What liberals desire

In a speech to a group of Iowa Democrats last weekend Vice President Biden said:

I believe with every fiber in my being with President Barack Obama’s leadership and capacity, we have a chance—we have a chance to bend history.

Gosh, I thought that American left-liberals were progressives who want to advance history toward its true fulfillment in a naturally ever-improving realm of equality, freedom, and peace. Now it turns out that they want to bend history. Maybe instead of calling themselves progressivists they should call themselves bendists.

Furthermore, it’s not just human history and society that liberals and leftists think they have the power to bend. As President Clinton said in his 1993 inaugural address:

My fellow citizens :

Today we celebrate the mystery of American renewal.

This ceremony is held in the depth of winter. But, by the words we speak and the faces we show the world, we force the spring. A spring reborn in the world’s oldest democracy, that brings forth the vision and courage to reinvent America.

When our founders boldly declared America’s independence to the world and our purposes to the Almighty, they knew that America, to endure, would have to change. Not change for change’s sake, but change to preserve America’s ideals; life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. Though we march to the music of our time, our mission is timeless. Each generation of Americans must define what it means to be an American.

Clinton uses “force the spring” as a metaphor for changing and redefining America. As he explains in true progressivist fashion, America has no essence, its only essence is to keep redefining itself. Human will is the master of all.

But Clinton’s strange and inappropriate image of “forcing the spring” reveals something deeper and more disturbed in the liberal mind than a desire to keep redefining one’s own society: a rebellion against the natural order itself, the belief that humans can change nature—can bend nature. Which, by the way, ideologically committed liberal scientists were apparently attempting to do by cooking the data on global warming. Forcing the spring indeed.

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Ken Hechtman, VFR’s leftist Canadian reader, writes:

Thanks for posting one of my favorites.

You can keep Obama’s “Yes We Can.” You can keep his “I came here because of Ashley.”

Bill Clinton’s first inaugural is still the best liberal speech of our time and the best American speech nobody knows anymore. It was also the high-water mark of his presidency, it was all downhill from there. But that’s another story.

The “spring” reference is very common on the left. After the most demoralizing defeats and setbacks, I can always count on someone in the room to say something like “They can cut down the flowers, but they can’t stop spring.”

LA replies:

But your example gets it all wrong. Clinton wasn’t saying that the spring comes naturally and can’t be stopped. He was saying that he and his fellow leftists could force the spring to come before its time. Your example is about man’s awareness of and conformity to the natural order. Clinton’s speech was about humans taking over and changing the natural order.

Ken Hecthtman replies:

You’re right, they’re clearly not consistent. The reason why is a bit counter-intuitive:

The hard left will talk in terms of the things they want being the natural and historically inevitable order. It’s the Marxist Dialectic thing. Before they talked about “spring,” the metaphor the hard left used was “the locomotive of history.” My communist grandfather used to use that one all the time. I think it comes from a Lenin quote.

Moderate liberals don’t believe in historical inevitability. They believe someone is making history every day. It’s either them doing it or the other guys doing it. They want it to be them.

So when Bill Clinton said he was “forcing spring” that was a liberal dog-whistle, not a Leninist one.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 28, 2009 10:54 AM | Send

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