A couple of nights ago, the celebrated author, lawyer, and talk show host Mark Levin took a busman’s honeymoon and joined Sean Hannity at Fox News to talk about the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations.
“Recommendations for what?” you ask. Why for “Combating The Climate Crisis And Pursuing Environmental Justice,” “Protecting Communities By Reforming Our Criminal Justice System,” “Building A Stronger, Fairer Economy,” and so on, and so on.
Of all the strange political platforms you have ever read, I reckon this is the strangest.
Even stranger is the fact that it has been proposed not by a double major in Gender Studies and Climate Change at a tony college or university but by two Important People, one of whom is the Democratic candidate for president, the other who seems to be the ideas man behind the empty shell that is the Democratic candidate. (There is actually some poetic justice in the fact that Bernie Sanders, the man who could never be president, may live to see his radical ideas put to work in America. “Poetic justice” for the Democratic establishment, that is, mere disaster for the rest of us.)
There are other strange things about the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations (if I were writing in German, by the way, I would have translated “Unity” as Gleichschaltung—the name for the system of coordination by which Nazi control was established throughout German society).
Mark Levin zeroed in on an important oddity in his discussion with Sean Hannity. “Nobody is discussing [the manifesto],” he said. “No newsroom read it. It’s not discussed at the Democratic National Convention.”
It should be discussed. It should occupy the front pages and the editorial pages of every newspaper in the country. Because the Biden-Sanders Task Force Recommendations is not only the strangest real-life political platform put forward in the United States, it is also the scariest.
But what is the burden of the document? Levin cuts to the chase: “It’s 110 pages … [about] how they will destroy your country.” Should the Democrats win, he warned, “everything about your country is going to change for the worse. America will not look like America again. We’ve tried these failed experiments throughout Europe, we’ve tried them throughout the Third World. You get poverty, you get dislocation, you get massive inequality, you get a police state. That’s what they stand for. That’s it.”
I think Levin is right. The Biden-Sanders document deploys the usual bureaucratese in describing its aims. “We can and must build a thriving, equitable, and globally competitive clean energy economy that puts workers and communities first and leaves no one behind.”
Okee-doke. “Thriving” is a nice word. We all want our country to be “thriving.” The same goes for those other emollient words and phrases: “Equitable,” for example. There is a common sense of that word that we all applaud, captured by talk of “equality of opportunity” (as distinct from “equality of outcome”). Ditto for being “globally competitive,” and so on, and so on.
But how do we do all that, Comrade? There’s the rub, for it turns out that these abstractions are empty semantic vessels which mean different things depending on who fills them.
What, for example, do you think of when you hear the phrase “clean energy”? The authors of this document, invoking the authority of “scientists and public health experts,” demand that the United States “achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, and no later than 2050.”
Think about what that would mean. “Net-zero greenhouse gas emissions” and “as soon as possible.”
Under President Trump, the United States became energy independent and, indeed, became a net-exporter of energy. That was a huge boost to American and indeed world prosperity. Energy = prosperity. What the world needs, as the energy expert Robert Bryce once observed, is cheap, abundant energy. Period. Full stop. End of discussion.
The Biden-Sanders plan would happily scrap all that: “Democrats commit to eliminating carbon pollution from power plants by 2035 … through technology-neutral standards for clean energy and energy efficiency. Within five years, we will install 500 million solar panels, including eight million solar roofs and community solar energy systems, and 60,000 made-in-America wind turbines.”
And that’s only the beginning. They also want to retrofit two million low-income households with solar panels at taxpayer expense, and eventually end the use of oil, gas, and coal, entirely. Like the brownouts and blackouts in California? Get ready to have them as a nationwide feature.
And there’s more, much more. They want to gut the power of the police, thereby assuring more crime.
The plan proposes a sharp increase in the corporate tax rate, thereby assuring that American businesses will be less competitive on the world stage.
They propose a huge expansion in public-sector unions, thereby assuring that the symbiotic relationship between those unions and the Democratic party continues.
They propose a nationwide minimum wage of $15 per hour, thereby assuring that many more employees will find themselves out of work.
Recently, President Trump has made progress at rescuing the suburbs from Obama’s attack on local zoning rules. They want to reverse all that, making the suburbs look as much like the inner city as possible.
In order to effect the kind of wealth redistribution Dems dream about (for others, mind you, not for themselves), the plan calls for a radical overhaul of the tax code “to be more progressive.”
“A guiding principle across our tax agenda is that the wealthiest Americans can shoulder more of the tax burden, including in particular by making investors pay the same tax rates as workers and bringing an end to expensive and unproductive tax loopholes.” Who would doubt it?
Greed for Power
I hope everyone will take time to peruse this document. As I say, it is written in the abstract argot forever favored by apparatchiks. But its import is as toxic as a poisoned-tipped sword.
This is language of the modern totalitarian, greedy for power, greedy to destroy individual liberty and human thriving for the sake of imposing their abstract idea of equality on a genuinely diverse and multifaceted country.
Among other things it is a profound rejection of the wisdom of the Founders. In “Federalist” 10, James Madison noted that differences in possession of property arise from “the diversity of the faculties of men.” This diversity is “an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests,” that is, the imposition of a one-size-fits-all equality. Hence the protection of these faculties, Madison wrote, is “the first object of government.”
The Biden-Sanders plan is a frontal assault on private property and everything that Madison and his colleagues labored to protect. Mark Levin is right. Should Biden be elected, the people who would govern in his name would destroy America as we know it.
Roger Kimball is the editor and publisher of The New Criterion and publisher of Encounter Books. His most recent book is “The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.