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The Reactionary Utopian
February 17, 2009

Obama and the “Right Wing”
by Joseph Sobran

[Why liberals can’t think]

Liberalism today is not an idea or a doctrine so much as an attitude — hardly more than an empty and muddled sneer. I have before me a confused attack on all things the writer chooses to call “right wing.” And just what might that be?

Your guess is as good as mine. Our writer never bothers defining this rhetorically laden term. Is the essence of this “right wing” maximal or minimal government? Fascism or libertarianism? Constitutionalism or monarchy? A strict and formal traditionalism or some form of arbitrary dictatorship? Who knows? He probably means most or all of these things, and others as well.

The liberal attitude is strongly averse to definition, censuring it as “extremism” and consistency as “ideology.” The liberal mind is endlessly indulgent toward communism, with which it finds no difference that can’t be amicably split. Liberals are rarely horrified by communism, in contrast to their utter abhorrence of Nazism. Never mind that communism abolishes basic freedoms other despotisms have almost always left alone, such as the rights to emigrate, to reproduce, to worship, to trade — all of which can become capital offenses under Red regimes. Not to mention the enormous disparity in body counts.

Need one add that Western liberals have always been suckers for communist hero worship — of Stalin, Mao, and Castro, not to mention Lenin, Trotsky, and Guevara? Their professed aspirations are honored, even as their historical records are ignored, excused, and concealed.

It goes without saying that liberals assume their own moral superiority to everything “right-wing,” never mind that anticommunism has correctly judged its enemy at virtually every step.

Liberals have always scorned the testimony of refugees from communist regimes, accusing them of greed and other base motives (and of being embittered), while honoring refugees from “right-wing” tyrannies as high-minded freedom lovers. All men, even popes, are expected to speak out against “right-wing” tyranny and are condemned if they fail to do so, but they are “strident” or worse if they denounce communism. And in academia, it remains fashionable today to call oneself a Marxist.

Liberals’ verbal skills rarely include listening to themselves, or reflecting on the implications of their own words. The root of this weakness is their refusal to admit the obvious truth that government means force, so that you can’t increase freedom by expanding the state. For example, “civil rights” has come to mean curtailing our freedom — our freedom to choose our associates. But this hasn’t stopped liberals from equating an increase in coercive laws with more rights for all, though we know that such laws usually come at the expense of white people’s liberty.

Try calling yourself a national socialist and see where it gets you. Yet the historian John Lukacs points out that the term “national socialist” well describes most of today’s governments, despite its discreditable associations. True, it has been a while since Lincoln Steffens could return from a visit to the Soviet workers’ paradise exulting, “I have been over into the future, and it works.” Nevertheless, Barack Obama still essentially shares the old socialist faith in the efficacy of Gov’t A’mighty. The remedy for a recession is government intervention, even if such intervention caused the recession in the first place.

And of course he subscribes to the latest fashions in amorous morality, such as the absurd notion that homosexuals can marry each other. If something even crazier comes along (I can’t imagine what that might be), no doubt he will embrace that as well.

“Change” was his empty campaign slogan, and that’s all he stands for: flux. Not unchanging principle, but endless mutability. Obama is already committed to next year’s fashion, be it what it may.

If abortion, “choice,” means killing the innocent, well, that’s fine with him. The question is metaphysical — as he has so crassly said, beyond his pay grade. And yet he dares to call himself a Christian.

But let us imagine a more glorious possibility. Suppose he becomes truly converted to Jesus and spends his presidency trying to do God’s will and setting an example for others. It can happen, if we pray for him. After all, the Lord has performed even greater miracles than that, and he is still trying to save this man and also all the victims who may perish with him as he rules.

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