I grew up with the picture of the U.S. president hanging on the wall of our house in Bucharest. My father, who spent most of his life working for the General Motors dealership in Romania, loved America, but he never set foot in this country. For him, America was just the place of his dreams, thousands of miles away. For him, the American president was its tangible symbol. At the end of WWII, we had President Truman on the wall. For us and for many millions around the world, he had saved civilization from the barbarism of Nazism, and he had restored our freedom -- for a while. From the Voice of America and the BBC we learned that America loved Truman, and we loved America. It was as simple as that.
A few days after the 2004 Democratic National Convention ended, Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of the Democratic contender for the White House, stated that four more years of the Bush administration meant four more years of hell for America.[i] Like Teresa, I am also an American immigrant, and I have spent my 34 American years under six presidents -- some better than others -- but I have always felt that I was living in paradise.
I still keep the picture of the American president on the wall in my home, and I will continue to keep it there until the end of my days. To me, the meaning of his office transcends the views of its occupant. The president of the United States symbolizes this greatest country on Earth, and he embodies the essence of our unique democracy: a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. He is also the leader of the free world, and the commander-in-chief of the most powerful military and intelligence force on Earth.
Next November, we will face a crucial election. For the first time in the history of this country, the voters will decide whether to preserve America's traditional capitalism, which made the U.S. the undisputed leader of the world, or to transform the U.S. into a permanently debt-ridden socialist realm marching to the tune of Marx's utopian “to each according to his need.” Unfortunately, our conservative movement has focused this critical electoral campaign almost exclusively on an anti-Obama strategy. This may not be a winning line of attack.
President Obama has indeed bought into the siren call of Marxism, as I myself once did, along with millions of others like me around the world -- even including former President Reagan -- when we were young and innocent. But President Obama did not come to power following a coup d'état. He was brought to the White House by 65,182,692 Americans who were proud that the U.S. had become mature enough to elect a black president. They were also overcome by Obama's unparalleled self-confidence on stage and by his outstanding oratory, a combination that succeeded in neutralizing even such incredible disasters as the one caused by the Marxist Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- the “adviser for change” of Obama’s 2008 electoral campaign who was caught on videotape screaming “God damn America.” Moreover, the electorate was entranced to such a degree by Obama's disarming smile that no one has yet dared to ask him why the picture of Marxist idol Che Guevara was hanging on the wall of his campaign office in Houston --- as was accidentally televised worldwide in February 2008. Then there was also President Obama's flamboyance and his flair for grandiose staging. During the 2008 election campaign he easily filled entire stadiums with fascinated admirers. Some of those electoral gatherings looked like Stalinist revival meetings -- over eighty thousand people were assembled in front of the now famous faux-Greek temple resembling the White House that had been erected in Denver.
Most of those people are likely to vote for President Obama again, unless our conservative movement will change its current electoral strategy of portraying him personally as the enemy. If history is any guide, this strategy will backfire. The 2004 Democratic National Convention was entirely focused on denigrating President George W. Bush. Remember? One after the other, the participants portrayed him as a “renegade,” a “liar,” a “deceiver,” a “fraud” who had concocted a war for personal gain. One delegate, now governor of Maryland, even stated that he was more worried about Bush than about al-Qaeda. A retired four-star general and former commander of NATO called President Bush a “deserter,” and looked the other way while one of his supporters compared America’s president to Hitler. The result? Bush was easily re-elected. He also won an outright majority of the popular vote.
Unity in a time of war is what made America the leader of the world. During World War II, 405,399 Americans gave up their lives in order to defeat Nazism and the Holocaust, but their country remained sturdily united around its commander-in-chief. "Attacking Obama will be counterproductive for Republicans,” warned Fred Barnes, The Weekly Standard’s executive editor.[ii] I second his statement.
Robert Kennedy -- not one of my favorite people -- once said: "I do not run for the presidency merely to oppose any man but to propose new policies. I run because I am convinced that this country is on a perilous course and because I have strong feelings about what must be done." Robert Kennedy understood what the presidency was all about, whatever we may think of what he planned to do if given the mandate, and he seems to be even more right today than in his time.
Our country is on a very perilous course.
An April 2009 Rasmussen poll showed that only 53% of Americans preferred capitalism to socialism; 27% were unsure, and 20% strongly opted for socialism. Even Russia's Pravda chaffed: "It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American descent into Marxism is happening with breathtaking speed, against the backdrop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people." One of the most popular nightclubs in New York City’s East Village is the “KGB Bar.” The place is jammed by Marxist writers and journalists, who read from their own scribblings and preach the need to redistribute America's wealth.
