What if they gave a socialist party and nobody cared?

The big news in the world of conservative publishing today is Stanley Kurtz’s Radical-in-Chief. It’s not actually out yet — that will happen on October 19 — but you can pre-order at the link I provided.  According to the press release, the book proves completely that Obama, despite his denials, is in fact a socialist, and not just a run of the mill “liberal Democrat” or a “progressive”:

Part biography, part history, part detective story, RADICAL-IN-CHIEF reveals the carefully hidden tale of Barack Obama’s political past. Stanley Kurtz, whose research helped inject the Bill Ayers and ACORN issues into the 2008 presidential campaign, presents the results of more than two years of digging into President Obama’s radical political world. The book is filled with previously unknown information about the president’s past, tied together by a bold argument about what Obama’s deepest political convictions really are.

RADICAL-IN-CHIEF marshals a wide array of never-before-seen evidence to establish that the president of the United States is indeed a socialist. Tracing an unbroken thread of socialist activities and political partnerships, from Obama’s youth through his community organizing days and beyond, the book confirms that the president’s harshest critics have been right about his socialism all along.

RADICAL-IN-CHIEF also exposes the truth about community organizers–the socialist beliefs they hold and hide, and how they trained and groomed a president. Obama’s community organizer colleagues had a strategy for slowly and stealthily turning the United States into a socialist nation. The Obama administration is carrying out that strategy today.

This book will forever change our national debate about who Barack Obama is.

For those of us who followed Stanley Kurtz’s writing in the run-up to the 2008 election, much of this is familiar stuff. Kurtz promises, however, that he has new research and revelations to bolster his already strong arguments about Obama’s political identity.  I have no doubt that the book will make for fascinating and informative reading.

The book’s October 19 release date is obviously timed to help educate voters in the lead-up to the November election.  I have a concern, however, one I’ve voiced before:  I’m pretty sure that the American public, indoctrinated for 40 years in the American public education system and the Ivy League universities, really doesn’t care about the word “socialist.”

While earlier generations of Americans understood the word to describe a political system that coincides with the diminution of personal and economic freedom, too many Americans hear the word and simply think of it as an alternative economic system.  They think Europe, with its pretty buildings and, until recently, high standard of living.

These same Americans do not think of the USSR and the Gulags, or the Nazis and the concentration camps, or the Norks and their concentration camps, or the Cubans and their political prisons, or the Chinese and their political slave labor.  All of those, Americans would say, were communist, which is different, never mind that it’s not.

I can already hear some of you saying right now that Americans are proving, with their hostility to the Obama/Democrat agenda, that they hate socialism.  But I’m talking semantics.  They’ll say they hate “Big Government,” or taxes, or government inefficiency, or too much government spending, but they will be utterly blase about “socialism.”  The word has lost its power.  The underlying concepts may bother Americans, but to say Obama is a socialist probably has as much meaning as to say he eats potatoes.

So while I think it’s fascinating that Kurtz can and will prove the ties that bind Obama to the hard Left, the fact is that, unless we can get Americans understand what that actually means, the book will be a nine day wonder that will not affect the ladies who rot their minds watching The View.

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  1. says

    Why people get more of what they do
    Entertainment light
    I have no doubt that the book will make for fascinating and informative reading.
    Libs won’t benefit from it, though, cause they have problems reading things not designed for children.
    “really doesn’t care about the word “socialist.”
    That’s why I favor the term “institutional slavery”. Propaganda is about word play and priming the right words so that people get the right idea first, not after deep thought.
    “that will not affect the ladies who rot their minds watching The View.”
    It will likely take a boot to their backsides to have any real effect.

