Could It Happen Here?

Washington Times  4.14.98
Balint Vazsonyi

"...and the influence of socialists like Robert Reich on President Clinton is worrisome," I said, finishing a sentence during a dinner some time ago. A gentleman opposite gave me a stern look. "Robert Reich is a friend of mine," he said, "I do not appreciate your calling him a socialist."

On April 5, the New York Times carried Mr. Reich's article "The Care And Feeding Of the Rich"-a title quite sufficient to identify the author as a socialist. The content is Mr. Reich's unhappiness about the luxuries offered in the business class sections of airplanes.

In socialist Hungary, the first and second class sections of trains were renamed respectively "cushioned" and "woodbenched." Party officials, of course, did not want to be seen in "first class," hence they traveled in "cushioned." Would Mr. Reich accept the extra leg room, were it awarded by the state to the politically deserving, as opposed to those who pay for it?

The leg room: 55 inches up front, complains Mr. Reich, as compared with 31 inches in coach. It conjures up the dark world of the "Cubic Feet of Air." Once the Iron Curtain had been locked in place, party operatives paid a visit to every house, every apartment, every room. They measured the cubic feet of air per person and took immediate action if anyone exceeded the prescribed limits: They installed a bunch of strangers in the middle of a family home.

Text-book socialists like Mr. Reich are unable to regard "life up front" except in terms of its beneficiaries having taken away something from the deserving masses. Taking away is the basis of socialism. Socialists are quite incapable of comprehending freedom and its fruits. They are unable to contemplate that free people have choices, and that society as a whole constantly expands those choices.

There will always be those who would not buy, or who cannot afford a business-class seat. But, in America, the possibility will always remain open to all. And, as well as cash or credit, frequent traveler miles can also pay for them. Moreover, to put it in perspective, a round trip ticket to Europe in business-class is currently the equivalent of 15 pairs of designer gym shoes.

All this is by way of an excuse to ask why socialists do not want to be known as such, why we acquiesce in that game, and who is a socialist anyway. I cannot answer why someone who believes in socialism would want to deny it, except to be distanced from the deeds of history's most notorious practitioners of socialist doctrine-Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, or Mao-or to cover up real intentions. Why the rest of us acquiesce is a real puzzle. Could it be that we mistake the collapse of the Soviet Union for the demise of socialism as a political force?

Socialism, which in reality means asserting control over society, is the ultimate goal of socialists. The goal is pursued with tenacity and brilliance, and an uncanny capacity to adapt to changing requirements. After two world wars and the Cold War, it has been conclusively established that the United States of America, in its original mold, will not countenance socialism. Hence, the agenda in the near and medium term is to change America from top to bottom, so that America ceases to be the immovable object, the obstacle, in the way of what socialists see as their irresistible force.

Which brings me to the question in the title: could it happen here?

There is a "maybe" scenario, as well as a "never" scenario. The "never" scenario is a given. America's founding principles, as enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Federalist Papers guarantee the "never" as long as we adhere to them. That means taking the words as they were intended. They provide stability, and they guarantee positive changes, such as the abolition of slavery, or extending the franchise to all.

The "maybe" scenario is where the socialists, and all who fall into their trap, come in. The founding documents have been removed from most of our schools already, and socialist history is now the national standard. Collateral to this is the "living-breathing" approach to the Constitution, which is code for using it only to support the socialist cause. Every time a member of the legislative, executive, or judiciary branch breaks the oath of office, we take another step toward the "maybe" scenario.

Another red flag is the proliferation of programs aimed at our children. Socialists always go for the children. I still remember the billboards and placards in Hungary, the caring and compassion-first for the children, then for the needy, the oppressed, the exploited, the disadvantaged.

Once socialists gain control, everyone becomes needy, oppressed, exploited, and disadvantaged. That is the closest real definition of socialism.

Could it happen here? Maybe, if we continue to change America not the constitutional way, but the socialist way. (There is no third way.) Such changes cannot be for the better, even if the labels are emotionally satisfying, even if the proponents have the best intentions-even if socialism is the furthest thing from the advocates' mind.

If the doctrines of socialism lead the way, we are moving toward "maybe."