Long before I was a conservative or a blogger, I was trained as a historian. It is therefore very natural for me to evaluate current politics with an eye towards history, so forgive my self indulgence.
It is a bit annoying to hear the constant refrain of “socialism” and “fascism” leveled against Obama and the policies of the Democratic Party, because most of the people using the terms have no idea what either of these two collectivist, statist philosophies of governance and economic organization entail. More importantly such focus on particular policies betray a naive understanding of the fundamental nature of leftist political philosophy. It ain’t the policies. It’s the politics!
Most of my childhood was dominated politically by the global struggle of the “Free” west against the “Non-free” Communist states, mainly the Soviet Union. After the collapse of the USSR in the early nineties, philosophical underpinnings of Leninist Marxism were supposedly entirely discredited and nightmares of Soviets under the bed dissipated.
While the policies of state directed socialism have been largely abandoned though recently enjoying a small renaissance under the Obama administration. Conservatives throughout the country are screaming about large bailouts of corporations, public ownership of automobile companies and government intervention into health care. These policies are all distractions; the tactics of the party of revolutionary socialism remain firmly in place, and largely explain the quite different approaches to political life, media usage, and elections of the American left and conservatives.
It is largely forgotten by all but historians that the Russian Revolution of February 1917 was essentially a classically liberal, parliamentary revolution followed later by a coup by the Bolshevik Party and a violent civil war. The socialist revolution was mostly one of urban educated elites who saw themselves as vanguards of the revolutionary struggle. The common man, in whose name these revolutionaries supposedly acted, was decidedly conservative and a great many of them were not fans of the revolution. This has been true of all communitarian revolutions, beginning with the French Revolution of 1789. Thus it was necessary for the revolutionaries to act as in the people’s interests, whose interests only those same revolutionaries, because of their education, goodness of heart, and commitment to revolutionary ideals, were able to discern.
What does any of this have to do with the Democratic Party?
When evaluated properly it makes sense of lots of things that are otherwise make little sense.
The party ostensibly with the interests of “teh little people” at heart manifests such consistent disdain, condescension, and even anger towards those who protest against their policies.
The quickness with which Obama tosses various persons or constituencies under the bus.
I’ll come back in another post to talk about how the internal politics of the Democratic Party mirror that of revolutionary vanguard.