Our Socialist Mindset
No - this will not be not about the president's State of the Union
address. Its blatantly socialist content was noteworthy only to
the extent to which Mr. Clinton invoked the Founding Fathers. That,
and his shameless celebration of our armed forces, coming from a
man who never recanted his open hatred of the military, was a performance
on par with "I did not have sexual relations with that woman
- Miss Lewinsky."
No, the thoughts about to follow were prompted by the Republican
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) began her speech with the following
sentence: "Our Republican agenda is driven by the simple but
powerful truth that America will continue to lead the world as long
as our government allows opportunity, initiative, and freedom to
Allows? Government allows?
Is there a single passage in the Constitution of the United States
that asserts, or even implies, it is the prerogative of government
to allow citizens this, that or the other? Is it not the letter
and spirit of the Constitution to define what government may or
may not do?
Having spent my first twenty years in a country where, indeed,
citizens anxiously awaited government decrees, the mindset of hoping
for the benevolence of government is familiar. On occasion, the
government would allow athletes and artists to travel abroad so
long as their hard-currency earnings were turned in. Or, the government
would allow the formation of a non-communist patriotic organization
on a trial-basis.
But in America? We look to government to allow freedom?
Readers of this column might well have become exasperated by excessive
references to socialism, its agenda and vocabulary. Perhaps this
annoying preoccupation could be reappraised now. Consider: It was
not one of the 58 declared socialists who make up the Progressive
Caucus of the U. S. House of Representatives; it was not a closet-socialist
like Senator Edward Kennedy; it was the Republican response to the
State of the Union which demonstrated the presence of the socialist
Senator Susan Collins is not at fault here. Perhaps nobody is at
fault here. Socialism is not a person, not a conspiracy, not even
ideology any more. It has become a degenerative process that gradually
eats away at a person's common sense and powers of reasoning, not
unlike leukemia eats away red blood cells.
The first symptoms are certain words and phrases - some quite innocuous
- that creep into every-day use: reactionary, capitalism, exploitation,
working Americans versus the wealthy, private sector, human resources
department, world peace, politically correct, social justice, economic
justice, or calling people fascists. (The term denotes exclusively
members of Mussolini's party in Italy, extinct in 1944.) All the
above are words invented or adapted for the Marxist-Leninist dictionary.
Words are immensely powerful, whether used against us or used by
The next stage is a growing preoccupation with problems that, by
definition, cannot be solved, such as disease, poverty, or world
hunger. Tangible and useful work in the community is replaced by
blustery slogans that lead to inaction and the early emergence of
megalomania, such as eight-year-olds who want to save the Earth
instead of learning to write their names. In the adult world, it
leads to politicians who, for example, preach about global warming,
instead of providing the service they had been elected to perform.
The children and politicians in the preceding examples claim divine
powers for themselves. But we have gone past even that stage by
now if we have transferred to government the power to "allow
opportunity, initiative, and freedom" so we may flourish.
"Transfer" is the appropriate word here, for this nation's
formal existence began with the phrase "We the People."
When, how, and who proposed that we abandon our Constitution?
The "Re-Elect America" bus tour, described before in
this column, will pose that very question to the People. When we
speak of the rule of law as the North Star of America's compass,
we mean the Constitution as it describes itself in Article VI. "This
Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made
in Pursuance thereof...shall be the supreme Law of the land; and
the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby."
In practical terms this should mean that neither Congress nor state
legislatures may enact laws that are inconsistent with the Constitution.
Even a law passed without a single dissenting vote is illegitimate
if it cannot be reconciled with the Constitution.
In practical terms this should mean that even the opinion of a
Supreme Court justice is moot if it cannot be reconciled with the
All laws, all interpretations must pass the test of having been
"made in Pursuance" of the Constitution. That, by definition,
is likely to result in relatively few laws.
By contrast, the socialist mindset expresses itself by making up
laws - and handing down opinions - based on an agenda of social
justice. And since people's view of social justice changes all the
time, the need is for new laws all the time. Lots of them. Thousands
of them. And once we have been tied in knots by them, we become
supplicants hoping that "our government will allow opportunity,
initiative, and freedom to flourish." In no time, we look to
government to educate our children, to manage our health, to supervise
our relationships, to settle our most private disputes.
The time has come to admit that our increasingly socialist mindset
cuts across party lines. The time has come to realize that our thoughts
and attitudes have been invaded by propositions utterly alien to
The time has come to re-elect America.