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Ron Radosh

Is Obama a Socialist? An Answer to Milos Forman

July 11th, 2012 - 11:01 am
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Forman might not see “much of a socialist in Mr. Obama,” but he also writes that he does not see “signs of that system in this great nation.” That is because Mr. Forman is confusing Stalinism with social democracy. With that as his standard, he can easily ignore all signs of socialist policies and programs favored by Barack Obama. Like the Marxists, Obama said four years ago that we were on the verge of a “fundamental transformation” of the United States. What did he mean by that, if not his hope that the United States would soon become a nation more similar to the social-democratic welfare states of Europe?

So Milos Forman is correct when he says “really existing socialism,” as the Marxists used to call the Stalinist regimes, was “predatory” and not merely centralized government. But the programs advocated by the sectarian “Left” today are also advocated “in the name of ‘social justice,’” just as Forman writes the Leninists used as the reason for their enterprise.

One can argue whether or not the Affordable Care Act, as ObamaCare is called, is a stepping stone to an American social democracy. Certainly, were he still with us, Harrington would be the first to endorse it on those grounds, just as he used that argument to get his comrades to rally around the Humphrey-Hawkins Act. The difference is that Harrington was upfront about his goals, and proud to use the name “socialist” to describe the programs he supported. Today’s Left, however, prefers to hide its agenda, and instead use amorphous terms like “progressive” to hide their true purposes.

Socialism does not have to be the Stalinist totalitarian variety for one to find reasons to oppose it. There are plenty of sufficient grounds even if it is of the democratic variety. And to call Obama’s programs “socialist” is more than reasonable. I’m surprised that Milos Forman does not understand that.

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