One of my great hopes for the internet is that it will serve as a collective memory bank that will help mitigate the perpetual forgetfulness of the American public. Most Americans are so fat and happy and forward-focused that it's understandable that we so quickly forget the past, but amnesia comes at a price. Namely, every time some leftists start making predictions of doom and gloom we take them seriously and actually pause to consider their absurd objections. Heck, some of us are often even persuaded, and all because we completely forget the track record of leftist philosophy.
Time will not suffice for me to mention the horrible atrocities of communism and socialism around the world over the last century. Nor can I possibly elaborate further on the nonsensical ravings of environmentalists and pertroleum chicken littles. The anti-war left couldn't even get any of their dire pre-war preditions to come true, despite the best efforts of the media. And now we're supposed to worry about reforming Social Security?
Few Democrats or leftists of any stripe have come forward to applaud Bush's pragmatic, experimental social policy. Yet, they can't confess that their "principle," that government must always grow and never shrink, is something they pulled out of the air. Nor can they draw on the credibility they built up the last time a welfare state program was scaled back. In the Clinton-era debate over welfare reform, we were told (in The Nation) that Aid to Families with Dependent Children was crucial to "the fragile state of grace that suggests we are our sisters' and brothers' keepers. That is what community is fundamentally about." And we were warned that ending AFDC "will destroy that state of grace. In its place will come massive and deadly poverty, sickness, and all manner of violence. People will die, businesses will close, infant mortality will soar, everyone who can will move. Working- and middle-class communities all over America will become scary, violent wastelands."
Show us, please, all those hellish wastelands that have sprung up in the last nine years--and then tell us why we must not make any changes to Social Security.
It's my sincere hope that the internet and its related technologies will help reduce the allure of the idealistic yet infantile left. It's important to remember the hideous effects of "liberalism" and the poverty and enslavement that trail in its wake. The chief irony is that the supposedly "heartless" philosophies of the right end up benefiting everyone more than the supposedly "compassionate" philosophies of the left. That must be galling.