Why would so many citizens of the United States, a country that for most of the last century sheltered capitalist economics and law-abiding freedoms from the evil plague of socialism, now suddenly be succumbing to Marx's noxious charms?
French philosopher Jacques Derrida, who claimed he had broken with Marxism but confessed to still being choked with emotion whenever he heard the “Internationale,” reminded us just before he died that the first noun in Marx’s Manifesto is specter: “A specter is haunting Europe, the specter of Communism.” According to Derrida, Marx began The Communist Manifesto with specter because a specter never dies.
Derrida was certainly onto something. “Of only one fact do I feel certain, and it is that no thinking man can imagine that the ultimate result of the Great War can be anything but disastrous to humanity at large,” stated Alfred Mosley, one of Europe’s most celebrated economists, in 1915.[iii] Mosley was prophetic. Each of the World Wars caused a brief economic letdown and induced people in some countries, those more heavily affected, to seek Marxist solutions to their economic problems.
World War I brought Marx’s specter to life in the shape of the Soviet Union. Marx’s specter continued to thrive after the long wars in other corners of the world. The Soviet Empire, which dispossessed all inhabitants of Eastern Europe of their property and transformed that part of the word into a gulag empire, was created at the end of World War II.
My native country is a case in point. Four years of war on Germany's side had squeezed Romania like a sponge, and what little remained had been stolen by the vindictive "liberating" Soviet Army, which had laid waste to the land worse than a plague of locusts. Many young Romanian intellectuals who had grown up under the influence of the postwar patriotic fervor were willing to try anything, Marxism included, to rebuild their homeland. I was one of them.
After World War II ended, the young British voters turned to Marx’s specter for help as well. Tired of five years of war and ignorant of history, they kicked the legendary Winston Churchill out of office -- although his leadership had been critical to winning WWII -- and brought in Clement Attlee, the leader of the Labour Party. Attlee, who was a Marxist disguised as a socialist, started his reign with a popular socialist move: he nationalized the health care system, which had been heavily damaged by the war. Most people clapped, and Attlee suddenly became more popular than Churchill. Since, as the saying goes, l’appétit vient en mangeant, Attlee went on to nationalize the financial system, the automobile, gas and coal industries, communication facilities, civil aviation, electricity production, and the steel industry. He also introduced taxpayer-funded milk in schools.
The British economy collapsed, and the powerful British Empire passed into history. Nationalized famous British brand names, such as Jaguar cars, became disgraced or even international jokes. “Apart from some Russian factories in Gorky, Jaguar’s were the worst,” stated Ford executive Bill Hayden, when Ford bought that once prominent automobile manufacturer from the British government in 1988.[iv]
In 1950 the British voters repented and brought Churchill back to Downing Street, but it took Great Britain 18 years of conservative governments to repair the catastrophe generated by Attlee’s government in a mere six years. In the process of recovery, the Labour Party was fortunate enough to acquire non-Marxist leaders who normalized the party again.
Red China was created after eight years of Sino-Japanese war and four more years of civil war. The Sino-Japanese war (1937-1945) forced an uneasy alliance between Chinese Nationalists and Communists, which in 1947 generated a Chinese Civil War. On October 1, 1949, this civil war ended with the Communist Party of China taking control of the mainland China, and the Kuomintang retreating to Taiwan. Some hundred million people in Red China cheered. Marxism had won! Soon, however, an estimated 45 million people died of starvation and the effects of Mao's Cultural Revolution, and a billion ended being deprived of their properties.
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany have recently discovered a genetic factor, the A1 mutation, which affects the ability to learn from past mistakes. It seems that quite a few people in South America are carrying the A1 mutation. They brought various Atlee-style populist labor parties to power in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Argentina, which shepherded those countries into the first stage of Marxism, the socialist fold. Russian military ships and bombers are now back in Cuba -- and newly in Venezuela -- for the first time since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Brazil, the world’s tenth largest economy, even installed a former Marxist guerrilla fighter, Dilma Rousseff, as the country's president.
Socialism, which is simply a smiling mask hiding the ugly face of Marxism, has dramatically changed the geopolitical map of the world.
After 45 years of Cold War and eleven more years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, quite a few Americans also began imagining that capitalism was their real enemy, and they felt that the system of government should be transformed into socialism by redistributing the capitalists’ wealth. The leaders of the Democratic Party obliged. According to a March 12, 2008, amendment introduced in the U.S. Senate, funding just 111 of the 188 social projects proposed for financing by redistributing America's wealth would steal 1.4 trillion U.S. dollars from businesses and other taxpayers over the next five years. This huge redistribution of America’s wealth would cause the tax bill of people earning $104,000 to rise 74% ($12,000) and that of people earning more than $365,000 to rise by 132% ($93,500),[v] but it would also heavily affect the average taxpayer earning $62,000, whose tax bill would rise 61% ($5,300).[vi] In addition, the Democratic Party stated that it would let the Bush tax cuts expire. That would mean an additional federal tax increase of between $2,400 and $3,000 per taxpayer. On March 27, 2008, the Democratic Party announced a new $30 billion stimulus package to help individuals and areas “hard hit by the housing crisis.”
