Free Markets, Free People


A hypothetical for QandO readers

From a short post about The Wire by Jonah Goldberg at The Corner:

A lot of conservatives today are too quick to think that because liberals have some affinity for Marxist sentiments that they are actual Marxists. Liberals often make the same mistakes as Marxists, but they’re not Marxists.

I suppose this is true, but it got me to wondering. So I have a question for QandO readers.

Suppose, completely hypothetically, that Obama were a hard-core Marxist who wanted to go in the direction of Marxist programs as quickly as the system in place in this country allowed him to move.

Looking at his history in office so far, do you think there are any decisions that the hypothetical Obama-the-Marxist would obviously have made differently than the real Obama? If so, which ones?

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33 Responses to A hypothetical for QandO readers

  • Well he could… um… Or maybe…? Uh… Yeah, you got me. ;)

  • None. Nothing. Not a damn thing.

  • True Marxists would have at least made an effort to hide their hypocritical lifestyles from the public, for the first few years or so.

  • Of course Obama, and his hard supporters are not marxist.  They are, as Goldberg so well exposed, liberal fascists.

    • Sorry, I guess I’m blind in that eye. They all look the same to me.

      • Bingo, all ducks in a row. O and his minions are Marxist, fascists…bloody robbers, whatever you want to call them. Bottom line is; they all simmer in the same pot.

  • I could be wrong, not having a boundless grasp of history, but I seem to recall that historically Marxists (at least at first) persuaded the proletariat to take their side of the revolution with “power to the people” and “workers unite” type rhetoric.  While there certainly are proles aplenty who are persuaded that Obama has taken their side, I don’t recall him using that sort of rhetoric.  Maybe he didn’t because he didn’t have to persuade a lot of the people to back him; enough pretty much persuaded themselves for him to win the election.

    • Obama made his promises to the proletariat local and eventually cut off the national media from much of his appearances. 

      But regardless the proletariat isn’t just the modern marxists target.  Its the coffee shop elitists who would like to help the poor masses and put them on a leash at the same time.  

      • Ah.  That would explain why I hadn’t heard the rhetoric– I’m not sure how many years it’s been since a Democratic presidential candidate wasted spent time in Utah.  [For me that's a feature, not a bug. ;) ]

  • I think a real Marxist really wouldn’t support polices that would purposefully and knowingly raise the financial burdens of the poor and middle classes. I am friends with a few Marxists and they are not happy with Obama at all. They see him as a standard politician who is trying to establish his own power rather than helping the underclass.

    • A point of clarification, you are friends with a few useful idiots who THINK they are Marxists.  The reality of history is that real Marxists never ever give a damn about the poor, In fact the poor are the ones who always suffer the most under Marxism.

    • Unfortunately, we are in a transition phase, so everyone must make sacrifices for a better future. Don’t forget, even the proletariat has been corrupted by the effects of the Capitalist economic system, and must be replaced by a new correctly oriented class (see ‘New Soviet Man’). Doing this all at once (see ‘Day Zero’, Pol Pot) has proved to be inefficient, so we must do it gradualloy, which will cause some dislocation and inconvenience.

      Don’t forget, ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs’. The Proletariat obviously has few, if any, real needs. There are those frivolous  ‘needs’  inculcated by the Capitalists, we must reeducate in whatever way we can within Constitutional and legal means. Until we can change the Constitution, that execrable creation of the ruling class to protect their ill gotten gains and position.

  • I say po-tay-to, you say po-tah-to.  Either way it is a starchy edible tuber.  I say marxist, you say liberal.  Either way it is a collectivist that wants to control every aspect of your life.

  • I believe that you are asking the wrong question.  The real question is:  “Are President Obama’s handlers Marxist?”  Or, as I believe, “Is George Soros a Marxist?”

    President Obama  has a history of achievement, but unlike Bill Cosby, it has not imbued him with any desire to recreate the “work hard and improve yourself” ethic in others.  Perhaps that is the clue that tells us that his achievements are due primarily to the efforts of others.  Others who recruited him as the perfect candidate in these times to be supported and guided by them to a position where he can benefit them?  George Soros, anyone?
    As to the President:   one’s background and experience determines one’s outlook on many things. We don’t have enough information on President Obama to know what he is like.  (!!!)  By the way, if you think that the fact that he went to Punahou (the toniest private school in Honolulu) means anything;  don’t.  Almost any bright person who will behave properly can go there. I attended public school (Roosevelt) in Honolulu (my sister attended Punahou) so I know something about Punahou.  He then went on to other private schools, including Harvard.  Unfortunately, I don’t know squat about Harvard. We do have ample literature about how the relatively poor children who attend such schools feel about the experience and that may be instructive.  Did attendance at these schools give him the attitudes of his classmates?  That would be unusual, if the above-referenced literature is to be believed.
    President Obama was (one of the few concrete facts we know about him) a community organizer.  That means that he has hours and hours and hours contemplating what makes life tough for the underclass and considering what might be changed to make their lives better.  We know (Joe the plumber) that he wants to “spread it around”.    We know (videos of past speeches) that he believes in the redistribution of wealth.  So whether or not he is a classic Marxist doesn’t really matter.
    Has he (or George Soros) any experience pondering how the costs of changes to improve the lot of the underclass can be afforded?  Any positions where he might be made aware of what might suffer in our society if wealth is transferred from earners to those unable to earn as much?  Has he ever chaffed under the many indignities suffered under schemes designed to provide level benefits to all regardless of their individual talent and  initiative (the military, union jobs, etc.)?
    Yes, I know.  Common sense is not regarded with as much respect as it used to be.  I’m sorry, but I cannot recast my comments into Hope and Change.  Guess that makes me less relevant or irrelevant to the majority.

