Democrats and other lefties can’t govern, and after 100 years of the Progressive experiment in action from Baltimore to Havana to Ho Chi Minh City to Beijing, we now know why.
The weekend’s results in the British elections stand as a perfect example of the comfortable, committed Western Left in ruins. On this side of the pond, the Left presides over unmitigated decline — increasingly dangerous foreign challenges, a domestic economy with 93 million out of work and seven consecutive years in which more American businesses have shut their doors than have opened. Poll after poll shows Washington lacks the consent of the governed — a bad sign considering the recent string of electoral upsets showing actual elections a lot less friendly to the Left than pre-election polls.
So why is it that the parties of the Western Left struggle? Why does it seem that their efforts at governance, enabled mostly by a combination of favorable demographics and a public willing to give them a try after conservative parties run out of political gas, nearly always end in failure?
The answer can be found in seven lessons the Left steadfastly refuses to learn.
1. You’ll never eliminate income inequality, or any other inequality for that matter. We are all created equal in the eyes of the law, and that’s as it should be in a free society. That said, all humans are different — we vary in our attributes, we master different skills, we’re brought up differently by our parents, we have different desires and pursuits. To everyone other than the Left this is what’s known as diversity and it’s considered a feature of civilized society. To the Left, it’s a series of wayward nails that must be hammered flush. From an economic standpoint, the Left is never going to learn that while eliminating income inequality is a foolish pursuit you can alleviate the suffering of those on the short end of the economic scale by pursuing a rapidly expanding economy. The people who are good at making money will make money no matter how bad the economic circumstances; it takes a great economy for those of us who aren’t good at making money to have a chance.
2. People who don’t want to be indoctrinated, won’t be. The Left has put a great deal of effort into Gramsci’s March Through the Institutions, and as a result it controls the three major industries thought to drive the public’s thoughts — the news media, pop culture, and academia. By the time an American is 21, those three institutions have done all that can be done to make that young adult a card-carrying leftist. And yet American millennials, while without a doubt the worst-educated generation in the country’s history and displaying some truly ridiculous cultural predilections, are also less trusting of the Left’s institutions than anyone else. As they grow older, experience will turn that generation into the least-invested in the Progressive experiment in modern history — particularly when they’re asked to pay for bankrupt Medicare and Social Security.
3. It’s no fun ruling over a ruin. When the last Republican mayor left office in Detroit, the Motor City was the richest major burg per-capita on the planet. Detroit’s black community, as it happened, was the richest per-capital on the planet. But the institution of left-wing policies — confiscatory taxation, the refusal to enforce the law, overregulation of the business community and the like — drove the middle-class voters into the suburbs just like has happened in every other major town the Democrats have seized control over. When the middle class votes with its feet, the very rich and very poor who are left over create one-party Democrat rule, and that’s great for Democrats for a while. Sooner or later, though, you have Detroit. Or Baltimore. Or pre-Katrina New Orleans.
4. The more laws you make, the more law-breaking will happen. Utopians are pretty good at selling the idea that if we just pass a law we can eliminate behavior we don’t like, but the only law that seems to achieve full compliance is the Law of Unintended Consequences. Consider cigarette taxes as an example — Democrats constantly push to raise them only to find that the revenues generated always seem to fall short of expectations and the amount of smoking isn’t reduced by the anticipated amount. Instead, organized crime fills the hole created by the government and develops a black market — and that’s how you get an Eric Garner, killed unintentionally by police in Staten Island for the crime of selling “loose” cigarettes in defiance of New York’s confiscatory cigarette taxes.
5. Dividing people by class and race can win you elections, but only for a while. The problem with playing interest-group politics on a state or national level is that while you might be able to drive the folks who aren’t in your coalition out of a city or county and consolidate power locally, it’s a lot harder to do that on a larger scale. States don’t just contain the big city the Democrats have driven the Republicans out of, they also contain the suburbs and exurbs the Republicans moved to and the small towns where urban progressive politics just don’t sell. When Democrats were able run as centrists, or pro-business, or even culturally conservative, this was less of a problem. But in the age of Obama people have had it with the constant race-baiting and demographic bean-counting and agitation — and that’s one reason why even in states like Michigan and Illinois and Maryland there is a Republican in the governor’s mansion. The voters are exhausted with interest-group politics and just want to see someone who can govern.
6. Govern what you have, not what you wish you had. Labour in the UK is a primary example here. When Tony Blair was prime minister and his party had the ability to control immigration policy, Britain put out a welcome mat for as many Third World immigrants as could make landfall upon its shores in the knowledge that the quick embrace by the welfare state would bind those immigrants to Labour in a sizable bloc of voters and thus lock Labour into power forever. Except it didn’t happen that way. Turns out the native middle class resists the competition for jobs, housing, education, and other economic commodities made scarce by large-scale immigration. And now, Labour is on the outs in the UK because the British middle class resents it as the party of crime, poverty, and radical Islam.
7. If you demonize productivity, you’ll get less of it. The interesting thing about creating a left-wing culture based on racial and sexual grievance, free stuff for everybody, and blocking economic activity in the name of environmental activism is that nobody within that culture builds or makes anything anymore — because who wants a target on their back? That means sooner or later nobody has a job, nobody is making money, and nobody is happy. Governing a place overrun with broke people with bad attitudes and too much time on their hands is a poor recipe for political success — as we see in Gaza, Soweto, and Baltimore. The Left spends an inordinate amount of time creating miserable folks, and then is surprised to find them a political burden.
That the Democrats and their international ilk never learn these lessons makes them a pestilence on Western civilization and politics, to be sure. The good news, though, is it also makes their time in power limited — and dependent on the incompetence of the Right.
Now, if we could just work on that last problem…
The offer renews after one year at the regular price of $79.99.