Biden emerges as progressive government’s Mr Bad Example

Biden emerges as progressive government’s Mr Bad Example. By Gerard Baker.

Say what you will, but Joe Biden’s first year in office has one crowning achievement to its name. It has provided a real-time, data-rich, high-intensity and ultimately devastating case study in the defining conceit of progressive politics: the idea that government is the solution. Mr. Biden laid out this persistent delusion of all true-left believers when he gave a prime-time television address to the nation in March, on the first anniversary of the Covid lockdowns.

“Look, we know what we need to do to beat this virus,” he said: “Tell the truth. Follow the scientists and the science. Work together. Put trust and faith in our government to fulfil its most important function, which is protecting the American people.”

It was an instructive comment. There it was, every item of the progressive creed, every instinct of the liberal Democratic mind, laid bare.

Hubris: “We know what to do.”

The unchallengeable authority of technocratic bureaucracy: “Follow the scientists.”

The superior virtue of collectivism over individual enterprise: “Work together.”

Above all, that unerring belief in the capacity of government, which commands our “trust and faith.”

When the president made those remarks, 527,726 Covid-19 deaths had been reported in America. We know the number precisely because he told us, citing the card he said he carried with him every day. If he still has that card in his pocket, it will now register a number above 800,000. How can this be? Didn’t he say he knew what to do? Didn’t we just have to follow the science and trust the government?

Calling this out isn’t to blame Mr. Biden for those deaths as he blamed President Trump for a smaller number. It’s to make a wider philosophical point. The government’s ability to do much of anything useful, which is attenuated at the best of times, was overstated again and again by the president and his Democratic allies. …

The virus is the most visible refutation of progressive vanity this year, but by no means the only one. Those liberal geniuses who told us they could manage the economy like a well-honed machine have managed to create the highest inflation in nearly 40 years, eroding real wages and imperilling economic stability. The brilliant ideologues who run our cities have presided over a surge in violent crime that has reduced life for many residents to a real-life dystopia.

Those omniscient technocrats who know how to devise and implement a humane and functioning immigration policy have left us with a border in name only and chaos and lawlessness to accompany it. The strategic geniuses who told us “America is back” produced a debacle in Afghanistan whose full ramifications for US security we haven’t even begun to see. …

In short, the party that constantly seeks control over our lives is now governing — or failing to govern — a nation that is spinning wildly out of control.

Biden hardly seems the man to turn this around. And Harris is much worse. What a disaster.

hat-tip Stephen Neil