Saturday, November 08, 2008

Of Subversion, Subservience, and the Suffocation of Freedom

"So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other."
That might have been the appeal uttered by U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to support the subprime bailout, but it is actually an excerpt from president-elect Barack Obama's victory speech, reprinted in the Daily Telegraph (London) on November 5.

Compare that excerpt with:

"The first obligation of every citizen must be to work both spiritually and physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all."
That was Point Ten of the program of the NSDAP, or the National Socialist German Workers Party, better known as the Nazi Party.

It gets better.

"John McCain and Sarah Palin, they call this socialistic. You know, I don't know when they decided they wanted to make a virtue of selfishness."
That was Obama glibly papering over his attacks on "the rich" in defense of his proposed tax policies, which in spirit are little else but a populist appeal to envy, to counter John McCain's accusation late in the campaign that they were socialistic. Excuse the expression, but it was the pot calling the kettle black. McCain's proposed tax policies were watered down versions of Obama's, and no less socialistic than the Illinois senator's.

And, in the realm of the ludicrous, it is a measure of Obama's superficial grasp of economics that he could accuse McCain of wanting to make a "virtue" of selfishness, when McCain's moral imperatives differ in no way from Obama's, both men invoking selflessness and sacrifice as "virtues" that will help revitalize the country's economy. Obama, however, was too preoccupied with his own appeal to voluntary servitude to take notice of McCain's. If he had noticed it, and belabored the point, perhaps even an Obamaniac would have seen or at least sensed there was no difference between them.

It is also a measure of Obama's ignorance and of his patronizing arrogance that all throughout the campaign he expressed concern about the plight of the middle class, which he seeks to make dependent on government largesse and favors.

"It combats the selfish spirit within and around us, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our nation can only succeed from within on the framework: common utility precedes individual utility." [Italics mine.]
"It" being the Nazi Party, in Point Twenty-four of the Nazi program. The italics are mine, selfish substituted for "Jewish-materialistic." If one were able to ask any member of Congress if he agreed with the italicized statement in Point Twenty-four (without identifying its source), that the needs of the many trump the freedom of the individual, one would receive an affirmative. And, given the fact that the Democrats have taken virtually complete control of Congress, and that the Democratic Party's determination to "reinvent" America is in accordance with the "change we seek" to make -- that is, the change Obama seeks to make -- the Democratic Party may as well be redubbed the National Socialist Democratic American Party.

It may strike some as a wild idea, but all one need do to see the parallels is compare Obama's program for "change" with the Nazi program for "change" to grasp how closely the programs mesh in means and ends. Omit all references to Jews and Germans in the Nazi twenty-five point program, and in the appropriate points substitute individualism and private property for what Hitler and the Germans were obsessed with nationalizing, stealing, eradicating or "changing," and one has the Democratic Party platform.

Others may assert that I am being too easy on Obama and the Democrats, and claim that Obama especially is a communist. Certainly the junior senator grew up in the company of adults who were communists or sympathetic to communism, and his activist work in Chicago before he ran for Illinois office was blue-printed by Saul Alinsky, the man who wrote a manual or two on how to "change" politics and society and who has also been praised by Hillary Clinton, who was less successful in applying his ideology.

But fascism, or National Socialism, or Nazism, in fundamentals is merely watered-down communism, a glittering fool's gold side of the same ideological coin. It merely allows one to strive in the illusion that one has private property and a modicum of dissent, but expects one to shut up and take one's orders from on high in service to the "general welfare" or the "public good." Communists, when they nationalize everything, take the blame when things go wrong, and Party heads roll.

Under fascism, if things go wrong, it is the nominally private sector that will take the blame for failed policies and plans and receive the punishment, not their governmental authors and enforcers. This is what happened with the collapse of the subprime mortgage industry. That whole scam was socialism with a twist of Wall Street. The debacle gave Congress, the president, and both presidential hopefuls the excuse to blame "greed" and impose more controls, especially in the matter of suborning financial institutions that were in better shape than their failed or failing colleagues.

