(’76 Contributor) During a recent “Meet the Press” the host, with feigned indignation, asked a Senator, “You’re not calling the President a Socialist, are you?” Without waiting for a response, he repeated the question for emphasis. This performance highlights the hijacking of political semantics. “Socialist” was replaced by “Liberal” which, in turn, became a pejorative, and now “Progressive” is preferred, and used in titles of dozens of political and welfare advocacy groups.
Constantly morphing ideas and permutations of definitions make it hard to compartmentalize politicians. An accepted basic view is that Socialism advocates state or collective ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods. That essential hallmark of freedom, private ownership of property, is prohibited. Note how the current abuses of eminent domain stretch the traditional definitions of public use.
Marx called Socialism a transition between capitalism and Communism. As any high school sophomore should be able to recite from Marx’s Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei, “To each according to his needs; from each according to his ability.” An advocate of these ideas is indeed a Socialist. To quote National Socialist German Workers’ Party leader, Adolph Hitler, “The needs of society come before the individual’s needs.”
Before labeling Obama and his inventory of actions, we must also note the academic definition of Communism. “All economic activity is controlled by the state, dominated by a single political party.” Further: “A system based on holding all property in common, with actual ownership by the state.” Differences between the categories, reduced to simplest form: Socialism actually takes ownership while Communism totally controls enterprise, which ostensibly could remain private. This administration’s actions overlap both, with the common goal of doing away with Capitalism. Degrees of success are temporarily limited by public resistance. Constitutional protections are rejected as archaic annoyances.
Obama, equipped with glibness and arrogance, was dismissed as a buffoon by serious economists. His experience was largely limited to preaching Alinsky to ACORN volunteers. Without apologies, he surrounded himself with cabinet and advisor appointees, and a cadre of czars with no accountability, most of whom have serious ethical, legal and moral taints. The czars have no Congressional approval. Uniformly visible in that group is the disturbing tendency to demonize the concepts of private property ownership and free markets. The last 18 presidents averaged 46% of their advisers from the private sector. Obama has 8%.
As perennial presidential candidate Norman Thomas, and others, famously said, “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation without knowing how it happened.”
Fabianism (strategy of establishing Socialism by gradual means), used with patience by subversive movements world-wide, is not in vogue with this administration.
To some degree or another, the administration has addressed all the elements of the Socialist or Communist state, with varying degrees and a common thread of shrinking Capitalism with alarming speed. The advice of Obama mouthpiece Rahm Emanuel is, “Never miss an opportunity to take advantage of a crisis.” Tactics of Chicago-style patronage, populism and corruption, unabashedly taken to the national level, have caught many flat-footed.
To correct what he blames his predecessor for, “long years of drift,” Obama is moving to control major industries in Communist fashion. What better start than the showpiece of American industry for a century, automobile manufacture? The President has no desire to own the auto companies, merely to control them. Perhaps he has read of the disastrous Soviet attempts at controlling manufacture with bureaucrats making all decisions.
Obama wants control while allowing experienced management to take care of the details. Bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler certainly were never meant to be loans, but rather a grab of equity. The action instantly took 78.3% of General Motors by the government, followed by a gift of 17.5% to the auto workers union. Bond value was whittled down to maybe 10% of GM equity. Investors without rational recognition of Communist control strategy held out hope for a rebound.
A sidebar of the auto industry takeover was the “Cash for Clunkers” fiasco which, at taxpayer expense, amounted to a marginal cost per car of $24,000. It had an effect of about 32 thousandths-of-one-percent CO2 reduction. It stimulated car purchases at the expense of future business a few months down the road. For example, by the end the year, Colorado new car registrations were 29.8% less than last year.