I had an odd little conversation with someone on the Internet a couple days ago, one where my counterpart actively defended socialism and communism as worthy ideals. Normally, such dialogues go a standard “it simply hasn’t been done right” path, which is easily rebutted by pointing out that it has always gone wrong, with a totalitarian result and nine-ten figure body counts. This naif, and that’s certainly how he came across, acknowledged that socialism has the unfortunate tendency of producing dictators, which impairs its proper role as a stepping stone to communism.

His sincerity and earnestness was palpable. Unfortunately, his naivety was made worse by his clear misunderstanding of what capitalism is (he asserted that communism was free cooperation and that capitalism was exploitive force), and many other signs that his head had been pumped full of pabulum. I’d have forgotten the conversation already, but for one little point that stuck. His lament of the rise of dictator types when socialism was pursued parallels, to a very uncomfortable degree, what we are witnessing from today’s Left.

Donald Trump’s shock victory happened nearly two years ago, and the Democrats, progressives, socialists, and leftists haven’t gotten over it. Indeed, their dyspepsia has gotten even worse, if one can imagine. First, they pondered how, under whatever rules they could cherry-pick and bend to their will (impeachment for collusion, impeachment for obstruction, impeachment for emoluments, 25th Amendment removal, etc), they could remove the Untethered Orange Id from office… and… install their preordained Herself in his stead. As Herself’s star faded and image tarnished, and as the absurdity of the “install Hillary” narrative became more obvious, they dropped that latter part, but still held onto the idea of running Trump out of the White House on a rail.

Those dreams persist, and the Dems are pulling out all the stops in the hopes of capturing Congress (or at least the House) in the upcoming mid-terms, and thus having the votes to actually pursue impeachment. In the meantime, they’re losing their collectiv(ist) shit over what Trump has managed to do in the two years they’ve failed to unseat him. The Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation has the Left screaming about the unfairness that the Senate seats two from every state, no matter how large or small, with assertions that “this is not democracy.” They’re right. America has always been a constitutional republic, never a democracy, and it’s a good thing. And, now, they’re screaming about the injustice of 9 unelected, for-life people having so much power. That they have so much power is the result of two things: the Left’s decades-long expansion of government power, and the Left’s decades-long use of the judiciary to impose changes it couldn’t achieve through the legislature. Ditto for the simple majority confirmation of Kavanaugh – the Left (Harry Reid, specifically), laid the groundwork for eliminating the 60 vote supermajority requirement.

Their answer to the Court’s power? Install a Democratic President, and a Democratic majority in Congress, and “pack” the Court with additional Justices (chosen by them, and presumably in-line with their policy goals). Or, in other words, turn the Court into a rubber-stamp for whatever they want to do, Constitutional limits be damned.

And, lest we forget, they want to do away with the Electoral College, and replace it with a national majority vote for the Presidency. The EC exists for the same reason that the Senate does: as a recognition that individual States have a degree of autonomy, that they exist as legitimate political entities, and to hold at bay a tyranny of the majority. The Left wants that tyranny of the majority, because they believe (rightly or wrongly) that the majority of Americans support their agenda. Or, more cynically, because they believe they can convince a majority of Americans that they should be given the reins of power. That they’ve failed, spectacularly, in that quest since 2010 (with Obama himself the successful outlier), means nothing and informs them of nothing.

And, to what end? To reverse that which Trump has done, no matter good or bad, successful or unsuccessful, and impose an agenda that the nation shied away from under Obama’s watch. Why? Because if Trump did it, it must be bad, no consideration of any action on its merits. And, if Obama did it, it must be good, no consideration of any action on its merits. More to the point, because what matters is them having their person in power. Unrestricted power.

That’s what the court-packing talk is about. That’s what the elimination of the Electoral college is about. That’s what all the talk about the lack of legitimacy of the Senate is about.

The leftist desire, cleared of all its camouflage and distractions, is for dictatorial rule – so long as it’s their dictator. Recall laments about how Obama couldn’t simply have a couple weeks of unfettered power, a la China, to “do what needs to be done.” I saw people actually voice a desire for this, after the Scott Brown special election that took away the Dems’ super-majority, and the 2010 mid-terms that took away their House majority.

To what end? To increase taxes. To expand redistribution of income and wealth. To impose what they deceitfully call “Medicare for All,” but which is actually a total prohibition of private insurance in favor of a wholly government run health care system. To impose energy rules that would shock the economy into recession and make the poor poorer. To deeply involve government in all aspects of private-sector commerce and business (the hallmark of economic fascism, by the way). To guarantee a government job for anyone who can’t get a normal job. To provide free college. To undermine the First Amendment’s protections for free speech and free expression of religion. To take control of the electoral process by restricting and nationalizing campaign finance. To wipe away the Second Amendment’s protections for individual ownership of firearms, and disarm the public.

