Mr. Carville's America
Recently, James Carville set up shop on the Internet to discredit
Dan Burton, chairman of the House Committee on Reform and Government
Oversight. He must have needed some diversion between bouts of beating
up on Kenneth Starr - an activity now resumed in the light of recent
Supreme Court decisions. Since Mr. Carville spares no effort to
"educate and inform" America, perhaps America ought to
be educated and informed about Mr. Carville.
The logical source is his book We're Right, They're Wrong, written
as campaign literature for the 1996 elections. But Mr. Carville
reveals greater ambitions. One of these is to take on Ronald Reagan.
The other: to put his entire philosophy on display.
Mr. Carville sees this world divided "between people who believe
that education, training, work and opportunity" - which , he
claims, come from government programs - "are the essential
ingredients to building a stronger and more prosperous nation; and
people who don't." He holds that work and training for work
"are the values that built this country." He disapproves
of "lectures from selfish airheads about the way the country
was founded and what the Constitution really means." Among
his listed principles we find: "...each and every group that
resides [in the] United States, must have a chance to live a safe
and comfortable life." For him "The concept of progressive
taxation...is nonnegotiable." This above all: "Promoting
work and training for work should be the first domestic priority
of government." Indeed, emphatic notice is served early in
the book that "...the most sacred thing you can render in this
world is your labor."
Such pointed references to labor or work make one curious. Mr.
Carville does not reveal the origins of his thinking. He pays homage
to his mother - "Miss Nippy" - and most often he quotes
Robert Reich, then Secretary of Labor (here's that word again),
but there had to be more. Where?
Unexpectedly, the word popped up in a documentary about the Third
Reich, atop a cast-iron gate: "Labor makes Free!" Perhaps
Mr. Carville is not aware of this connection. He ought to be. If
one follows the branches, they lead to the root. Eventually, via
the original Program of the National Socialist German Workers' Party,
we arrive at Marx's Manifesto of the Communist Party. There, in
second place, right after "The Confiscation of all Real Property"
is the progressive income tax both Karl Marx and Mr. Carville hold
"nonnegotiable." (Clinton's "School-to-Work"
is No.10 on Marx's list.)
Yet, I am not suggesting that Mr. Carville is a Marxist, even though
he uses the rhetoric of class warfare and adopts many of the ideas.
I think Mr. Carville might be confused. For example, he encounters
a number of challenges in his use of the word "we." Mr.
Carville is a professional political consultant, yet he talks down
others in that occupation. Then he writes, "...the vast majority
of us are going nowhere...," yet he boasts about the "enormous
amount of money" he gets for speeches. He states that "The
Reagan years were a god-awful disaster" [his italics] then
tells us "We won the Cold War." Since this "we"
is unlikely to imply President Reagan, is Mr. Gorbachev his partner
I do not believe Mr. Carville is a Marxist because he speaks with
great warmth and nostalgia about the decades following World War
II when this nation experienced "an unbelievable cycle of prosperity,"
when "we talked about the same things, we went to the same
schools, we shared the same experiences," when families were
families, when health care was affordable and we were on the way
to serious progress in race relations. He correctly identifies the
time - the late 1960's - when the tragic reversal occurred in every
one of these areas. But while he mourns the loss, he cannot see
the reasons. As for remedies, spending more money on more government
programs is all he can recommend.
Mr. Carville is among the many who suffer from Compartmentalized
Brain Syndrome, CBS for short. Information is received in various
compartments of the brain, but traffic between them is suspended.
The sufferer is prevented from making logical associations, such
as the massive intervention of the Great Society programs that arrested
the "unbelievable cycle of prosperity;" the advent of
multi-culturalism that destroyed our schools; the wholesale assault
on the family by judicial activism; the effect of Medicare on health
care costs; and the betrayal by affirmative action of people's genuine
desire for integration.
The result is that Mr. Carville mistakes education, training, work
and government-sponsored opportunity for the corner stones of a
strong nation. But such statements merely confirm insufficient familiarity
with history, which Mr. Carville describes as "mumbo jumbo."
He does mention the Founding Fathers, however. Were he to pursue
that course of inquiry, he would discover that which truly distinguished
this nation from others. Above all, it was the rule of law. It was
the right to acquire and hold property. It was government by the
consent of the governed. It was freedom and individual rights. The
Founders said nothing about groups. They said nothing about income
tax, progressive or otherwise. What they did say is there for all
to see in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the
The Founders knew about morality. Mr. Carville, too, worries about
morality and concedes that, in order to reconstitute the family,
we might have to do a certain amount of preaching. But, he says,
there must be "a positive way to do this. We should have figured
that out long ago."
We have, Mr. Carville. It is called the Ten Commandments.