What is Barak Obama?–In early 2010, I took a look at the philosophical underpinnings of the messiah.
The political and religious “identity” of Barak Obama is a contentious and much debated topic these days. Claims of, “He’s a Muslim,” and “ he’s a socialist,” abound. The left, as well as the MSM are able to field these claims, and contradict them, at least partially. They are able to do this because he’s neither of these things.
Religion: While Obama may have a soft spot for Islam, he sat in Jeremiah Wright’s church for over 20 years. While Wright’s teachings are radical, they are clearly not Islamic. Like the rest of us, the radical wing of Islam would cut his head off, unless he converted.
It is well documented that he attended an Islamic school while he lived in Indonesia. That, in and of itself, does not mean that he is a Muslim, but unlike other Presidents, he has a depth of knowledge into Islam that unparalleled. That might bias him, and blind him to the potential dangers that we face. Either way, he does not appear to be Muslim, or, for that matter, Christian (or at least any Christianity with which we would be familiar).
Politics: You can call Obama a socialist. It seems to fit his model of wealth redistribution rather nicely. You might also call him a fascist, as his tampering in the banking, auto, and health care industries closely matches the actions of Mussolini and Hitler, for example, “Corporatism.” You can also call him a “progressive,” as they believed that the state, run by an “intellectual” elite, can/should wield power to shape society into something more equitable and structured. The common threads between all three are statism and elitism. The idea that the state has primacy over all human activity seems a common thread though all of Obama’s policies. And, of course, the idea of elitism; that a small group of “really smart people that know way better than you,” have the right and obligation to instruct everyone on how to live is central to any totalitarian view.
Some will say that the political theories and backgrounds conflict. They do… and they don’t. While that might come off as a contradictory statement, there is a case for stating it. To draw the comparisons and contrasts, a brief look at history is required.
During the mid to late 19th century, new political ideologies were emerging. Communism and socialism were taking root in Europe, and to a lesser degree, her in the US as well. Also, the progressive movement was emerging in the US. The leading minds of these movements were aware of each other, and followed each other’s writings and actions closely. It is safe to assume that they influenced each other.
When it became apparent that Europe was going to explode into war (WWI), there was much excitement among the socialists/communists. They had been predicting that if war came, the proletariat would rise, and there would be a vast, international communist revolution. They thought that under the stress, death, and deprivation that would come with a war, that the people would grow weary with their governments and economic systems, and “throw off their oppressors.”
It didn’t happen. With the exception of Russia, there were no successful communist revolutions. Communists certainly did make a nuisance of themselves, but the established order in the West held. More surprising was the fact that many socialists were patriotic and supported their nations in the war.
This is a crucial point in history for the socialist movement, as schisms were created by their differing reactions and ideas about the failure of the international revolution. The hard-core communists decided to use the USSR as a “base” from which to spread communism throughout the world. A smaller group of communists in Germany decided to examine what caused the failure of the international. Working from the “Frankfort School,” they tagged Western Culture as the culprit. Since Western Culture promoted patriotism, individualism, religious faith, capitalism, and self-reliance, they argued, communism couldn’t take root. Their mission, therefore, was to find ways to negate Western Culture, and allow communism to take over. We’ll get back to the Cultural Marxists in a bit.
However, it doesn’t end there. There was yet another wing. Some socialists, particularly Mussolini, decided that rather than reject national pride and western culture, that they would embrace it and use it to justify their socialism. The terms, “National Socialism and totalitarianism,” were, if memory serves, coined by Mussolini. Since the international revolution failed, he postulated that they could be done in single nations instead-hence, National Socialism. He proved that assumption in his takeover of Italy. Franco (of Spain) and Hitler followed suit.
The fascists, you see, were socialists. They used socialist rhetoric and policies. While they didn’t take over the means of production, they controlled it completely via regulation. They did redistribute wealth. They did tax heavily. They did institute massive levels of government intervention; like heavy regulation of industry, gun control, socialized medicine, and so on. They simply used the individual cultures and histories of their nations as a “wrapper” for their policies, corrupting the culture to serve their ends. Even Hitler himself suggested that the Nazis and the Bolsheviks had more in common than what separated them. He simply saw them as a competing ideology, NOT an antithetical one. From the opposite perspective, Lenin was said to lament the “loss” of Mussolini, as early in his career, Mussolini was a powerful and well thought of advocate of socialism.
