Saturday, February 23, 2008

The democratic Party?

I purposely used a small letter ‘d’ for democratic in my title to address the question of whether or not the Democratic Party in words and actions promotes democracy.


In the phrase of Abraham Lincoln, democracy is a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

Freedom and democracy are often used interchangeably, but the two are not synonymous. Democracy is indeed a set of ideas and principles about freedom, but it also consists of a set of practices and procedures that have been molded through a long, often tortuous history. In short, democracy is the institutionalization of freedom.

In a democratic society, majority rule must be coupled with guarantees of individual human rights that, in turn, serve to protect the rights of minorities--whether ethnic, religious, or political, or simply the losers in the debate over a piece of controversial legislation. The rights of minorities do not depend upon the goodwill of the majority and cannot be eliminated by majority vote. The rights of minorities are protected because democratic laws and institutions protect the rights of all citizens. The essential elements of constitutional government include majority rule coupled with individual and minority rights, and the rule of law.

Watching The Glenn Beck Show on Feb. 22 with guest, Jonah Goldberg was very eye-opening to me about the history of the Democratic Party, and how by their words and actions they are contrary to some of the pillars of democracy listed above. I encourage everyone to read the entire transcript to appreciate the entire discussion between Glenn and Jonah. For those who don’t have the energy and time to read the entire transcript I want to provide some of the highlights below.

GOLDBERG: It is -- it is amazing. But to call yourself a progressive, "The New York Times" liberals call themselves progressives. Everyone calls themselves progressives. And Hillary Clinton does. And no one seems to care what the actual progressives did. And the actual progressives were state-ists run amok.

Hillary tries to get away by saying, "Well, liberal has come to mean big government." The progressives were the original big-government people.

BECK: But in a spooky sort of way.

GOLDBERG: Yes, they believed -- progressives come of age, what I call in the book, of this fascist moment. But they believed that the age of the individual was over, that we had to redefine ourselves only through the collective, through the group and through the state. And therefore, the individual had to be crushed. The concept of the individual had to be crushed. We all had to work towards the larger collective endeavors.

BECK: Let`s look at Hillary Clinton. She said, April 24, 1996, "As adults we have to start thinking and believing that there isn`t really any such thing as someone else`s child."

She has also said, from "It Takes a Village," "Videos with scenes of commonsense baby care -- how to burp an infant, what to do when soap gets in his eyes, how to make a baby with an earache comfortable, could be running continuously in doctor`s office clinics, hospitals, motor vehicles or any place where people gather and have to wait."

This smacks of "1984."

GOLDBERG: Right. And that`s the relevance. You know, our image of "1984," the giant Jumbotron TVs in all public places saying, "Work makes you free" and all that kind of stuff.

Well, Hillary Clinton`s vision is to have the big Jumbotron TVs and still give the message of the state. But it`s not this mean Orwellian thing. It`s this nanny state, hug you, love you to death kind of vision.

BECK: Right.

GOLDBERG: But still to me, it`s still a tyrannical vision. And you know, this notion that the quote from Hillary Clinton, where she says, you know, we have to move beyond the idea that there`s any such thing as somebody else`s child, this was central to the progressive vision.

The whole idea of progressivism was to crack the outer shell of the nuclear family, get rid of the sovereignty of the nuclear family, get rid of this concept of local communities. Everything had to be in relationship to the state. Mussolini defines fascism as, you know, everything in the state, nothing outside of the state.

The early feminist progressives were all about liberating children from the tyranny of the family and reorienting them toward the state.

BECK: When people try to shut you down by calling you a fascist, doesn`t that make them more of a fascist, no matter what I`m saying?

GOLDBERG: There`s a weird catch-22. It`s this -- because the use of the word "fascist" in American political culture is essentially, it`s a way to silence people. It`s a cudgel. It`s a way to shut someone up. "Oh, he`s a fascist."

When Al Gore says his critics on the Web are digital Brownshirts, when he says people who disagree with him on global warming are like Holocaust deniers, it`s his way of saying, "Oh, you don`t have to listen to these people. They`re crazy. They`re illegitimate. They`re evil. They`re bad. They`re fascists."

And so in that sense, if you want to call it fascism or not, it`s undemocratic to simply demonize anyone who dissents from the popular, conventional view that people like Al Gore are putting out. You know, when you call them a fascist, basically what you`re doing is you`re saying we don`t have to listen to them anymore.

BECK: We were never like this. We were never like this until Wilson and FDR.


BECK: This is a totally new concept. And it really stemmed from seeing the great success in Italy. Seeing -- I mean, I`ve read things about the scholars that went over and looked at Stalin and said, look at what he`s doing. Look at what he`s doing for industry, look what he`s doing for people.

This is the future. OK, he`s killed a million people at the time, but he had to do it for the good.

GOLDBERG: You`ve got to break some eggs to make an omelet.

BECK: Yes.

GOLDBERG: No, Woodrow Wilson says it quite plainly. He says the essence of progressivism requires that the individual marry his interests to the state. Those are his words.

It`s the idea that the individual has to define himself in relationship to the state, that he gets his livelihood, his meaning -- FDR comes out what he calls the second Bill of Rights in 1944, addresses the nation and says basically what he wants to do is basically overturn the Bill of Rights. Remember, the Bill of Rights is negative rights. It says the government has no right to take your gun away, has no right to go into your home, has no right to bridge your speech.

He wants to create the second Bill of Rights, which are all positive rights. You have a right to a home, you have a right to a job. It`s things government can give you, and that you can demand from government, and if government isn`t giving you these things, if it isn`t giving you these trinkets, then the government has violated your rights.

It is a radical redefinition of our Constitution and our understanding of what makes a citizen in this country.

BECK: ...How do you stop this?

GOLDBERG: The logic of conservatism says that there are no final -- there are no perfect solutions to anything. It`s just going to take a long argument.

I mean, this argument has been going on in America for a century now. You know, during the Cold War, this was an intense argument.

You had liberals constantly looking to places like the Soviet Union as a model. You know, saying that it was a better place. You still have these incredibly sand-poundingly stupid people talking about how Castro has a better model. You know?

BECK: I wonder who that is.

GOLDBERG: And all you have to do is just -- you have to just keep having the argument, you have to keep focus -- it`s a door-to-door fight.

BECK: Right.

GOLDBERG: And saying, you know, it`s first principles, and even if freedom makes things harder, it`s better to have it harder than to not have it free.

After sleeping on it, and reading the transcript, I have reached the conclusion that the Democratic Party since the time of President Wilson to the present does not in words and action reflect democratic principles. Democratic principles are reflected by conservatives like Fred Thompson whose words speak about the importance of core first principles, and his actions show that it is better to have a system of governemnt that is harder than to not have it free.

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