The biggest challenge facing Republicans in the 112th Congress is not Barack Obama. It is not Harry Reid and the Democrat-controlled Senate. It isn't high unemployment, repealing ObamaCare, the threat of Islamism and sharia in America, the deficit, or the looming insolvency of several (mostly blue) states. These, broadly speaking, are symptoms. The disease is socialism -- or at the very least, a pervasive socialistic mindset.
According to a February 2010 Gallup poll, "61% of liberals say their image of socialism is positive" and "53% of Democrats have a positive image of socialism." Overall, 36% of Americans view socialism favorably.
Winston Churchill aptly described socialism as "a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue [being] the equal sharing of misery." As economist Thomas Sowell put it, "[s]ocialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it."
A U.S. senator, Bernie Sanders, is an avowed socialist. Many more stealth socialist and similarly minded legislators walk the halls of our Capitol (like Rep. Maxine Waters, who threatened to "socialize" the oil industry Chávez-style). In the White House, the condition is as bad or worse. Most socialists take a more secretive tack than Sen. Sanders and MSNBC anchor Lawrence O'Donnell, the latter of whom recently declared on the air, "I am a socialist." Newsweek once alleged that "we are all socialists now." Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, Friedrich von Hayek, and other notables have warned about "creeping socialism" and its undesirable outcomes. Recall that Reagan said, prophetically, "[O]ne of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine[.]" Why and how this failed political theory and its variants, including Marxism, are metastasizing in this country have been and continue to be well-documented. Despite its apparent prevalence and increasing "popularity," the word "socialism" has a negative connotation to a majority of Americans -- for good reason. Upton Sinclair, author, socialist and Communist dupe, once wrote, "The American people will take socialism, but they won't take the label." Modern-day socialists and their fellow travelers in the Democrat party know this, as does their dear leader. Stanley Kurtz, in his new book Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism, wrote, "At every turn, Obama has disguised his socialist past, sometimes through grievous sins of omission, sometimes through opaque and misleading pseudo-confessions, and at other times through outright lies."
In Alinskyite fashion, most American socialists mask their true ideology by using populist-sounding rhetoric (political euphemisms) while incrementally imposing their radical anti-American agenda without identifying it as socialist. As Sun Tzu taught, all war is based on deception.
In politics, language is key, and he who controls the language controls -- or at least better influences -- the debate. Constitutional conservatives, by nature, don't typically seek "control," and in this realm, they've too easily ceded ground. Socialist forces are winning the word war. And it's imperative that they do, considering the poisonous snake oil they're trying to sell to the electorate. As George Orwell, a socialist, wrote:
In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible ... Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism., question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness ... Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, "I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so." Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:
"While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement."
Populist-sounding rhetoric. Political speech. Euphemisms. Phraseology. Deception. Manipulation. I'd add propaganda and agitprop. This is how the socialist infection is spreading. A steady dosage of disinfectant is needed to combat it. The battle for the hearts and minds of Americans is on. Barack Obama is already gearing up for the 2012 election, with a report last week that his campaign will be headquartered in Chicago. Don't be surprised if he sticks with the theme of "change," which at first glance makes no sense coming from an incumbent. But it makes perfect sense when one realizes that the change he champions was never simply from Bush to himself or from a Republican to a Democrat. No, President Obama seeks fundamental change -- transformation -- from core American principles, like free enterprise, self-reliance, sovereignty and liberty, toward socialism "in the name of economic fairness."
So "change" in this context is a euphemism, though many know exactly what it means. Many other euphemisms for socialism (including its various strains) are being deployed to varying degrees. In a quick, unscientific fashion, I compiled a partial list of them, a kind of pocket-guide to American "socialist speak." Comments and additions are solicited.
Almost always a euphemism
More often than not
Otherwise fine words in danger of being co-opted
Universal [health care]
The progressive movement
Too big to fail
Social responsibility mandates
Leveling the playing field
The green movement
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From the bottom up/from below
Redistribution of income
Sharing the wealth
Watch and listen for these words and ones like them. Republicans and non-socialist Democrats mustn't be duped. They must be vigilant and identify and quash socialist incursions, disguised or not.
Additionally, a prolonged offensive is overdue to counter the socialist scourge. At every opportunity, our elected conservative representatives should use their public positions to make a clear and convincing case for liberty, limited constitutional government, personal responsibility, and, as David Limbaugh wrote, "the wonders of America's free-market system, which has produced unprecedented prosperity for Americans and contributed to the advancement of civilization throughout the world." It's not a difficult case to make, given that history and the facts are on our side.