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Marxism, Socialism, Communism, and Obama

“I don’t get it,” my friend said, shaking his head. “Obama is supposed to be so smart and such a brilliant politician ... ”

“Right,” I said. “So?”

“So everything he has done or wants to do is a disaster! It’s all opposed by the majority of the American people. Even Democrats are running away from him as fast as they can. If he’s such a great politician, why does he keep doing things most people hate? And that’s not the worst part. When people complain, he calls them too dumb to appreciate what he’s doing for them!”

Why indeed. The answer is deceptively simple: Barack Obama, the president of the United States, is a committed, doctrinaire socialist, and because Marxist philosophy is the foundation of socialism and communism, a Marxist. Many Americans are reluctant to accept this idea, despite overwhelming evidence, for two primary reasons: they don’t want to accept that they helped to elect him, and they’re not really sure what socialism and communism are, or what all the fuss about communism was about. After all, the Swedes are socialists -- aren’t they all blondes in bikinis with charming accents?

To begin, as a public service, a Marxist primer: Karl Marx (1818-1883), a German, was the originator of Marxist theory, which was adapted by the leaders of the now defunct Soviet Union as Marxist-Leninist thought. Marxism is essentially a method of analyzing history through the vehicle of economics. In Marxist thinking, there are two classes of people who will always be engaged in what Marx termed the “class struggle”:

The Bourgeoisie: The rich, those who own land, the owners of factories, the capitalists who only get richer by exploiting the labor of the workers. In capitalist societies, they are the owners of the “means of production.”

The Proletariat: The workers who are always helpless and exploited.

The Marxist view of history contends that man has no “natural” rights or tendencies. He is self-making. He is constantly changing due to his need to develop new technologies (new means of production). There is accordingly no “natural” political order, only that created as a consequence of the constantly evolving means of production. To that end, Marx saw the following historical chronology, which communists believed (and believe) to be inevitable:

Step One -- Violent Revolution: Capitalism is better, according to Marx, than feudalism, but both are hopelessly corrupt because of the exploitation of the workers by the bourgeoisie. As the gap between the very rich and the very poor widens (Marx did not foresee the dramatic rise of the middle class), the workers will be forced to revolt and seize the means of production. This revolt must be bloody, brutal, and total, with the noble final goal being the seizure of all power for the workers who will then labor to establish the next step on the historic path. This will take place on a country-by-country or region-by-region basis, but Marx believed that this historic “class struggle” would absolutely overwhelm the world.

Step Two -- The Dictatorship of the Proletariat: This was the perpetual state of the Soviet Union. Having seized the means of production, the workers will purge society of all traces of capitalism. They will reeducate -- or kill -- all capitalists. Because it is impossible to secure the ultimate blessings of communism in this phase of the historic process, the workers must be “guided” (in actual practice, ruled) by an elite group of “scientific communists” who alone know how to keep the revolution moving steadily on the historic path. While these scientific communists are purportedly part of the proletariat, in actual practice, they resemble the capitalists they deposed. Marx recognized this as an evil necessary to achieve the final goal. Many communists were -- and are -- quite fond of this particular part of the doctrine, as they get all the goodies while the workers exist in misery and despair.

Step Three -- True Communism: Before true communism can be achieved, all democracies (which tend to be capitalistic) must be wiped from the face of the planet. This is historical destiny; it must occur. Therefore, any means are justifiable to make it happen. (Communists often have been called “socialists in a hurry,” in that they’re more than happy to kill anyone who even looks like they might be thinking about standing in their way. Historically, this has translated to the deaths of tens of millions of their own citizens. Many communists were very fond of this part of the doctrine, too). It was only the existence of Western democracies which kept the Soviet Union interminably in the second phase. When true communism was attained, a “worker’s paradise” would exist around the Earth, and there would be no need for government of any kind. The maxim “from each according to his ability; to each according to his need” would apply. The people would own and operate all of the means of production and absolute social justice would prevail.

Any failures along the path to the manifest destiny of true communism are always attributable to the idea that true communism has not yet been achieved, therefore Marxist theory cannot be falsified. It can never be proved wrong. There can never be, by definition, enough communism, and the remedy to the problems caused by insufficient communism is always more and more fervent communism.

Socialism is communism-lite. It differs from communism primarily in that socialists are generally less willing to torture, imprison, and kill those who oppose their goals than are communists, and at least pay lip service to some ideals of democracy. In socialist countries, some private ownership of property and industry is generally allowed, but government taxation, regulations, and oversight are generally so onerous that the freedoms allowed individuals are slight and barely distinguishable from a state where no individual freedoms exist. Since government is essentially all-powerful, the few and pathetic freedoms which exist may be diminished or taken away by government at any time. But over time the people become so enervated they seldom complain, trusting instead in the beneficent, all-knowing, all-caring government. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had it exactly right when she said:

The problem with socialism is you always run out of other people’s money.

Socialism and communism are identical in many ways. Socialism too is non-falsifiable. Any problems that arise can never be understood to suggest that socialism, or the “scientific socialists” who administer it, are faulty in theory or application, just that the public doesn’t understand and more fervent socialism is required.