These seem to be New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's stock in trade. Her most recent was a fallacy-filled Instagram tirade about the racism inherent in the Electoral College. (AOC should read the works of the superb scholar and author Tara Ross.)
Ocasio-Cortez is not alone in fomenting public ire with false statements. On Aug. 9, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren — currently considered a frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination — tweeted the following statement: "5 years ago Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri."
This is an outright lie, and Warren — an attorney and law professor — knows it. Brown, a young black man, was shot and killed by a white police officer. But "homicide" is not synonymous with "murder," which requires deliberate intent to kill without provocation (and often premeditation). Not only did a grand jury refuse to indict the police officer in question; President Obama's Justice Department interviewed dozens of eyewitnesses and released a lengthy report that concluded, "there is no credible evidence that Wilson willfully shot Brown as he was attempting to surrender or was otherwise not posing a threat."
Another Democratic senator and presidential contender, Kamala Harris, breezily announced earlier this year that her preference would be to "eliminate" private insurance, in favor of "Medicare for All." Such a move would likely shutter nearly 1,000 companies and put 2.7 million people out of work. (Leftists' ignorant comments about business generally would fill a large number of books.)
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — another Democratic favorite for president — praised China this week for making "more progress in addressing extreme poverty than any country in the history of civilization." Sanders has a sad history of overlooking the methods of dictatorial regimes, so his support for China's "successes," notwithstanding its history of egregious human rights abuses, isn't out of character for him.
I could go on — and on — but you get the idea.
There are a lot of ignorant people in the world, and they pose very little threat in a general sense. But ignorant people with power pose a very serious threat indeed. Our founders knew it, and most Americans seem oblivious to it now.
It should concern us all that those clamoring for political power and economic control — in ever-larger amounts — display shocking ignorance about history, business, basic economics and American government.
It should also concern us that the institutions most responsible for the dissemination of information — news media, academia and tech mega-corporations — are determined to shut down voices that are sources of accurate information — particularly when those voices are conservative.
Our power grabbers are not only ignorant themselves; they want to make sure that the public is ignorant. Leftists in positions of power silence everyone they can, and they use every shred of what I call "propaganda" — "fake news," "white privilege," "institutional racism," "hate speech" — to shame or discredit those they cannot silence.
You would think Democrats would get this by now, but they don't. They loved it when President Obama used his pen and phone to do by executive fiat what Congress would not. But when President Trump does it, they're apoplectic. They loved getting rid of the filibuster for judicial nominees — until Republicans got control of the Senate and used it to confirm conservative judges. They loved it when five Supreme Court justices foisted their view of the law on the entire country — until those five were conservatives, as the scorched-earth campaign against Justice Kavanaugh's confirmation showed.
And they loved the Electoral College, too — until they didn't.
It used to be that even the most ignorant among us understood that the rules protect everyone. But now every famous ignoramus is howling that we have to change the rules.
What progressive Democrats want is raw political power, unfettered by any semblance of constitutional limitations. Too many Americans shrug their shoulders and think this has nothing to do with them.
Bunk. It has everything to do with you.
Those who think they should have the power to declare entire industries illegal, shutter thousands of companies and put millions of people out of work won't stop when it comes to your industry, your company or your job. The same people who say, "I do think at a certain point that you've made enough money" won't blink if given the chance to declare that it's unfair there are homeless while you have a two-story home; meanwhile, they purchase their third multimillion-dollar home and beachfront estate.
They won't bat an eye at pronouncing your pickup truck an impermissible contribution to global warming while they gallivant around the globe in private jets.
Perhaps we should worry that those who admire China's approach to the elimination of "extreme poverty" also curry favor with the abortion lobby. What will stop them from promoting policies that would limit your family size or punish you for having more children than they think prudent?
If you think these predictions can't possibly happen, or that today's successful power grabs won't fuel ambitions for even more control over every aspect of our lives, you are not paying attention.
Ignorance rewarded is ignorance expanded.
We have very little hope of educating anyone who thinks she's smarter than the founders who risked life and liberty to create this nation. Our strongest and best hope is to maintain the constitutional structure that limits the power of every political office, no matter who inhabits it. Playing the game by the left's rules — which is to say, acceding to unconstitutional power grabs and then hoping to retain control of the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court and the presidency — is only participating in the destruction of the country.
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Laura Hirschfeld Hollis is on the faculty at the University of Notre Dame, where she teaches courses in business law and entrepreneurship. She has received numerous awards for her teaching, research, community service and contributions to entrepreneurship education.