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 ready willingness of the party to adopt or adapt positions based on political expediency and geared towards the maintenance of power.
The quickness with which Obama tosses various persons or constituencies under the bus.
The demonization of political opposition.
I’ll come back in another post to talk about how the internal politics of the Democratic Party mirror that of revolutionary vanguard.
BC, you’re a nice guy. Actually the French Revolution was the work of Illuminist secret societies; for historical evidence you might want to consult Barruel’s Memoirs Illustrating the Origins of Jacobinism. In the eighth chapter of his autobiography, Trotsky gives credit to some of these secret societies as precursors for his 1917 revolution.
I hadn’t heard of the any Illuminist conspicracies, but sounds interesting. The parallels between 1789 and 1917 are striking however.
I’ll be watching with interest to see you expand on this. I’ve not been impressed with the Republicans “looking out for the little guy” in the past – and I’m not talking about handouts and govt takeovers, I’m talking about complete lack of attention to policing the system to make sure we aren’t getting screwed. Even free markets and free societies need cops on the beat.
On the other hand, the Dems in power aren’t doing any better on that front. And I am really really weary of the Democrats disdain for “the little guy”, whether it comes in the form of “we know what’s good for you” concern, or in the form of denigration. Their open contempt for anyone who is not them just turns my stomach. Looking at how they behave when in power makes me loathe to put ANY more power in their hands, no matter how worthy the cause sounds.
I don’t like the Repubs much. But damn, I’m liking the Dems even less, and their power grabs and zeal for doing what THEY (likely sincerely) think is right, not what the people want, really scares me. Zealots freak me out, of whatever stripe.
I don’t care much for the republicans either and dems are scary.
Interesting post and perspectives. Had never heard of the parallels b/w 1789 and 1917. Also, had never given much thought to the fact that neither revolution was desired by the lower classes on behalf of whom they were supposedly undertaken. Interesting.
People who undertake these great initiatives on behalf of the lower classes almost invariably end up trouncing all over them and making matters much worse.
Venezuela is a prime example of this in our day. Chavez has nationalized most of the major industries down there. Not surprisingly, productivity is way down- leading to shortages, etc. (particularly oil productivity). He’s also ramped up government spending so much he has stoked enormous inflation. They are on the border of being dubbed a hyper-inflationary economy. He’s added to this “price-controls” to try and “help the poor” pay these inflated prices- invariably, those controls are leading to excess consumption and further food shortages.
On and on I could go. The great revolutionary of our day (Chavez) is a living example of just how horribly wrong extreme left revolutionaries are.
Obama is a socialist-lite in comparison with this guy and the guys you reference in the article above, in my view. Chavez would never have picked Romer, Summers, and Geithner for his economic cabinet. Those 3 are to the left of center- but they are not socialists by any stretch.
Nonetheless, I do suspect Obama’s true instincts, when unencumbered by political considerations, are those of a more pure socialist…
Friedrich Engels, in his History of the Communist League, relates that the League was originally called the “League of the Just,” and was affiliated with French secret societies such as the Societe des Saisons or “Society of the Seasons.” The French secret societies (including the Carbonari) were directed by one Filippo Buonarroti, who had probably been affiliated with the Bavarian Illuminati since 1786.
Engels also traces communism back to the French revolutionary figure Babeuf, whose ties to the Illuminati are exposed by Barruel in Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism. The same secret societies were behind the revolutions of 1848.
john – that’s interesting history. The thread of revolutions is quite clear to anyone who wants to see it and is amazing that too few people don’t. The European socialist state ties directly back to this era and the US because of our revolutionary history avoided some of those most egregious horrors of small d democracy
The reason for that is because the US system was set up as a Republic to trump the mob mentality and passing whims that could overtake a democracy. We are not perfect and they were not by any stretch The idea was that you cannot allow anyone, the government or the people to have too much power over anything. The government cannot have too much power over the people and the people could not have too much power over each other. For true freedom you can only have power over yourself, and no others, except in very limited situations and only limited power. That is why the other revolutions turned out how they did because they did not realize this or care.
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@letters – so true. The republican form of government is based essentially on mistrust and balance, though it seems strange to suggest it. By limiting the power of each branch of government and leaving most power in the hands of the states and people, the federal government would not be in a position to threaten the people’s liberty nor even to be subject to demagoguery from charismatic leaders. That system has been steadily eroded over the years to the point that it is nearly unrecognizable now.
“A Republic, if you can keep it.”
Its clear you obviously dont understand the nature of communism itself, thows you refer to as ojectionists to the social revolution were not communists, but out and out nationalist such was stalin and stalinism and there indeed was a succesful insurection. after that the betrayals took place of thows objectionist tendencys. THE SOVIET UNION as never been a communist country neither as China, There is a fundamental difference between nationalism and internationalism. The true internationalist were either assasinated or exiled, which was the case of Leon Trotsky. Im not a leading theorist in these questions and i will therefore direct you to the wsws.org web site which is a internationalist organisation thankyou.
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