  • There have been many efforts to “classify” Barack Hussein Obama: Is he a marxist?  Communist?  Socialist?  Fascist?  Garden-variety megalomaniac?  Stooge for George Soros, Bill Ayers, or the Daley Machine?

    The problem is that classifying a person is not quite as cut and dried as (for example) classifying an animal.  Ideals collide with reality, which in itself conflicts with personal desires, and so actions do not always jibe with supposed motives.

    What does President Imeme want?  What are his ultimate goals?

    I think he’s a typical lib: he has a hazy idea that capitalism doesn’t work very well in that there are poor people (“left behind”) in a capitalist society.  He has an equally hazy idea that government, if run by the “right” people (i.e. people like him), can right those wrongs.  He has a hazy idea of social justice, loosely defined as taking some from the haves (who – somehow – got what they have by taking advantage of somebody else) and giving to the have nots.

    He’s a crusader.

    All his ideas are hazy because, like most libs, he’s never had to work for much of anything in his life.  His life experiences tend to reinforce the view that he picked up along the way that things are unfair and that somebody (i.e. him) needs to right the wrongs.  However, he hasn’t got the education or experience to know how society or the economy actually works.  He thinks that the economy is a zero-sum game and that people will not make different choices when circumstances change (e.g. “the rich” will continue to invest and spend even after more of their money is confiscated through taxes and they are demonized or otherwise punished for making too much profit).

    He’s a fool.

    On the other hand, he’s also not above getting what he can for himself (personal desires conflicting with ideology).  In this, he’s no different from any despot – communist, nazi, etc – in history who spouted lofty rhetoric about “the people” even while making a fat pile of cash for himself.

    He’s a opportunist.

    What he HASN’T done (so far) is attempt to use violence, either by usurping the police and armed forces or organizing a paramilitary force, to overthrow the existing governmental structure.  He has not (so far) attempted illegal means to sieze more power for himself or outright punish his opponents.  No brown shirts, no “president for life”, no concentration camps.  It is possible to speculate why he has not done these things, but the fact remains that he has NOT.

    I suggest, therefore, that Barack Hussein Imeme is a garden variety lib, who rode into power on the waves of a perfect political storm and is trying, in an ignorant, haphazard, and therefore ineffective manner, to grab what he can WHILE he can.  Yeah, he “got” GM and Chrysler… which are very likely to go belly-up unless he and his democrat co-conspirators can arrange to continue funneling taxpayer money into their coffers, which it looks likely that they will NOT be able to do.  Yeah, he got the banks, but his grasp on them is tenuous because he needs them to function with some level of efficiency lest the economy (and his chances of reelection) completely collapse; he can’t meddle too much, and I think they are starting to figure this out.  He’s got a lot of power, but so do they, and he’s finding that out.

    Imeme is a garden-variety liberal: grasping, foolish, able to talk a good game but too lazy and ignorant to play it well.  He got where he is NOT because he’s especially smart or even has an especially well-developed ideology or plan.  He’s the equivalent of a fool who won the lotto: he’s got a lot of money NOW and is bent on enjoying it and even finishing a few ill-considered, badly-planned projects, but has no idea how to hold onto it or what to do with it over the long haul.

  • I am reminded of a passage from Theodore Dalrymple:

    My little collection has led me to the conclusion that the Soviet Union was valued by contemporary intellectuals not for the omelette, but for the broken eggs. They thought that if nothing great could be built without sacrifice, then so great a sacrifice must be building something great. The Soviets had the courage of their abstractions, which are often so much more important to intellectuals than living, breathing human beings.

    So, as a parallel to Bruce’s question, how is what Dalrymple describes here any different than what the Democrats have displayed in the last year?

  • Marx? Perhaps more in the Gramsci mold. On the other hand, Obama may be too post-modern to be a classical Marxist. It’s more about what he’s against: core American values.

    • Obama has so much Marxist influence in his background that it’s impossible to dismiss it.

