DANIEL GREENFIELD: BEHIND THE DEMOCRACY INITIATIVE
When is a conspiracy, not a conspiracy?
Like the answer to Sir John Harington’s famous epigram, “Treason doth never prosper,” a conspiracy isn’t a conspiracy when it has proven to be successful. Then it’s no longer conspiracy; it’s authority.
The now mostly-digital pages of the New York Times, Time, Newsweek and the Washington Post regularly host exposés of the latest outbreak of the vast right-wing conspiracy. A conspiracy against whom? Against the authority of the left.
When the left conspires together, it can hardly get the media to cover the event, for the same reason that few reporters really like to sit through government meetings. There is no reason to report on a conspiracy by those who are already running things, especially when the writers are on their side.
The left has done its best to get its new Democracy Initiative covered with a splashy press release, masquerading as an investigative report, in Mother Jones magazine. But the only ones who showed any interest in mentioning it were the two Ed’s; a blogger for MSNBC’s looniest talk show host (it’s quite a competition) Ed Schultz and Ed Kilgore of the Washington Monthly.
Like most things that the left does with the word “democracy” in the title, the Democracy Initiative is not democratic. Not unless you consider the leaders of a small number of powerful organizations conspiring to subvert democracy to be democratic. But unlike the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, there is at least one accurate word in its name; it is an initiative.
The Democracy Initiative was assembled by the heads of Greenpeace, the NAACP, the Sierra Club and the Communication Workers of America; groups that have little in common aside from serving as tentacles of the left. As in the unforgettable conclusion to Animal Farm, meetings such as these allow the bosses to take a break from the pretense that they represent a separate constituency or cause, and kick back as members of the same movement with the same agenda. And the agenda isn’t really the environment or women’s rights or workers’ rights; it’s power.
The Democracy Initiative assembles a grab bag of the left’s biggest and richest front groups, tying together environmental, feminist, ethnic and union groups in a shotgun marriage, with the shotgun pointed in the direction of the American people. Some groups have the membership, whether it is of the forced kind (AFL-CIO) or the imaginary kind (NAACP), while others, like the Center for American Progress, a George Soros joint, have the piles of cash.
Their plan is to get the money out of politics. Not their money, naturally, but other people’s money, by harnessing their own money, harvested forcibly through compulsory unionization or from suckers who think that they’re funding the environment or women’s rights, and from the corrupt billionaires behind groups such as the Center for American Progress, for maximum political influence.
Every time liberal bigwigs talk about getting the money out of politics, it’s as if a gang of whiskey barons were talking about outlawing liquor, while getting blind drunk around the table with friendly lawmakers. The agenda for an initiative of organizations funded by billionaires includes challenging the political spending of a millionaire in North Carolina. It’s exactly like David and Goliath, if Goliath were a liberal.
Matthew Continetti, at Free Beacon, has noted that the total revenues of the groups participating in the Democracy Initiative comes out to 1.69 billion dollars. By comparison, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a leading target of the Democracy Initiative, weighs in at around 6 million dollars in revenues. There could hardly be a clearer picture of a conservative David and a liberal Goliath clamoring to take the slingshots and pebbles out of politics.
The pesky conservative David is writing bills for horrible things like school choice and Voter ID. Choice is fine when it means the choice to kill kids, just not when it means the choice of how to educate the kids who haven’t been killed. And once the Voter ID gates come down, the initiative can put the full organizing power of the left to use by maximizing the voting power of the voting dead, who like most of the NAACP’s membership, don’t actually exist.
Then of course there is the filibuster. You can’t possibly have democracy without trashing the democratic system when it’s to your advantage. Liberals were willing to fight to the death for the filibuster back before they took the Senate. Now that they have the Senate, the filibuster is one of those things that need to be done away with… like the millionaires who stand in the way of their billionaires.
The filibuster, like money in politics, and like any other angle of the left, is not an absolute but a variable, a token to be traded in for power. It’s good when it serves the interests of the left and bad when it stops them from doing what they want.
To the left every single institution and rule, from executive authority to judicial review, vary according to their usefulness to them at any given moment. That is why the left rejects a formal Constitution and instead prefers a Living Constitution that can be adapted to its agenda in new and contradictory ways at any given time.
The Democracy Initiative, another democratic movement of liberal billionaires and their NGO errand boys, is out to reshape American government in ways that fit their agenda right now. Their network of organizations can come apart and come together again like a cluster of cells, a living metaphor for the ethical flexibility of the entire movement, which has no permanence aside from reshaping itself constantly to accommodate its long term agendas.
The left is a lie that it tells itself. It is a populist democratic movement of billionaires that wants to restore ethics to politics by breaking all the rules and raising billions to end the influence of big money on politics. It is a conspiracy of secretive organizations with hidden donors to fight the influence of secretive organizations with hidden donors on politics.
It is a righteous alliance of the wealthiest men in the country seeking to break the influence of less wealthy men. Mostly though it’s the left doing what it has always done: building networks of influence, recruiting dupes and fellow travelers, and preparing for a revolution that will deprive everyone, but them, of everything, including democracy.
That is the eternal initiative of the left. It is the only one that counts.
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