Democratic Socialism: Recycling a Bad Idea

10 09 2018

Upton Sinclair was an American author, very popular in the early 20th Century. He was a Progressive, after the mold of many, such as Wilson, Jack Reed (assisted Lenin and the Bolsheviks-he is buried on Red Square), Margaret Sanger, etc. of that era, and founded the California chapter of the ACLU.

His unsuccessful political career included a run for Congress on the Socialist Party ticket, and also for the Governors office on the Democratic ticket, where his greatest success was with his “End Poverty in California” (EPIC) campaign, although not great enough to win him the mansion. On reflection of his political career, in the late 1950’s, he mused, “American’s will take Socialism, they just won’t take the name…we have to outflank them.”

It is with that as a backdrop I make the following comments, related to this meme of Bernie Sanders, self declared Democratic Socialist.Image may contain: one or more people and text

I submit to you that the Progressive and “Social Justice Warrior” rhetoric against “old, white, misogynistic, chauvanistic and racist men” has more to do with marginalizing opposition and advancing the Democratic Socialist ideology than any of the aforementioned disparaging accusations.

You don’t get any older, or whiter, or manly (ok, maybe more manly) than Bernie. But hey, I give Bernie kudos for having the cajones to wear the brand!

In 2016 (according to that right wing rag, the Washington Post), twice as many voters under 30 yrs. old voted for the Democratic Socialist than for Clinton or Trump combined! (Clinton-766k, Trump-828K, Sanders-2M+)

If that’s not concerning enough, think of it this way: The Democratic Socialist candidate got 63% of that voting block compared to Hillary’s 37%. Worried yet? Wait there’s more!

Vladimir Lenin was vaulted to power by the Bolsheviks in 1917 Russia. Lenin called himself a Democratic Socialist, and their party was the “Socialist Democratic Labor Party”.

Now the situation in Russia was a bit more drastic in early 20th Century than here, now, but the language/rhetoric being used is exactly the same. Lenin capitalized on what he labeled as “Polyezni”, or “useful idiots”, to gain power, and then to carry out the next step, which was to basically marginalize, then eliminate his opposition. (I’ll not get into the gory details; you can look up “Red Terror policy”.)

Lenin said, “Communism is the end of Socialism”, or perhaps more generally translated, “The goal of Socialism is Communism”. The declared enemy of the Socialist Democrats is the “Bourgeoisie”, the Middle Class, those Capitalist business owners who own the greater percentage of wealth, both then and now.

It looks like an ever increasing portion of American voters are now willing to own the brand of “Socialist”, and judging by many of the candidates being nominated for the upcoming mid-term elections, it seems the old guard Democrats, those old Truman and Kennedy supporters, are losing ground within the party. In fact, based on this trend and some of the new Socialist nominees commentary, Truman and Kennedy would not be welcome in today’s Democrat Party. (Heck, they’d actually be in the right half of the Republican Party today!)

I leave you with this famous quote from the greatest British Premier of my lifetime, Lady Thatcher:

“Socialism works great, until you run out of other people’s money.”

Advertisements




Liberty Under the Law

10 02 2017

My lawyer friends tend to agree that Trump’s EO placing the MORATORIUM on the refugee program from only 7 of the 56 Muslim nations will stand in the Supreme Court.

Obviously since there are 49 other Muslim countries not included on the list affected, it is NOT a “Muslim Ban”. Just as obvious is the fact that the order is only temporary – thus doesn’t qualify as a “BAN” on anything.

According to the Federal Statute passed by Congress in 1952 (8 U.S.C. §1182(f)) Congress has given that authority to the Executive. You can find both the statute and the EO anywhere on the net, and yes I have read them both.

Many big-hearted, well meaning folks have been misled by the emotional argument that Republicans and Trump are both anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant as well as racist, mean spirited, ogers who want to starve your grandma, kick your dog and boil your children in cabbage and eat them. (You must first demonize your enemy/opponent in order to get public support.)

The United States of America has been the most welcoming and hospitable recipient of 800px-statue_of_liberty_7immigrants in the world, and has been the “Shining City on a Hill” that the entire world has looked to as the apex of freedom and prosperity, and the most desired country in the world to immigrate to. Millions have successfully sought new opportunity and liberty on her shores, and yes, have thrived and multiplied.

There is also the painful truth that not everyone got through Ellis Island, due to various reasons, but all in the spirit of self-preservation, whether a security risk, disease or character history. There is no natural “right” to the rest of the world to live here. America is not obligated to take everyone and anyone who wishes to migrate here, nor is any other sovereign nation obligated to do such. If you don’t think so, just fly to any country in the world, get off the plane and say “Hi, I am your new neighbor. I will be living here now.” Yet, America has always been the most benevolent of all.  America does not owe the rest of the world anything but to preserve itself as a refuge for those who seek liberty and equality under the law.