      Gramsci was not new, but a vicious restatement and renewal of Marx’s attack on the norms of bourgeois society. When Marxist revolution failed to materialize, Gramsci refocused Marxists on the need to destroy, subvert, overturn cultural institutions. Hence the relentless attacks (or subversions) on religion, the family, education, etc. “The march through the institutions.”

      Obama himself is directly from the branch of Marxism that became “liberation theology,” which was a Latin American variant that made subversion of the Catholic Church its revolutionary goal. In Obama’s church, the “liberation theology” was merged with black nationalism to become “black liberation theology” or “black theology,” which is a unique blend of racist nationalism and Marxism, of the fascist and Marxist variants of socialism.

  • I suppose Obama is more of a Fabian socialist than anything else. 

    So they question becomes, are Fabian socialists Marxist?

    I know my answer to that.

    • There’s no question that Fabian socialists are Marxists, but they are a variant, often called “social democrats,” who eschew hard revolution for gradualism through democratic process.

      Given the opportunity, however, they will use available political power to shove whatever they can down a society’s throat.

      They will use the slow-motion violence of the state to force their collectivist will on “the people,” the abstraction they use to justify everything that they want, at any given moment. “The people” are frequently transferred into the abstraction “the children” as in “for the children.”

  • It is possible, I believe, to get to a precise mapping of what liberals are. (I can’t do that here, and haven’t done it, but trust that it can be done down to the dottied i’s and crossed t’s.) Liberals are a confluence of airy ideology rather than a hard amalgam. So they can appear and disappear in and from various political positions. They can show rock-hard commitment one day and seem blissfully unaware that they ever had such a commitment the next. But they are always certain of themselves and will show you their absolute uncertainty to prove it.

    So, in liberals, the hard dictates of Marxism come and go in breezes. The liberal breathes the air of Neo-Marxism, which is cultural Marxism, social blame-shifting, issue-of-the-day (or decade) obsession, without the hard Marxian language. Liberals are pushed around from those further Left and are easily guilted by the far Left into holding a position or ignoring a fact.

    Liberals become Marxists, then, the way ectoplasm becomes an apparition and then fades back to ectoplasm until the pushes and shoves come again and cause them to form the Marxist apparition again.

    Liberals are evanescent. They know what they hate and what they want, but it can change overnight. Marxism can step into them and make them dangerous to themselves and others and then step back out and make them the squirrelly little sh!ts they revert to when their undulating anger settles in everyday neurosis.

    • It seems to me that you perhaps have a particular person in mind.  Just sayin’…

      ;-)

      • No, I am not writing specifically about Erb, but about the composition of the general liberal character. As I wrote that, however, I understood how it applied to Erb. Despite that, I would put him in a different category, as a postmodern Marxist, who is also hiding something.

  • What would a Marxist do differently?
    Nothing! He’s doing a fantastic job from a Marxist perspective. Well, other than maybe shove health care through by executive order or something like that …

  • Under a marxist the state would now own almost every bank in America.  The TARP funding could have been in the form of nationalizing controlling shares in troubled banks.  Instead it was a continuation of Paulson/Bush policy – state backed loans to private companies. 

    • Fair enough, with the assumption that a complete takeover of the banks was politically feasible. I have no strong opinion about that one way or the other.

      • The Brits did with Northern Rock, Bradford & Bingleys, RBS and HBOS.  It is a valid enough financial intervention if couched in terms of “short-term” and “emergency”.   If presented as the preferred option by Treasury it would be impossible for the Republicans to oppose politically (or at least I can’t see how it could be opposed). 

    • No, direct takeover  would have been too abrupt to fly in the US. 

      Instead, we are getting the slow roast version of the takeover.  “Well, now that you have taken that money, we get to demand . . . ”

      Barney Franks is now doing the real work, and squishy as he was, it is NOT a continuation of the Paulson/Bush” policy.

  • I’ll toss a dash into the comment soup: Has anyone ever heard Obama say anything about individual rights, individual freedom, or individual interests?
    I’m I wrong that he’s the first US president who hasn’t even given lip service to that?
    On a side note, does anyone think a Christie win will reanimate the rotting, worm-ridden pachyderm heap?

    • I’m I wrong…” should read, “Am I wrong…

    • Obama speaks in the language of the collectivist, post-modern left, which does not consider individualism (and the freedom that goes with it) to be a valid philosophy. Leftists seldom use the word freedom unless they are out to corrupt its meaning, such as talking about how you have to have security guaranteed by government program to be free. So, no, Obama doesn’t even pay lip service to individual rights, and only uses words like “competition” in inappropriate ways, such as declaring that a government program can “compete” with the private sector.

      On the Christie question, I’m not sure anything can reanimate the GOP into taking individual freedom seriously again. I talked about that here.

  • Yes, one thing: he would listen to Hillary. Or send her to Ft Marcy Park for a stroll.

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