by Victor Davis Hanson
During America’s first-ever national lockdown, thousands of unelected bureaucrats, as well as federal and state governments, assumed enormous powers not usually accorded them.
They picked and chose which businesses could stay open without much rationale. They sent the infected into rest homes occupied by the weak and vulnerable.
Their rules of prosecuting those who violated social distancing, sheltering in place, mask-wearing, or violent protesting hinged on political grounds. Their spending bills on “infrastructure” and “health care” were excuses to lard up redistributive entitlements.
Conservatives moaned that left-wing agendas were at work beneath the pretenses of saving us from the pandemic. And the giddy Left bragged it was true.
After the 2008 panic and meltdown, Barack Obama promised to “fundamentally transform” the country. Now he is back, weighing in on the panic-driven, massive multitrillion-dollar spending that has pushed America’s debt to nearly $30 trillion:
“There’s a teachable moment about maybe this whole deficit hawk thing of the federal government,” Obama pontificated. “Just being nervous about our debt 30 years from now, while millions of people are suffering—maybe that’s not a smart way to think about our economics.”
Translate Obama’s incoherence into English: He means that borrowing tons of money in a pandemic and not worrying too much about paying it back is a new, better way of economics
California Governor Gavin Newsom on April 20, 2020, boasted similarly about leveraging his own statewide quarantine. “There is opportunity for reimagining a progressive era as it pertains to capitalism, a new progressive era and opportunity for additional progressive steps,” Newsom babbled. “So yes, absolutely, we see this as an opportunity to reshape the way we do business and how we govern.”
Newsom himself resonated what Hillary Clinton gushed at about the same time of the then two-month-old pandemic:
“That this would be a terrible crisis to waste as the old saying goes. We’ve learned a lot about what our absolute frailties are in our country when it comes to health justice and economic justice.”
Hillary’s “old saying” was actually a recycled quote from old Clintonite Rahm Emanuel who was Obama’s chief of staff. He too bragged of the 2008 panic that would empower the Obama transformation project: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”
Later Emanuel clarified that crises allow radical changes that were before never even considered—or considered impossible. Without catastrophe, no one in his right mind would vote for far-Left agendas.
Manipulating COVID-19 is not just an American left-wing effort.
The “World Economic Forum,” otherwise known as the Davos crowd, is now talking of using the global crisis to push “The Great Reset.” These Platonic guardians wish to create global rules governing the world’s economy, energy, transportation, education, climate change, wealth redistribution, and the media.
In other words, a few anointed elites will seek to override local laws, referenda, and voting.
What do all these dystopian efforts have in common?
One, they are all top-down agendas. Otherwise, polls show average Americans are worried about the massive borrowing. They don’t like open borders. They fear government gaining new powers under the pretext of a pandemic.
Two, our elites are anti-democratic. They talk of forcing change down the throats of scared citizens by federal or state edicts, executive orders, court decisions, or bureaucratic new directives. Neither multimillionaires Obama, Newsom, and Clinton nor the Great Resetters want to put up their agendas for discussion and votes before the people and their elected legislative representatives.
Three, behind the fancy slogans like not wasting crises, “teachable moments,” and “resets” is the panic porn reality that these initiatives are not popular in normal times because they are mostly absurd and defy common sense.
If Americans tried Obama’s new economics with their own family budgets they would either go broke or go to jail—after piling up tens of thousands of unpaid debts. Only elites, with security guards and the money and influence to keep safe, talk of resetting or defunding the police. Few of the woke who fly their carbon-spewing jets into Davos ever fly economy class. Fewer have Obamacare health plans. None live near an open border.
Four, our rich revolutionaries have no record of policy success. So far, the left-wing reset of open borders, massive borrowing, increasing government powers of coercion, restrictions on personal freedom, higher taxes, and more regulations don’t appeal to Americans. Brexit and pushbacks against the European Union suggest the same is becoming true abroad.
Most of our familiar reset left-wingers—the Clintons, Newsom, and Obama—long ago became multimillionaires by monetizing their political careers through lucrative insider networking.
Yet a cynic might conclude they didn’t go full reset until as good capitalists they first got filthy rich—allowing them not to live like, think like—or listen to—the rest of us.
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Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Hanson is also a farmer (growing raisin grapes on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author most recently of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won and The Case for Trump.