Millions of young Americans cheered. They were, of course, galvanized by the prospect that a Democratic administration would force rich Americans to pay a part of their own health care, mortgages, loans and school tuition, and they rushed to support the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party won the White House and both chambers of the U.S. Congress, and undercover Marxism became a national policy.
Once in power, the Democratic Party began an undercover effort to transfer the country's private economy into the government's hands. The process started with the automobile industry, which had been almost bankrupted by the United Auto Workers, a labor union representing workers in the United States and Puerto Rico. In the summer of 2009, the federal government gave General Motors $49.5 billion in "aid." In exchange, the government took roughly 61% ownership of GM. Chrysler was bailed out in 2009 as well, receiving $30 billion from the U.S. government with the condition that the UAW receive a 55% share of the company.
On Christmas Eve 2009, the Democratic-led U.S. Congress empowered the government -- secretly, at midnight -- to take over most of the U.S. health care system.
A Democratic Party victory in the 2012 elections would dramatically intensify the transfer of America's private economy into the government's hands. In other words, stealing would become a governmental policy in the U.S., just as once happened in the Soviet Union, in South America and in every other part of the world where the Marxists have been able to take the helm of the government into their own hands.
On February 15, 2003, an estimated one million young people took to the streets all over Europe, not to celebrate the freedom they enjoy because the United States protected them from becoming Soviet slaves, but to condemn the evil American capitalism portrayed by a disgusting book called Empire.[vii] Its co-author, Marxist professor Antonio Negri, was a KGB asset back when I was at the top of the KGB intelligence community. He served time in jail for his involvement in kidnapping and killing former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro. The New York Times called Negri's modern-day Communist Manifesto “the hot, smart book of the moment.”[viii]
As I watched the television spectacle showing those young people demonstrating against capitalist America, I could picture myself among them. They belonged to a new generation, but they were condemning the same kind of fabricated American capitalist monsters as I had done back in the 1950s, and they were just as many thousands of miles away from the real America as I had been.
Looking back on that time in my life, I realize how much easier it is to change one’s view of America at 25 than at 50, especially when America is some vague place thousands of miles away. Alas, now even young Americans born in this country seem to be as far from the real America as I was fifty years ago, and as caught by the siren song of Marxism as I was at 25.
A few days ago, PJMedia published an extremely important editorial: "Changing Minds in Crunch Time." Its bottom line is disarmingly sincere: "I was a liberal once," wrote PJMedia's CEO, Roger Simon. "So were many others I could name and still more I have never met or heard of." But we changed. "The question is not wheter to change people or whether they can be changed. The operative question is how they can be changed. We at PJMedia think about this every day. One of the things we consciously attempt to do is provide you with some ammunition."
Remember the Reagan Democrats who played a vital role in defeating Jimmy Carter's undercover Marxism? They switched to Reagan because he had also purged himself of his own youthful infatuation with Marxism. There are still a lot of the old, non-Marxist Democratic Party members around who remember President John F. Kennedy's 1961 inaugural address: "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country." Let's help them become "Romney Democrats."
[i] ” They want four more years of hell,” Teresa Heintz Kerry, responding to a Bush supporter yelling ‘four more years’ at a Democratic rally in Missouri,” TIME, Special Report, August 16, 2004, p.19.
[ii] Fred Barnes, “The Republican’s Best Weapon,” The Weekly Standard, February 2, 2009, p. 8.
[iii] Edward Marshall, “The War an Economic Disaster,” The New York Times, Magazine Section, June 6, 1915, p. SM15.
[iv] Angus Mackenzie, “Jaguar XK/XKR, A healty helping of cat-scratch fever,” Motor Trend, December 2008, p. 168.
[v] Ross Kaminsky, “What Will Obama’s Plans Cost the Nation?” Human Events, March 17, 2008, p. 1.
[vi] Ross Kaminsky, “What Will Obama’s Plans Cost the Nation?” Human Events, March 17, 2008, p. 1.
[vii] Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (London: Harvard University Press, 2000).
[viii] David Pryce-Jones, “Evil Empire, The Communist ‘hot, smart book of the moment,’” National Review Online, September 17, 2001