  2. JKB says

    A big part of the problem is that socialism is a nuanced concept.  Especially since some elements, such as public education, are widely accepted.  That and walking away from “free” government money is hard even if it’ll cost you your soul.  Thus the farmer who complains about the government while cashing his subsidy check.
    Long ago, I read a book I’ve unfortunately forgotten, that discussed the levels of understanding as humans mature.  The author made the assertion that political campaigning stays at the level of the 5-yr old mind, basically the world is black and white.  Thus, Bush evil, Obama change.  So the problem is how do you discuss a nuanced concept in which people are vested to a point in simple black and white terms.  Thus the Lefts attack on people who complain about the deficit while collecting unemployment.
    We need simpler terms and I believe that Fredric Bastiat provides it in The Law.  What is simpler than “Legal Plunder”   Obama is a socialist because he advocates using the law and the legislative branch (whose job is legal plunder) to “attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else; to make plunder universal under the pretense of organizing it.”
    Today I watch this TED talk Matt Ridley: When ideas have sex His thesis is that when ideas were permitted to interact in the wider world in the same manner people do with sex, human advancement accelerated.  It occurred to me that regardless of their rhetoric, the Progressives put an awful lot of effort into ensuring ideas only have planned, state approved marriages with “wrong” ideas relegated to the ghetto and not permitted to contaminate by co-mingling.

  3. says

    Again, while Obama has socialist influences, his ideas also owe much to Fascism. Unlike the classical Marxists, he has no interest in running steel mills, railroads, or software companies. Like Mussolini and Hitler, he would much rather leave these enterprises in faux-private hands, as long as they can be made to do his bidding while he is insulated from any accountability for their results.
    Marxism was a bastard child of the Enlightenment. Fascism is counter-enlightenment. I see nothing of the Marxist vision of progress…especially economic progress…in Obama and his core supporters.

  4. suek says

    >>Like Mussolini and Hitler, he would much rather leave these enterprises in faux-private hands, as long as they can be made to do his bidding while he is insulated from any accountability for their results.>>
    You’re saying he’d rather be the land owner who reaps the profits from the crops, while holding the managers responsible to see that there _are_ profits, and has no concern for the workers who till the fields?
    Wow.  Sure sounds to me like the Ante-bellum south…

  5. JKB says

    Marxist’s have a vision of progress?  Economic progress?
    Interesting, on Monday John Stewart had a guest on to discuss his book about the development of the steam engine.  They got into a discussion about invention and how it really didn’t take off, nor was it a good way to make a living, until the concept of ownership of your invention came about, i.e., man trudged along for thousands of years using his back, his animals, or a bit of wind/water until it came about that someone could profit from their works.  Video: William Rosen | The Daily Show | Comedy Central
    Marxism has only been able to advance because of plunder.  Their economic progress is to plunder natural resources or enslave labor.  Invention, progress has depended on secure private ownership, the antithesis of Marxism.  That socialism tries to give the illusion of secure ownership until the powerful are ready to legally plunder it just makes it more insidious.

  6. says

    JKB….the Marxist vision of economic progress was *wrong*, but it was a vision nonetheless. A big part of the whole selling point was that there would be rising standards of living with planning and with the elimination of “wasteful” competition.
    The point at which the Left switched over from worshiping economic growth to denouncing the manifestations of same can be dated fairly precisely, with the release of the irritating song “Little Boxes” in 1963.

  7. suek says

    When you look at the third world countries, and compare them to the US, it becomes clear that economic success depends on two basic principles: secure ownership of private property, and equal justice under the law.  The Kelo decision, imo, has endangered the first.  The corruption we are seeing in the Justice department at this time endangers the second.  When the wealth you have accumulated can be plundered by those who have no fear of the enforcement of the law, you have no real incentive to work to accumulate that wealth.  It’s that simple.

  8. says

    suek….”Sure sounds to me like the Ante-bellum south”…while not an expert, I think a lot of the land owners *did* involve themselves considerably in planting strategies, marketing of crops, etc…while still employing managers/overseers to do their dirty work. A closer analogy might be to the absentee landlords who owned vast tracts in Ireland while living in London and rarely if ever visiting their properties.

  9. suek says

    No doubt you’re right – that’s why they (the southern planters) developed the Tennesee Walking Horse. (which has been almost totally destroyed today due to horse shows, but if anyone is interested, look for a “Plantation Walker).
    But the ante-bellum South has cultural connections that have somewhat more impact, don’t you think?

