Why Is Observing Obama as a Marxist Verboten?
The recent release of a tape by Andrew Breitbart's outfit sparked renewed interest in President Obama's murky past. In anticipation, conservatives were elated that the president might finally be exposed. The tape showed Obama, then at Harvard Law, orchestrating a protest on behalf of Derrick Bell.
Without providing any background on just how radical is Professor Bell, the compliant liberal media derisively dismissed it all as conservative paranoia, even proclaiming presidential vindication. It still appears preposterous to purport that America elected a communist ideologue. The world's greatest beneficiary of capitalist bounty would never willingly empower a radical socialist to "fundamentally transform America."
Unfortunately, we did, even if Americans loathe admitting it. And this ought to have been obvious even before Mr. Breitbart's valiant efforts.
Obama exploits the citizenry's concerted blindness, cloaking his views under veneers of "social justice," "fairness," and "progress." Unadulterated Marxism attracts few votes. In rare candor, sans teleprompter, Obama lectured Joe the Plumber that his prescription for widespread prosperity is "spreading the wealth around."
Before catapulting to prominence, the president complained that thanks to constraints instituted by our Founders, "The Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice." Obama's justice ensures not that transactions are freely entered and fairly measured, but that bureaucrats enforce results fancied per the fluttering fashions of political correctness.
Still, most Americans would deny Obama's Marxist outlook, mistaking the term's meaning as synonymous with Stalin or Mao. Marxist theory informed many of history's most murderous tyrants, but Obama's brand is the emasculated theorizing of the faculty lounge. He neither intends similar mayhem nor has such means in our constitutional republic.
Further confusion revolves around textbook definitions as production remains primarily private. We still exhibit generally free markets, although our economic liberty rapidly erodes. If socialism connotes complete public ownership of society's productive infrastructure, and capitalism represents purely private property with minimal state interference, then few examples of either exist.
Since the Iron Curtain rent itself, modern socialism generally entails central planning and control more than communalization. Socialist states dictate acceptable practices and uses of private resources, making outright ownership redundant -- although Obama did exploit the downturn to redistribute chunks of Chrysler and GM for the proletariat.
However, the Bill of Rights prevents Washington from arbitrarily confiscating private property without pretext. Obama's policies begin where we are in response to what is. He can do only so much ridding of capitalism, yet he acknowledges that, regarding healthcare, "[i]f I were designing a system from scratch, I would probably go ahead with a single-payer system."
ObamaCare rolls downhill in that direction. In Obamanomics, government exists not to protect liberty, as the Founders believed, but as workers' vanguard protecting those otherwise vulnerable to "chaotic and unforgiving capitalism" -- which, Obama claims, "has never worked."
Every fiscal policy from sundry stimulus programs to tax credits is steeply progressive. Obama champions wealth-redistribution and punitively taxing the affluent, even as political reality prevents implementing his complete agenda. Still, spending relentlessly rises long after the recession's end, propelling government dependency to record heights. Meanwhile, regulatory impositions grow ever more invasive, further extending Leviathan's lurching grasp.
The administration's rhetorical assaults on business and repeated allusions to Republicans or the rich as "enemies" betray Marxist moorings. To Obama, profits represent not satisfied customers, but swindles; businesses are "greedy" until proven innocent. Acquittals come via campaign contributions or penance to progressive causes. Those who cooperate obtain ObamaCare waivers and lucrative public contracts; those who won't get vilification from the presidential bully pulpit.
But the Breitbart footage showing Obama supporting Derrick Bell's racialism highlights the precise hue of the president's Marxist perspectives. Professor Bell has been nicknamed the "Jeremiah Wright of the academic world." Bell's Critical Race Theory, the pinnacle of political correctness, applies Marxism to culture, as orthodox Marxism antagonized class differences.
