Obama's Desire for Informants is SOP for Progressives

Beyond the obvious notion such a request from the White House would demonstrate why Obama wants a “Civilian National Security Force”, the reporting now sweeping across the ‘Net the White House is asking those supporting the administration’s Health Care Reform plan to inform on other Americans who do not is raising both questions and eyebrows.

The exact language of the article posted on the blog at WhiteHouse.gov reads:

There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to [email protected]

This request, posted on the official White House site no less, cannot help but raise questions. Why President Obama wants to know who disagrees with him is not a concern. Both sides of the political spectrum routinely subscribe to the other side’s emails and newsletters to keep up with what their opponents are doing. The interesting question is, given such material is already widely available to Democratic operatives, what is it the White House is looking to gain that they don’t already have? More disturbingly, what is it they intend to do with the information they obtain?

Perhaps the White House has a perfectly rational and logical explanation for their request. However, I must confess my first thought upon hearing of their interest in those opposing their position was the following excerpt from Jonah Goldberg’s book Liberal Fascism. Goldberg reminds us that today’s Liberals are not the first group of Liberals to call themselves Progressives. The Liberal Democrats of Woodrow Wilson’s day also went by that name. Today’s Progressives know that fact and are just fine with adopting the term “Progressive” to describe themselves.

Woodrow Wilson’s Progressives conceived and implemented several plans to silence and punish dissent and objection to the Government’s plans. Goldberg writes

Even as the government was churning out propaganda, it was silencing dissent. Wilson’s Sedition Act banned “uttering, printing, writing, or publishing any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the United States government or the military.” (Editor’s Note: I don’t know if “fishy” language would have been covered) The postmaster general was given the authority to deny mailing privileges to any publication he saw fit – effectively shutting it down. At least seventy-five periodicals were banned.

Then there was the inevitable progressive crackdown on individual civil liberties. Today’s liberals tend to complain about the McCarthy period as if it were the darkest moment in American history after slavery. … But nothing that happened under the mad reign of Joe McCarthy remotely compares with what Wilson and his fellow progressives foisted on America. Under the Espionage Act of June 1917 and the Sedition Act of May 1918, any criticism of the government, even in your own home, could earn you a prison sentence … In Wisconsin a state official got two and a half years for criticizing a Red Cross fund-raising drive. A Hollywood producer received a ten year stint in jail for making a film that depicted British troops committing atrocities during the American Revolution. One man was brought to trial for explaining in his own home why he didn’t want to buy Liberty Bonds”.

The Justice Department created its own quasi-official fascisti, known as the American Protective League, or APL. They were given badges – many of which read “Secret Service” – and charged with keeping an eye on their neighbors, co-workers, and friends. Used as private eyes by overzealous prosecutors in thousands of cases, they were furnished with ample government resources. The APL had an intelligence division, in which members were bound by oath not to reveal they were secret policemen. Members of the APL read their neighbor’s mail and listened in on their phones with government approval.

There’s more, but you get the point. I’m bright enough to know all this happened 90 years ago. But when in 2008 and 2009 a new group of liberal Democrats arises and boldly and proudly adopts the name Progressive, when their leader calls for a well funded and large Civilian National Security Force with little explanation why he chose that particular name and then proceeds to call for Americans on his side of an issue to tell him about other Americans who don’t share his values and principles – do you wonder why I might wonder just what in the world is going on?