The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

June 14, 2013

Marta Mossburg, columnist: Liberalism worldview doesn't make sense

— The high priests of liberalism must be tossing and turning in their organic cotton bedding and downing more small-batch artisan whisky each night trying to cope with the abject failure of their cause.

They know, even if the masses do not yet fully understand, that their worldview no longer makes sense in light of the scandal after scandal in Washington and that the end result could be a great, if slow, deconversion on the scale of the millions who no longer believe in the Christianity its philosophy replaced.

Government, they have told us, is inherently good, like the people it helps. Its largesse helps the poor, its inclusiveness expands rights for all and fairness motivates it. And it is intrinsic to individual success – as the hypothetical “Julia” portrayed in Barack Obama’s recent presidential campaign tried to prove. (See http://www.barackobama.com/truth-team/entry/the-life-of-julia/.)

This worldview diagnoses government problems as merely a question of bad management or lack of funding, which is why federal government workers and contractors have become in the past decade some of the most highly educated and best paid people in America. And it is why programs which fail to meet goals expand and quality is almost always measured by “inputs” — how much money is spent, how many people are signed up, how many training courses are completed, for example — instead of “outputs” like knowledge acquired and people living independent, productive lives.

But the Internal Revenue Service abuse of conservative groups and revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) is cataloguing every phone call and email Americans make don’t mesh with the prevailing view of government benevolence. Neither do revelations that the Justice Department criminalizes reporting nor those that show high ranking State Department leaders quashed investigations of prostitution and drug abuse among its ranks synch with that outlook. And it clashes with the promise newly elected Barack Obama made in January 2009 that he would, “hold myself as president to a new standard of openness …. Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

With respect to the NSA and press monitoring revelations it seems the only right to privacy Barack Obama’s administration recognizes is the right to kill unborn children without restrictions with taxpayer dollars.

This unhinging of the administration from recognizable liberal ideals is the end result of progressivism, which knows no law except “forward.” As Philip Rieff wrote in his brilliant 1966 “The Triumph of the Therapeutic:” “We believe we can live freely at last, enjoying all our senses — except the sense of the past — as unremembering, honest and friendly barbarians all, in a technological Eden.”

But to admit that once sacred principles are obsolete would be political suicide for a man who fulfilled the promises of the great 20th century liberal causes — civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, workers’ rights — for millions of Americans. So Mr. Obama is struggling to maintain the old order by making it seem the omnipresent monitoring of email and tracking of phone records of Americans are really just “modest encroachments” on privacy that are perfectly legal and nothing new.

True believers will cling to his words. But the scales have fallen from the eyes of a media that protected the administration it believed in, and it is only a matter of time before any American who cares to look will see the disconnect between the personal fulfillment and liberation promised by big government and the evil it delivered in the name of safety.

Given that decades of Americans have been steeped for their full lives in the doctrine of government as the solution and savior in public schools, colleges and culture, to what will they turn when liberalism’s lie hits them? I don’t know. But its undoing will give the timeless principles enshrined in the U.S. Constitution a fighting chance against a “forward” that looks more like a backward totalitarian state than the utopia John Lennon sang about in “Imagine.”

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Other Views Other Views: Eroding court’s authority

    While Kansans were focused on the twists and turns of school finance this past week, lawmakers made an unnecessary and historic change in how the state’s district courts operate, coercively tying the reforms to badly needed funding.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: Travesty

    What a travesty that a terrific young man from Spain is on the verge of deportation even though he has proven his worth in America (Globe, April 13).

    April 18, 2014

  • Your View: Astonishing transformation

    The transformation of the Republican Party in the last decade is astonishing.

    April 18, 2014

  • Your View: The changing view

    It is heartbreaking to hear the decades old trees (which border on South Pennsylvania in Webb City) cracking and being bulldozed down.

    April 18, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our View: Safe and sound

    Of the 7,500 Joplin and Duenweg homes hit by the 2011 EF-5 tornado, fewer than 20 percent of them had basements.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Other Views Other Views: Funding for state’s roads

    Missouri is finding there is no good alternative to growing the economy, adding new well-paying jobs and expanding the tax base.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Geoff Caldwell, columnist: Government without apology or explanation

    Americans feel closest to their Uncle Sam at this time of year as he extends his hand for his “fair share” to fund his numerous endeavors.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Step aside

    The people of Joplin made it clear they wanted change at City Hall with their decisive votes to replace two council members.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Serious drawbacks

    Joan Banks’ guest column (Globe, April 13) lays out clearly and persuasively the serious drawbacks with so-called right-to-work legislation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Free choice

    Joan Banks’ guest column (Globe, April 13) regarding right-to-work seems to assume that if workers are given the choice of joining a union, they won’t join.

    April 16, 2014

Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

Yes.
No.
     View Results
Facebook
NDN Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Sports