The Audacity Of 21st Century Socialism

More ACORN stories: hereMore collectivism stories: here

John McCain assumes voters understand what he means when he uses the word "socialism." He assumes too much.

To slap a label on it isn't enough. Sadly, most people under 60 in this country went to schools and universities where socialism isn't considered a bad thing. McCain has to educate them about what socialists believe and how they want to rebuild "the world as it should be," as Obama quotes his socialist hero, Saul Alinsky.

In this final week of the campaign, McCain should draw contrasts between socialism and capitalism and free enterprise. He should also explain in detail what economic freedoms are at risk if liberal socialists get their way in reshaping the country from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

McCain has smartly seized on Obama's revealing side-comment to Joe the Plumber about his plan to "spread the wealth around." The GOP hopeful says it smacks of socialism, and he's right. But socialist sympathizers in the punditry have pooh-poohed his sound bites as passe or even racist.

Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, for example, argued that socialism no longer has the evil connotation it had during the Cold War, when the right used it to bludgeon the left. Kansas City Star columnist Lewis Diuguid, meanwhile, dismissed the "socialist" label as merely a "code word for black."

Many economists would equate what Obama has in mind with socialism. Among them is the late F.A. Hayek, a one-time socialist, who wrote a book on the dangers of socialism titled "The Road to Serfdom." When it debuted in the final days of WWII, socialism unambiguously meant the state control of the means of production and central economic planning.

But decades later, in a new preface, the Nobel Prize winner wrote that "socialism has come to mean chiefly the extensive redistribution of incomes through taxation and the institutions of the welfare state." Yes, that's Obama's economic plan.

He concluded that even this softer socialism means reduced economic liberties, opportunities and living standards for all.

According to Marxist theory, socialism is the stage between capitalism and communism where private wealth is distributed for the benefit of all. It's a romantic notion because hardly anyone is willing to share their wealth with strangers.

So to get from theory to practice, force must be used. Wealth must be taken by the state — and not by a faceless bureaucratic machine, but rather by flawed humans with their own selfish ambitions and ulterior motives. They decide who gets what, taking cuts for themselves and their cronies in the process.

Think ex-Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines and ACORN.

Socialism is centralized power. That's why socialist movements, which often begin as cults of personality, usually end in fascism. Witness Stalinism, Maoism, Castroism — and, yes, Nazism, which, as Hayek noted, stands for "National Socialism."

Again, almost every major society that started with socialism has ended badly. Socialism has been refuted repeatedly, yet that hasn't stopped neo-Marxists — hiding now behind the title "community organizer" — from dreaming their dreams of collective sacrifice for collective good.

They see capitalism with its profit motive as vulgar and immoral because it's at odds with altruism — the idea that the general welfare of society is the proper goal of individuals.

What they fail to realize is society is the greatest beneficiary of our system of rational self-interest. The poorest of the poor and the laziest of the lazy still benefit from the genius of the entrepreneur and the risk-taking of the venture capitalist.

Almost every modern-day invention, from lifesaving drugs to computer software, was inspired by profit, not public welfare. Yet everyone shares in the greater efficiencies, cost savings, life expectancies and job opportunities created by the inspiration and perspiration of money-hungry individuals.

No system in history has created more wealth, per capita, over a shorter time than unbridled American capitalism.

In fact, America has led what economist Angus Maddison calls the "capitalist epoch" — a 17-decade period in which workers saw their hours cut in half and life expectancy doubled. In a seminal study last decade, Maddison calculated the aggregate output and population growth in the U.S. and 15 other advanced capitalist nations since 1820. He found a 14-fold explosion in combined per capita product, dwarfing the living standards of communist and other nations.

Ignoring this history, the left uses the current financial crisis to redefine capitalism as "dangerous" to the welfare of mankind, and to justify greater government economic controls.

