The Unamerican Dream of the Government Class


So this is the narrative they’re going with:

In Wisconsin and around our country, the American Dream is under fierce attack. On Saturday, February 26, at noon local time, Rally to Save the American Dream is organizing rallies in front of every statehouse and in every major city to stand in solidarity with the people of Wisconsin. Please join your fellow union members, the AFL-CIO and other supporters for a rally at LA City Hall.

The fate of the American Dream, we are to understand, now depends entirely on the ability of government workers to get unionized and stay that way. I don’t throw around the word ‘unamerican’ casually. But what we have here is exactly what I predicted and feared — a successful attempt to mobilize the grassroots left around a category mistake. Liberals are now in a fateful position perhaps best described by Alan Wolfe, a man of the left, whose Future of Liberalism is more relevant today than it was when it hit shelves two years ago.

Wolfe denies that “Progressivism shares something in common with twentieth-century fascism,” yet he set this claim within a sobering critique: “The curse the state visits upon liberalism is Progressivism.” The “progressive urge,” he warns, “does constitute a warning for liberals that too much reliance on government to achieve its objectives can stand in tension with other long-established liberal values […].” What would Wolfe make of today’s spectacle — a left that not only relies on government but defines reliance on government as the essence of the American Dream? Even from the standpoint of liberalism, Wolfe’s critique suggests, what we have here is not its essence but its inversion — unamerican in the way 7Up once billed itself as the uncola.

There are 11 comments.

  1. ParisParamus Member

    Yeah, it’s a French “dream” Nauseating and scary.

    • #1
    • February 26, 2011, at 9:56 AM PDT
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  2. Profile Photo Member

    As the loathesome Donna Brazile says “What do you have against the working man?” – intimating that the only people who work are in unions. It implies that you are either in a union, or are a union boss or captain of industry, living to oppress workers. It’s a very strange mindset that is entirely closed to argument or reasoning.

    • #2
    • February 26, 2011, at 10:01 AM PDT
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  3. Patrick in Albuquerque Inactive

    Thank heaven for the election of 2010. We can be assured that for at least the next 22 months US taxpayers (or our children) won’t be required to bail out profligate states.

    But of course, taxpayers in individual states could raise their state taxes a’la IL.

    • #3
    • February 26, 2011, at 10:22 AM PDT
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  4. Charles Gordon Inactive
    James Poulos: So this is the narrative they’re going with:

    — unamerican in the way 7Up once billed itself as the uncola. ·

    They’ve also borrowed something else from 7up ads: remember “make 7up yours!”

    While their execution is at the level of 3rd generation clones, using Soviet-style historical revisionism, and early 20th century European syndicalism, they have added a new corollary to truisms about Europe and America:

    Europe has always been 10 year behind trying to catch up to America’s success in innovation; America is 100 years behind Europe now trying to catch up to its failure with socialism.

    • #4
    • February 26, 2011, at 10:39 AM PDT
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  5. Patrick in Albuquerque Inactive

    Another thing the unions are doing is attempting to compare/link/analogize Scott Walker’s actions to the excesses of Wall Street. I do wonder why conservatives have not spoken out forcefully to separate us from Wall Street. There are people still there who should be shamed at least and perhaps prosecuted. By not speaking out forcefully, we have ceded a storyline to the left.

    • #5
    • February 26, 2011, at 10:56 AM PDT
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  6. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    ParisParamus: Yeah, it’s a French “dream” Nauseating and scary. · Feb 26 at 8:56am

    My sentiments exactly. French university students dream of becoming functionnaires with tenured jobs, high pay, and fabulous benefits. It is no wonder that the country has had an unemployment rate oscillating between 8% and 12% for more than thirty years.

    • #6
    • February 26, 2011, at 11:09 AM PDT
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  7. Good Berean Inactive

    The problem is that long ago a segment of America traded the American Vision for the American Dream. The American Vision is the liberal idea of freedom of the individual balanced with the obligations necessary to extend those freedoms within society, undergirded by Republican virtues based on religion and morality. The American Dream is one of materialistic individualism guaranteed by a collectivist statism. By that definition, the American Dream is being challenged by the American Vision, and about time too!

    • #7
    • February 26, 2011, at 11:27 AM PDT
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  8. Ken Sweeney Inactive

    Glad to see linking to Ricochet and this James Poulos discussion!

    • #8
    • February 27, 2011, at 7:02 AM PDT
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  9. Nickolas Inactive

    So now American Dream is a lucrative government job, with superior and generous pension and health care benefits, funded by heavily taxing private sector workers, who will be increasingly forced to live lower-middle class lifestyles?

    Sounds more like a third world Socialist Banana Republic Dream.

    • #9
    • February 27, 2011, at 7:47 AM PDT
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  10. Profile Photo Member

    What the unions and recipients of their campaign contributions mysteriously fail to tell us is what it’ll cost to keep collective bargaining for government employees. After each “don’t take our rights!” is an implicit “we’ll send you the bill” that leftists count on everyone missing.

    I have faith that an overwhelming majority of Americans would take the free-market side of this argument if they spent 30 seconds looking at how government unions spend the money they demand from us. Ohioans, look no further:

    I have less faith that politicians – even GOP leaders, who have no reason to kowtow to public unions – will present the obvious case for repealing government employee collective bargaining. Governors Walker, Christie, and (fingers crossed!) Kasich excepted…

    • #10
    • February 27, 2011, at 12:18 PM PDT
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  11. Dan Holmes Inactive

    Two words: Animal Farm.

    • #11
    • February 28, 2011, at 1:01 AM PDT
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