More Authoritarianism of the Left

It’s not easy to write about anything but Vladimir Putin’s elective war in Ukraine, but many others are doing just that and the issues in the U.S. that aren’t the Ukraine war remain.  So I go on from my last post on the history of the Left’s newfound disdain for democracy, due process of law, basic honesty and everyday people, together with its hearty embrace of ever-increasing state power.

Evidence of that is everywhere.

I’ve often mentioned the four-year orgy of attacks on a duly elected president of the United States.  Of course elected officials are meant to be verbally assailed, questioned, even denigrated.  That’s the very core of free speech and a healthy political system.  And if the attacks on Donald Trump had been just that, I’d have joined the chorus.  I’m no fan of Trump and doubt I ever will be. 

But the man was elected by the voters.  For four years, there was an unrestrained effort to get him out of office by hook or crook, fair means or foul.  That included special counsel investigations, baseless impeachment, the manufacture of “facts,” astonishing mendacity by the leftist press and truly wild ideas like using the 25th Amendment to prevent him from even taking office.  It was first, last and always, an open attack on democracy, Trump voters and the office of the presidency.  And it is a precedent.  It can happen again.

Then came the plague.  I surprise no one when I point out that governments everywhere used the COVID pandemic to grab powers given them by neither law nor precedent.  Trudeau is the most glaring example, but others are legion.  President Biden, various governors and the CDC seemed to believe that one of the side effects of COVID was a dramatic increase in their power.  Courts eventually got around to striking down those assertions of non-existent power, but by then the intention was clear.  The point isn’t simply that they overstepped their bounds, but that they seemed to never question that they could.

Now, Biden and the blue states weren’t the only ones to claim power they didn’t have.  But, to a great degree, red-state governors, like DeSantis in Florida and Abbott in Texas, issued less restrictive mandates and canceled them much sooner than did blue-state governors.  Indeed, against all that’s rational, many liberal jurisdictions still maintain mask mandates, vax mandates and other diktats.  As late as the early days of February, we continued to hear “officials musing publicly about permanent mask mandates, blue-state leaders who evidently have no intention of lifting restrictions, public-health professionals seeking to extend their ambit even as the crisis wanes.”  Some people develop a taste for unchecked power and don’t give it up easily. 

Moreover, those officials were, from the start, at pains to demonstrate that the restrictions they placed on us didn’t apply to them.  From the earliest days of business closures, lockdowns, social distancing, masking, hand sanitizing, etc., we saw liberal governors like Gavin Newsom and Gretchen Whitmer openly flouting those rules.  And they’ve been doing it ever since.  The message couldn’t have been clearer: we make the rules, you obey them; we are your governors, you are the governed; our caste is superior to yours.  Who but a self-appointed Brahmin class can unilaterally make rules and then unilaterally ignore them?

Leftist teachers’ unions did their part as well.  Want your kids to go to school after two years of enforced isolation?  Too bad.  The teachers’ unions dictated and, to an extent continue to dictate, when and if classes will be held.  No, nothing in the science on COVID requires such a policy and much other science opposes it, but parents and kids matter less than the demonstration of union power to which Democratic office holders were happy to bow.

The Left’s love of power and disdain for everyday people appear in policies and messaging on climate change as well.  The willingness to report only the information that supports radical restructuring of energy policy is by now a well-known part of that disdain.  After all, why should our betters trust us with the truth?  We might draw the “wrong” conclusions and begin to form what Justin Trudeau called “unacceptable ideas.”

So a major thrust of climate change policy (to the extent there is one) is to dramatically increase the cost of fossil fuels in order to force us to reduce our use of them.  Never mind that Grandma lives on a fixed income and may freeze to death this winter.  Never mind that price increases most impact those with lower incomes, i.e., the very people the Left pretends to care about.  And especially never mind that, as Bjorn Lomborg points out in his book False Alarm, even if every wealthy nation on the planet stopped using fossil fuels tomorrow, it would lop just 0.7℉ (9% of the total) off global warming by the year 2100. 

This is your helping of broccoli; you’ll eat it and like it.  That Brahmin class?  Ah, their appetites differ.  They’ll continue to jet here and there, live in houses ten times larger than necessary and generally flaunt their above-it-all status.  We the People must sacrifice for their flawed ideology on climate change while they find themselves too important to be inconvenienced.

So it goes, and so it will continue.  What began as “we’re the government and we’re here to help” devolved into “do as we say, or else.”  Perhaps that was always inevitable.

But it turns out that, contrary to much of the leftist narrative, democracy in the U.S. isn’t dead and We the Great Unwashed have a way of thinking for ourselves.  The Left has overplayed its hand and produced a response to its arrogant, elitist, anti-democratic ideology. 

I’ll have more to say on that next time.

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