Getting the Nation's Train Back on Track
In the current issue of Rising Tide magazine, Chairman of the Republican National Committee Jim Nicholson endorses my argument that the political philosophy driving the Democratic Party of today is indistinguishable from the European socialist model.
Such an assertion is made neither lightly nor cheerfully. The political discourse among Americans is supposed to be about ever better ways to fulfill the promise of the founding documents - not about a choice between them and a failed, foreign ideology.
The only consolation in recognizing that the political discourse has been derailed is the opportunity it provides to take stock.
How did it happen that a number of American heroes, Hollywood idols, venerable academics, and millions of decent, ordinary citizens have fallen into the trap of the socialist agenda - an agenda which is diametrically opposed to America's founding principles?
By the time the 1960's began, America had arrived at a position of affluence and influence unprecedented in the annals of history. There was every reason to take on new challenges and to deal with old debts.
Foremost among these was the obligation to make certain that the blessings of the Constitution extend to every man, woman and child - the content and purpose of the Civil Rights movement. Equal pay for equal work was another matter of concern, not only to the half of the population directly affected, but to all fair-minded people. Recent spectacular advances in technology resulted in the pollution of air and water, demanding urgent attention, and legitimate questions were raised about the Vietnam war: its purpose, its length, and - most of all - its execution.
At first, all the foregoing concerns were as American as apple pie. But, in the mid-to-late 1960's, something happened. It was as if the train in which all of us were traveling together had been switched from its "American" track to another track - apparently running parallel, but soon curving away in an entirely different direction. The Civil Rights movement turned into the pursuit of retribution and privilege; "equal pay for equal work" changed into demands for quotas in place of merit; the desire for intelligent clean-up and conservation was harnessed to lay siege to industry, property and common sense; and questions about one particular war were transformed into wholesale doubts about the nature, the value, the worthiness, and the core principles of America itself.
Socialists of the world have always regarded the United States as their mortal enemy for the simple reason that every time they tried to take over the planet - notably in World War II and in the Cold War - America's unequivocal commitment to freedom stood in the way. Knowing instinctively that freedom and socialism were mutually exclusive, Americans combined fierce patriotism with an almost visceral disdain for socialists.
Thus, once the train had switched tracks, ridiculing patriotism and suppressing the word "socialist" became twin goals of paramount importance. That is why, whereas in Britain, France or Germany socialists call themselves such, in America they seemed to have disappeared without a trace - just as their agenda began to make serious headway.
Following the successful replacement of "socialist" with words such as "Liberal," "progressive," or simply "caring and compassionate," a whole-scale revision of the vocabulary got under way. This has been achieved partly by restricting the freedom of expression through speech codes, partly by replacing proper words with euphemisms. Since America's steady move away from its founding principles and toward socialism has been facilitated by the successful deployment of words, it stands to reason that a return to plain English will go a long way toward a reversal of the process.
That means, above all, calling socialists socialists. Since a chorus of protest is likely, let us take the predictable responses one by one.
1. "The Soviet Union is gone, socialism has been defeated." In fact, the demise of the Soviet Union has been useful for socialists. They no longer have to explain why the leading socialist empire has been unable to provide basic food to its population in any single year of its 70-year existence. Once again, socialists can bask in the glory of "social justice" as a pure concept.
2. "Calling Liberals and Democrats socialist is red-baiting, red-bashing, hate speech." Red is but one of socialism's many colors. Italians who called themselves "fascists" wore black, and were by their own definition socialists. The national socialists of Germany - not a misnomer - wore brown. In our time, those who would abolish property rights in the name of "protecting the environment" wear green, whereas one-world advocates prefer blue - just as they prefer a socialist order. And "hate speech" is merely another label from the socialist repertory employed to roll over political opponents, and to strike a blow at the First Amendment's guarantee of free expression.
3. "McCarthyism:" Yet another label deployed by socialists to muzzle any attempt at proper designations. Politicians who do not wish to be called socialist might be reminded that they can easily remedy the situation by distancing themselves from the socialist agenda and returning to America's founding principles. Not so long ago, Democrats knew how to be different from Republicans without turning their back on those core principles - a step many might have taken unwittingly.
Socialism has built a mass movement in America without an organized party. Its control of the Democratic agenda has been reinforced with single-issue organizations and the recruitment of millions of single-issue Americans. Most of the latter have as little awareness of being part of a monumental force as their predecessors in the 1930's when unsuspecting Americans were first placed under socialist control, using the Spanish Civil War as the pretext.
Today's pretext is "social justice," dictating the President's executive orders and rulings in countless courtrooms, writing curricula and textbooks in our schools, apportioning privilege and meting out punishment.
Let us remember that America and Americans have succeeded by holding firm to the Founders' principles as articulated in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers. Let us not forget that socialist experiments have failed everywhere, in every form they have been attempted. For the first time in a generation, we have an opportunity to return to plain English in our political discourse. The long-overdue, clear identification of the opposing sides - the two "tracks" - is bound to clear the minds and sights of Americans as they prepare to cast their vote.
This opportunity is one for all Americans. Some day, we might again choose between political parties. In 1998 and in 2000 we must choose between America and Socialism.