In the novel Catch-22 there is a character named Howard Snowden who is injured when his aircraft is shot. The novel's protagonist, Yossarian, treats the wound on Snowden's leg and thinks he's done a satisfactory job of tending to his injured crewmate. It is a recurring vignette in the novel, but we don't get to its conclusion until near the end of the novel.
After thinking Snowden's wounds adequately treated, Yossarian opens Snowden's jacket. He finds him basically eviscerated; his intestines are pouring out of a hole in his chest. His case is hopeless. Snowden dies muttering "I'm cold" and all Yossarian can do is say, "There, there."
I thought communism was defeated when the Berlin Wall came down. I'm now thinking the Wall falling was the equivalent of treating Snowden's leg. We did not defeat communism at all.
It is almost commonplace to accuse someone of being like Hitler or acting Nazi-like. (Googling "bush hitler" yields 1,300,000 hits, for example.) Yet you are considered beyond the pale, and possibly insane, to even suggest that someone might harbor Marxist sympathies. To question someone's dedication to traditional American or merely Western ideals = calling him communist = being Joe McCarthy = we now know you're nuts.
Case number one is Representative Michele Bachman. She merely suggested that the press should look more intently to see if some Democrats and Barack Obama in particular harbor anti-American attitudes. The headline at the Huffington Post? "Michele Bachman Channels McCarthy. Obama Very Anti-American. Congressional Witch Hunt Needed." Contributions to Bachman's political rival poured in.
Of course Rep. Bachman neither called Obama "very anti-American" nor called for a congressional investigation of any kind. But in a world where facts no longer matter, so what? (You can read the transcript of her Hardball interview here.) Even the Republican Party abandoned her, until it found out the controversy was bringing contributions into her campaign like crazy. Amazingly, she survived her re-election bid.
Case number two is Representative Paul Broun, who had the audacity to say this:
"It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but the thing is, he's the one who proposed this national security force. I'm just trying to bring attention to the fact that we may -- may not, I hope not -- but we may have a problem with that type of philosophy of radical socialism or Marxism."
We don't have to go all the way to the Huffington Post to find this one denigrated; we need only go so far as James Taranto writing in the online Wall Street Journal. He puts this one under the headline, "How Not to Revive the GOP":
"Here is a helpful rule of political rhetoric: When you begin a sentence, ‘It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but . . .,' you probably shouldn't finish it."
(I guess what we really need are more Jim Jeffords and Lincoln Chafees. "Real Republicans vote Democrat" could be our new motto.)
We are now at the point where any utterance at all that merely questions whether a politician leans Marxist is immediate grounds for dismissal, derision and even banishment from the Republican Party and the public conversation. It is "McCarthyism" in reverse, or more properly, real McCarthyism as it actually happened, meaning the accuser is the one who suffers, not the accused.
But what if they are Marxist?
Excuse me, but isn't the great lesson we were supposed to learn from Nazism to recognize such evil before it reaches critical mass - to quash such movements before things get violent? As a reminder, the Holocaust count was 11 million; communism killed 100 million.
If we do not allow ourselves to call something "wrong" or "evil", we yield the battle without even a fight. Yet to refrain from such "invective" is what is now called "civil discourse" and the right "tone."
Bill Ayers called himself a "small ‘c' communist." Is it OK to call him a communist? Barack Obama said this in one of his autobiographies (at least he said it on tape, whether or not he wrote the book himself ):
"To avoid being mistaken for such a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk rock performance poets."
Here's a hint: you have to be pretty steeped in leftist thought to even know that the adjective "structural" goes with the noun "feminist."
Obama was essentially a "red diaper baby" who was raised and educated by Marxists to be Marxist. Communists really did spy on us. They had secret meetings. Communism is no longer "strange"; it is taught in our schools, sometimes by Marxists. Obama went to such schools, took such classes and personally sought out Marxists. Bill Ayers calls himself a communist. Barack Obama's run for elective office was kicked off at a meeting in Bill Ayer's house. His voting record was the most liberal in the Senate in 2007, or left of self-avowed socialist Bernie Sanders.
Are we not to infer the obvious?
Some more hints: "a heavy progressive or graduated income tax" is one of the ten planks in the Communist Manifesto. So is "centralization of credit in the hands of the State." So is "centralization of the means of communication" and "establishment of industrial armies."
I don't think it's my imagination that (a) we are already far down the road in establishing each of these planks (e.g., Federal Reserve System), and (b) Barack Obama and the Democrats are itching to take us even further down that road: more progressive income taxes; more government control of credit, banking and industry; the "fairness doctrine" and other regulations of speech and communications; a national service plan and mandatory "public service" for students; etc.
A reasonable person could infer that the present aim of the Democratic Party is full implementation of the planks of the Communist Manifesto. Just look at the ten planks and look at the Democratic Party's platform or its legislation waiting in the wings. You don't need rose-colored glasses to see the red in either.
In fact, the interesting question is no longer whether our politics in the US and Europe (not to mention Latin America) are leading to Marxism. The interesting question now is whether voters care. My guess is that almost half the people in the US, and probably more elsewhere, think Marxism is no worse or even better than "capitalism." Isms is isms, in our post-rational world.
(Personally, I avoid the use of the word "capitalism." It is a Marxist term that just means letting people buy and sell what they want at the prices they want -- or what Adam Smith called "the system of perfect liberty.")
Of course, Barack Obama has not even begun his Rule yet. It's possible, I suppose, that the Obama we'll get in the Oval Office is the Obama we saw in his campaign ads -- good old American nice -- a "mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy" as Joe Biden said.
Then again, here are a few parting thoughts from the horses' mouths:
"It was usually an effective tactic, another one of those tricks I had learned: People were satisfied so long as you were courteous and smiled and made no sudden moves. They were more than satisfied; they were relieved -- such a pleasant surprise to find a well-mannered young black man who didn't seem angry all the time." Barack Obama
"Democracy is the road to socialism." Karl Marx
"We say that it may be possible in the U.S. to bring socialism through peaceful means. Perhaps through the ballot box. One thing is clear, there won't be socialism in the U.S. until the majority of the American people want it." The Communist Party USA
Ready to play Communist Manifesto Bingo? Just get out your copy of the Manifesto and look at the 10 planks. Once Obama passes laws that enact or strengthen at least, say, five of them, yell "bingo." That will be the sum total of your power to do anything about it.