The liberal establishmentWritten by Michael Miller | Editor in Chief Emeritus | firstname.lastname@example.org
The 4th of July is to freedom what Christmas Day is to faith; a day set aside to recognize and appreciate something we should recognize and appreciate every day.
I am a patriot, and I refuse to let any ideological shadings dissuade me from that identity. I do not equate love of country with any political alliance; patriotism should transcend conservatism, liberalism and all points in between. That is not an espousal of blind faith. It is a commitment to the values of liberty and opportunity, which provide freedom of choice and freedom of voice.
As the editor of a newspaper that regularly receives invectives from left and right adherents (I was once confronted by a University of Toledo library official who described Toledo Free Press as a “right-wing rag,” just minutes before a UT communication professor told me he was disappointed that one of his former students was running a “liberal union mouthpiece paper”), I am sensitive to political perceptions and strive to offer a balanced opinion section. Any publication that publishes Don Burnard and Stacy Jurich on one side and Thomas Berry and Dock David Treece on the other should be able to claim it is offering the podium to a wide range of ideologies.
In an ongoing attempt to understand the evolution of our country’s political divide, I have been reading M. Stanton Evans’ book, “The Liberal Establishment,” which attempts to offer a “true idea of the direction in which our present rulers are taking the once-free society of the United States.”
In his introduction, Evans defines liberalism as “a belief in increased centralization of power in the federal government and in economic ‘planning’ aimed at the creation of a welfare state”; as a foreign affairs approach that problems can best be settled by reasoning with the agents of global conspiracy” and as a “moral relativism” in which the “highest virtue is ‘tolerance’ of anything and everything … there are no fixed standards of right and wrong.”
Evans describes conservatism as a “resistance movement” that struggles to overcome media and social bias: “It was assumed that Liberal ideas were the only ideas, and that suggestions to the contrary were beneath the trouble of refutation, were even, in some versions of the Liberal argument, a form of avarice or dementia.”
Evans outlines five elements of the “Liberal Establishment”: academics and colleges; “upper-brow magazines” such as The New Yorker; the book publishing industry; a “sizable segment of the clergy”; and the motion picture and television industry.
He is particularly critical of the president, writing, “He advances Liberal Establishment programs with agility and zeal; he is acclaimed and glorified by Liberal Establishment spokesmen.” He further describes the president as “a product of American politics at its most technical and antiseptic level, equipped with first-rate antennae for divining issues, assuaging interests and counting votes.”
Evans writes about his concerns that the country is drifting toward socialism and in part blames adherence to the economic theories of John Maynard Keynes.
“In its leading premise that government should control the economic activities of its citizens, Keynesian economics incorporates the central objective of the socialists,” Evans writes. “The avowed purpose of Keynesian fiscal and monetary manipulations is to transfer resources away from those who lend money to those who borrow it and earn it as wages … the goal is to ‘redistribute the wealth’ through the intricate workings of money and credit.”
Evans maintains that “federal aid” is a means to control Americans and make more of the country’s citizens and industries reliant upon the government. Not surprisingly, Evans is worried about the trillions of dollars in debt the country owes and the fact that the government is imposing a “per-family debt” on Americans. He maintains that constant spending causes deficits and inflation, as “the government pumps new money into the economy without a corresponding increase in productivity.” He discusses the dangers for Americans with devalued or disappearing pensions, which ties into a threat to such government aid programs as Social Security and Medicare. Social Security, he writes, is “On the edge of insolvency. There is no money in the ‘fund’; all Social Security revenues go into the general fund of the United States and are spent just like other tax money. Clearly, there is trouble ahead for Social Security.”
Evans saves some of his sharpest criticism for the news media and “managed news.” He accuses the president of employing a “carrot and stick” approach to controlling media. The carrot consists of exclusive scoops, special access and positive recognition. The stick is a denial of access.
It may not be remarkable that Evans’ thoughts are echoed daily on nearly every conservative talk radio program. What is notable is that every word of his “Liberal Establishment” philosophy was published in 1965.
I wanted to conclude that nearly 50 years after Evans wrote his book, the message hasn’t changed one iota; it’s the decline into anger and contempt that separated his era of rhetoric from ours. But then Evans concludes with a strikingly extreme statement: “Liberalism does not resemble socialism so much as it does that ‘revolution without a doctrine, ‘Nazism, and its Mediterranean in-law obsessed with the majesty of power for power’s sake … an excellent case can be made for the position that Liberalism is a genteel American version, not of socialism, but of fascism.”
That brings Evans’ work in line with our modern vitriol, making him less a prophet and more a progenitor of the Glenn Becks, Sean Hannitys and Rush Limbaughs of our time.
Michael S. Miller is editor in chief of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Email him at email@example.com.