Any difference?In 1988, in one of the presidential debates against Michael Dukakis, George H. W. Bush disparaged “liberals”. The next day the  Mass Media celebrated what they regarded a a fatal gaffe by Bush, using “liberals” as a derogatory term. Much to their surprise, the public agreed with Bush and that agreement grew in the 90s to the extent that labeling something “liberal” hurt the cause to which was attached. I believed that was the reason “progressive” started appearing in contexts where we previously had seen “liberal.” I did my due diligence and asked Google: “What is the difference between  liberal and progressive?” The search turned up varying responses.  Instructive was  a discussion of classical liberalism [think Edmond Burke] and progressive liberalism. By definition, the state is effectively a legal monopoly on the use of force. No private individual, business, or organization can compel anyone to do anything against their will, but the state can. Classical liberals consequently see the state as, at best, a necessary evil whose coercive powers should be utilized as infrequently as possible. In stark contrast, progressive liberals believe in utilizing the state frequently and extensively as a means to force society to change in accordance with egalitarian principles.….When Christian bakers in Oregon refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple because it violated their religious beliefs, they were sued and forced to pay $135,000 in compensation …progressive liberals…  celebrated. In their minds, forcing people to act in accordance with their social justice ideology is perfectly fine, and not doing so actually constitutes a crime….  consider freedom of speech. While classical liberals will denounce racists but nonetheless support their right to speak, progressives have become increasingly supportive of using the government to censor opinions they disapprove of. The majority of democrats, for example, now support a law which would make hate speech a punishable crime … In nearly every case, progressive liberals are more likely to support using the coercive power of the state to force society to be structured according to their will, and yet somehow they see themselves as good and just for doing so…. One source put it this way:There is a fundamental difference when it comes to core economic issues…It seems to me that traditional ‘liberals’ in our current parlance are those who focus on using taxpayer money to help better society. A ‘progressive’ are [sic] those who focus on using government power to make large institutions play by a set of rules.” Some hold  a progressive is even more Left than a liberal. In 2016 terms, to them, a liberal is for Hillary; a progressive is for Bernie. Generally, however, most Democrats make no distinction between the two words. So I stay with Progressive/Liberal [P/L] as one category.  P/L positions have dominated the Mass Media. Alternate news sources regularly pointed out the hypocrisy in the positions.  A sampling: -Obama who served part of one term in the Senate had the experience to be president, Quayle who served multiple terms in the House and Senate was too inexperienced to be vice president;-Occupy Wall Street protesters vandalizing private property are heroes,  pro-life protesters are harassers and potentially violent extremists;-allowing responsible adults to own guns will cause additional gun violence, giving condoms to teenagers will not encourage premarital sex;-destroying an eagle’s egg should be and is a felony, killing a baby in utero is and should be legal and taxpayers should be  forced to pay for the killing;-oil companies that make 8.3 cents profit on every gallon of gas are greedy, the government is entitled to 13 cents on every gallon of gas;Heather Has Two Mommies is appropriate reading for grammar school children, the Bible is not, Election resultsOne would think that the election results would have prompted P/L self- examination of their positions. Some lamented “smugness”:The Daily Show, [was]a program that more than any other thing advanced the idea that liberal orthodoxy was a kind of educated savvy and that its opponents were, before anything else, stupid. Unable to countenance the real causes of their collapse, they will comfort with own impotence by shouting, “Idiots!” again and again, angrier and angrier, the handmaidens of their own destruction. The knowing know that police reform, that abortion rights, that labor unions are important, but go no further: What is important, after all, is to signal that you know these things. What is important is to launch links and mockery at those who don’t. The Good Facts are enough: Anybody who fails to capitulate to them is part of the Problem, is terminally uncool.  and 

The even larger problem is that there is a kind of chronic complacency that has been rotting American liberalism for years, a hubris that tells Democrats they need do nothing different, they need deliver nothing really to anyone – except their friends on the Google jet and those nice people at Goldman.


Paul Krugman, at The New York Times, wrote that he  “truly didn’t understand the country we live in.”

 Something similar was said by Chris Matthews some years back. Stunned that Republicans had dominated election results in mid-America, he exclaimed that perhaps we  [the Mass Media] should cover “fly-over country” as if it were a foreign country.  Indeed, it was, and apparently still is, foreign to Matthews and his P/L colleagues.

