I just finished reading (the day before yesterday, in fact) Brett Baier’s new book, “Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission.” The core subject of the book is that brief transition of power between President Eisenhower and President Kennedy in January, 1961, and hones down even deeper to Ike’s farewell address to the nation just before he left office in which he warned the American people (and the president-elect) about the growing military-industrial complex. The Cold War and an arms race between the United States and Soviet Union was going full throttle by then, and President Eisenhower was trying to keep us balanced between strong national defense and runaway military spending. Also built into the novel is a loose biography of our (highly underrated) 34th president, who saw himself, even in retirement, as more of an Army general than former chief executive.
This is a fabulous book. Baier is an excellent writer, and the material was thoroughly researched. I first heard about Baier’s book a few weeks ago when he was a guest on the Rush Limbaugh Show. It is extremely rare for Rush to invite guests onto his show to talk about a book. It literally only occurs once every few years. So I figured it had to be a special book to warrant this level of attention from the Maha Rushie.
There is one quote from the book that I’m adding to this post, because it allows me to segue into some commentary on liberalism and the Democrat Party, and it’s a quote that serves as Baier’s interpretation of how President Eisenhower viewed Soviet communism:
But what was its appeal? He looked at the scene and saw an illusion where people were promised liberation at the expense of personal freedom; community at the expense of individuality. There was the myth of superiority grounded in a rickety economic system.
As I read this, my immediate reaction was, my gosh, this sounds a lot like liberalism in the 21st century.
There are two elements here that warrant explanation.
1). Liberalism promises liberation at the expense of personal freedom. In the end, you get neither.
For example, let’s look at ObamaCare. What does ObamaCare presume to offer? It’s not just health coverage, because ObamaCare isn’t just about health coverage. It’s about putting government in control of health care. And when government controls your health care, it controls YOU. With ObamaCare, liberals presume to offer a person liberation. Liberation from what? Liberation from the whims of free-market health care and greedy, heartless insurance companies. Liberation from being one hospital stay away from bankruptcy. You know the left’s arguments.
In the end, you lose personal freedom because government is now in control of your health care. But the liberation you were promised also proves elusive; since ObamaCare places enormous mandates on health insurers, competition is discouraged, premiums skyrocket, and on top of that, your deductibles are often so high that you end up paying thousands of dollars out-of-pocket before you ever get to use your health coverage. So instead of of liberation, you find yourself in bondage to government.
2). Liberalism promises community at the expense of individuality. In the end, you get neither.
This is particularly ironic since we just had a community organizer as our president for eight years. Yet we’re more divided as a nation now than we were before. Liberalism discourages individuality in the name of equality. But what liberalism ultimately produces is sameness, not by elevating those on the bottom, but by reducing everyone to the lowest common denominator. The only sense of community under liberalism is among homogeneous groups. This is because liberals drive a wedge between different groups by pitting one against the other, thus discouraging any sort of cross-group sense of community.
With liberals, it’s poor vs. rich, women vs. men, blacks vs. whites, gay BLT’s vs. homophobes, Muslims/jihadists vs. Islamophobes, transgenders vs. bathroom signs, etc. Each homogeneous group is united around one thing: victimhood. The left seeks to turn all these protected groups into victims. Most often, the victimhood is contrived, and the ones doing the victimizing are simply straw men created by the left. So with liberals, you lose your individuality, and really the only sense of community is among homogeneous groups united around a contrived grievance against made-up bogeymen.