  10. JKB says

    David Foster, That’s a good PR blurb and perhaps it is believed by the useful idiots but socialism is the universal legal plunder of those who have.  The planning is to ensure nothing is missed by the plunder.  It does require planning to divert the plunder to the preferred group.  The goal of socialism is to “make people…better” through forced association, forced charity, forced behavior, etc. mostly through reward of a part of the plunder for proper behavior.  The removal of “wasteful” competition is to remove examples of better ways.  We have seen the overt, immediate hostility of the socialized public school system to any and all competition.  The system cannot tolerate school vouchers which would show their would be victims thriving outside the system.  “Wasteful” competition is to be avoided not for savings but so as not to reveal the failings of the state’s “planned” system.
    Make no mistake, Obama isn’t bringing socialism to America but is rather attempting to bring it to absolute overt prominence.  This is why we shall never be rid of it, socialism seeks to use the law for philanthropy.  By seeking to bring equalization among people.  But as the law is force, it must necessarily be unjust to some in order to bring about this forced charity.

  11. says

    JKB…many highly-intelligent and well-meaning people, like George Orwell and Arthur Koestler, became socialists. They weren’t *all* motivated by the desire for plunder.
    Cartoonish views of one’s opponents are of little value in defeating them.

  12. says

    Foster, if they are truly as intelligent and well meaning as you say they are, they will find out the truth on their own. The best way to support such cells is to press the regime hard and not giver cover to the regime by implicitly assuming that Orwell is with socialism.
    You make it harder for socialists to refute socialism when you lump them all together like the lumpen proletariat.

  13. says

    The point here is that calling Obama a socialist, however much truth is in this statement (and there’s a lot, but as I noted above there are equal elements of Fascism in his belief system) is not a political winner. Far better to show how his variety of “progressivism” differs from old-line liberalism, most specifically in its hostility to economic development and his contempt for the working class.

  14. says

    “Orwell was, in fact, a lifelong socialist.”
    A label without meaning.
    “Far better to show how his variety of “progressivism” differs from old-line liberalism, most specifically in its hostility to economic development and his contempt for the working class.”
    Orwell was hostile to several elements of the Left, but not to others. He called his cause democratic socialism. The label socialism does nothing to describe Orwell’s views or actions. Yet you don’t do this on Orwell because the label is meaningless. Regardless of what Orwell is called, it affects current politics in the US not at all.
    What Obama does. It doesn’t matter what you call him. The only thing that matters is what people feel and understand from their viewpoint. You can call him a socialist or a fascist, none of that matters in the PR campaign. For internal review it is of use in planning strategies.
    “his contempt for the working class.”
    Every aristocrat in the Democrat party feels contempt for the working class. John Kerry recently saved 500k in luxury yacht taxes by registering his yacht in a tax haven.
    Here, in this place, socialism is as good a fit for Omega Obama as fascism is. Those that know what socialism is or what fascism really was, don’t need to have their behavior changed. You’re not going to change the views of independent voters by attempting to make them believe in the truth about political history.
    “Orwell was, in fact, a lifelong socialist.”
    The implicit assumption is that Orwell, because he allied with the Left given the options he found, was a socialist. That’s about as deep as labels can go. It doesn’t say anything more.
    In today’s world, we have pro-women movements allied with the Left and pro-jihadist movements allied with the Left. Yet, that implies pro-women movements are pro-jihadist and pro-jihadist movements are pro-women. That implication is both right and wrong. If you ask NOW if they like religious extremists killing women, they would say no. They would qualify under your “well intentioned” selection. All their actions, however, belie their claims.
    This is why labels are only skin deep. The implicit assumption that because people are allied with a Cause, means they think the same way, is untrue. But their behavior often ends up similar, which implies their thoughts and goals are similar. The implication isn’t always accurate.
    “They weren’t *all* motivated by the desire for plunder.”
    It doesn’t matter what they are motivated by. All of this proves and demonstrates that while there’s a definite debate to be had over motivations and intentions, behavior is far easier to judge objectively.
    The debate over motivation is an internal matter, subject to limitations like place and time. By itself, it doesn’t do much to disaggregate enemy factions. Here, however, is not a campaign. There’s no reason why it must be.

