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Where Have All the Liberals Gone?
Townhall.com ^ | August 6, 2011 | John C. Goodman

Posted on 08/06/2011 5:47:34 AM PDT by Kaslin

What happens when people who completely dominate the conversation have nothing to say?

What happens when the people who talk the most and are listened to the most about our nation’s most serious problems do not have a plausible solution to any of them? What I think happens is the current state of affairs.

Let me explain. Sometime in the mid-1970s, near the end of the Vietnam War, liberalism in America died an intellectual death. Since that time, virtually every new idea — whether good or bad — about how to solve our most important economic problems has come from the right. Virtually nothing has come from the left.

Do you doubt that? Okay, it’s test time. Tell me what the liberal answer is to the problem of our failing public schools. …..tick, tick, tick ….. I’m waiting …. tick, tick, tick …. Give up? What about the liberal solution to the failed War on Poverty? … pause….. pause ….. pause …. No luck there either?

Okay, let’s take what President Obama says is the biggest domestic problem we face. What is the liberal solution to the huge unfunded liabilities in Social Security and Medicare? ….. Can’t think of one? What about solving the problem of unfunded pensions and post-retirement health care benefits for state and local workers? …. Not even a vague suggestion or two? Wow. We seem to be really striking out.

Well, can you tell me what a liberal income tax code would look like? Zip. How about a liberal international economic system? Nada.

Note: I’m not asking if you have a liberal acquaintance who has an opinion or two on these matters. I’m asking if you can produce a solution that would be generally recognized as the liberal solution.

If I asked what are the conservative solutions, you probably wouldn’t hesitate for very long. For education, there is school choice. For a failed welfare system, tough love. For unfunded entitlements, personal accounts so that individuals can save and invest and pay for their own retirement benefits. Instead of the current income tax code, a flat tax. In international affairs, free trade.

Is there anything that is comparable to these solutions on the left of the political spectrum? I believe not. The reason it’s so easy to rattle off the conservative answers is because for the last 30 years or so those are the proposals the nation has been debating. The nation has not been debating liberal ideas because there haven’t been any liberal ideas.

I believe this is also true in health care, by the way, despite ObamaCare. More on that below.

Don’t get me wrong. Just because liberals don’t have anything to say doesn’t mean they are going to clam up. They are just as talkative, just as politically active, just as emotionally committed as ever. They write editorials. They write essays and books. They appear on talk shows. They completely dominate our elite colleges and universities. They dominate the East Coast media. They dominate Hollywood. They are neither humble nor shy.

The chattering class, after all, chatters. And for the past 30 years it has been mainly chattering about … well about conservatives.

Let me clarify where I’m coming from. These “conservative ideas” are not self-evidently “conservative.” Sweden has a full-blown school voucher system, but most Americans probably think of Sweden as “socialist.” Thirty countries in the world have either partially or completely privatized their social security systems with private retirement accounts. Yet you would probably call most of these countries “welfare states.”

What’s happening isn’t that conservatives have all the good ideas or that they are smarter than liberals. What’s happening is that conservatives are trying to solve problems and liberals aren’t. Ironically, if liberals were equally intent on finding solutions, the two sides might agree 90% of the time!

But as it is, liberal commentators have been largely on the sidelines in almost all the important public policy struggles. The school choice battle has been raging all over the country for the last two decades. But that has been mainly a battle pitting conservative reformers against special interests (the teachers unions). For the most part, liberals haven’t really been involved. Similarly, the struggle for welfare reform, the flat tax, Social Security privatization, etc., has cast conservative reformers against special interests and entrenched bureaucracies. Liberals have been mainly irrelevant.

Health care might seem to be an exception to all this, but it really isn’t. The only people on the left who have a firm idea about what to do about health care are the socialists. They want everybody to be in a Canadian-type system. And almost all the serious health care debates of the past two decades have pitted conservatives against socialists, not conservatives against liberals.

Precisely because there really is no liberal solution to health care problems, the legislation we finally got was a Rube Goldberg contraption put together by competing special interests. Not only is it completely devoid of any ideological underpinnings, it’s not even clear that most liberals even regard ObamaCare as liberal legislation. (See Paul Krugman, for example.)

Don’t believe me? The next time you’re in conversation with a liberal friend, ask him to explain how ObamaCare will actually work. Odds are he will have no idea.

