Kotkin Compares Jerry Brown to Mussolini on Climate Change

Jerry Brown fracking (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)
Jae C. Hong / Associated Press

Liberal geographer Joel Kotkin has compared Jerry Brown to 20th century fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini due to his interventionist policies on climate change.

“Today climate change has become the killer app for expanding state control, for example, helping Jerry Brown find his inner Duce,” Kotkin writes in his latest column for The Daily Beast, adding that “the authoritarian urge is hardly limited to climate-related issues” for today’s left.

Kotkin describes himself as a “Truman Democrat,” and even voted for Brown for governor in 2010, but has become alienated from his chosen party over environmental policies that, he says, hurt the middle class in order to pursue a utopian fantasy for the benefit of the super-rich.

He points out that Brown and like-minded Democrats are supported in their nascent authoritarian urges by a coterie of liberal pundits and columnists who now say democracy is broken.

He elaborates:

Increasingly the call is not so much for a benevolent and charismatic dictator, but for an impaneled committee of experts to rule over our lives….

The new progressive mindset was laid out recently in an article in The Atlantic that openly called for the creation of a “technocracy” to determine energy, economic, and land use policies….

There is broad backing among liberals for President Obama’s tack of avoiding Congress through presidential decrees. Nor is this tendency likely to end soon. Hillary Clinton, whose husband’s success was in part derived from working with Republicans, is already stating her intention to go over Congress if they don’t go along with her ideas.

My word to liberal friends: Think a bit about this embrace of imperial presidential power if the person ruling from above was, say, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or, worst of all, Donald Trump.

Kotkin notes that climate change policies call for unchecked executive power, directed at a supra-national level, overriding national and especially local governments, despite the liberal aesthetic preference for “localism.” Meanwhile, he says, the nation’s middle class continues to stagnate.

The backlash these policies have generated is responsible, he says, for the rise of Donald Trump, whom Kotkin describes as running a “xenophobic” campaign.


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