid to the mullahs in Iran; the weaponizing of the IRS, in effect, to destroy conservative non-profits; and, of course, the manufacturing of the spurious anti-Trump “Russia Collusion” narrative by the Obama intelligence services and the Clinton campaign.

Worst of all, and most shameful, is the abandonment and perversion of the rule of law by the Left, evident, for example, in the wrongful exoneration of the breaches of national security caused by the operation of Hillary Clinton’s “home brew” server when she was Secretary of State, and the selective harassment of Trump-connected officials for their foreign business while equally suspect more favored persons such as the Clinton-connected Podestas escape scrutiny. The Uranium One matter apparently goes uninvestigated while Roger Stone and his hearing-impaired wife find themselves confronted, as he reported, with “29 FBI agents in SWAT gear . . .  17 vehicles with their lights going,” and “two amphibious units with frogmen. . . ”  The Left (and its holdovers in the federal government) seem to believe in “law enforcement for thee, but not for me.”

The Left’s embrace of identity politics, and its claim to promote the self-actualization of all by abandoning traditional morality and religion, and by promoting the use of government to provide “free medical care,” and “free college tuition,” conceals a shameless desire on the part of too many for politically-correct conformity and autocratic rule.

The Republicans under Donald Trump are actually the party that has sought to end divisive politics, but a media controlled by the Left and its self-deluding ideology has been complicit in concealing what the Clintons actually stood for, and what happened during the Obama years. The Republicans are actually the party of decentralization, individual initiative, intellectual freedom, private property, popular sovereignty, and the rule of law. This was understood by enough voters in 2016 to give Republicans control over both the federal legislature and the presidency.

The future of this nation will turn on the success of Republicans like President Trump, in exposing the mendacity, the ideology, and the abuses of the Left. For the first time in a generation those of us who still embrace the framers’ insight that there are timeless and divinely ordained truths that ought to govern humanity have a fearless spokesman who is capable of countering the despicable and soul-crushing rhetoric of political correctness. It is now our duty to help our fellow Americans understand what a triumph by the Left in 2020 would mean.

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About Stephen B. Presser

Stephen B. Presser is the Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History Emeritus at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law, and the author of “Law Professors: Three Centuries of Shaping American Law” (West Academic Publishers, 2017). In the academic year 2018-2019, Professor Presser is a Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado, Boulder.