As has been widely noted elsewhere, the parallels of current events with events in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged are eerily applicable. Think of the Steel Unification plan that the government tried to talk Henry Rearden into, a scam that was intended to save Orren Boyle's inefficient and looting steel company by enslaving Rearden's. The same extortionate, larcenous plan can be seen in the bailout. The recent enlistment of BB&T in the bailout is a singular instance of the government's program to leave no instances of solvency unshackled and independent of control.

To subvert the ideas of the Founders is to require obedient subservience to Obama's vision of a socialist America in the name of "patriotism."

I am picking up here where Nick Provenzo left off in his November 3rd posting on the parallels of Obama's agenda with fascism, but have instead focused on the language of fascism as expressed by Obama from a few of his unacknowledged sources, the language of absolutism in politics that he slickly disguised in American patois.

"The Promise of American life is to be fulfilled -- not merely by a maximum amount of economic freedom, but by a certain measure of discipline; not merely by the abundant satisfaction of individual desires, but by a large measure of individual subornation and self-denial....The automatic fulfillment of the American national Promise is to be abandoned, if at all, precisely because the traditional American confidence in individual freedom has resulted in a morally and socially undesirable distribution of wealth."*
Barack Obama would certainly agree with that assertion, because, among other recommendations, its author called for the expansion of executive authority, the growth of federal regulations and control of not only the economy, but of the personal lives of Americans to redirect them from their individualism to achieve social and nationalist ends, among them a morally and desirable redistribution of wealth. To make that possible, Obama proclaims, America must "break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution."

Constraints, or obstacles to his quest for power? But, allow us to let Obama speak for himself.

"This is our reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth -- that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, We Can."
From beginning to end in his campaign for the presidency, Barack Obama appealed to emotion, not to facts, not to men's reason, not to their repugnance for selfless service to causes higher than themselves. I do not believe, as some commentators claim, that the Americans who voted for Obama were "lulled" by his emotionalist oratory. These are the Americans whom Ayn Rand might have said had "let it go" -- "it" being the idea of a great nation founded on the recognition of inviolate individual rights and the liberty to enjoy them without interference or coercion -- and have settled for a demagogue who offers hope and promises change.

In the name of the values the Founders argued and fought for, I would deem such Americans "Tories for statism."

"Hope and change" are what Hitler promised the Germans who enthusiastically supported him even while he and the Nazis were impoverishing them in pursuit of the German "dream." They believed him even when scandals broke concerning the racketeers, incompetents and charlatans that Hitler had assembled around him or who were appointed to the various ministries, just as Americans who support Obama will repress knowledge of the racketeers, incompetents and charlatans Obama is assembling for his White House staff and cabinet.**

Point Twenty-three of the Nazi platform should concern anyone reading this who is certain that the best way to counter Obama's and Congress's perfidious subversion of America is to spread the ideas of the Founders, of life, liberty, property and the pursuit of one's own happiness. That Point in no way conflicts with the agenda of the Democrats, which is to adopt censorship but call it "fairness" and "equal opportunity."

"We demand legal opposition to known lies and their promulgation through the press....Publications which are counter to the general good are to be forbidden. We demand legal prosecution of artistic and literary forms which exert a destructive influence on our national life, and the closure of organizations opposing the above made demands."
While Obama is in office and while the Democrats control Congress, expect a demand to revive the "Fairness Doctrine," in addition to renewed demands to regulate the Internet. The federal government already monitors the Internet to detect terrorist plots and its actions often render it sluggish and even inoperable. There is no reason to doubt that a government which regards Americans answerable to the state for their ideas and opinions and whose freedom of speech would be deemed counter to the general good and a destructive influence would not refrain from silencing critics by every foul and coercive means imaginable.