All these are hallmarks of a totalitarian government, and they have, throughout history, led to repression, poverty, and death, while failing to achieve their supposed goals of better life for the people. The lessons of history are obvious, but today’s Left is aggressively ignoring them in favor of a fantastical delusion of a rainbows-and-unicorn-farts society, where some superstar, benevolent strong man makes everything “fair.” They misdirect our attention by claiming that they are raging against totalitarianism, that they oppose Trump’s fascism, that Antifa actually believes in anti-fascism instead of being mere autocratic thugs of a slightly different flavor, and that the features of our system that stand against the rise of such forms of government are contributing to them.

I just finished watching Season 3 of The Man In The High Castle, a series set in an alternate-history early 1960s United States, where the Axis powers won World War II, and America is divided (at the Rockies) into Nazi and Japanese territories. The season ended (spoiler alert!) with the melting down of the Liberty Bell to make a swastika, and the destruction, by warplane missiles, of the Statue of Liberty. Both actions were part of a larger propaganda campaign to erase American history and its “corrupt ideology” in favor of the National Socialist ideals, and the episode ended with America’s young people, in full Hitler Youth garb and inculcation, rioting in joy through the streets of New York City. We certainly expect “it could never happen here,” given how stark the atrocities of the Third Reich were, but a quote apocryphally attributed to Mark Twain reminds us:

History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.

Most Americans recognize and/or dismiss the ravings of far-right white power groups (which have been around for decades with little to show), and the Press’s perpetual bright-light scrutiny make it probable they will remain a fringe. Not so much for their counterpart in the thug-politics arena, i.e. Antifa. Antifa is as ironic a name as The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or the German Democratic Republic, given its overt use of fascistic actions and imagery. Far too many people give Antifa a bye, simply out of a binary “enemy of my enemy” simplification. The thuggery, much to my horror, is being echoed by prominent Democratic leaders: Hillary Clinton declares they “cannot be civil.” Eric Holder suggests “when they go low, we kick ’em.” Maxine Waters urges people to harass Republican politicians in their daily lives. A Democratic House staffer “doxxed” several Republican senators. A laundry list of Republicans have been publicly harassed and/or received threats of violence and death. And, of course, Congressman Steve Scalise was shot by a politically motivated savage.

The calls for civility and for dialing back aggression are scattered, muted, and half-hearted, and are falling mostly on deaf ears. Wearing a MAGA hat is being seen as an invitation for confrontation, and there are countless progressives and liberals who have no problem with that horrid notion. Social media is littered with people who suggest that Trump supporters, right wingers, and fascists be punched in the face.

This escalation seems born of the relentless propaganda campaign known as political correctness, a campaign that has suffused popular culture, including movies, television, and commercial advertising, as well as primary, secondary, and tertiary education. It’s not hard to find correlation with Lenin’s view on education:

Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.
Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik forever.

It’s also scarily easy to find correlation with the propaganda campaign and destruction of American symbols of liberty in The Man In the High Castle. The scrubbing of history, the removal of statues, the re-telling of past events through a filter of modern ideology, the hatred of capitalism and free markets as “corrupt ideology,” and the dismissal of core elements of the Constitution all eerily echo the Nazi’s re-education initiatives in Season 3 of the Amazon series. Today’s young aren’t wearing brown shirts and sig-heiling, but they wear Che Guevara shirts, speak rapturously of socialism, and embrace the same blind hatred for “other”.

Some will excuse Antifa and other leftist thugs because they supposedly oppose Nazism and far-right extremism. The latter have been hovering around the fringes for decades, have taken no root, and, no matter how much breathless hyperbole we hear from the news, aren’t about to become the ascendant or dominant voice of the Right. But, even discounting that, mere opposition to bad guys doesn’t make you a good guy. The Soviet Socialists fought the National Socialists, bitterly, but that didn’t make Soviet Socialist ideology “good.” Stalin killed more people than Hitler did.

Viewed en toto, it’s not hard to conclude that today’s Left craves power at any cost, pines for a dictatorial leader that can sweep aside the “evil” opposition and do what needs to be done, and has absolutely no problem with consigning political opposition to a (figurative, so far) gulag. The breakdown of the norms of political decorum and civil discourse, and the favoring of disruption, denial of others’ liberty, and look-the-other-way acceptance of political violence when it serves their side, are not identical to past emergences of totalitarian states, but they’re “close enough for government work.”

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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