National treasure Dr. Victor Davis Hanson recently drew some uncomfortable parallels between the US and the Soviet Union. Excerpt:
One day historians will look back at the period beginning with the COVID lockdowns of spring 2020 through the midterm elections of 2022 to understand how America for over two years lost its collective mind and turned into something unrecognizable and antithetical to its founding principles.
“Sovietization” is perhaps the best diagnosis of the pathology. It refers to the subordination of policy, expression, popular culture, and even thought to ideological mandates. Ultimately such regimentation destroys a state since dogma wars with and defeats meritocracy, creativity, and freedom.
Experts become sycophantic. They mortgage their experience and talent to ideology—to the point where society itself regresses.
The law is no longer blind and disinterested, but adjudicates indictment, prosecution, verdict, and punishment on the ideology of the accused. Eric Holder is held in contempt of Congress and smiles; Peter Navarro is held in contempt of Congress and is hauled off in cuffs and leg-irons. James Clapper and John Brennan lied under oath to Congress—and were rewarded with television contracts; Roger Stone did the same and a SWAT team showed up at his home. Andrew McCabe made false statements to federal investigators and was exempt. A set-up George Papadopoulos went to prison for a similar charge. So goes the new American commissariat.
Read especially Dr. Hanson’s comments on California; while reading, bear in mind that Dr. Hanson lives in California, comes from an old California family, and is describing the death of the home state he loves:
Examine California and ask a series of simple questions.
Why does the state that formerly served as a model to the nation regarding transportation now suffer inferior freeways while its multibillion-dollar high-speed rail project remains an utter boondoggle and failure?
Why was its safe and critically needed last-remaining nuclear power plant scheduled for shutdown (and only recently reversed) as the state faced summer brownouts?
Why did its forests go up in smoke predictably each summer, as its timber industry and the century-old science of forest management all but disappeared from the state?
Why do the state’s criminals so often evade indictment, and if convicted are often not incarcerated—or are quickly paroled?
Why are its schools’ test scores dismal, its gasoline the nation’s highest-priced, and the streets of its major cities fetid and dangerous—in a fashion not true 50 years ago or elsewhere today?
In a word, the one-party state is Sovietized. Public policy is no longer empirical but subservient to green, diversity, equity, and inclusion dogmas—and detached from the reality of daily middle-class existence. Decline is ensured once ideology governs problem-solving rather than time-tested and successful policymaking.
There used to be a saying in American politics: “As goes California, so goes the nation.” I’m hoping that has changed, but I’m a little skeptical; two of our kids still live just outside the Denver metro area, in spite of our exhortations to them to leave that now-declining state, and they report on Denver’s slide into California-like status: Needles on the streets, tent cities, a city government that seems helpless to deal with any of it.
Dr. Hanson’s observations can only make one very uncomfortable. He eloquently (more eloquently than I) describes the death of equal treatment under the law, and the dangers of one-party rule at the city and state level. And now, just this year, Democrat politicians in the Imperial City were pushing an “election reform” bill that was a transparent attempt to assure one-party rule for the nation. Fortunately, that bill went down in well-deserved flames. But don’t think for a moment that the Left has given up on this, and sooner or later, they’ll be in a position to do it.
We live in interesting times, my friends.