Wednesday, January 20, 2010




What’s in a word? Everything. But its meaning evolves and changes over time. Today’s “leftist” liberal subscribes to few if any of the beliefs held by 19th century classical liberals. The 19th century liberal believed that the Constitution, and its Bill of Rights, were carefully drafted to restrain within the boundaries of a Constitution a government that sovereign unto itself would feed upon its people and their states. They realized that a government unrestrained inexorably drifts into despotism. They detested the “democracy” of a French Revolution where the many, by acts of calculated and brutal terror, were made subject to the dictates of the mob and its guillotines.

The American Constitution enshrines a revolutionary new political principle. The state is not sovereign. Only the people are sovereign. They may, of their free will, loan such powers to a central government, as they see fit. But the people are no longer “subject” to the will of kings or tyrants. They are not subject to the central government they breathed in to being.

The Founders drafted a Constitution, which in plain, clear, and unequivocal language expressed the intention of a sovereign American people to strictly limit the central government to the exercise of specific “enumerated” powers. All other powers were forbidden to it. The Ninth and Tenth Amendments, contained in the Bill of Rights, made it certain that the central government and the powers vested in it by the American people exist only by their grace and permission. The Amendments, the primary and critical mandate of constitutional construction, clearly and in plain words intend the creation of a central government vastly inferior in power and reach to the states and their people.

Amendment IX. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X. The powers not delegated to the Untied States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Since the drafting of the Constitution, however, the Supreme Court since the reign of Chief Justice Earl Warren, in an extraordinary presentation of mental gymnastics, vested all real power in the federal government. The Amendments Nine and Ten are now constitutional relics powerless to circumscribe the federal government’s accession to the blatant powers of a Welfare State. It is now the central government that is sovereign, the people its subjects, the states its administrative agencies. The rest, federalism, and the separation of powers, are holy myths.

The new liberalism was not born from the American Constitution. Rousseau, and Robespierre gave birth to it in a French Revolution. In 1794 the soon to be President Monroe was appointed minister to France. His wife Elizabeth secured the release of Mms. Lafayette from prison, this at the height of the Revolution’s savagery in which millions of French citizens were executed upon the guillotine or died in prisons. Monroe also managed to obtain the release of Thomas Paine from a French jail, and assisted the Lafayette family’s escape from France and certain death.[1] Later, Lenin, believing himself to be the reincarnation of Robespierre, honed the Revolution’s techniques of calculated terror to such perfection the mass graves of Russian citizens, dug in the years of Stalin, are still occasionally unearthed.

Since the Sixties “leftist” liberalism has shed such constitutional affectations as it may have garnered from life under the freedom, protection and constraints of constitutional government. It does not remotely resemble constitutional liberalism nor are its theories of government to be found in any Constitution. Jonah Goldberg, in his history, Liberal Fascism[2], suggests that the worldview of contemporary liberals more resembles that of the fascist. In fact, “…the term “fascist” was first widely used by Mussolini,” to describe a society where everybody belonged, where everyone was taken care of, where everything was inside the state and nothing was outside: where truly no child was left behind.”

Accordingly, Goldberg writes, progressives in America, most notably the intelligentsia at Columbia University, were as fascinated with Mussolini as were Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein. The liberal playwright George Bernard Shaw attested to the glories of the Stalinist state, and H.G. Wells, science fiction writer and socialist, urged liberals to embrace “liberal fascism” in the name of freedom. But why? Goldberg writes, “The answer resides in the fact that Fascism was born of a ‘fascist moment’ in western civilization, when a coalition of intellectuals going by various labels—progressive, communist, socialist and so forth—believed the era of liberal democracy was drawing to a close. It was time for man to lay aside the anachronisms of natural law, traditional religion, constitutional liberty, capitalism and the like and rise to the responsibility of remaking the world in his own image. God was long dead, and it was long overdue for men take his place.”

Goldberg makes a point. Walter Duranty, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and liberal star of the New York Times, sought with all his might to convince the world of Stalin’s sainthood. He wrote outright falsehoods calculated to suppress the truth of Stalin’s intentional starvation of six million Russian Kulaks. The liberal Walter Duranty was not alone.

James Glazov in his book, United in Hate[3], carefully documents a strange liberal affection for fascist regimes that hate America. It is a fact that, “Throughout the twentieth century, the Western Left supported one totalitarian killing machine after another. Prominent intellectuals from George Bernard Shaw to Bertolt Brecht to Susan Sontag venerated mass murderers such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, and Ho Chi Minh, habitually excusing their atrocities while blaming America, and even the victims, for the crimes.”

Leftist Liberals of the age were a bit put off by the 1943 discovery of the Katyn Forest Massacre. In 1940 the Soviet NKVD murdered, execution style— by a bullet to the back of the head— thousands of Polish prisoners, military officers, policemen, and intellectuals. They were buried several bodies to the grave in the Katyn Forest. Liberals nevertheless rallied and were there to applaud Stalin’s burgeoning Soviet Socialist State. Later, they would cheer the cold-blooded murderer Fidel Castro and the wonders of his stylish, island prison. And of those with the grit to have listened to the pouting mouth of Sean Penn there is not a one can doubt his near worship of dear Fidel. Indeed, even members of the American Congress speak in loving prose to the virtue of the aging Cuban killer.

Jane Fonda, in one of many expressions of love, for another American enemy, the communist state of Ho Chi Minh, posed giddily for pictures with a gun crew that when not available for photo ops were busy shooting American pilots from the sky—or torturing American soldiers. One might think that dear Jane would meditate upon the deaths of the South Vietnamese taken and “reeducated” after the fall— or the Boat People who took their chances with pirates on the open sea rather than face the Utopia Ho Chi Minh had in mind for them—or for the millions of Cambodians slaughtered in the Killing Fields of the communist Khmer Rouge.

It does not stop. Liberals gave moral and material support to the Marxist killer Noriega whose Sandinistas executed, tortured and imprisoned, thousands of their own people. And lately, Danny Glover and again, Sean Penn can’t seem to fawn enough over the anti-American Marxist Chavez as together in morbid harmonies they slander the country and the people that made them rich.

Where then are the constitutional liberals? They are well and good, and rare. But search them out; for in the classical liberal lies the hopes of an American people.

[1] The Last Founding Father, James Monroe and a Nation’s Call to Greatness Harlow Giles Unger (DA CAPO PRESS, 2009).

[2] Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism. The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning. (Double Day, 2007)

[3] Jamie Glazov United in Hate, (WND Books, 2009).

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