As a dues-paying member of Hillary Clinton's Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, it came as a revelation of sorts to learn about the parallel universe in which a Vast Left Wing Conspiracy exists. Within it, liberals do endless battle with one another for control of the Democrat Party.
Ron Arnold's book, "Freezing in the Dark: Money, Power, Politics and The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy", is not light reading. This heavily researched and documented narrative reveals all the major players of the liberal universe and how these renamed "progressives" interact through networks of wealthy foundations, advocacy groups, think tanks, and leftist media.
"Freezing" will particularly please policy wonks, but it is also a brilliant romp through the jungle of leftist politics. If you have the stamina to get into and through it, you will understand what drives the Left. To get you started, I will quote Winston Churchill who defined Socialism as "a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."
As I reached the end of "Freezing", I had a random thought about the 2008 election and its outcome. Simply put, Democrats who have been driven insane by the very existence of George W. Bush cannot run against him. In the funhouse of modern politics, the Republican they must defeat is more like them than not. John McCain is Democrat Light. One of his best pals is Joe Lieberman who ran as the vice president nominee with Al Gore!
Emerging swiftly from the text is the way the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Act transformed how politics was to be funded. Little wonder that Sen. Obama abandoned his pledge to work within the constraints of federal campaign funding in favor of raising gobs of money from the Internet and the traditional supporters of anything and anyone labeled liberal, progressive. Never mind that the Communist Party USA also supports Obama. It must surely be just a coincidence.
McCain-Feingold banned "soft money" donations, the large and unlimited contributions from individuals, unions, and corporations to political parties. This "reform" required Democrats to create a networking restructure with the many satellite groups competing to use the party to get the only reform they ever wanted, the trashing of the U.S. Constitution.
It's useful to remember that the Constitution exists to limit the power of the federal government and, via the Bill of Rights, those of the States to the extent that individual liberties are protected. This is why the liberalism discredited by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s has returned as a Halloween mask labeled "progressive."
Progressives, however, come in many colors of red. There are, as Arnold notes, social, labor, anti-globalization, anti-corporate, anti-capitalist, environmental, post-national who like Sen. Obama see themselves as citizens of the world, and campaign finance reform progressives who think that the current electoral system is a threat to democracy, mostly one suspects because it keeps defeating progressives.
As Arnold reveals, one can hardly call liberals or progressives a movement. "It was more like a mental hospital without doctors or nurses." They don't have a cohesive culture, have no coherent ideology, but are "just quarrelsome factions with loads of issues."
What they all seemed to have, however, was gobs and gobs of money from leftist foundations and millionaires who wanted to change the world by supporting one or more of the myriad of issues they embrace as their penance for being successful, thanks to capitalism.
The ultimate symbol of this is the billionaire George Soros. As Arnold points out, "The Soros mishmash of leftist causes at home ranged from financing the anti-gun lobby to abolishing capital punishment; from anti-Israel activism to promoting abortion rights; from feminism, population control, and gay liberation to anti-corporate campaigns, radical theories of education, and replacing national sovereignty with global institutions."
Compare this with conservative values that include "hard work, duty and obligation, self-reliance, high levels of national pride, pro-life values, rejection of homosexuality, belief in the importance of religion and God in one's life, and that children should learn respect and obedience."
Essential to the compact that the American government makes with citizens is the understanding that if you work hard and stay out of trouble with the law, it will leave you alone!
The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy believes that your life must be guided from birth to death by the government, its prohibitions, and its demands, a society in which everything not mandated by law is prohibited.
To achieve this, progressives come at voters from all directions, conjuring up hoaxes like global warming, promises of often imaginary "clean" energy, the demand to end "urban sprawl", the "right" of same-sex couples to marry, support for the United Nations, and endless charges of racism, among other charades to gain control of the federal government and its judiciary system in order to implement a top-down control of your life.
"Freezing in the Dark" is a roadmap to understand why we are assailed daily with the insanity of liberalism, an utterly failed system that depends on coercion while seeking to devalue the central principles of our constitutional system, from private property to individual merit and, yes, the promotion of wealth as a good thing.