As corporations have exercised their freedom of speech (i.e., by contributing to political campaigns), liberals claim that they have taken over the government, and in the process, placed our democracy in deep jeopardy. In response to this take-over, some liberals (such as Ed Steiner) are encouraging citizens to revolt to “take back our country and recover our democracy” (see here).
Steiner’s doubts, however, about corporate spending don’t appear to extend to those particular corporate forms that we know as labor unions. He also doesn’t appear to have any scruples about granting the media and politicians a virtual monopoly on political speech. And he raises no objections to the liberal propaganda that television writers now work into programs and commercials. So consistency of thought clearly is not one of his strengths.
The attack on corporations is hardly novel. Steiner’s column is straight out of the 1890s and the writings of progressives such as Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Herbert Croly. The progressives’ call for a more powerful central government, however, rested on the argument that conditions had changed since the American founding and that government must adapt to those changes.
Yet, here we are more than 100 years later, and liberals like Steiner are still making the same attack on corporations although social and economic conditions are significantly different today. For example, as a factual matter, corporations are fairly liberal and contribute to both political parties to hedge their bets. By their own logic, liberals’ message should have evolved, but they seem stuck in a time warp, clinging to outmoded ideas.
Steiner also invokes America’s founders in support of the big government agenda, which is odd because the founders created a form of government that explicitly limited the powers of the central authority. To point to them rather than Wilson and other writers of the progressive era to justify the expansion of government is outright deceptive.
But liberals seem to think that confounding the founders’ views with big government policies is a great way to advance their political agenda, despite the incoherence of their reasoning. Deception is the basic liberal tactic and, unfortunately, it may work. After all, it has worked before and will work again unless Americans finally wake up.