Victor Davis Hanson: Giddy About Remaking America

Roundup: Historians' Take

[Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services.]

If we assume that Obama & Co. wish to radically remake the United States — along the lines of a European socialist society, or perhaps to the left even of a Belgium or Denmark — then the past 14 months were as predictable as the sun rising.

Liberal Utopia. To transmogrify a center-right country into a liberal utopia, certain things follow: higher taxes on the better off to pay for redistribution and to bring “fairness” to society (e.g. called “redistributive change”, “spread the wealth” “patriotic” “paying your fair share”); increased government coercion to force the reluctant to conform (e.g., new IRS agents, more regulations and government intrusion; mandatory new fees); a growing constituency to administer and receive entitlements (e.g., I never really heard much about ACORN or SEIU until the Obama ascendency); a public relations campaign to demonize the skeptical as enemies of civil society, starting with “selfish” and “greedy” escalating to “racists” and finally reaching the dangerous level of “terrorists” who “threaten officials” (those who used to court Michael Moore, or snooze about books and movies suggesting scenarios of killing George Bush are suddenly worried about uncivil discourse); a new neutralist foreign policy to match defense cuts on the horizon and to adjust our stature abroad with our new more revolutionary profile at home (cf. the treatment of an Israel or Britain to the new efforts at winning over Iran and Syria; or our shrinking navy and air force); and a highly educated, urban technocracy not subject to its own new protocols and dependent on an ever growing bureau (e.g., Geithnerism, or the strange career of Van Jones); and a new euphemism in language (there is no “terrorism” any more; liberals disappeared and were replaced by “progressives,” we have no more enemies from the radical Islamic world, etc.)...

As Obamans realize that the current fiscal course is unsustainable, and as they sense the country is still center-right and their political futures uncertain, we will experience a sort of hysteria.

“Will” is the wrong auxiliary verb tense; we’ve already seen it. Congressmen walk the national mall, intent on proving to America it is now again 1965 in the Deep South and they courageously are replaying the civil rights marches among Neanderthal tea party racists — the sort of psychodramas comparable to Skip Gates donating his handcuffs to the Smithsonian....

We search for one honest man behind all this, just one. How wonderful if a Reid, Obama, or Pelosi for a moment would just come clean, if even in defiant fashion. Imagine:

“Some people screw up or are unlucky. We’re here to ensure they end up the same as you who don’t screw up or are luckier. We can’t say they are in any way culpable, so we blame either the system or you who are better off. The best way to level the playing field is to tax all we can, take our percentage, and redistribute the rest. Lots get hired to administer to even more. The rules don’t apply to ourselves, who are wealthy but not the targeted culpable. We know privately all this is not sustainable, but assume the better off will find a way to save themselves and thus us, before we bankrupt ourselves — after we are gone. And we don’t care really whether this is always legal, or fair, or workable, because we know it is moral and we are far more moral people than you.”

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