Obama and the Marxist/Communist View of Marriage and Abortion
Conservatives are not shy about highlighting what they perceive as Marxist/communist roots in various aspects of Barack Obama's policies, vision, and rhetoric. Some of these alleged parallels are a stretch; others are not. Many are merely the common overlap we often see among factions within the broader left of the political spectrum. We could debate and dissect them one by one; either way, they ultimately add up to a man -- our president -- who is on the far left.
Yet while conservatives tend to focus on matters of economics and excessive government growth and intervention, they're missing crucial aspects of Obama's social policy, vision, and rhetoric which, in fact, are arguably even closer to the Marxist/communist tradition. Here I'll give two salient examples: marriage and abortion.
On marriage, Obama last week finally came out of the closet in favor of "gay marriage." This means that the current president of the United States possesses the most radical/non-traditional view of marriage and the family of any president in the 200-plus-year history of this republic. (Yes, think about that.) That radical/non-traditionalism is fully consistent with the Marxist/communist worldview.
In the Communist Manifesto, Marx several times wrote openly of the "abolition of the family" and of communism abolishing "eternal truths" and "all religion, and all morality." "The communist revolution is the most radical rupture with traditional relations," Marx affirmed. "[I]ts development involves the most radical rupture with traditional ideas." Marx knew how shockingly revolutionary this was. He wrote: "Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists."
Marx practiced what he preached. He was a terrible father who caused tremendous discord in his family. As the family nearly starved, and as Marx's long-suffering wife neared the breaking point, Marx began an affair with the family's young nursemaid, whom he impregnated. When the child was born, Marx refused to acknowledge its existence and his paternity.
Marx's disciples, of course, happily followed in his footsteps.
The Bolsheviks, when they took over, immediately lifted the Russian Orthodox Church's longstanding prohibition against divorce. They also expunged God from wedding ceremonies, establishing so-called "Red weddings" -- that is, purely secular wedding ceremonies. In short order, divorce skyrocketed to proportions never before seen in Russia's long history or anywhere in the world. Within just decades, Russians had divorce rates worse than the worst rates in recent American history. I recall the female character in John le Carré's book, The Russia House, who remarked to her foreign love interest, "But everyone in Moscow is divorced!"
It was the perfect the communist plot, literally. They had sought to undo traditional notions of marriage and morality, and they succeeded wildly.
And it wasn't just in Russia. This thinking was endemic to the communist movement worldwide. In America, Communist Party USA (CPUSA) members swapped wives and divorced easily and merrily. They lived very loosely in their sexual morality and marital relations, pursuing practices that would make even today's culture blush. They boasted about it; it was a source of pride. Anyone who has studied American communism or been involved in the communist movement knows this.
To be sure, a 1930s CPUSA member wasn't thinking about gay marriage, and the Russians certainly weren't. Nonetheless, all of them consistently, consciously undermined the traditional understanding of marriage. It was one of their targets.
That brings me to abortion. The Bolsheviks advocated abortion. It was one of the first things they legalized. By the early 1920s, Bolshevik Russia had the most liberal abortion policies in the world. And what happened? Just like divorce, abortion exploded. In fact, the proliferation in abortions was so bad that it shocked even Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger during a trip to Russia in 1934. By the 1970s, when America was just getting around to legalizing abortion, the Soviet Union was averaging over 7 million abortions per year -- dwarfing the very worst rates in America post-Roe v. Wade. The direct effect of this on the Russian population has been staggering.
For the record, Russia's horrific abortion rates are common in communist countries, which to this day lead the world in abortions.
Marx, to my knowledge, did not deal with abortion -- to think he would in the mid-19th century is unrealistic. However, his disciples in the international communist movement a century later certainly did -- including here in America. To cite just one example, Whittaker Chambers noted how abortion "was a commonplace of Party life." He honestly and painfully wrote about his wife's first pregnancy, when she had to plead for the life of their unborn child. The blessed birth of that child changed Chambers completely, particularly regarding his views on God. Interestingly, the termination of an unborn life was no mystery to Chambers' nemesis, Alger Hiss. Hiss's wife, Priscilla, who aided him in his treason, had an abortion before she met him (for the record, it devastated her).
As to President Obama, he is far and away the most radical supporter of abortion ever to step in the White House. This audience needs no proof of that, from Obama forcing all taxpayers to fund abortion drugs (with no religious exemption), to fund Planned Parenthood, to fund embryonic research, and on and on. Even before all of that, this was a man who as U.S. senator had co-sponsored the Freedom of Choice Act, the most extreme piece of pro-abortion legislation ever in America; who in a 2007 speech to Planned Parenthood hailed America's largest abortion provider as a "safety net"; and who as a state senator in Illinois repeatedly refused to provide mandatory health care for babies who somehow survived abortion procedures. (These babies apparently were not part of Obama's vision for mandatory/universal health care.) This is a mere short list. Click here for a truly breathtaking ongoing list compiled by LifeNews.com.
Overall, Barack Obama's support of gay marriage and abortion constitute an undermining of the historical, fundamental understanding of the human family. And that, too, is quintessentially Marxist/communist. Among presidents, his position is unprecedented -- just as the Marxist/communist position was unprecedented.
This is not to say that Obama is sitting in the Oval Office with a copy of the Communist Manifesto on his lap and a list of check items. Nonetheless, his decidedly radical/non-traditional far-left social positions contain some unusually surprising parallels to the farthest extreme of the left. In yet another disturbing similarity, our current president's position just happens to coincide with the Marxist/communist position.
Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. His books include The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism and Dupes: How America's Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century. His forthcoming book is The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, the Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mentor.