Bill Barr Unloads a Wild Theory About Progressive Politics

The attorney general thinks progressivism leads to freeloading, which leads to…despotism?

Shane T. Mccoy/Zuma

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To Attorney General Bill Barr, a large percentage of the American electorate amounts to nothing more than “25-year-olds living in the government’s basement, focusing [their] energies on obtaining a larger allowance rather than getting a job and moving out.”

The chief law enforcement officer of the United States railed against progressives in a speech to the National Religious Broadcasters Convention on Wednesday, calling liberals “militant and totalitarian.” “While they seek power through the democratic process,” he said, “their policy agenda has become more aggressively collectivist, socialist, and explicitly revolutionary.”

The comment is reminiscent of former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s 2012 remarks that 47 percent of Americans have a sense of entitlement, are “dependent upon government,” and “believe that they are victims.” But Barr’s statements go even further.

Barr went on to quote Alexis de Tocqueville, who feared that American democracy would allow people to rely on the state to take care of them—a common but misguided belief about social welfare in general. Barr then made the tenuous logical leap that dependence on the government is a sort of despotism in its own right.

“It would be totalitarianism beneath a veneer of democratic choice,” he said.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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