The special irony in all this is that the conservative presidential candidate John McCain had a health reform proposal that was more progressive and more radical than Barack Obama’s. (By more progressive, I mean more egalitarian — a lot more egalitarian.) Think about that. Had the Democrats in Congress endorsed McCain’s plan they would have had a reform far more consistent with their professed values than the plan Obama campaigned on. Instead, they completely sacrificed principle and let the special interests write the law we are all supposed to live under.

These observations are the best explanation I can offer for the extreme bitterness that permeates Washington, the editorial pages of the New York Times and our overall national public policy discourse.

Liberals used to be the reformers. Liberalism provided the new ideas needed to reform institutions and solve problems. Conservatives, by contrast were viewed as reactionaries. They clung to the past and resisted change.

Today those roles have been completely reversed. In a very real sense liberals aren’t liberal any more.

I think they are angry about that.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS:
Great editorial by the author
1 posted on 08/06/2011 5:47:35 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

To the Christian Hell?


2 posted on 08/06/2011 5:51:10 AM PDT by BigCinBigD
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To: Kaslin

The liberal solution to ANY problem is TMAI...Throw Money At It. And always—OTHER people’s money.


3 posted on 08/06/2011 5:56:50 AM PDT by Lou L (The Senate without a fillibuster is just a 100-member version of the House.)
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To: Kaslin
Where Have All the Liberals Gone?

They are right here in Massachusetts!

4 posted on 08/06/2011 6:03:20 AM PDT by rockabyebaby (We are sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo screwed!)
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To: rockabyebaby

The whole northeast from Delaware up??


5 posted on 08/06/2011 6:07:07 AM PDT by omega4179 ( Hope for Change)
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To: Lou L
USS Drydocked
Obama: ''Millionaires don't have a right to keep any of their hard-earned
cash. I do think at a certain point you've made enough money. And trade in
that gas-guzzling SUV.''

6 posted on 08/06/2011 6:10:54 AM PDT by BobP (The piss-stream media - Never to be watched again in my house)
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To: Kaslin
One of the advantages of SIRIUS XM radio is a fairly large and eclectic choice of input ... music, news .. whatever.

I have pre-set a left channel that I go to when I want to pick up on the enemy and ... I gutt'a tell ya' ... THAT channel is one of about three that I'll bounce around with and they all sound more patriot than commie these days.

The callers are saying things like .. "We progressives need to hold Obama accountable .. ". and etc.

It's almost a pleasure to hear them complain about their president and this administration.

I no longer hear, "Bush's fault ... we inherited ... ", etc.

7 posted on 08/06/2011 6:12:52 AM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: rockabyebaby

Can we send you ours from CA, OR and WA?


8 posted on 08/06/2011 6:14:50 AM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks Kaslin.


9 posted on 08/06/2011 6:28:30 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Yes, as a matter of fact, it is that time again -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Kaslin

Maybe they don’t think they have to do any more seeing as how America is where the communists won.

It wasn’t like Red Dawn. They got voted into elected office all across the land. Now, the American people couldn’t fathom life without their Nanny State.


10 posted on 08/06/2011 6:29:09 AM PDT by MichiganConservative (T. Jefferson's warning come true: THIS morning you woke up a slave to government and central bankers)
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To: Kaslin
The Progressives got control of the government, and now I can't figure out if I'm living in the 1970s or the 1930s. All I really know if that my kids' future has been taken away from them.

Not the sort of progress I want.

11 posted on 08/06/2011 6:46:32 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (The USSR spent itself into bankruptcy and collapsed -- and aren't we on the same path now?)
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To: Kaslin

The “liberals” don’t have to say anything, they’re entrenched, in power and not going away. The liberals/progressives described are the “useful idiots” of the socialists/totalitarians. The socialists have allowed the leaders of their socialist collectives (useful idiots are inside these collectives) come to the forefront to do their bidding. Their collectives/UNaccountable bureaucracies (more socialism) are everywhere. “Useful idiot” speech is not amplified but we catch a glimpse of it when cable channels or comedy shows are interviewing the useful idiot on the street about politics.


12 posted on 08/06/2011 6:50:06 AM PDT by PGalt
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To: ProtectOurFreedom

LOL, well with all the libs already here plus all the illegals I’m not sure we’d have room for anymore! AND as Hank Johnson pointed out about Guam, MA may tip over or sink if we add more libs/illegals!


