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Bigger Than Healthcare

Despite President Obama’s early popularity and his wide margin of victory, he has had much difficulty enacting the agenda on which he campaigned.  The late economist Joseph Schumpeter may have an explanation.

In Schumpeter’s Capitalism Socialism and Democracy (1), Schumpeter predicts capitalism will fall victim to its success and slowly be replaced by socialism.  A smooth transition to socialism, however, according to Schumpeter, is contingent upon timing.  Should extraordinary circumstances propel socialists into power before people and industry are ready, the transition may be hampered by the temptation to prematurely adopt socialist policy:

“(The premature adoption of the principle of socialism) may be defined as transition from the capitalist to the socialist order occurring at a time when it has become possible for socialists to gain control of the central organs of the capitalist state while nevertheless both things and souls are as yet unprepared . . .”

If socialism is prematurely adopted, citizens “as yet unprepared” who still believe in individualism will be capable of resisting the socialist ideal and refusing cooperation.  This resistance may inhibit the rapid creation of the socialist order.  The socialist in the meantime can look for short-term situations to help advance his agenda.

“The long-run situation becomes more and more favorable to socialist ambitions.  It is still more important that short-run situations may occur . . . in which temporary paralysis of the capitalist strata and their organs offers tempting opportunities.”

Or, in other words, as the President’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel likes to say:  “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

Emmanuel and President Obama have seized upon the economic downturn to advance the socialist agenda, but the American people are not yet ready to blame the bourgeoisie for their ills. The anti-capitalist logic of the Obama Administration has not been enough to convince the American people to entrust their liberties to the state.

Much like during the Great Depression when:

“Souls were still more unprepared than things…; for (Americans) the conception of socialization and even of much less than this was still “un-American”…  (Americans) honestly felt that what they were doing nobody, least of all the state, could do as well and that in resisting they were fighting not for their interest only but also for the common good—for the absolute light against absolute darkness.”

A woman at a September rally in New York holding the sign:  “The State does not own my body” is likely thinking in similar terms.

There is some good news for the socialist who finds his agenda waning, however. To ensure the progression of the socialist ideal, the socialist can enact a handful of measures without difficulty.  Two of them—given the first year of Democratic control of government—are worth noting here:

“The first thing which must be done is to bring about inflation.  The banks must be seized and combined or coordinated with the treasury, and the board or ministry must create deposits and banknotes using traditional methods as much as possible… For, as Lenin has pointed out, nothing disorganizes like inflation:   ‘in order to destroy bourgeois society you must debauch its money.’ ” 226

“Second, the insurance business is an old candidate for nationalization and has to a large extent become mechanized by now.  Integration with at least some of the branches of social insurance may prove feasible:  selling costs of policies could be considerably reduced and socialists might again rejoice in the access of power that control over the funds of insurance companies would give to the state.”

All this is to say that recent actions by the federal government are bigger than straightforward policy votes.  Excessive borrowing and inflationary spending are not simply about stimulating our economy.  Health care “reform” is not simply about expanding access.  Both are government power grabs that represent further socialization of our country. 

We must resist these efforts, not only because we dislike particular policies, but because we recognize the creeping nature of the socialist agenda.  We must resist any efforts that undermine the first principles of our founding fathers--principles that made our country strong, our industry prosperous, and our people free.  Otherwise, we will find ourselves overcome by the socialist agenda and maneuvered into a system that will weaken and damage our national existence.

(1) See Joseph A. Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, (New York:  Harper Perennial, 1976), 223-230.

Reader Comments (5)

What argument, then, is made against the Bush administration infusing the population with money in the form of stimulus in his final year? The argument against Obama is flawed; he inherited this problem, yes it is his to solve, but the socialist policies you describe originated and were, in part, enacted by the previous administration.

November 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJ.R.
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