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The Left Knows Leftism Doesn’t Work

Do not expect the radical left to survey the wreckage of socialism and communism in history and accept that statism impoverishes people and erodes their freedoms. There will never be admissions by our elite that progressivism exists mainly for the acquisition of power by the utopian and virtue-signaling few, who ensure that they are never subject to the baleful implementation of their ideological agendas on the rest of us.

Still, leftists look around at what they have done to America in the last four years and implicitly know that the plan did not work, the people detested it, or both.

How do we know this? By a variety of barometers.

None of the major Biden “achievements”—10 million illegal aliens across a nonexistent border, key components of the cost of living 25-30 percent higher than in 2020, wars and chaos abroad, DEI racial and tribal obsessions, wars on fossil fuels—poll at even 40-45 percent. Biden’s own approval ratings, as the nominal architect of the most left-wing agenda since the Roosevelt administration, hover between 36 and 34 percent.

But most importantly, the left is not running on its record of the last three-and-a-half years but instead studiously ignoring it, at least temporarily through November. Suddenly, we aren’t hearing so much about cancelling pipelines and freezing federal oil leases, or so much demonization of the “greedy” oil companies. Instead, Biden is further draining the strategic petroleum reserve and begging OPEC in general and the no-longer-demonized Saudi Arabia in particular to pump oil as fast as possible.

We were lied to for nearly four years that the border was “secure,” as 10 million foreign nationals flooded across. Then we were told Biden was helpless to stop the deluge since he had no legal right to enforce federal immigration law through executive orders—a ridiculous excuse that even he would soon drop. Despite their eagerness for new constituencies, no one on the left dares to openly praise the influx of the last four years, much less demand more illegal immigration.

Instead, as November looms, Biden is suddenly reinstating the very Trump executive orders that once, despite deep state and court obstruction, finally closed the border—and which Biden himself had originally overturned. Note that Biden is now partnering with the Mexican government—which terribly fears another Trump presidency endangering Mexico’s annual $60 billion in remittances from mostly illegal aliens in the United States—to curb some of the illegal immigration before the November election.

The administration’s pandering at election time is a de facto admission that its agendas did not work, permanently alienated the people they hurt, and are now being forgotten or reversed—albeit temporarily—to retain power at all costs.

Few on the left praise the disastrous COVID lockdown, the canonization of Dr. Fauci, the mask and social-distancing craze, and the gospel that endless boosters were necessary to protect Americans. Even the left, although again quietly, assumes that the lockdowns did more damage than the virus, that Dr. Fauci repeatedly lied when he swore he did not subsidize gain-of-function viral research at the Chinese top-security virology lab at Wuhan, and that the virus came not from the lab but from a wandering pangolin or errant bat.

Biden and his supporters are no longer blaming or firing the police but rather trying (albeit quietly) to get more law-enforcement officers to serve—given the predictable crime wave that followed the George Floyd riots.

Ditto for all the left-wing hysterias of the last eight years. No one any longer claims that Christopher Steele’s dossier was factual. No one insists that Hunter Biden’s laptop was likely “Russian disinformation”, or that “Anonymous” was a courageous “top-ranking” administration official. All these hysterias, it is tacitly admitted, were cooked-up left-wing canards to emasculate the Trump candidacy and presidency.

Outside of politics, leftists are quiet as their failed bromides are being undone. The idea of the FBI partnering with social media to suppress politically-dangerous news is something the left is not eager to repeat.

The same recognition is beginning to apply to the lawfare waged against Donald Trump. Jack Smith’s crusade to get Trump is undermined by prosecutorial misbehavior concerning the evidence seized at Mar-a-Lago and by the asymmetrical treatment by another special counsel accorded Biden in comparison with Trump. Smith’s efforts to speed up the trial before the election only made his persecution more politically transparent.

Fani Willis’s outrageous behavior will likely delay indefinitely her weaponized indictments. The James and Bragg convictions will likely be overturned and were intended mostly to embarrass Trump, bankrupt him, and harm his presidential campaign.

All of the left’s once-grandiose ideas of packing the Supreme Court, ending the filibuster, admitting two new states to win four more liberal senators, and destroying the Electoral College have little public support and will go nowhere. Corporations like Disney, Target, and Anheuser-Busch have all begun backtracking on their money-losing, market-share-eroding woke/DEI agendas.

Universities are terrified that their endowment income is either static or in decline, given a rising drop-off in public and alumni giving. They know their race-based, non-meritocratic admissions and hiring are increasingly destroying their brand names. To accommodate their new non-meritocratic student bodies, they have variously inflated their grades to the point of parody, watered down work requirements, or introduced gut courses—and as a result, they are quickly losing their once-coveted prestige. Some campuses are already reinstating the SAT and ACT requirements that were thrown out in 2020-21 in the hysteria that followed the death of George Floyd. Harvard and Stanford aren’t boasting that the erasure of the SAT created a more competitive student body and raised standards to new levels.

The twin ideas of foreign-funded Middle-Eastern-studies centers and of admitting tens of thousands of affluent, full-tuition-paying Middle-Eastern students led to institutionalized anti-Semitism on campus and eliminationist rhetoric right out the old Klan playbook. The appeasement by university presidencies only whets the appetites of those who unlawfully occupy, vandalize, deface, and disrupt. Their pro-terrorist chants and emblems are bleeding the universities of billions of dollars in lost donations.

