As Students Stop Learning History, They Stop Recognizing Tyranny

As David Horowitz has said, the Left itself is a totalitarian movement. At first we didn’t understand specifically what he meant by that. Most leftists (i.e. “liberals”, “progressives”, the politically correct) we knew or knew of didn’t appear in any way to be totalitarians themselves. And many leftist organizations I’ve known over the years were mostly democratic in their operation. But over time we’ve learned more fully what Horowitz was getting at, and in stating this observation he was echoing the same viewpoint Austrian economist Friedrich A. Hayek had expressed in the mid-20th century: “Socialism can be put into practice only by methods of which most socialists disapprove”.

A similar way to phrase the idea is, Leftist movements tend over time towards totalitarian governing modelsHayek arrived at this realization from an economic perspective in early 20th century Central Europe. Horowitz arrived at the same conclusion through his activism as a political leftist in 1960s and ’70s America. The concept has been clear to some for many decades. For others it’s becoming clearer by the week in these more turbulent times of western politics and culture, namely: that leftist organizations, as if by some irresistible gravitational force, slowly but steadily repudiate the basic principles of free society, with Freedom of Speech being the usual first casualty.

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The U.S. Presidency has too much power – no matter who’s in the White House

Has anyone noticed how much “governing” Presidents Trump and Obama have done via Executive Orders instead of the proper way, via legislation initiated and approved by Congress? The scope of executive orders, unilateral presidential decrees over which Congress has no say, has been steadily growing the last two decades. Many people love it when their guy is in office and simply bypasses Congress by issuing an executive order when he can’t get them to do what he wants. But is that really the way a democratic republic works? Sounds more like rule by the whim of one man.

Such orders are only operative while the president who issued them is in office. They can sometimes be stopped or delayed by court actions, but that’s about where any arguments that favor them end. Not only are these proclamations the unfettered rule of a single man over a supposedly democratic nation, they can have a massive effect on the economic, cultural, military, educational, and legal landscape. And they can be completely reversed by the next president. All this makes for potentially rapid, unpredictable change for the entire country and uncertainty about the longevity of policy.

NBC news ran a worthwhile editorial early this year arguing that while executive orders by Our Guy feel good, they are a tool of tyranny.  Quartz wrote a similarly insightful article last year, identifying the danger as “the use of these orders as a work-around in policy areas where the president wants to do something, but only Congress has the authority to act”. What one might ask now is: with a president in office today who is less popular with his Congress than possibly all other recent presidents, why doesn’t Congress take advantage of this situation to strip or at least limit the presidency with regard to this gross abuse of executive power? Brandon Weichert explains how the founding fathers attempted in the constitution to diffuse power across multiple people, bodies, and branches for the very purpose of preventing the rule of the One Man.

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