Obama cheerleaders, you will have asked for the incipient totalitarian regime that is about to take office. All others who value their freedom, you know what is now expected of you, to argue, while you still can, for the reinstatement of a republic of reason.

* Herbert Croly, The Promise of American Life (1909), Northwestern University Press, 1989, p. 22. Croly, founder of The New Republic with the guilt-soaked money of multi-millionaires, was a proto-fascist writer whose books influenced and were admired by a number of reformers, ambitious politicians, and dictators. It is noteworthy that he was heavily influenced by Auguste Comte, the French founder of Positivism and sociology who coined the term altruism. For the link between Croly's Progressivism and the collectivist policies that have been adopted and continue to be implemented in the U.S. beginning with Teddy Roosevelt, see Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning.

**See Ian Kershaw's nonpareil two-volume biography of Hitler, Hubris and Nemesis for the kinds of men Hitler chose to consult on foreign and domestic policy and to run Nazi Germany. The Hitler "cult," subscribed to by countless Germans, discounted any revelation of the ubiquitous criminality of Hitler's "inner circle," just as Obama's political antecedents are discounted by Obama cultists, as well as the shady and murky backgrounds of the people he is now picking for his administration. But the best philosophical exposé of both Nazi Germany and modern America is Dr. Leonard Peikoff's The Ominous Parallels: The End of Freedom in America (1982).


azook said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one starting to notice unnerving parallels between Obama and the Nazis. Yesterday, I was walking down the street with a group of friends, and a pair of complete strangers waiting at a bus stop raised their arms in a salute to us and said, "Obama!" And then - to my absolute horror - several of my friends raised their arms and did the same!

"Heil Hitler", anyone?

mtnrunner2 said...

Nice post. As someone who graduated from Harvard Law, you'd think Obama would have the education to know to avoid using such obviously fascist verbiage. I think "Hitler" every time I hear a speech like that.

I don't know if he's aware of it, or if it's just coincidence due to his extreme altruism. I suspect the latter. Fortunately for him, I don't think he has to worry about his audience making the connection.

djr said...

Ed (Mr. Cline), you are, without a doubt, one of the best at presenting historical couplings. I’m afraid most people – that I encounter – can't properly identify Fascism; "it's when thugs in brown march on the streets beating up Jews" is about the depth of it. I will refer them to this article.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Very good comparison.

Another facet of the analogy. When I watched Obama's rally at the DNC--complete with the staging and music--I was thinking that my Uncle Fred (z'l) would have said it looked like Nuremberg. It looked like it to me.

The point is not that Fascists go after Jews--it is that they go after anyone who has a modicum of individuality that threatens "unity."

Ted Diesel said...

This is just to note that the November 3 post about "the parallels of Obama's agenda with fascism" is actually Doug's. This essay incorrectly attributes that post to Mr. Provenzo.

Anonymous said...

Obama raises a long-neglected concept: sacrifice

mtnrunner2 said...

>a pair of complete strangers waiting at a bus stop raised their arms in a salute to us and said, "Obama!"

Wow. An imaginary conversation at Obama headquarters: "Mr. Obama, I came up with this really great logo idea! It's a play on a cross, only the arms have a little crook in them that make it look like it's spinning, rushing ahead to bring Change to America! Whaddya think?"

Elisheva Hannah Levin:
>The point is not that Fascists go after Jews--it is that they go after anyone who has a modicum of individuality that threatens "unity."

I think Obama has made it pretty clear that the only thing we should not tolerate is someone successful living for their own sake. Literally everything he says advocates altruism; service to others, harnessing some for the sake of others, decrying "selfishness". And it is all right out of the dictator's handbook. I'm not in any way suggesting he has dictatorial plans, only that his ideas are virtually indistinguishable from those of past dictators.

Anonymous said...

Ted reminded us: "This is just to note that the November 3 post about "the parallels of Obama's agenda with fascism" is actually Doug's. This essay incorrectly attributes that post to Mr. Provenzo."

I sit corrected.

Ed Cline