At this point, it is also important to note that there was no “pure” versions of either communism or fascism. In each nation or movement, there were wide variations in doctrine and application. For example, fascist Italy did not rely on antisemitism to forward it’s goals. While Mussolini wanted to restore an “Roman Empire,” Hitler espoused the superiority of the “Aryan Race.” All had variations, just as Leninism was different from Stalinism.
Meanwhile, the progressives continued to grow in strength in the US as well. While they never seemed to gain a doctrinal type of theory or organization, they did press foreword with all sorts of governmental controls, such as eugenics (forced sterilization), increased government control over banking, labor, industry, and so on. Many prominent progressives were also were great admirers of both Mussolini and Hitler (until Hitler’s anti-Semitism became too inconvenient to ignore). In turn, the Nazis took some pages out of the progressive’s playbook in terms of media manipulation and eugenics.
So, we see that the Socialists and fascists are not antithetical, but “brothers.” They were separated by their differing opinions on how to spread socialism. Progressivism was a cousin, or at least a fellow traveler of Socialism and fascism. They all knew about each other, often spoke kindly of each other, and seem to have “cross pollinated” each other’s ideas.
But what happened to the Cultural Marxists? They were booted from Germany when Hitler came to power, and they migrated to here, eventually settling at Columbia University, where they continued their work. They proposed a “long march through the institutions” in order to destroy western culture. They made good on that idea, and now, education, media, law, and even theology have all been “infected” with cultural Marxism. Here is an excerpt from an article that I quoted in a previous post on Cultural Marxism.
The Frankfurt School again departed from orthodox Marxism, which argued that all of history was determined by who owned the means of production. Instead, they said history was determined by which groups, defined as men, women, races, religions, etc., had power or “dominance” over other groups. Certain groups, especially white males, were labeled “oppressors,” while other groups were defined as “victims.” Victims were automatically good, oppressors bad, just by what group they came from, regardless of individual behavior.
Does that sound familiar? Or what about this?
Marcuse also widened the Frankfurt School’s intellectual work. In the early 1930s, Horkheimer had left open the question of who would replace the working class as the agent of Marxist revolution. In the 1950s, Marcuse answered the question, saying it would be a coalition of students, blacks, feminist women and homosexuals – the core of the student rebellion of the 1960s, and the sacred “victims groups” of political correctness today. Marcuse further took one of political correctness’s favorite words, “tolerance,” and gave it a new meaning. He defined “liberating tolerance” as tolerance for all ideas and movements coming from the left, and intolerance for all ideas and movements coming from the right. When you hear the cultural Marxists today call for “tolerance,” they mean Marcuse’s “liberating tolerance” (just as when they call for “diversity,” they mean uniformity of belief in their ideology).
The student rebellion of the 1960s, driven largely by opposition to the draft for the Vietnam War, gave Marcuse a historic opportunity. As perhaps its most famous “guru,” he injected the Frankfurt School’s cultural Marxism into the baby boom generation. Of course, they did not understand what it really was. As was true from the Institute’s beginning, Marcuse and the few other people “in the know” did not advertise that political correctness and multi-culturalism were a form of Marxism. But the effect was devastating: a whole generation of Americans, especially the university-educated elite, absorbed cultural Marxism as their own, accepting a poisonous ideology that sought to destroy America’s traditional culture and Christian faith. That generation, which runs every elite institution in America, now wages a ceaseless war on all traditional beliefs and institutions. They have largely won that war. Most of America’s traditional culture lies in ruins.
I would say that this is a correct assessment.
Needless to say, Cultural Marxism has infected all of our institutions. When Obama said he associated with the “radical professors,” he was being steeped in Cultural Marxism. The idea that it is somehow “unfair” that the US is so powerful and prosperous is part of that equation. Think about many of Obama’s policies and actions, and you will see Cultural Marxism.
So, as a “progressive,” Obama stands on an intellectual base that has as its foundation, elements of fascism and Marxism. Then, it’s finished off with a thick coat of Cultural Marxism. It is safe to say that he is a fascist, socialist, and a “progressive.” While none are exclusive, all are part of the foundation of his beliefs; and therefore, his actions.
Disclaimer: As usual, I could have wrote a book on this. Kindly consider this post an outline. However, Jonah Goldberg covered much of it in his fantastic book Liberal Fascism.