  15. says

    It doesn’t matter if it s NOW, NAaCP, Obama, or MSNBC. If they are looting, they are looting. If they are promoting totalitarianism, they are promoting totalitarianism.
    All these distinct differences between socialism and fascism and capitalism don’t really affect most people that specialize in US fields. In so far as telling people Obama is anti-worker and anti-poor is good campaign material, it is as far as it goes.
    If it is a good rule to not talk about Fascism and Socialism to people who have no idea what those two things are, then is there someone here that fits the rule? Is there someone here that would be better convinced to view Obama in a negative light if we spoke of employment and jobs, instead of fascism and socialism, because they don’t understand socialism or fascism?

  16. JKB says

    If Orwell wasn’t motivated by plunder then what was his motivation in being a socialist?  Did he not want the state to use the law to take property from those who had it and permit the state to use that property to benefit others or to promote an involuntary association?  Just because some people supported a low grade version of socialism, doesn’t change the fact they want to take from the haves and give to the have nots.
    Elements of socialism have been alive and well in the US since before the turn of the 20th century.  It works when it is just a low grade fever but Obama, like the New Dealers, wants a full blown infection.  Unfortunately for him like a virus when it goes into high gear it sets off the body’s defenses.  When the fever is low grade, people pay the tribute and feel good about the aid going to the less privileged.  But start bleeding off to much and the victims start finding it worthwhile to put effort into avoiding or in actual revolt.  It’s your basic protection racket that works until the criminal gets greedy and kills his revenue stream.
    Calling Obama a socialist or a fascist or any other -ist is foolish.  You have to keep this at the 5-yr old mind level.  The way to do this is to point out when he wants to “spread the wealth” or force associations.  Basically when he wants to take away even more autonomy and liberty.  The left will try to counter that people have accepted other socialist programs and redistributions or earlier taxes to support them.  The right counter is to then push against those programs to get them on their heels.

  17. says

    Orwell was a product of his time. Which sort of meant that he was like an abolitionist that believed blacks were inherently inferior, yet sought the government’s power to free slaves. Solely because he believed it was better for the masses to have liberty than for government to have power over them. This made Orwell characteristically anti-totalitarian, though I couldn’t identify how much support he gave to the post-Churchill labour movement. The one that, you know, nationalized healthcare and did a bunch of other stuff, like FDR did in the US with social security. Producing the inevitable collapse some odd decades later after the inception.
    In our day and age, he would have become a neo-con, a defector from the Left, ending up as an avenger of bones on Iraq.

  18. Mike Devx says

    We know that socialism delivers misery on a widespread scale… eventually.  Most people below the age of 40 have never seen “cruel socialism” – in its totalitarian form – in action.  Most of what they’ve seen as they grew up is the smiling, happy face of socialism.  Admittedly, that “happy face” is the face of a drooling idiot.  But the economic harm of happy socialism takes a while to become clear.  It’s SLOW poison to a country.  The proof of economic harm is never obvious, and you’ve got your Paul Krugmans making defenses and pointing the finger of blame constantly elsewhere.
    That’s why I agree with David Foster that labelling someone a socialist, these days, isn’t a very effective attack.  It just doesn’t resonate deeply enough with most people.  They lack the education and the historical context to understand what we really mean by it.

  19. suek says

    “she was in Indonesia working on a two-year contract from the Ford Foundation, from January 1981 through December 1982.
    At that time, Dunham was working on a microfinance program for the Ford Foundation, which was overseen by Peter Geithner, the father of Timothy Geithner, the current U.S. secretary of the treasury.”
    Interesting the number of links Obama seems to have that go back to the prior generation…

  20. SADIE says

    I didn’t know about the Geithner link – damn, the plot thickens.
    “I am the one you’ve been waiting for”?
    Is it possible that he wasn’t talking to the electorate during the campaign. Maybe  it was code to the moles.
    How very strange that Stanley’s previous passports/info just evaporated into thin air. Betcha, State Department can track every one that was issued to me. If anyone of us would call into question the entire thread that runs in the story, we would be accused of being a Joe McCarthy. Since the left vilified McCarthy to the level of ‘nuts’ the same tactics would be used again.

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