13 posted on 08/06/2011 6:50:44 AM PDT by rockabyebaby (We are sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo screwed!)
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To: Kaslin

Be careful what you ask for liberals. In every case of a communist takeover, the useful idiots that the communists used to climb to the top were the first ones to get a bullet to the back of the head. It’s obvious that this would need to be done because they would be the first to realize the mistake they made, and warn the others. By then, it would be too late.


14 posted on 08/06/2011 6:51:15 AM PDT by factoryrat (We are the producers, the creators. Grow it, mine it, build it.)
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To: Kaslin
Where have all the liberals gone?

What, is he kidding? Our governments, schools, TV, and movies are infested with them. It's why we're in such a mess, a mere shell of our former greatness.

15 posted on 08/06/2011 7:06:54 AM PDT by libertylover (The problem with Obama is not that his skin is too black, it's that his ideas are too RED.)
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To: Kaslin

Believe me, libs never shut up. And they never give up on liberalism. Oh, there’s an occasional David Mamet or Ron Silver, but if my lib relatives, sisters, and daughter-in-laws are any indication, liberalism is alive and well. Deep down they probably realize Obama (and Obamaism) is a rank disaster. That doesn’t mean they’re going to start voting for Republicans en masse. My very lib daughter-in-law’s description of Michelle Bachman: “she’s crazy.” Herman Cain: “he’s crazy.” Members of the Tea Party: “they’re crazy.” Most libs are very sure they’re the smartest people in the world...even as their fervently desired liberal plans go down in flames.


16 posted on 08/06/2011 7:15:00 AM PDT by driftless2
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17 posted on 08/06/2011 7:34:38 AM PDT by DJ MacWoW (America! The wolves are here! What will you do?)
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To: Kaslin

I read an article a few years back that described where conservative money went -— into conservative think tanks like Heritage and Cato. That’s where the solutions get generated.

The left spent their money on Acorn and Unions.


18 posted on 08/06/2011 7:36:18 AM PDT by dervish (women presidential candidates, the last frontier)
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To: Kaslin
What’s happening is that conservatives are trying to solve problems and liberals aren’t.

Liberals make good money from perpetuating the problems. Why solve them, and have 3/4 of their artificially created government and public interest group jobs dry up and vanish? There is a reason they talk so loudly about how bad things are but never want to make any substantive changes. They are living under their dream system already.

19 posted on 08/06/2011 7:43:03 AM PDT by Mr. Jeeves ( "The right to offend is far more important than any right not to be offended." - Rowan Atkinson)
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To: libertylover

“What, is he kidding? Our governments, schools, TV, and movies are infested with them. It’s why we’re in such a mess, a mere shell of our former greatness. “

I disagree. Those aren’t liberals. Those are Socialists and Marxists.

Today’s liberal is the family who go to church on Sunday, believes in a strong military, but still thinks that the nation has a responsibility to take care of those less fortunate.

Today’s liberal is the middle aged guy who believes in all conservative values, but thinks there is noting wrong with gays having civil unions.

Today’s liberal is the woman who shares conservative values, but leave her body alone.

Today’s liberal is a moderate. A RiNO. To the left of that, you are a commie.


20 posted on 08/06/2011 7:54:24 AM PDT by EQAndyBuzz (Sarah Palin 2012 - Nothing but Net)
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To: driftless2

Yes, Obama is a disaster to them because he is not “liberal enough!”


21 posted on 08/06/2011 7:58:05 AM PDT by Chandalier (Obama is a Chicken Hawk!)
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To: Kaslin
Liberals/Leftists/Statist/Progressives (whatever name these shape shifting pseudo intellectuals adopt) most certainly do have a solution. It is simplistic and very defined...

Exterminate anyone or anything that disagrees with them. It's that simple. Conservatives are the root of all evil. When conservatives are eliminated (literally) then the world will “live as one...”

22 posted on 08/06/2011 8:29:13 AM PDT by Awgie (truth is always stranger than fiction)
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To: Mr. Jeeves

WHAM! Hit nail right on the head.


23 posted on 08/06/2011 8:34:47 AM PDT by dusttoyou ("Progressives" are wee-weeing all over themselves, Foc nobama)
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To: Kaslin
Virtually nothing has come from the left.

Libtards, because of their chronic mentality of emotionalism,altuism, and collectivism, have the same answer for every problem: more statism and more socialism.

24 posted on 08/06/2011 9:35:18 AM PDT by mjp ((pro-{God, reality, reason, egoism, individualism, natural rights, limited government, capitalism}))
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