First is Victor Davis Hanson:
Unlike classical liberals, the liberals of today hew to doctrine in the face of the evidence.
A classical liberal was characteristically guided by disinterested logic and reason. He was open to gradual changes in society that were frowned upon by traditionalists in lockstep adherence to custom and protocol. The eight-hour work day, civil rights, and food- and drug-safety laws all grew out of classically liberal views. Government could press for moderate changes in the way society worked, within a conservative framework of revering the past, in order to pave the way for equality of opportunity in a safe and sane environment.
Among elite liberals today, all too few are of this classical mold — guided by reason and empirical observation. By far the majority are medieval and reactionary. By medieval I mean that they adhere to accepted doctrine — in this case, the progressive doctrine of always finding solutions in larger government and more taxes — despite all the evidence to the contrary. The irony is that they project just such ideological blinkers onto their conservative opponents.
Reactionary is a good adjective as well, since notions of wealth and poverty are frozen in amber around 1965, as if the technological revolution never took place and the federal welfare state hadn’t been erected — as if today’s poor were the emaciated Joads, rather than struggling with inordinate rates of obesity and diabetes, in air-conditioned apartments replete with big-screen TVs, and owning cell phones with more computing power than was available to the wealthy as recently as the 1980s. Flash-mobbing sneaker stores is more common than storming Costcos for bags of rice and flour.
There’s a bunch more and you should go read it.
Then compare and contrast it to this:
(I don’t mean the Eisenhower-Lincoln-Teddy Roosevelt kind, I mean the hardass Ted Cruz, Grover Norquist, Eric Cantor kind)
… if I were a Republican who was really ambitious and had adopted the values and attitudes of my sponsors, I would see this debt ceiling battle as possibly my party’s last stand. With the gullible generation dying off, my party is going to start losing seats gradually. It’s going to get harder and harder to do what I was elected to do, that is, kill the New Deal and that pesky Social Security.
I don’t have to kill it all by myself. All I have to do is cripple it enough that people start seeing it as welfare. I just have to drive a wedge between generations and make sure that younger people start seeing seniors as spoiled, bigoted, whiney, freeloaders. They’ve gotten a pass up to this point because my party has made sure that they feel that their own benefits are not under attack.
But if I don’t hold out for “entitlement reform”, which unsophisticated seniors who watch Fox think is medicaid, food stamps and student loans or something for younger people who haven’t had to “build character”, then I haven’t done my job. And if that means that the US has to default on its loans to generate enough of a crisis that cutting social security and sending it on its way towards oblivion is presented as the ONLY option for saving all of us from catastrophe, then I will have fulfilled my mission and my sponsors will reward me generously even if my party loses in the next mid-term election. In fact, sacrificing my party is Ok. We’ll just become like the House of Lords or something for awhile and let the rifts in the Democratic party deal with our new normal.
I gotta go, I gotta sink to fix.