When the land behind the great statue looks like the rest of the world, to where will those “huddled masses” flee?

Activist Judges continue to annul the law in favor of a political ideology.  If the Law does not apply to those who make it, or those who interpret it and enforce it, then why will the people adhere to it?  If the Law only applies to some of the People, how long will any of them be contained by it?   What incentive is there for those who are constrained by the Law  to remain submitted unto it?  Have the conspiracy theorists been right all along and we now live under Oligarchy?  Perhaps we now repeat the Old Testament time of the Judges when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes”.   Is the founding principle of “all equal under the Law”, just a passe’ byline?  Maybe Orwell was right – “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”.

Either America is a nation of laws or we aren’t.  If we abandon the rule of law, you can stick a fork in the Statue of Liberty.





Born on the 4th of July

30 06 2011

PRESIDENT CALVIN COOLIDGE, the only president born on the 4th of July, said:

“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. … No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress.”

That quote alludes to a movement that had great gains in the early 1900′s known as “Progressivism”, who’s chief advocate of that time was the Harding/Coolidge administration’s predecessor Woodrow Wilson (D). Wilson believed the United States had outgrown the Constitution and he was a founding member of the League of Nations (predecessor to UN) which the Republican dominated Congress refused to allow the US to join. Exponential government expansion and increased taxation (gave us the first Income Tax) and oversight marked Wilson’s presidency, only being overshadowed by WW1, after Wilson was narrowly elected for a second term. Wilson also brought us the Federal Reserve banking system and advocated nationalized health care.

Wilson’s successor Warren Harding was a “moderate” Republican who died after 2 years in office leaving his conservative VP Coolidge in the Oval Office. Coolidge was a true conservative, believing that issues not addressed in the U. S. Constitution were better left up to the states. This was proved out during his tenure as Governor of Mass. when he signed into law measures that opposed child labor, reduced hours for women (to 48 or less) and raised pay in the factories, stating “we must humanize industry”. He also pushed the legislature to give a $100 bonus to WW1 Veterans in that state.

Conversely, on the Federal level, as President he believed that labor unions were a skid to socialism, and opposed them at every turn. He also fought Congress on government subsidization of agriculture stating that “government control cannot be divorced from political control“. He believed that taxes should be lower and fewer people should have to pay them.

Coolidge is not without his warts, and many blame lack of controls on Wall Street for the “Crash of ’29″. I believe this criticism is warranted. Hindsight is always better than foresight and commentary easier than commission, but I would contend that policies of his successor Herbert Hoover (moderate Rep) followed by FDR (another Progressive) contributed to the duration of the Great Depression.

Hoover was not Coolidge’s VP but Commerce Secretary, and after Coolidge announced he was not going to run in ’28 the Republicans nominated Hoover. Coolidge once said of Hoover, “for six years that man has given me unsolicited advice—all of it bad”. However, he did not want to split the party and quietly went back to private life. Known as “Silent Cal” someone at a dinner party once challenged him, “I have a bet with someone that I can get you say more than 2 words”. He replied, “You lose.” When this same person was informed of his death years later, she asked, “How could you tell?”

Coolidge’s presidency is now largely forgotten along with the unprecedented economic growth during that time. Few people know who he was, let alone his politics. He was a Republican yes, but more than that he was a conservative who realized the bounds of the US Constitution, and the restraints that must be applied to government. He was very popular and after the landslide victory won with Harding in ’20, Coolidge went on to win his own landslide in ’24.

I believe that without this conservative tempering between Wilson and FDR, we may very well have had a similar type of revolution as experienced in Germany and Russia as the Socialists and Communists struggled for power. They were very present here in America. They’re back.

In my reading of this era of American History I realized that there is a pendulum swing in American politics from left to right and usually the swing matches the distance marked on the opposite side. We have recently been witness to a drastic swing to the left. However, with the 2010 sweeping victory in the House of Representatives, and the “re-awakening” of grassroots America, it seems the momentum has become static. As we move into the next election cycle, look for continued retaking of Congressional seats and a shift in the Senate, along with Obama returning to Chicago, or Honolulu, or maybe Nairobi to look for new digs.

So while you celebrate the “4th” and this great country we have been given, maybe give a passing thought to “Silent Cal” Coolidge on his birthday. Then have another hotdog…God Bless America!

(Revised-Previously published 7/4/2010 under title “Happy Birthday America!”)








%d bloggers like this: