President Barack Obama confirmed all conservative doubts and worries about him in comments to young people in Argentina on Thursday. Not only did he say that the differences between communism and capitalism are intellectual rather than practical, he also declared that people should choose from either system whatever idea best suits the moment. This is the kind of thinking that created Marxism in the first place.
Obama started out by decrying the “sharp division between left and right, between capitalist and communist or socialist.” The president admitted that it has “been a big debate,” especially in the Americas. He gave specific examples of attacks from both sides: “You’re a Capitalist Yankee dog!” and “You’re some crazy communist who’s going to take away everybody’s property!”
But here’s the kicker:
Those are interesting intellectual arguments, but I think for your generation, you should be practical, and just choose from what works. You don’t have to worry about whether it neatly fits into socialist theory or capitalist theory, you should just decide what works.
What does Obama think is a good example of what works? Cuba. No, seriously, that’s what he said. He recalled speaking with President Raul Castro in Cuba:
I said, look, you’ve made great progress in educating young people: Every child in Cuba gets a basic education — that’s a huge improvement from where it was. Medical care: the life expectancy of Cubans is equivalent to the United States, despite it being a very poor country, because they have access to healthcare. That’s a huge achievement, they should be congratulated.
Yes, Obama just praised a (recovering?) communist country for its education and healthcare systems. Obamacare opponents, look no further for attacks on the president’s health law — he thinks Cuba should be our model.
Next Page: Obama defends free markets, but uses the thinking that gave birth to communism.
But the president also had some less kind words for Castro.
But, you drive around Havana and you see “this economy’s not working!” It looks like it did in the 1950s. So you have to be practical in asking yourself how you can achieve the goals of equality and inclusion but also recognize that the market system produces a lot of wealth and goods and services and innovation. It also gives individuals freedom, because they have initiative.
This part is great, because Obama is actually defending free markets. Such comments give hope to the Arthur Brookses of the world that we can team up with Democrats to fight world poverty. But don’t go too overboard: Obama also makes sure to couch those markets in very specific terms.
What you’ll find is that the most successful societies, the most successful economies are the ones that are rooted in a market-based system but also recognize that a market does not work by itself. It has to have a social and moral and ethical community basis. There has to be inclusion, otherwise it’s not stable.
This is true, but these moral bedrocks should be societal, not governmental. The biggest mistake of communism and socialism is that they try to force moral agreement through government decree.
Finally, Obama argued that capitalism and communism are two competing interests that need to be overcome. This is classic Hegelian “thesis, antithesis, synthesis,” the bedrock of Karl Marx’s communist ideas.
It’s up to you, whether you’re in business or academia or the nonprofit sector, to create new forms that are adapted to the new conditions that we live in today.
Sounds reasonable, right? It all depends on what you think the “new conditions of today” are, and it really does matter whether you see them in a communist or capitalist light. Sorry, Mr. Obama, but you won’t hoodwink all of us, no matter how good your rhetoric is.