A Socialist by Any Other Name
One of the consequences of being right in an age of lies is that it brands you as a radical. Remember that being an extremist doesn’t mean you’re wrong, but simply that your views deviate greatly from those of the mainstream. If you say that 2+2=4 in a land where everyone else insists it’s 5, you’ll be labeled a radical. The same is true if you assert that a certain society of men is full of wolves when everyone else believes they’re sheep.
Now, for years I’ve been telling people that most of our Democrats are essentially socialists; sure, either they won’t admit it publicly or aren’t fully aware of it themselves (quite common; self-knowledge is often sorely lacking, especially among leftists). It was a message as hard to relate as it is for many to accept, as it renders you something less than the kind of “credible” commentator who gets invitations to appear on Fox News (bigot Opio Sokoni was on O’Reilly last week). But that message now goes down a little easier with the recent Democrat proposal to nationalize oil refineries.
There is a great article on this very subject by a writer named Lance Fairchok; it is titled “Why Do We Call Them ‘Democrats’? After quoting a couple of Democrats who waxed enthusiastic about nationalizing the oil refineries, he presents this Freudian slip by Congressman Maxine Waters:
“This liberal will be all about socializing, uh, uh . . . would be about . . . basically taking over and the government running all of your companies.”
Well, well, I don’t suppose that’s the kind of rhetoric she used on the campaign trail (although I suspect most of her constituents either wouldn’t know what she was talking about or wouldn’t care). Don’t rejoice too much at the shedding of the mask, however, as it’s not so much attributable to a sudden spirit of honesty as it is to a changing climate. The truth is that no small number of American citizens are now socialists, only, they usually aren’t aware of it. These are people – and we’ve all met them – who never heard a proposal for government involvement they didn’t like. They only ask that one of two criteria be met: The proposal must sound convenient for them or inconvenient for someone whom they envy. Oh, and, yes, I have always known that greed and jealousy — as opposed to some noble desire to help the downtrodden — are what drive leftists. Winston Churchill observed this decades ago when he said: “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” If you doubt both that old curmudgeon and me, a younger one, consider research related by columnist Peter Schweizer in this article. He writes,
Scholars at Oxford and Warwick Universities found the same sort of behaviour (a desire to take from those who have more) when they conducted an experiment.
Setting up a computer game that allowed people to accumulate money, they gave participants the option to spend some of their own money in order to take away more from someone else.
The result? Those who considered themselves ‘egalitarians’ (i.e. Left of centre) were much more willing to give up some of their own money if it meant taking more money from someone else.
Much of the desire to distribute wealth and higher taxation is motivated by envy – the desire to take more from someone else – and bitterness.
Unfortunately, while we can give ourselves pep talks about how we value liberty and the wonders of our “free market” (if only it were freer), the truth is that socialism has swept the West. The British Chancellor of the Exchequer quipped about this over a century ago when, after introducing death duties in the budget of 1894, he said, “We are all socialists now.”
As I said before, though, let’s not lose sight of the fact that the politicians merely reflect the people. Too many Americans have been instilled with unrealistic expectations for lifestyle and a spirit of entitlement, and they will glom onto any slick demagogue (even if he has a strange foreign name) who promises a larger piece of the pie. As to this, in Fairchok’s article he presents a chilling prediction made by U.S. Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas more than half a century ago. To wit:
“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.”
While I can’t say much for the man’s politics, he was, at least insofar as this went, quite prescient. Most Americans have been inured to socialism under a different name, although virtually all would protest loudly if so accused.
People fall victim to the idea that socialism can work for a few reasons. For one thing, new generations are born and, with history taught so poorly, the mistakes of the past must be learned anew. Then, many labor under the illusion that socialism breeds prosperity in places such as Sweden, when in reality such countries are dying a lingering death.
Yet, if socialism – in any guise – is what Americans want, it’s what they will get. But not only won’t they know how it happened, as Thomas said, they won’t like the consequences and won’t know what to blame them on. Thus, they probably will fancy that the solution is even more government involvement.
Another thing that gets you branded a radical is when you point out that socialism is just a less virulent strain of communism. Yet the pseudo-intellectuals who would thus stigmatize you are blithely unaware of an important fact.
Karl Marx himself said that socialism was just a transitional phase on the road to communism.
We just have to wait for the second mask to come off.
Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.