Attorney General William Barr used a speech to the National Religious Broadcasters Wednesday (Feb. 26) to take aim at progressive Democrats and the "massively consolidated" media, or, put another way, the President's favorite twitter targets.
Barr took his NRB convention audience in Nashville on something of a combination political philosophy/ecclesiastical history tour, touching on St. Augustine, Tocqueville, Rousseau and John Adams.
But his ultimate destination was the present day, where he blamed the current "passionate" political divisions on conflict between liberal democracy, which he described as limited government and personal liberty, and totalitarian democracy, which he said "seeks to submerge the individual in a collectivist agenda" and "subverts individual freedom in favor of elite conceptions about what best serves the collective," and which he said today's progressive Democrats are turning into.
He called it a form of messianic democracy that substitutes politics for religion and requires an all-knowing elite to guide the masses. He said the new "progressives" have become increasingly "militant and totalitarian" with a socialist, collectivist agenda.
Barr said the goal of those progressives and their "totalitarianism beneath a veneer of democratic choice" is to "convert all of us into 25 year-olds living in the government’s basement, focusing our energies on obtaining a larger allowance rather than getting a job and moving out."
And what has been one of the eroded bulwarks against this "slide toward despotism?" The mainstream media.
Barr said a free and diverse press provided a form of decentralization of power, but now that the "corporate--or mainstream--media press is massively consolidated" and "remarkably monolithic" in viewpoint," while journalists increasingly see themselves as agents of change rather than reporters of fact, the media has the power to mobilize public opinion in a particular direction, with those mobilized becoming more powerful with the press as its ally.
"This is not a positive cycle, and I think it is fair to say that it puts the press’ role as a breakwater for the tyranny of the majority in jeopardy," said Barr.
President Trump's argument has been that Democrats, progressive and otherwise, have mobilized the mainstream media as their ally in trying to bring him down.
But Barr had some preaching for the choir as well, finding some hope in the media folks he was addressing.
"The key to restoring the press in that vital role is to cultivate a greater diversity of voices in the media," he said. "That is where you come in. You are one of the last holdouts in the consolidation of organs and viewpoints of the press. It is, therefore, essential that you continue your work and continue to supply the people with diverse, divergent perspectives on the news of the day. And in this secular age, it is especially vital that your religious perspective is voiced."
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