Soft selling socialism and communism

Karl MarxWhen Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels first published the Communist Manifesto in 1848, it immediately was met with resistance within the nations of Europe.  What they proposed, an uprising of the working class and the installation of a government based on a new and revolutionary theory.  This revolutionary theory – communism – was promoted by Marx and Engels as the ultimate development in governmental theory.  Within the communist framework, the simple philosophy of each according to his ability, each according to his need became the foundation of this new structuring of society. 

Marx and Engels defined all of human history as a struggle between two classes of people – the proletariat, which they defined as the working class, and the bourgeois who were defined as the capitalists, the monarchs, or anyone who was not defined as part of the working class.  When America’s political focus shifted from the Civil War to Reconstruction, most of American society rejected the philosophy behind socialism and communism.  While groups such as the Knights of Labor, the Intentional Workmen of the World, the Grange, the Farmer’s Alliance and others adopted many of the tenants of communism, they were seen as running contrary to the free market principles of American society and the free market.  The violent nature of the labor strikes of 1877, the continual demands for progressive taxation of the wealthy, government ownership of railroads and utilities, and the demands for the more equal distribution of corporate profits actually was seen as anti-American.

Since the end of the nineteenth century the American Progressive has adopted a number of the tenants of classical Marxism.  At one point in American history, Progressivism dominated the Republican Party until the end of the Theodore Roosevelt presidency; in modern times it dominates the Democratic Party.  Class warfare has always been a part of the Progressive doctrine; the focus on the “unequal distribution of purchasing power,” the differences in income between the wealthy and the working poor, and a demand to reallocate the nation’s wealth and resources to benefit all citizens are not new political ideologies but have been a part of the Progressive political mindset since the latter half of the nineteenth century.  The political goal has always been to create discontentment among the lower and working classes of society. The plan included changing the way Americans thought of the relationship between the citizen and government. 

Since the turn of the twentieth century, Progressivism was held in check by efforts of numerous Americans.  While a majority of modern high school and college educators teach that these men such as J. Edgar Hoover and Senator Joseph McCarthy were creating a fight against subversion where none really existed, the truth is that they were fighting a battle against the slow creep of socialism and communism – albeit that their chosen targets were, in some cases, wrong.  The cases of Alger Hiss, Julius and Ethel Rosenbuerg, and the trivializing of the founding of organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Socialist and Communist Parties of America and the ties to the Comintern are all but lost on the modern American student. Most are totally unaware of what the ComIntern was or why it was so well-funded and active within the West. There is no fundamental understanding of what communism and socialism actually mean and what kind of society they require, but there has been a great distortion about capitalism, free market enterprise, and the concept of the democratic-republic on which the nation was modeled by those men that wrote the Constitution of the United States.  

The current mindset of many college students and young adults is that there is something fundamentally flawed about our nation and its historical origins.  Gone is the support for the free market; many see a centrally controlled economy as being more stable and more beneficial to their own economic status.  Gone is the idea that hard work should create greater possibilities for economic advancement; the belief now is that men like Andrew Carnegie, John Rockefeller, Bill Gates, and anyone else of wealth only became that way because they took advantage of someone else or were able to get the government to assist them in gaining wealth.  A handful do support the idea of wealth confiscation and redistribution, believing that only by doing so can we all have true equality.  Even the concept of civil rights have been co-opted in favor of a more neo-Marxist model that seeks to place blame on others not on their economic status, but on the basis of them being “white, the color of privilege” where no such privilege or advantage clearly exists. It is not the facts that have become relevant, it is the emotions, the need to destroy, the need to create a manufactured evil to justify the destruction of the nation’s foundations. In the teachings of the German philosopher and historian Nietzsche, the ends justify the means.  Whatever helps to collapse the American society under the Constitution is acceptable as long as the end goal – a socialist America – is created.

The American Progressive/Left is blinded by their belief that the only reason that socialism and communism has failed everywhere else is because the United States – we as a nation – have not tried it. They ignore the long histories of repression under the former Soviet Union, China, North Korea, East Germany, Yugoslavia, Cuba, and other regimes that have attempted the Marxist experiment.  Instead of acknowledging the failures of those societies and the human suffering that each brought to its citizenry, they focus on the communist utopia of a classless society where each partake equally of the national wealth.  They paint an idea that if the wealthy would just pay their fair share of taxes, be forced to give more money to social programs, and do their part to be more “American,” then all of our societal ills will be immediately solved.  In their vision of America, failure is not an option, everyone should succeed (but not too much above anyone else), and there is little room for differences based on personal opinion.  It truly is the oppression of the individual, the rape of personal identity, and in its place, a citizenry that exists to support the machinery of the nation. This is now being publicly shown openly for the first time since the First World War. Just like the days of Woodrow Wilson when those who supported anything but the officially promoted view of American involvement in that generation’s war.  Now, there is a militant oppressive movement to silence any opposition to the “official” view of climate change, social justice, race relations, religion, gay marriage/rights, and state sanctioned media.

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Alan Simmons

Alan Simmons is an adjunct instructor of history at Henderson Community College. He has been teaching at the college/university level since 2004. Within the scope of his degrees, his areas of emphasis are U.S. foreign policy, public policy history, political history, and U.S. history.

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