Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Leftist-Ideological Complex

The Military-Industrial Complex was President Eisenhower making an economic point in a military conetxt

..".  . vast bureaucracies of civil servants, no longer servants and no longer civil." (Winston Churchill)

In 1961 President Dwight Eisenhower warned of the danger of a military-industrial complex. This powerful public-private collaboration, he said, had the potential to exert unwarranted influence over America's democratic processes. A half-century later, there are still those on the left who cling to this fear. But it seems that Eisenhower's warning had its intended effect—and perhaps then some. In 1961 defense spending constituted 9.1 percent of the gross domestic product, and there were 2,483,000 uniformed military personnel. Today, defense spending is 3.2 percent of GDP and 1,390,000 men and women serve in the uniformed military. If this behemoth is threatening America's democratic processes, it is not doing so very successfully.

My own sidebar - Eisenhower didn't oppose massive military spending - his enemy in the Republican Party Robert Taft "was more liberal than me" when it came to domestic spending. Eisenhower in fact feared a welfare state - what Lyndon Johnson and a Democratic Congress wound up hoisting on the nation.

There is, however, another interlocking public-private collaboration that is at once more insidious, more powerful, and more straightforwardly partisan: the liberal ideological complex. We do not always see this collaboration so clearly, because we tend to view each aspect of it as unique and not part of a larger picture. We look, for example, at public sector unions as a labor issue. We look at funding for Planned Parenthood through the lens of abortion policy. We look at EPA regulations and grants in terms of global warming and job destruction. And so on and so forth, down to the smallest, most narrowly tailored grant awards of the federal government.

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