Tags: green new deal | socialism | democracy

A Tale of Two Millennials

A Tale of Two Millennials
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks as Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) (R) and other Congressional Democrats listen during a news conference in front of the U.S. Capitol February 7, 2019, in Washington, D.C. Sen. Markey and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez held a news conference to unveil their Green New Deal resolution. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Tuesday, 12 February 2019 10:48 AM Current | Bio | Archive

One of the great truisms in political life was articulated in several different forms by various 19th and 20th century commentators. The first was probably an obscure French Jurist, who remarked about one hundred and fifty years ago, that «Celui qui n’est pas républicain à vingt ans fait douter de la générosité de son âme; mais celui qui, après trente ans, persévère, fait douter de la rectitude de son esprit.» Freely translated, this means that anyone who is not a proponent of popular sovereignty at 25 makes us wonder about the generosity of his soul, but anyone who remains a democrat after the age of 30 makes us doubt whether he has any sense.

The statement is also variously attributed to Edmund Burke, Victor Hugo, King Oscar II of Sweden, George Bernard Shaw, François Guizot, Georges Clemenceau, Benjamin Disraeli, and Winston Churchill, and in its more common recent incarnation it is that, “Anyone who is not a Socialist at 20 has no heart, and anyone who remains a socialist at 30 has no head.”

Our media darling at the moment, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (“AOC”), is one of the great living embodiments of the wisdom of this aphorism. Just 29, and at an age when she should certainly know better, she remains a committed anti-capitalist, or as she calls it “democratic socialist.” She recently announced her support for what she and her fans call a “Green New Deal.”

A plan dazzling in its complexity and impossibility, it would require untold trillions in expenditures, and result in guaranteed incomes, housing, medical care, and college education for all at government expense. Even a glance at the plan is enough to understand that it makes Obamacare look modest, and would result, essentially, in replacing our still relatively free market with socialism, and probably bankrupting the nation. In his State of the Union address, President Trump emphatically made clear that socialism will never come to this nation founded on the principles of individual rights and private property. But this is not the view of many Democrats, nor their sycophantic media.

As an exceptionally telegenic young woman of Hispanic heritage, AOC commands a huge following, in spite of the essentially unworkable nature of her ideas. Socialism, of course, has never been implemented for long without creating a massive bureaucracy, loss of freedom, shortages of the essentials of life, and, on too many occasions, widespread terror and death.

It is a nice question why the brilliant African-American, Candace Owens, as telegenic as AOC, and the exact same age, has not had the same favorable media coverage. No doubt this is because Owens is a Trump supporter, is a critic of media favorites Black Lives Matter and the Democratic Party, and, as the Director of Communications at the conservative advocacy group Turning Point USA, she preaches a message of self-reliance, religious commitment, and even nationalism. She is a throwback to our framers, she is the precise opposite of a socialist, and, indeed, is taking a stand virtually identical to some great past and present African American conservatives, such as Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, and Frederick Douglass, all of whom advocated African-American self-reliance.

Owens’s message, rather similar to that of Kurt Schlichter, who replied in Townhall to AOC’s proposed program with his counter proposal, “Support your own damn self and leave me the hell alone,” is that African-Americans need to end their dependence on Democrats and their programs and take advantage of the economic opportunities this country now offers. This is, of course, the same point Frederick Douglass made in 1865, with regard to what the nation should do for the Black man. “All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!”

This advocacy of Black self-empowerment is a profound threat to Democrats like AOC, because if Republicans ever succeed in peeling away another 5 or 10 percent of the Black vote from Democrats, a Democrat may never again be elected president, as Owens understands. She has been a target of unremitting criticism from the mainstream media, which signals her arrival as an influential voice in Republican politics. Some prominent African-Americans have been listening to her and braving the expected firestorm from the left. Thus, successful entrepreneur and African-American icon Kanye West actually tweeted, "I love the way Candace Owens thinks.”

Given how much of a threat to Democrats Owens may be, it’s no surprise that the mainstream media has wrongly sought to portray her as a Nazi-sympathizer and worse. If Owens’s views prevail, as they should, eventually AOC and her ilk will be seen as the anachronistic, clueless, and pernicious threat to freedom they are.

Stephen B. Presser is the Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History Emeritus at Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law, the Legal Affairs Editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and a contributor to The University Bookman. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and has taught at Rutgers University, the University of Virginia, and University College, London. He has often testified on constitutional issues before committees of the United States Congress, and is the author of "Recapturing the Constitution: Race, Religion, and Abortion Reconsidered" (Regnery, 1994) and "Law Professsors: Three Centuries of Shaping American Law" (West Academic, 2017). Presser was recently appointed as a Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado's Boulder Campus for 2018-2019. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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One of the great truisms in political life was articulated in several different forms by various 19th and 20th century commentators.
green new deal, socialism, democracy
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2019-48-12
Tuesday, 12 February 2019 10:48 AM
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