Whereas Marx proffered that the pivotal hinge was economic, as explained here, cultural Marxism, aka political correctness, features other factors. It's still victims and villains, but the culprits extend beyond capitalists and bourgeois to whites, men, Christians, and other "privileged" parties. Western culture's prey are racial or religious minorities, women, and those behaving in ways previously considered anti-social.
Obama perceives society through lenses skewed by this modern version of Marxism. Obama's proposals inevitably leverage left-wing radicals or government organs to redistribute wealth, power, or caches of moral superiority under pretense of combating prejudice. Power shifts from private to public -- or from parties previously seen as oppressors to those whom progressives deem oppressed.
The racially charged efforts of Obama's Justice Department securing rights for minorities only are no anomaly. Dodd-Frank decrees further affirmative action in the financial industry. Our president sided with Mexico over Arizona regarding immigration. Obama's actions run so contrary to Western culture and Christian ideals that many surmise that he's secretly Muslim despite catering to homosexuals and feminists -- very un-Islamic constituencies.
The apologies, the appointments, the executive orders, the spending priorities -- all embody untrammeled political correctness. The consistent thread knitting this Marxist quilt is anti-traditional America, which, as the president haughtily scoffs, was founded by "men of property and wealth." Obama borrows from Marx, who thought government an instrument protecting the rich. Marx found faith, tradition, and patriotism impediments preventing the proletariat from recognizing their class interests.
Instead, as David Noebel explains in his indispensable Understanding the Times, Marxists developed an all-encompassing worldview of their own. Government is god, religion man's response to material deprivation. Karl called faith a palliative, "The opium of the people." When the political establishment provides sustenance, religion becomes irrelevant. Obama, blaming the economic failings of prior administrations, echoed that displaced workers "cling" to religion out of bitterness.
The presidential prescription: more government. Given Obama's past, why is this surprising?
Obama's maturation was influenced by Marxists throughout. Barack Sr. fashioned such screeds as Problems Facing Our Socialism advocating "communal ownership of major means of production." Obama spent high school in Hawaii under the tutelage of communist agitator Frank Marshall Davis, whom he declared a "decisive influence." In college, Obama dallied with Marxist professors and was described by classmate John Drew as an "ardent" "Marxist-Leninist."
His chosen place of worship was Jeremiah Wright's church, which extols blackness first and Christianity second. Wright, Obama's "spiritual mentor," preached Black Liberation Theology, espousing doctrines more Marxist than Christian. Wright gleefully ousted "bourgeois Negroes" from his pews in disdain for their "middleclassness," yet he embraced the Nation of Islam.
Perhaps Obama doesn't also scorn white Christians as "counterfeit" or believe that Jesus was a black socialist. He joined Trinity -- and resigned -- when doing so was politically expedient. His convictions are uncertain. But he was married and his children were baptized there; he even asserted Wright as "like family to me." The Audacity of Hope was named for Wright's sermon, from which Obama quoted favorably this gem in Dreams: "White folks' greed runs a world in need."
Obama's initial forays into politics were similarly infused with Marxism. As a community organizer, he partnered with proud communist terrorists like Bill Ayers, working alongside ACORN and other radicals. ACORN was founded by Wade Rathke, like Ayers an alumnus of the communist-sympathizing Students for Democratic Society.
As Jack Cashill explored convincingly in Deconstructing Obama and as and fawning biographer Christopher Anderson confirmed in Barack and Michelle, Ayers likely ghostwrote Dreams from My Father. Literary fraud is troubling; that our president's philosophy closely resembles a militant Marxist is tragic.
As commentator Selwyn Duke challenges, is there any indication that Obama ever renounced these long-held beliefs? During his abridged stint as senator, Obama rated farther left than even self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders. His administration's every endeavor foments cultural, economic, or political formulas of Marxist bent.
Why is observing this verboten?
Bill Flax is the author of The Courage to do Nothing: A Moral Defense of Markets and Freedom and a regular contributor for Forbes.com Opinions. Please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.