Why Obama’s socialism matters *UPDATED*

More and more evidence is oozing out that shows that Obama is not simply a liberal among Liberals, but that he’s actually a socialist — or, at least, he once was a socialist, and has neither explained nor apologized.  We in the conservative blogosphere find this problematic, the Kos crowd finds it cause for celebration and, what is completely unnerving, the American public doesn’t seem to care.  It’s to address this last point that I wrote I lengthy article for American Thinker explaining why everyone should care that a socialist may take the White House:

For conservatives opposed to an Obama presidency, the last few days have brought the wonder of the smoking gun:Obama really was a socialist.  Combine that hidden paper trail with his Ayers affiliation, and it’s reasonable to believe that Obama still holds these socialist political views.

Conservatives’ excitement at finally having found the real socialist hiding inside that empty suit is tempered by one thing — outside of conservative circles, nobody really seems to care.  The media, of course, is very aggressive about not caring, but the malaise seems to affect ordinary Americans as well.

The only way to explain this disinterest in Obama’s past and its relationship to his present is that Americans no longer consider the label “socialist” to be a pejorative.  To them, it’s just another content-neutral political ideology.  In our non-judgmental age, it falls into the same category as Liberal vs. Conservative, or Left vs. Right.  To most people, it just means Obama is a more liberal Liberal, or a leftier Lefty, and they already knew that.

In order to stir ordinary Americans to the sense of outrage those of us in the blogosphere feel, we need to remind them that socialism is not simply a more liberal version of ordinary American politics.  It is, instead, its own animal, and a very feral, dangerous animal indeed.

It helps to begin by understanding what socialism is not.  It isn’t Liberalism and it isn’t mere Leftism.  Frankly, those terms (and their opposites) should be jettisoned entirely, because they have become too antiquated to describe 21st Century politics.  The political designations of Left and Right date back to the French Revolution, when Revolutionaries sat on the Left side of the French Parliament, and the anti-Revolutionaries sat on the Right.  Terms from the internal geography of the French parliament as the ancient regime crumbled are striking inapposite today.

Likewise, the terms Liberal and Conservative date back to Victorian England, when Liberals were pushing vast social reforms, such as the end of child labor, while Conservatives were all for maintaining a deeply hierarchical status quo.  Considering that modern “liberals” are seeking a return to 20th Century socialism, those phrases too scarcely seem like apt descriptors.

If it were up to me to attach labels to modern political ideologies, I would choose the terms “Individualism” and “Statism.”  “Individualism” would reflect the Founder’s ideology, which sought to repose as much power as possible in individual citizens, with as little power as possible in the State, especially the federal state.  The Founder’s had emerged from a long traditional of monarchal and parliamentary statism, and they concluded that, whenever power is concentrated in the government, the individual suffers.

And what of Statism?  Well, there’s already a name for that ideology, and it’s a name that should now be firmly attached to Sen. Obama:  Socialism.

You can read the rest here if it interests you.

UPDATE:  You may also read to read Neo’s literate and intelligent post riffing off my article and explaining why she’s concerned that, while we’re hoping the worst will be a soft European-style socialism, Obama is giving hints that he falls into the truly scary Chavez mold.

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  • Quisp

    Book, you’re one of Lucianne’s top reads of the day. Plus, you used my favorite example of British government control – the fruit and vegetable standards. At first glance it’s humorous, but the longer you consider it the more shocking it becomes as you realize how deeply into people’s lives and livelihoods the government can stretch “for your own good.” And let’s not forget the woman who sold her fruits and veggies by the pound. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/3179333/Market-trader-in-shock-at-conviction-for-selling-fruit-and-veg-by-the-pound.html.) Is there a Brave New World term for stupid things becoming criminalized while criminal things are ignored or facilitated?

    I don’t think Americans pay enough attention to the British example of the slow slide into socialism, so thanks for calling it out.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Excellent, excellent, excellent article, Book! Or, as the Brits would say, “brilliant”.