In short, the policies that the left has given us over the last years—hyperinflation, spiking staple and gas prices, racial and tribal chauvinism, dangerous streets, an emasculated and politicized military, and wars abroad—did not work, and are now being masked to retain power, put on hold, or even reversed.

The reasons for the failure are ancient, given that socialism and progressivism are contrary to human nature.

Borders are essential to national sovereignty and confidence and delineate the unique values, traditions, and customs of a people, without which they revert to mere tribes without social commonalities and political cohesion. No society can pick and choose which national laws are enforced and which ignored—and still remain a nation of laws.

People obey laws because, in a cost-benefit analysis, they fear the consequences of lawbreaking. Otherwise, the laws of the wild prevail and the strongest dictate to the weaker. Citizens must be discouraged, not encouraged, from favoring their own tribe and race, tribalism being the oldest of human biases. Money is not a construct but represents the real value of capital and labor and cannot be printed into national wealth. Abroad, most nations are illiberal and their aggressiveness is deterred only through guarantees that they will lose more than they will gain through war.

We sometimes forget all that unpleasant human baggage, due to irrelevant distractions, or the utopianism that is the handmaiden of affluence and leisure. Often, the opulence and freedom arising from free-market economies and limited constitutional government create so much prosperity and liberty that its beneficiaries believe such good fortune to be their natural and commonplace birthright and so begin destroying the very system that blessed them.

But if Biden and his handlers have taught us anything, human nature cannot be fooled, and the current four-year experiment will have to end before it ends us—and soon.

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004, and is the 2023 Giles O'Malley Distinguished Visiting Professor at the School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush, and the Bradley Prize in 2008. Hanson is also a farmer (growing almonds on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author of the just released New York Times best seller, The End of Everything: How Wars Descend into Annihilation, published by Basic Books on May 7, 2024, as well as the recent  The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, The Case for Trump, and The Dying Citizen.

Photo: Former US Vice President and Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden speaks about COVID-19, known as the Coronavirus, during a press event in Wilmington, Delaware on March 12, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Notable Replies

  1. Avatar for task task says:

    Yes, the programs and policies, along with the very institutions of the neoliberal progressive left, do not work to enhance human success and happiness. The destruction and damage they have actually wrought is Biblical. In fact mere tribalism, the scrounge of civilization, works better than what the left pursues as alternatives. However, don’t expect any apologies from the liars and destroyers no matter how much damage they manufacture. The recent Intel letter, signed by liars, who claimed that Hunter’s Apple laptop represented Russian disinformation, did not stimulate any apologies after the laptop was deemed accurate enough to be used by the FBI at Hunter’s trial. On the contrary they now claim that since, based upon their experience, it looked like Russian interference, they did the right thing. You would think that since they claim to be experienced they would have investigated and not assumed. Of course they, and not Donald Trump, are the ones who are as guilty of election interference as is Joe Biden, for the DOJ lawfare currently being used to target the opposition candidate to the presidency. It could not be more obvious. And, furthermore, it could not be more criminal. Yet despite the clarity, the inexcusable lawlessness continues. What does that say about America? Perhaps we can say, and should say, that it has Fallen.

  2. European voters have massively rejected the Left’s progressive vision. Macron was forced to call a snap election after losing his majority at an almost two to one rout. The AfD Party is now the second largest political party in Germany. In Italy, Giorgia Meloni’s party picked up seats in the Italian Parliament in Italy’s version of mid terms. Geert Wilders picked up seven seats in the EU’s Parliament after getting shut out in 2019.

    All over Europe voters are saying they are tired of being under the heel of green progressives who have opened the door to illegal immigrants while mishandling energy so badly, many cannot afford to heat or cool their homes. There is also a huge revolt by farmers—especially in France and Holland over the government’s draconian measures that are driving them out of business.

    Here in the US we have similar problems and issues that differ only in scale. National polling indicates Americans, too, are ready to send a very big message to the Elite bureaucracies that have stifled free speech, opened the borders, encouraged an increase in crime, increased homelessness, and mismanaged the economy.

    The real issue is whether the potential voter upheaval in November will mark a sea change or merely be another four year speed bump. My fear is that it will just be a speed bump. The progressive Left has shown it is relentless in either victory or defeat. The Conservative Right must be equally relentless in pushing back on ALL fronts if this Republic is to be maintained.

  3. Excellent and comprehensive overview of the current state of the nation. The left took its best shot at replacing what worked with ideological-driven daydreams and predictably fell flat on their faces. A successful Capitalist economy isn’t something you seriously mess with unless the endgame is in the proverbial bag. The unscrupulous leftists who exploited Biden’s dementia will be held to account for aiding and abetting him in the commission of his crimes against the nation. History won’t let Biden entirely skate due to his disease, but it’s unlikely that he will face the full force of the law once this catastrophe is over. The biggest perp in this drama is undoubtedly Obama, a preening narcissist who above all else wanted a legacy like no other. But his revolutionary zeal, cynicism, and delusions will be all that’s left of what little legacy he ever had. No one is above the law.

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