Where Have All the Liberals Gone?

December 2, 2021 Updated: December 2, 2021

Commentary

Peter Seeger poignantly asked, “Where have all the flowers gone?” I ask, instead, where have all the liberals gone?

Have you noticed? There are no longer any of them out there. They’ve been replaced by “progressives” (actually, regressives, but that’s another matter). You can also seek, but in vain, any affirmative action programs. All have disappeared. And what do we have in place in these once-upon-a-time vaunted initiatives? Why, we’re now stuck with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion philosophy.

Similarly, while plain old ordinary “racism” was once the scourge of the land, infecting the body politic and economic, it, too, has faded away. Has bigotry disappeared? Not a bit of it. Instead, there’s “systemic racism” and “white supremacy” now haunting us.

In like manner, there are no longer any retrogressing countries; they’re now, miraculously, all happily, “developing.” There are no longer any “swamps,” which we could revile. They’ve been replaced by “wetlands,” which require obeisance. Nor are there any more “bums” making a nuisance of themselves. They’ve given way to the “homeless” who’ve been invested with a certain nobility. The “differently abled” have supplanted the disabled.

At one time in our history, there were only negative rights: the right not to be murdered, not to be raped, not to be stolen from, not to be kidnapped; these required, only, that marauders refrain from their evil ways. Now, thanks to the brilliance of leftist legerdemain, there are all sorts of positive “rights”: the right to food, the right to clothing, the right to shelter, the right to compel others to bake cakes for us against their will. These mandate that the negative rights of others be abrogated.

What’s going on here?

It’s a combination of things. People are getting entirely sick and tired of being “cancelled” for uttering such “micro-aggressions” as “All lives matter.” Of course black lives matter. But so do the lives of those with every other hued skin color. All life is precious.

The Omicron virus variant is now more than in the offing. We shall need to mobilize all the talent we can to defeat this new variety of the COVID plague. But people are self-censoring themselves from uttering “insults” such as “the most skilled person should get the job.” Do we want the laboratories of the nation to “look like America” or do we want to beat back this disease? As the recent gubernatorial vote in Virginia, and New Jersey, too, shows, people are starting to sit up and take notice that those responsible for all these attacks on common sense are liberals. Hence, they’ve gone into hiding.

Another explanation for our own cultural revolution is that our friends on the left are masters (uh, oh, this word may not any longer be acceptable) of language. They know full well that if we’re prevented from some linguistic norms, it becomes more difficult to think in certain directions. We’ll be diverted into embracing other thought directions.

Then there’s good old plain magical thinking. Hey, if we say that that poverty-stricken countries are “developing” long and hard enough, well, that will enable them to do so. At least, it will give them a boost in that direction. Affirmative action has made people doubt the credentials of those who “benefited” from it? Well, let’s just call this something else, and that debacle will go away.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Walter Block
Walter E. Block is the chair in economics at Loyola University in New Orleans. He is also an adjunct scholar at the Mises Institute and the Hoover Institute.