  • Zhombre

    Yes, and given the propensity of Obama supporters to stifle opposing views, to inflate voter registration by fraudulent means, and bigmouth Biden’s admonition that paying taxes is patriotic, it may be an incipient form of American, or national, socialism.

  • Ymarsakar

    Bloody brilliant, Danny?

  • suek

    Ran across this this AM…It may not exactly belong in this thread, and I can’t even verify that it’s an accurate quote – but it’s still worth noting…

    Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

    –George Washington

  • 11B40

    Greetings:

    As the originator of the “What’s Black & White and Red all over?” question, Senator Obama’s socialism is one of my serious concerns. Obviously, he will do nothing to help us distinguish whether it is the revolutionary kind or the incremental kind. At this point, my hope is that, if he gets elected, his narcissism will triumph over his socialism and perhaps expose him to impeachment at some point.

    However, I seem to remember something from my few days in Political Science class about “the President proposes, and the Congress disposes.” Which brings me to my great dissatisfaction with the McCain campaign’s failure to go after the Reid/Pelosi Congress in any serious manner. It seems to me that Senator McCain is using a “three monkeys” – see no evil; speak no evil; hear no evil; – approach for some, to me, unfathomable reason. I think President Bush, God love him, has amply demonstrated that going along with the Congress is a long walk down a garden path.

    As I see it, American politics have become almost totally corrupt. There is so much “filthy luchre” available through campaign donations, earmarks, “sub rosa” business deals, jobs and careers for relatives and friends, a lot of it legal, that politics is making as many millionaires as Silicon Valley. Twice now, I have seen Senator Obama ridicule Senator McCain’s position on earmarks and the latter has failed to develop the point to the overall acceptance of corruption problem which would be a great lead in to First Woman Speaker of the House Pelosi promise of the most ethical Congress ever.

    It’s getting harder to be optimistic.

  • http://helenl.wordpress.com/ Helen Losse

    Bookworm, There’s a fat chance anyone will listen for these distinctions now. For months it’s bee like this: democrat=left=liberal=socialist=communist. And now you want to tell us there’s a difference. :-) That’s what I’ve been saying all along. Not every democrat is a socialist, and Obama is a fine Democrat.

  • Ymarsakar

    And now you want to tell us there’s a difference.

    We can’t tell you anything, Helen. Your mind is broken into compartments that we can only access at one time. Convince one part of your mind that we are right and you are wrong and it is just taken over, subsumed, and then re-programmed by the other compartments in your mind.

    For months people like me have told folks like you that there is a difference between a classical liberal, Leftist propaganda operator, a socialist, a fake liberal, a useful idiot, and a Soviet KGB operator. Just because you don’t want to listen and remember is no reason to tell untrue things about Bookworm.

  • Ymarsakar

    Do you know what kind of mindset or background or skill set is required to comprehend the differentiations, social and political and military, in alien cultures and enemy factions?

    It requires a lot more than just a blase and proud ignorance of warfare, for one thing. If you haven’t gotten it about Iraq and their tribal culture, then it is unlikely you will comprehend and grasp the hierarchy of the Left, either.

    All human hierarchies can be targeted, bisected, and divided up according to their constituent components. But the mindset, the background knowledge, and the skill sets required for such an action is not something most people learn in their lives.

    Multiculturalism has assured that by making us ignorant of all cultures except the Left’s debased culture.

  • Ymarsakar

    And now you want to tell us there’s a difference. :-) That’s what I’ve been saying all along.

    Btw, I highly doubt that when you claim that you have been saying that Book’s differentiation of Statists and Individualists, of Democrat utopian useful idiots and Republican upholders of the US Constitution, you are not fugging some of the details.

    To be clear, you have been saying all along what Book has wrote in the article. You have said there is a difference, but that difference is not true. It does not accurately describe Democrats, fake liberals, or Leftists. It does not even describe you and your belief in white privilege, helen.

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