Bob Belvedere, a blogger you need to read, takes this view of the modern liberal mindset.
Leftism is incompatible with American Values. It despises custom, morality,and Right Reason. It rejects the importance of tradition and, in fact, scorns and spits on it. Leftists seek not to learn from the wisdom of those who have come before them. They disdain the hard-won knowledge that politics is the art of the possible. They seek to remake the world in their image, to be as gods.
How can you deal with such people?
You can’t because they believe they have found The Answer — that secret knowledge that the man of the Right believes can only be known to God. The Left believes mankind can be perfected, whereas those on the Right know that Human Beings are, well, human, in the purest sense of the that word — they err and will always err, they are flawed and will always fail.
Thus, the Right seeks to craft governments and institutions that put checks on the damage erring men can do. The Left, on the other hand, believing that people can be perfected, sees no reason for such restraints. Their faith in the idea that the Eschaton can be Immanentized, leads them to brook no opposition because, well, how can you oppose the Illuminated Wisdom they have discovered unless you’re an idiot or a fool? It is a torturous logic they follow and it leads, inevitably, given the frustrations they will experience imposing it on their flawed fellow Human Beings, to them torturing their fellow Human Beings. And it has in every single place it has been tried.
Read the whole thing. It's that good. I'll be here when you come back.
People have been saying this for a while, but Mr. Belvedere's post is a strong reminder of a fundamental truth: The progressive movement has engaged in a slow-motion just-slightly-under-the-radar civil war on traditional America for at least the last 50 years. The roots of this conflict lie in several places. Early utopian dreamers like Hebert Croly and John Dewey, frustrated by 18th century classical liberalism, laid the intellectual framework for several generations of liberal activists. Woodrow Wilson's Constitution-bashing administration is a key component. FDR's 'let no crisis go to waste' opportunism enshrined many unconstitutional assumptions into the fabric of American politics. All of these factors and more led to the rise of the 60's-era New Left radicals such as Bernadine Dohrn, Tom Hayden and Noam Chomsky. This driving force in US politics has scored many victories in the last five decades.
A skeptical reader might ask how the last fifty years in American political life can be seen a 'war.' After all, it can be argued that the Constitution creates the conditions for gridlock, narrow-issue voting blocs and partisan rancor. One could make the case that the modern wrangling we see over the national debt, abortion and our various wars is nothing more than business as usual. To some extent, the people who take this position are not completely wrong.
However, consider the following scenario: a state supreme court threatens to create a right to gay marriage if the state legislature doesn't do it on their own. The earliest American thinkers--even Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall himself--couldn't have imagined a scenario where the legislature would be told by the judiciary to make a law. It goes against what most citizens in the modern era think of when they consider the roles of elected officials and the courts.
Think the situation laid out above is crazy? If you do, well, you're wrong. That's just the kind of insanity New York just went through in the push to legalize gay marriage.
The strategy used by the American Left, in which they use their ideological companions in the courts to force a result that progressives demand, is 'democratic' in roughly the same way that Josef Stalin's show trials were 'legal'. They both have the patina of the rule of law, but, in reality, they're both shams. In both instances, a large force bullies another party in order to come to a pre-determined outcome. Most importantly for our purposes, by going so far outside the bounds of constitutional law and tradition, progressives have all but abandoned previous understandings of how America governs itself. This amounts to nothing less than an act of war by the Left against groups of citizens it regards as not just political opponents, but as outright enemies.
It helps if one thinks about American politics like a football game. Imagine that the Washington Redskins are playing the New England Patriots. For three quarters, both sides play by the standard rules of the league. There are lead changes and penalties and back-and-forth action, but the teams play within
the framework of NFL regulations; i.e. a touchdown is six points, pass interference is illegal, etc. Then, at the start of the fourth quarter, Washington announces that it will play the rest of the game with 12 players on offense and defense, as opposed to the customary 11. A few minutes later, the 'Skins proclaim that their team will play with a round soccer ball (as opposed to the regulation football) and that they can merely kick it anywhere into the end zone to score a touchdown. Moments later, Washington announces that it will arm its players with hockey sticks which their team can use in any way they please. Finally, the Redskins bribe the officials to allow the Washington club to do whatever the hell it wants.
In this admittedly fanciful situation, it should be clear that while the New England Patriots were busy following the previously understood rules of the NFL game, the Washington Redskins had abandoned playing football altogether. The Washington squad was playing an entirely different game in order to beat New England. They didn't just cheat in order to get a blatantly unfair advantage over their opponent. By going so far outside the regulations, they had in effect declared war on the Patriots.
The same is true of American liberals over the last several decades. They have used anonymous bureaucrats, the judicial branch, moronic Republicans, the mainstream media and any other useful club to expand the size of government and ravage the old Constitutional order. Rarely do liberals score major victories through legislation alone. When they do, it is usually done over the strenuous objections of the citizenry.
This is war. It's not a war fought with bullets or bombs (except when Bill Ayers is really worked up). Instead, it's a war fought with statist regulations, legislation from the bench, Arlen Specter and Learjet liberal Hollywood propaganda. But just because there aren't battlefields and graveyards doesn't mean there isn't a serious conflict going on in America between liberals and conservatives. Whoever wins that fight will determine not just the fate of America, but the world economic and political order created by the US's influence.