Unfortunately, self criticism was not the path chosen by  the majority P/L. And the Mass Media continues its propaganda role with daily headlines claiming one “turmoil” after another in the Trump transition. Several grains of salt, please.  And, of course, the P/L standby – when all else fails:  Riot!  P/L protestsNo doubt, you were as appalled as I at videos of riots occurring throughout the United States in protest of Trump’s election. The Mass Media  were torn; they love to show  pictures of riots allegedly in support of P/L values, witness the coverage of Ferguson even when it it was proven the  “hands up don’t shoot” was a lie. Here the P/L agenda item was denigrating Trump  but reporters seemed embarrassed having to warn viewers of the obscenities incessantly screamed by the  protesters. The irony: protesters waved signs decrying violence [e.g. UNITED AGAINST HATE”] while they burned cars, yelled obscenities about Trump, set fire to American flags,  threatened to kill Trump, and urged the rape of Trump’s wife! Did any reporter covering the riots  mention that conservatives did not take to the streets in 2008 or 2012 when Obama won?Not a chance. Did any reporter opine that, had Hillary won,  there would be no conservatives rioting. Not  a chance.  While numerous other sources published it,  the Mass Media could not find airtime for this video.It shows a group of black men pulling an older white man from his car, screaming that the man had voted for Trump. They kicked him, punched him, robbed him and stole his car. The Mass Media cannot be trusted to report facts that conflict with their agenda. [Archive Issue 11] Some justice? The rioters lost supporters for their cause as they tied up traffic. causing working people hours delay in getting home for dinner with their families. Grief counselorsAnother P/L phenomenon!  As the Trump victory became plain, university after university “comforted” their students, offering  grief counselors to help them overcome the terrible trauma they suffered because Trump was elected president. Here’s a typical example  I received from a friend. This communication was sent to students at a Catholic college in Los Angeles:In an effort to support students at this difficult time we are offering spaces for community and dialogue on both campuses today (see flyer below). Please encourage your students to attend. Dr. .. and Dr. …. from History/Political Science will be there to help moderate. Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) and Campus Ministry as well as other staff and faculty will also be on hand at both locations should students need additional support.For those who do not wish to speak openly we also have blank poster paper available in the following locations on each campus for students to express themselves. Would there had been such an announcement if Hillary had won? Not a chance. How did we get  to this bizarre slant to current events?  Much can be attributed to the indoctrination and dumbing down of students in the education system. Schools allow students to shout down conservative speakers or the schools bar such speakers. Conservatives are more likely to be targeted for ‘disinvitation’  and schools with the highest number of ‘disinvitation’ incidents also maintain severely speech-restrictive policies. Ordinary words become “microagressions.” Conservative students expressing opinions are labeled racist, homophobic xenophobic, etc. “Safe spaces” are created so students will not be offended by speech disagreeing with the P/L.    [Archive Issue 18]


Nor are students protected from violent protesters. At Dartmouth, students chanting “Black Lives Matter”… harassed other students studying in the library. One girl was assaulted and called a “filthy white b?-?-?-?h.”  Chants included: “F?-?-?k you, you filthy white f?-?-?ks!”  


Dartmouth’s Vice Provost  apologized, not to the studying students, but to the attackers! “I’m very, very sorry that you feel this way. We don’t want you to have this experience here. …  the protest was a wonderful, beautiful thing.” [Emphasis added.]