"Market capitalism is a dangerous tool, like a machine gun or a chainsaw or a nuclear reactor," former Clinton budget chief Alice Rivlin last week told Democratic Rep. Barney Frank's finance committee. And she's a moderate in her party.

The left wrongly asserts that unregulated capitalism caused the financial crisis; in fact, government overregulation of banks distorted market incentives and corrupted capitalism.

Wielding a socialist-inspired cudgel called the Community Reinvestment Act, government forced banks to make loans to uncreditworthy minorities who couldn't repay them.

It didn't matter that banks weren't racist. The assumption was they might be, and it was government's role to enforce "fairness." The same assumptions are made about the rich.

"The problems of poverty and racism, the uninsured and the unemployed are . . . rooted in societal indifference and individual callousness — the desire among those at the top of the social ladder to maintain their wealth and status whatever the cost," Obama wrote in his 2006 autobiography. "Solving these problems will require changes in government policy."

In other words, people get rich on the backs of the poor, even take from the poor. It's therefore up to the state to take from the rich and give to the poor. In a feudal or colonial society, such a sentiment might be noble. But capitalism is a system in which one person lives well and another person lives better.

The idea that whole classes of people are exploited or oppressed in this country is a figment of the left's class-obsessed imagination. And it's refuted by Federal Reserve data showing constant income mobility even between the lowest and highest quintiles. Policy shouldn't be built on such fantasy.

Still, Obama insists that spreading the wealth is "good for everybody." But as the rich shelter capital or reduce their work to avoid higher taxes, all Obama will end up "spreading" is poverty and all he'd redistribute is more power to Washington.

He argues that raising taxes is not socialism, and he's right: By itself, it is not. But it is socialism when the motive is "for purposes of fairness," as Obama explains it, which is simply class-warfare jargon for punishing the rich.

"Was John McCain a socialist when he opposed the Bush tax cuts?" Obama asks. No, McCain wanted spending cuts first. His motive was fiscal restraint, not restraint on society's most productive members. Obama further argues that redistributing wealth to the needy is better than redistributing it to greedy bankers as the Bush administration has done. Actually, both policies are wrong, since both favor groups over individuals.

Obama denies having socialist designs. But it's no coincidence he virtually always votes with socialist pal Bernie Sanders, as the two most liberal members of the Senate.

Nor is it a coincidence that nearly all of Obama's mentors and close advisers supported Marxism, including: James Cone, Dwight Hopkins, Jeremiah Wright, Frank Marshall Davis, Jim Wallis, John McKnight, Cornel West and William Ayers.

It's also no coincidence that Obama devoted his first memoir to the memory of his late father, a communist, who proposed massive taxes and redistribution of income in Kenya.

"What is more important is to find means by which we can redistribute our economic gains to the benefit of all," wrote Barack Hussein Obama Sr., a Harvard-educated economist, in a 1965 policy paper. "This is the government's obligation."

Make no mistake: Sen. Obama isn't a liberal in the tradition of Jimmy Carter or John Kerry. He envisions a bloodless socialism, where IRS agents take wealth and where the Justice Department dictates contracts between labor and management.

But while force isn't used for murder, it's force nonetheless. And it does violence to the American promise of a right to pursue your own life, your own riches and your own happiness without government interference. America promises a chance at success, yet Obama and other neo-Marxists twist that to mean America guarantees success through equal outcomes, and that it's government's role to do the equalizing.

"What would help minority workers," Obama wrote in 2006, "are tax laws that restore some balance to the distribution of the nation's wealth."

"It may sound noble to say, 'Damn economics, let us build up a decent world,' but it is, in fact, merely irresponsible," Hayek wrote. "Our only chance of building a decent world is that we can continue to improve the general level of wealth."

If Obama wins, he can claim a national mandate for his socialist agenda. If he gets a filibuster-proof majority of Democrats in the Senate, he might get major planks in that radical agenda passed in the first 100 days. It's shaping up as a battle between those who create wealth and those who loot it.


No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails