Socialism in the Mainstream
An excellent commentary on Socialism as the new norm with its true character now unrecognizable and acceptable.
by Gary Hancock
Thirty years ago, and before, the word “socialism” or “socialist” evoked a rather basal angst in the stomach of most Americans, socialism was then widely acknowledged as the archenemy and the antithesis of the American system. The American system based on individual sovereignty, free markets and limited government, was contrary to the socialist system which is based on widespread government control (even ownership of the means of production) and anti-individualism.
Socialism’s doctrines were hard fought against in years past. In World War II, it was a fight against the National Socialists of Germany. The Cold War pitted us against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts were fought at least in part to push back the spread of socialism (and its close relative communism).
Some might squabble that those instances only relate to the aggressive side of socialism. But socialism has no non-aggressive side – not pertaining to individualism. At its foundation it is a system that coercively controls the individual. Regardless of whether or not the control is through voluntary assent, that coercion is ubiquitous and is a form of aggression: aggression against individual initiative, individual sovereignty, and individual liberty. Socialism has as its enemy, the individual.
In the 1940s the realizations of World War II put a plain and ugly face on socialism. But, slowly, through the relentless power grabs of big-government elites, and through a generational turnover, that collectivist system, if not the word “socialism” itself, became less stigmatized.
Steadily the doctrines of socialism have become mainstream and are more and more overt. Have you noticed the whooping crowds at a Bernie Sanders rally? Sanders is an avowed (and proud of it) socialist seeking the candidacy for President of the U.S. on the Democratic Party ticket. His audiences, made up in great part of young persons, rally around his talking points – which are very akin to those of the socialists of the 1930s and ‘40s. And, have you paid attention to the socialist jabbering of Hillary Clinton, Elisabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer, Al Franken, Dick Durbin, and MANY others?
Karl Marx, co-author of The Communist Manifesto in 1948, argued the inevitable transition of capitalist-based systems to socialism on their way to all-out communism. We are well on our way to full socialism/communism as Karl Marx described unless we recognize what is happening and stop it now.
Obama saw his own election to the pinnacle of political power as a colossal step in the socialist conquest, to in his own words, “fundamentally transform America.” Fundamental transformation of America means changing the basisof the American system; that is, transforming our capitalist, limited-government system into a socialist, unlimited-government state.
But many still do not recognize this transition to socialism. In the past, there was a very active Socialist Party involved in U.S. elections, but look at what Norman Thomas, the Socialist Party of America candidate running for U.S. President, said in a 1944 speech: “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. I no longer need to run as a Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democratic Party has adopted our platform.”
And recently, look at how the head of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, responded to a question about socialism. In an interview by Chris Matthews, and then again a few days later by Chuck Todd, Ms. Schultz was asked the difference between socialism and the Democratic Party. She was noticeably flummoxed and tried to divert but simply could not answer that question, leading one to surmise there is very little difference.
In 2009, Newsweek magazine’s cover boldly declared: “We Are All Socialists Now.” Yes, arguably, we might well be there my friends, but it can, and must be reversed before all semblance of the individual is forever gone, hopelessly digested as an insignificant speck by the all-powerful leviathan state.
Gary Hancock: Arlington resident and author of the new book, Sustaining Liberty: And Reclaiming Limited Government in America