Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Question of Barack Obama's Socialism

Rick Moran argues that Barack Obama is not a socialist and he says he detests "conservatives throwing around the words “socialism” and “Marxism” when it comes to Obama."

Well, with due respect to Rick, he taking a jab at me in his post!

Actually, while I don't think Obama's an orthodox Marxist-Leninist in the Soviet sense, I do think he's socialist in terms of "welfare state socialism," a form of
social democracy that advocates a heavy role for the state in a mixture of government planning, market regulation, and social provision.

Such democratic welfare state socialism is in fact institutionalized in the U.S., particularly in New Deal-era programs like Social Security, agricultural subsidies, workers' compensation, welfare (public assistance), and deposit insurance. Because these policies have become institutionalized and expanded with bipartisan support, we tend not the think of them in terms of "socialism."

What makes Barack Obama different, and why it's not inaccurate to speak of him as ideologically socialist, is that by background and inclination he'd like to expand the American welfare state toward the European model, in countries like Denmark or Germany.

Obama speaks in terms of socialist ideology: He stated
during the primaries that "the chance to get a college education is the birthright of every American," and during the primaries, and again in Tuesday's presidential debate, he argued that health care should be a right.

Investor's Business Daily points out, Obama's essentially a collectivist in outlook:

It's clear from a close reading of his two books that he's a firm believer in class envy. He assumes the economy is a fixed pie, whereby the successful only get rich at the expense of the poor.

Following this discredited Marxist model, he believes government must step in and redistribute pieces of the pie. That requires massive transfers of wealth through government taxing and spending, a return to the entitlement days of old.

Of course, Obama is too smart to try to smuggle such hoary collectivist garbage through the front door. He's disguising the wealth transfers as "investments" — "to make America more competitive," he says, or "that give us a fighting chance," whatever that means.

Among his proposed "investments":

• "Universal," "guaranteed" health care.

• "Free" college tuition.

• "Universal national service" (a la Havana).

• "Universal 401(k)s" (in which the government would match contributions made by "low- and moderate-income families").

• "Free" job training (even for criminals).

• "Wage insurance" (to supplement dislocated union workers' old income levels).

• "Free" child care and "universal" preschool.

• More subsidized public housing.

• A fatter earned income tax credit for "working poor."

• And even a Global Poverty Act that amounts to a Marshall Plan for the Third World, first and foremost Africa.

His new New Deal also guarantees a "living wage," with a $10 minimum wage indexed to inflation; and "fair trade" and "fair labor practices," with breaks for "patriot employers" who cow-tow to unions, and sticks for "nonpatriot" companies that don't.

That's just for starters — first-term stuff.

Obama doesn't stop with socialized health care. He wants to socialize your entire human resources department — from payrolls to pensions. His social-microengineering even extends to mandating all employers provide seven paid sick days per year to salary and hourly workers alike.

You can see why Obama was ranked, hands-down, the most liberal member of the Senate by the National Journal. Some, including colleague and presidential challenger John McCain, think he's the most liberal member in Congress.

There's also the question of Obama's ideological training and past associations. In many respects, one is defined by the company they keep and the activities they pursue. We often hear criticism of the attacks on Obama's past as "guilt by association," but it's not just a radical aquiantance here or an early Marxist mentor there: It's the over-time acclimation to and identification with doctrinaire socialist ideology and practice.

Jawa Report notes, regarding the controversy surrounding Obama's past relationships:

Aren't we seeing a pattern here? One interaction with one old communist isn't particularly troubling. A handful of sporadic interactions with a handful of radical left-wingers may not be particularly troubling. But a lifelong pattern of extended associations and alliances with scores of fringe, America-hating radicals is very, very troubling indeed.

Just to be clear:

It's not just that Barack Obama's father was a Marxist economist or that his mother Stanley came from radical far-left roots.

It's not just that Obama's childhood mentor Frank Marshall Davis was a famous communist poet.

It's not just that Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor, counselor and spiritual mentor of 20 years is a racist, America-hating radical.

It's not just that Michael Phleger, Obama's other spiritual mentor is every bit as extreme as Wright.

It's not just that his wife Michelle has never been really that proud of America, or that she thinks this country is "mean".

It's not just that Obama refused to wear a flag, or that he refused to salute it during the national anthem.

It's not just that Obama's political and financial benefactor William Ayers is an unrepentant radical socialist terrorist.

It's not just that Bernadine Dohrn regrets that she didn't kill more people back in the 1960s.

It's not just that Alice Palmer, Obama's political mentor in Chicago, was a communist propagandist.

It's not just that Obama was a member of the radical socialist New Party or that he ran as a candidate for public office under their far-left platform.

It's not just that Obama was an agitator, trainer and attorney for the corrupt and radical-left ACORN.

None of these facts, by itself, tells you that much about Barack Obama. A reasonable person should, however, be able to look at this motley crew of left-wing communists and America-haters, realize that Barack Obama's rolodex is a veritable Who's Who of American Socialism, be very, very disturbed by that fact and ask some very probing questions about WHO Barack Obama is, WHAT he believes, and WHY this gang of radical America-haters considers Barack Obama such a good friend.

Thus, in both policy and associations, it's clearly not unreasonable to identify Barack Obama as socialist, and not just of the democratic welfare state variety.

If elected, the Illinois Senator may very well take American government further to the left than in any time in U.S. history, not just in terms of market regulation, but in the fullest sense of the democratic socialist model of European-style welfare states.


Anonymous said...

Very intellegently written. Obama to say the least is a very complex person with a huge narcisstic personality. I believe, he is putting such fear and fright into the american people, with doom and gloom speeches, making people feel hopeless and helpless. Than, Obama, the savior enters and with warped speed gets his propositions passed before anyone can understand or digest them. Socialism, at the least.