The most effective way to get to the heart of a person’s core ideology is to watch what happens when they stretch the limits of their thinking and extrapolate upon their beliefs to the outer limits of reason, or in some instances, beyond reason.
Conservatives are generally pro-life, but what about when the life of the mother is at actual risk? Liberals are wary of guns, but given their druthers, would they vote to remove the Second Amendment from the U.S. Constitution? Would those who believe healthcare should be a right instead of a commodity go so far as to eliminate all private health insurance?
These are the type of questions that usually don’t get asked because the real, heartfelt answers would be politically unpalatable. Given that divisions will always exist in a free country, the center holds because extreme measures are rejected by an organically achieved balance of voter preferences. Barack Obama might have wished to establish a full government-run socialist healthcare system, and if Donald Trump had his way, the border wall would have begun construction the day he was inaugurated. Political reality in a constitutional republic made such explosively controversial goals unattainable.
But then along came the woke progressive movement of today, tearing up the political playbook by calling for what, at the time, was thought to be arguably the most extreme measure to enter mainstream conversation in memory. Defunding the police took left-wing one-step thinking to new heights. Since there are some bad cops, the argument went, we need to eliminate all police. Oh, they have tried to backtrack by saying, Yogi Berra-like, that they didn’t really say what they said, that when they said defund – over and over for months on end during the summer of 2020 – they didn’t actually mean defund – more like reform. Yeah, that’s it, reform.
Now, it couldn’t get any worse than seriously proposing to replace cops with social workers, could it? Well, somehow, the answer is yes. Doing the near-impossible by making defunding the police look reasonable by comparison, progressives led by AOC and her squad have introduced honest-to-God legislation that would empty federal prisons. Let me repeat that. There is actual legislation introduced in the United States House of Representatives to release all federal prisoners into the wind.
The BREATHE Act strips away more layers of the progressive onion and brings us even closer to its core ideology. It is directly from the warped deconstructionist mind of George Soros, the culmination of a process begun at the local level with virtually unlimited funding poured into races for district attorney. The worst-case scenario that results from such policies was what we witnessed to our horror in Waukesha, when a dangerous felon set free by the bail reforms of Soros-funded District Attorney John Chisolm destroyed dozens of lives in an instant. Chisholm blamed “human error,” even though the pitiable $1,000 cash bail paid by notorious SUV murderer Darrell Brooks is entirely consistent with the very pronounced set-em-loose stance of Chisolm and his fellow Soros-funded DAs, like Larry Krasner in Philadelphia and Kim Fox (of Jussie Smollett-related fame) in Chicago.
The first blush of this incomprehensible proposal came in a recent interview with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who introduced the bill along with fellow “Squad” member Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) in 2020. An incredulous Jonathan Swan of liberal-leaning Axios asked Tlaib the question begging to be answered:
Jonathan Swan: “To what extent have you wrestled with any potential downsides of releasing into society every single person who is now in a federal prison?”
Rashida Tlaib: “But did you see how many people are mentally ill that are in prison right now?
Swan: “But there are, like, human traffickers.”
Tlaib: “Oh, I know. … Look at who’s in prison now … folks that are mentally ill, that have substance-abuse problems … And obviously there’s a process of looking at how can we get away from mass incarceration, and move towards care first.”
On and on it went, with Tlaib trying to explain away a bill that would shutter all federal prisons within a decade. It led to predictable and widespread condemnation from conservatives, with the most pronounced reaction coming from Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY), calling Tlaib “the most dangerous, radical and anti-American member of Congress … Rashida Tlaib literally wants rapists, pedophiles, murderers and jihadists to be freed from prison and let into our communities.”
Think of a society that has defunded the police and released all federal criminals. It’s not difficult to surmise the result. Anarchy. Any movement which seriously proposes both the elimination of law enforcement and an end to federal prisons – with state and local lockups no doubt next on the hit list – could in the end desire nothing less than anarchy.
But we’re not done yet. How about the idea of trying to force-feed these measures to the citizenry with the thinnest possible majority in Congress, diminished in the last election and all but certain to vanish in the next? Remember when the left was publicly fearful of Donald Trump trying to take extreme measures in the wake of losing the 2020 election? Would it not be the same thing for progressives to vote for literally emptying federal prisons as their agenda was just overwhelmingly rejected by voters, and approval for their president falls as low as 23 points underwater in recent polls? Using power blindly just because they can – that is true tyranny.
We won’t spill any more HTML on the particulars of a bill that has as much chance of becoming law as Jussie Smollett has of selling the story about the thugs with MAGA hats deep in the heart of Chicago. But the fact that a bill such as the BREATHE Act could even be introduced, not to mention defended with a straight face by the loud and proud socialist wing of the Democratic Party, does, in the end, serve a useful purpose: It provides crucial insight for the uninitiated or unconvinced into the full breadth and depth of derangement in today’s progressive movement.
~ Read more from Tim Donner.