Obama’s presidency has failed miserably, but it has accomplished one thing: it has revealed for all to see the lethal pathologies of progressive ideology. This doesn’t mean progressivism will go away. We thought the New Democrat Bill Clinton had put progressive ideas to rest when he said that the era of big government was over, and then reformed welfare and cut government spending from 23.5% of GDP to 19.5%. Yet despite the success that followed his rejection of failed liberal policies, here we are in the fourth year of Obama’s term, saddled with $5 trillion in new debt, a stalled economy, a National Labor Relations Board carrying water for the unions, a blatantly politicized Department of Justice, and rapidly metastasizing entitlement programs. Meanwhile the president indulges in class-warfare rhetoric young a century ago, and calls for even more redistributionist deficit spending to benefit his political cronies and clients.Continue reading.
The worst economic recovery since World War II that Obama and the Democrats midwifed has exposed the failure of the notion that the government can create economic growth and wealth rather than merely expropriating it from the creative and productive, and that centralized planning and regulating by “experts” can more efficiently allocate resources than the free market does. But more important is the underlying idea of progressivism that Obama’s policies is predicated on: Perfect justice, prosperity, and equality are possible if enlightened elites are given the power to organize and run society according to “scientific” knowledge about human nature and behavior. For two centuries this hubristic idea has led to failure, misery, and murder on a vast scale, yet progressives continue to increase government power in order to create this impossible utopia. Obamacare is just the latest iteration of this frequently demonstrated fallacy that complex human behavior, which reflects the unpredictable free will of millions of unique individuals, can be organized, controlled and regimented in order to achieve some dream-world utopia. That progressives still cling to this exploded idea despite the evidence of history and a disintegrating E.U. shows just how reactionary and blinkered they are.
But the list of progressive fallacies exposed by Obama is much longer. He has laid bare the hypocrisies and failures of the race-based identity politics that lie behind affirmative action and other racialist policies. Only by dint of the Jim Crow one-drop rule can someone who is half-black, who was raised in one of the least black states in the union by white grandparents, who had no exposure to black American culture and mores in his formative years, and who graduated from exclusive, elitist, predominantly white universities be considered authentically black. Moreover, his manifest ignorance about everything from pronunciation of common words to the basics of history and economics has exposed the gross inflation of his abilities by whites, one based not on performance but on assertion. Remember the presidential historian who claimed, with no evidence from transcripts or test scores, that Obama was probably the smartest president ever? Obama illustrates the truth that progressive racial policies are based on the illiberal idea that predicates minority identity on simplistic group stereotypes and the presumption of victimhood based on nothing other than melanin quotient and hair texture.
I mentioned earlier that the failed Wisconsin recall signaled the end of a viable progressive ideological program. Leftists won't quit, as Thornton also notes, but their ideology has been totally discredited.