Jerry Brown's Admiration For 'Coercive Power of Government' Gets Little National Media Attention

December 14th, 2015 2:42 PM

Imagine a Republican or conservative governor boasting of his or her use of "the coercive power of government" to accomplish center-right policy goals. The political and media backlash would be furious — and justified.

Such statist rhetoric is becoming ever more commonplace on the left, and is rising to ever higher political levels. The establishment press is mostly ignoring this development, and usually omits related inflammatory assertions from its coverage. Statements relating to "climate change" have especially been reinforcing David Horowitz's old adage that "Inside every liberal is a totalitarian screaming to get out" for several months. Last week in Paris, California Governor Jerry Brown let his inner totalitarian out several times. A video of one such example follows the jump.

The occasion in the video (HT via Instapundit) was an appearance with billionaire activist and enviro-zealot Tom Steyer on December 7.

Transcript (beginning at the 0:24 mark):

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN: Tom, you used the phrase "policy, good policy." But I want to unpack that term a little bit. Inside the policy, you need a law, you need a rule, you need the coercive power of government to say "do this."

Now, you have to be wise and don't say something stupid, or try to order something stupid. But the fact is, the regulations supported by the laws drive innovation.

Brown's statement above and similar ones at other Paris appearances received favorable coverage from a couple of California newspapers. Otherwise, it appears that press coverage has been sparse. For example, a search on "Brown coercive" (not in quotes) at the Associated Press's main national site indicates that the wire service has no story citing Brown's use of the word "coercive." All too predictably, the AP's single national story on Brown's Paris activities only noted that he "created a bit of stir" — without telling readers what he said. (The suspicion here is that "coercive" may have gotten into earlier AP reports, but was quickly brushed away in subsequent revisions.)

As to Brown's California coverage, Chris Megerian at the Los Angeles Times at least didn't try to hide the whole truth from the hollowed-out paper's dwindling following, while falling just short of praising Brown for his frankness:

Brown touts 'coercive power of government' to attack climate change

Gov. Jerry Brown has been doing more than just touting California’s environmental policies here – he’s been making an explicit case for the power of government.

It’s rare for a politician to tout the benefits of regulations, which are often dismissed as nothing more than red tape for slowing down businesses. But at multiple events during the United Nations summit on Monday, Brown said politicians need to be willing to use the blunt force of government intervention to tackle climate change.

“You need the coercive power of government to say, do this,” the governor said during a panel discussion in the morning.

... “Never underestimate the coercive power of a central state in the service of good and wisdom," he said. "You can screw it up, but you can also do it well.”

At the Sacramento Bee, reporter David Siders appears to have been the only one to quote Brown telling the world that he's going to keep on taking money from those who produce to achieve his quixotic goals:

Later, at the site where world leaders are meeting to negotiate a climate pact outside of Paris, Brown urged a small crowd to “never underestimate the coercive power of the central state in the service of good.”

“You can be sure California is going to keep innovating, keep regulating,” the Democratic governor said. “And, shall I say, keep taxing.”

No doubt, at least while Brown and the left continue to run California, the "taxing" will continue. The problem is that he and his acolytes can't force people, or entrepreneurs, or investors, or businesses to stay there. During the past decade, "About 5 million California residents left the Golden State," while "about 3.9 million people moved to California from other states, leaving a net migration population loss of more than 1 million people" — an outflow said to be "unprecedented."

As to the press's handling of the ever-increasing volume of leftist totalitarian wannabe pronouncements, one must conclude that the frequent omissions from news reports are occurring because journalists mostly agree with such sentiments, but understand that there would be serious blowback if enough everyday people became aware of how widely they are held by Democrats in federal, state and local government.

Cross-posted at