When your competition “whupps” your butt time after time, perhaps it’s time to take a look around and see what it’s doing that you are not, and what you can adapt to your own ends. In the political world, socialism has been beating conservatism in election after election and on issue after issue since 1932. One of the reasons for this may be that most Americans outside of the socialist movement do not really take them seriously. In fact, I believe it is safe to say that most Americans do not even know what socialism is, other than a vague sense that it’s a more or less a benign political movement similar to communism only not a dangerous.
If you take socialist policies one by one, it’s fairly easy to find some benefit from them and to the average person they seem to be more helpful than harmful; for example, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public education, head start, etc., etc. Few of us can refuse a “free lunch”; therefore, we accept the benefits and ignore the consequences. However, we are rapidly getting to the point where we can no longer ignore the consequences of socialism.
We have just elected a socialist President and a socialist majority in Congress. Yeah, I know we elected them as Democrats, but so what? It’s easy to be a socialist and belong to the Democratic Party. Quite a few socialists are even members of the Republican Party. Socialism has nothing to do with which political party one belongs to. It has to do with what political and economic policies one subscribes to. And if you have a working knowledge of socialism, you know that most democrats are socialists.
The benefits of socialist policies only continue as long as there is capitalist money to pay for them. Socialism by itself, without capitalism, can only generate enough material goods for the bare necessities of life. That’s not just a theory. It’s the verdict of a hundred years of global history where socialism has been tried.
Since the number one goal of socialism is the destruction of capitalism, logic says that with each incremental advance of socialism, capitalism diminishes. It is easily provable that the prosperity of America is the product of liberty and capitalism. It is equally provable that most of our economic woes and social ills are the consequence of the creeping socialism that has been permeating our society for the past eighty years or so.
The only effective antidote to the socialist movement in American is the conservative movement. For decades, the conservative movement has coasted along as the base of the Republican Party, perhaps slowing down the socialist movement but seldom beating it and never stopping it. That role for conservatism is no longer adequate for the circumstances we face today. Socialism cannot be accommodated, it must be defeated.
In order to defeat them, we must first understand who they are and how they operate. The socialist movement gained a foothold in America through the industrial union movement during the thirties and forties. It achieved its successes utilizing the tactics immortalized later in the book by Saul Alinsky, “Rules for Radicals”. With the decline of the Industrial sector of the economy, socialist dominated unions simply moved into the public sector. Today the bulk of union membership is in the public sector rather than the private sector. The maturation of the union movement in America gives us a perfect model for the progress in the lifespan of socialism.
I am not anti-union. During some fifty plus years in the workforce, I was a member of several unions: the Teamsters, IBEW, and the Sheet Metal Workers, to name a few. As a union member, I received above average wages with better than average benefits like healthcare, job security, etc. However, all the companies I worked for either went out of business or moved to another state in order to rid themselves of the union expense and tax burdens.
Perhaps the best example of unionism is to be found in the automobile industry. For more than three decades the automobile industry, headquartered in Detroit was the backbone of the American economy. “What’s good for General Motors is good for America” is a slogan I have heard many times over the years. Today the City of Detroit and the state of Michigan is among the most depressed areas in America. General Motors is losing billions of dollars every quarter, and not just because of high gasoline prices and a sluggish economy. The industry can no longer support the demands of the autoworker unions and government regulations. The result is that much of automotive manufacturing has been taken over by foreign manufacturers operating overseas or in “right-to-work” states. Other heavily unionized industries like the steel, mining, railroad, and manufacturing have met the same fate.
Aside from unions, a more successful example of socialism can perhaps be found in its organization. The socialist movement in America does not have a monolithic organizational structure. It is rather a decentralized, diverse association of various single-issue groups with a unified purpose. Some of the groups that form the base of the socialist movement are the environmentalists, feminists, civil rights groups, unions, community organizing groups, and the Democratic Party. In addition, the socialist movement has a large following in academia, primary and secondary education, government bureaucracies, media outlets, and the entertainment industry.
The political activities of the socialist movement are best illustrated by the Democratic Socialist of America. The DSA is the largest and most successful socialist organization in America and is the American affiliate of Socialists International. Unlike the Socialist Party USA, and the Communist Party USA, the DSA does not run political candidates in elections. Instead, it supplies advice, financial and manpower support to other party’s candidates for public office, usually Democrats. In Congress, it works through the Democratic Progressive Caucus. The DSA endorsed and supported Barack Obama in his bid for the Illinois Senate and in his unsuccessful run for the U.S. Congress. He was also a member for a short time of the now-defunct “New Party” set up by the DSA leadership to promote candidates for public office.
If there is a secret to the socialist movement’s successes, it probably is to be found in two facts. First, it has a consistent, written set of principles, policies, objectives and strategies found in the Communist Manifesto of 1888 and the Alinsky book “Rules for Radicals” published in 1972. A concise summary of socialist strategies can be found in the Q & A section of the DSA website. Second is their decentralized political activity that allows it to operate “below the radar”. The best known of its political action groups is ACORN with its nationwide network of community organizing and training groups.
What can conservatives learn from the socialist’s successes? One of the most important features of the socialist movement is its relationship with the Democratic Party. It moderates its negative image among the American people by keeping an “arms length” association with the Democratic Party, promoting its agenda through surrogates with no documented ties to any of the socialist groups. Obama is one of the few exceptions. Another is Senator Bernie Sanders who is a member of DSA. The only demonstrable connection between most of the Democratic leadership and the socialist movement is a shared agenda.
This arrangement allows for the defeat of socialist surrogates at the polls without diminishing the prestige or influence of the socialist movement. For example, if Barack Obama had lost the election, it may have been a setback to the socialist movement, but the American public would have been unaware of it and its influence over the Democratic Party would not be lessened at all. On the other hand, the defeat of John McCain created serious repercussions for the conservative movement.
Another important feature of the socialist movement is the uniformity provided by its written documents. A socialist is a socialist, whether sitting in a congressional office or teaching a class at Harvard or the University of Chicago, or providing a commentary on MSNBC. They are all consistently promoting the same agenda. Contrast this with members of the conservative movement. We have conservatives, fiscal conservatives and social conservatives, plus any number of shades and degrees of each. In addition to those in the Republican Party, there are also those in the Libertarian Party, the Constitution Party and the occasional independent party, often working at cross-purposes with each other.
That’s why I propose that conservatives adopt a universal set of uniform principles, policies and objectives that will permit us to present a consistent message to the electorate. The good news is that we do not have to convene a convention or spend months in debate and drafting of documents to come up with a conservative manifesto. That work has already been done. The documents I propose as a Conservative Manifesto are the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. Both are plainly written and easily understood. All we have to do is educate the general public and ourselves as to their contents and importance.
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