Merits v. Ad Hominem AttacksIt has been my experience [perhaps yours as well?] that most P/L discussions on the merits of issues result in a patterned outcome.  The P/L  makes an assertion and a response is made with the fact or facts demonstrating its invalidity. Example:  in support of abortion – assertion:  a woman has a right to control her own body. Response: true –  the woman can control her body so she does not get pregnant. Once she is pregnant, ultra sound photos show the existence of the fetus, another body. What of that body’s rights, what of the father’s rights? The P/L: silence. [Archive Issue 4] Another example: assertion – deporting illegal immigrants who have had children in this country is wrong; it is inhumane to split up families.  Response: no split up necessary, the children can go with their parents, who knew the risks when they came here. The P/L: silence. [Archive Issues 9 & 10] At this point,  the P/L may change the subject to a different topic and the same exchange occurs: assertion/contrary fact/silence. Eventually, they move to the 2nd step, avoid the merits of the issue and make an ad hominem attack. Ad hominem arguments attack someone personally [as to motive, character, education, age, mental ability] as a means of discrediting his/her position without having to demonstrate that the position is wrong. If the argument had no merit, the effective [and logical] response would be to show that. The tactic is simply an attempted distraction and a logical fallacy. Saul Bellow’s son Adam was an editor at Harper Collins when he wrote:The Left has always demonized conservatives… Those who cannot win an argument often fall back on ad hominem attacks. … Those who dissent from the prevailing liberal dogma are quickly branded as extremists and declared to be bad people. Do you support the traditional view of marriage? You’re a homophobe who wants to deny equal rights to gay Americans.  … Do you believe a human fetus has legal and natural rights? You are a misogynist who wants to control women’s bodies. …Do you oppose any aspect of Barack Obama’s transformative agenda for America? You’re a racist, racist, racist!” Recent illustration: Donald Trump after 50 years of intense public exposure was never called “racist” by the Mass Media until he ran against the P/L . [Archive 11] Sharyl Attkinsson, an award winning investigative journalist, in her book STONEWALLED described ad hominem attacks upon her when she did not conform to P/L agenda. She details tactics designed to  distract so as to avoid addressing the merits of a subject.  Well worth reading. Just a few days ago, a friend emailed:…I’ve gotten some emails sent to me from the left … zero reflection on why they lost to a guy who was badly outspent, had no real campaign organization, had no ground game in the crucial swing states that I know of, was disavowed by many of the leaders in his own party, and was ridiculed non-stop by the most popular celebrities and the mainstream media… their conclusion: racism is to blame… no other possibility… and if anybody suggests another possibility, the response is to silence him by any means necessary…some of them are ready for war… that’s not an exaggeration… we averted certain catastrophe Tuesday, but I can only see things getting uglier and uglier, if our side doesn’t roll over as the opposition has grown used to seeing.  These are totalitarian tactics common to the Nazis and the Stalinists. Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Vol 1,ChX [1] described the big lie and Goebbels summed it up: If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it and you will even come to believe it yourself. The Popular Vote I tuned in recently to a Neil Cavuto TV  broadcast and caught a panel discussing the election. The designated P/L in the group complained that the result was unfair because Hillary “won”the popular vote and demanded the system be changed.  Cavuto asked him if he would say the same had Hillary won with Trump getting the popular vote. The man did not answer the question but went on to another contention.  Cavuto stopped him, pointing  out that he had not answered the question and asked it again.  Again the man ignored it and  went to another point. After the 3rd time asking the question and getting no answer,  Cavuto smiled and moved on. Of course, Hillary would win the popular vote. The wonder was that Trump overcame the advantages possessed by the democrat candidate.  First, she had legal bribery going for her. As black economist, Walter Williams trenchantly pointed out:“People who pay little or no income taxes become natural constituents for big-spending politicians. After all, if you pay no income taxes, what do you care if income taxes are raised? Also, you won’t be enthusiastic about tax cuts; you’ll see them as a threat to your handouts.”[Archive Issue 12] And second, she had the benefit of massive voter fraud.  [Archive Issue 13] In New York,  Alan Schulkin, the commissioner of the  Board of Elections, was caught on camera  at a teacher’s union party admitting that New York City had widespread voter fraud. Billionaire George Soros gave millions to radical organizations to conduct get-out-the-vote drives in areas with large populations of illegal immigrants. In Virginia, an investigation revealed that thousands of noncitizens and felons were on the voter rolls prior to Nov. 8. In April, Clinton ally Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe gave a mass pardon to allow 60,000 felons to vote, sending each a letter along with voter registration forms with prepaid return postage.  In four  Pennsylvania counties,  people reported that voting machines had turned their votes for Donald Trump into votes for Mrs. Clinton or their votes for a straight Republican ticket into a straight Democrat ticket. In Philadelphia and two other counties, an American Civil Rights Union review of the voting records turned up more than 170 people aged 110 or over who had voted in the last few elections. Another review revealed that thousands of non-citizens and felons were registered to vote in Philadelphia.  In 2008, Republican presidential nominee John McCain recorded not a single vote in 57 Philadelphia districts. In 2012, Mitt Romney got zero votes in more than 59 Philadelphia districts. In 2012, Obama received 85 percent of the total Philadelphia vote to Mr. Romney’s 14 percent. This year, Hillary  got 82 per cent to Trump’s 15 percent. No word yet on how many districts recorded zero votes this year for the Republican candidate. Had only valid votes counted, Trump would have won the popular vote as well and he may yet do so when all the votes are counted. But that will not deter the P/L from from whining, demanding that electors ignore the vote and name Hillary president. P/L Barbara Boxer wants a constitutional amendment to eliminate the electoral college system.
ConclusionThere is a common misconception about Schadenfreude. Many believe it describes delight over the misfortunes of others. But that misses the meaning of the original German which was pleasure from deserved misfortune.…when the arrogant and hypocritical get into trouble it’s often very amusing…When you enjoy the fact that someone has received their just desserts, that’s schadenfreude. It’s a healthy normal response to seeing something all too rare in life: justice being meted out by the gods. Here, for our schadenfreude, is a wonderful picture worth a thousand words and then some.Please note the expressions on Mass Media Mavens – just desserts indeed!    


All of it began the first time some … who know better …let young people think that they have the right to choose the laws they would obey as long as they were doing it in the name of social protest. – It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so. – Facts are stubborn things. – When you see all that rhetorical smoke billowing up from the Democrats [P/L], well ladies and gentleman, I’d follow the example of their nominee; don’t inhale. – Don’t be afraid to see what you see.

– Ronald Reagan    

Dick Coleman

Richard M. Coleman served as National Co-Chair, Lawyers for Reagan-Bush ’84 and really does miss RR. A graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Law School, Dick is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a past president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and of the National Caucus of Metropolitan Bar Leaders. A professor on the faculty of Pepperdine University’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution for 17 years, he received Pepperdine’s Excellence in Teaching Award. He has hosted TV forums on legal and financial topics and written and spoken extensively on political issues.

© Richard M. Coleman 2018