How the Democratic Party Went from Thomas Jefferson to Karl Marx

By Daniel Greenfield (Bio and Archives)  Tuesday, May 12, 2009   Canada Free Press

Nationalization, the Welfare State and Bureaucracies to control every aspect of human behavior

“That brought us to our essential difference, the difference of the Evolutionary Collectivist and Marxist, the question whether the social revolution is, in its extremity, necessary, whether it is necessary to over throw one economic system completely before the new one can begin. I believe that through a vast sustained educational campaign the existing Capitalist system can be civilised into a Collectivist world system;” – H.G. Wells, Russia in the Shadows

This quote comes from H. G. Wells’ conversation with Vladimir Lenin. Wells was highlighting the difference between Lenin’s radical revolutionary program and Wells’ own “Open Conspiracy” evolutionary collectivist program.
What that means is that Lenin and H. G. Wells didn’t disagree on the final destination, a collectivist world system… socialism on a global scale applied to everyone and every single country. What they disagreed on was how to get there.
Lenin favored a violent overthrow of the existing free market capitalist systems, putting an end to democracy and individual freedoms by armed force, and replacing them with a revolutionary people’s government that would administer social justice.
As a Social Liberal, Wells favored a slow gradual takeover from within, using every cultural and political tool available to shift society over to a socialist system. He called this the “Open Conspiracy”, because social liberals would openly work to end capitalism and replace it with socialism.
Bill Ayers, Obama’s close associate, is a good example of Lenin gone Wells, or a revolutionary socialist becoming a social liberal. The difference is that the revolutionary socialist plants bombs, the social liberal works from within the system to achieve the same ends over a longer period of time.

The major shift from classical liberalism to social liberalism, required redefining government power

In the United States, Social Liberalism took over the Democratic party in the early 20th century. That fundamental shift can be seen by comparing Grover Cleveland to Woodrow Wilson and FDR.
As the last Classical Liberal Democratic President, Grover Cleveland was a firm believer in controlling the size of government, cutting taxes and vetoing most spending bills. He worked to reform the Federal government when needed, had little liking for unions or socialists and believed the Federal government should stay out of most affairs. This did not make him unusual, but in line with classical liberals all the way back to Thomas Jefferson.
A mere twenty and forty years later, the next two Democratic Presidents, Wilson and FDR, were enthusiastic about expanding government and using its power to bring about social justice. The newly transformed Democratic Presidency believed that government should be in the business of regulating everything and poking its nose in everywhere. By the time FDR was using government regulation to control the price of meat and putting unions in the driver’s seat, socialism was well and truly here.
The Democratic party had gone from being classically liberal to socially liberal. Where the classical liberal thought that big government should leave people alone, and treated rights as freedom from government tyranny… the social liberal thought that government should control people to enforce social justice and disdained rights as “negative freedoms”, instead favoring “positive freedoms” that would involve government abridging rights to create social and economic equality.
The major shift from classical liberalism to social liberalism, required redefining government power. Where classical liberals saw government power as a tyrannical force that needed to be controlled, social liberals saw government power as a benign tyranny that could be used to check the greater danger of unregulated social and economic systems.
Classical liberals believed freedom came from ending government intervention that created inequality. Social liberals believed that equality was more important than freedom, and that it could only be achieved by curbing anything that prevented equality.

FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society

The Social Liberal takeover of the Democratic party was not complete with Wilson or FDR. It isn’t complete today either, as there are Classical Liberal Democrats still in Congress and in various state governments. But with Obama, the Social Liberal takeover has reached almost revolutionary proportions.
The two great Social Liberal moments in the 20th century came as political opportunities resulting from crises. FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society were agile exploitations of an economic and social crisis that enabled them to push through a Social Liberal agenda that fundamentally altered the relationship between Americans and the Federal Government.
Obama’s ascension to power represents the Third Wave of Social Liberalism in America, exploiting the so-called economic crisis to execute an equally far reaching Social Liberal program. What the Marxists in Russia or Latin America have tried to do in a matter of years, Social Liberals in Europe and America have waited decades and even over a century to push through.
With a free market economy and a long tradition of stubborn individualism, America represented the Social Liberal’s greatest challenge. The Open Conspiracy has slowly worked to undermine that, emphasizing the security of government collectivism, pushing community over country, class and race over citizenship, and collectivization based thinking over individualism. Meanwhile America’s cultural values and national standards have been chipped away at, making it possible for the vulgar adolescent charade that was the 2008 election to take place.
By embracing social liberalism, the party of Jefferson broke down the “wall of separation” between government and the individual that served as the Constitutional guarantee of civil liberties against a tyrannical government. Social liberalism meant the end of individual rights and the beginning of civil rights with government authority placed above all else. And by doing so the Democratic party replaced individual freedoms with an all encompassing bureaucracy, and liberty with socialism, and now with Obama, America stands on the verge of closing the gap between Wells and Lenin, between the Evolutionary Collectivist and the Marxist.

Nationalization, the Welfare State and Bureaucracies to control every aspect of human behavior

Nationalization, the Welfare State and Bureaucracies to control every aspect of human behavior are just some of the building blocks of the emerging “Great Society”, the socialism with a human face that Social Liberals have aimed at for well over a century. Unlike Lenin’s revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, our transition to a Marxist system was meant to be gradual and seamless. Like a lobster in a pot of boiling water, the temperature was being turned up slowly and gradually. Even now when banks are being nationalized and major automakers turned over to union ownership, it is mainly people over 40 who are even noticing that anything is wrong.
The Revolution as it turns out will not be brought to you by Coke, but by Pepsi. Flags will be waved, even though they are no longer American flags. A new symbol has been created, a new seal has been set and a new America is being planted over the protesting remains of the old. But the struggle remains the same.
The question is, will we choose to be free or slaves. Will we protect our freedom from government, or give up our freedom to government. Will we come out of the shadows of Obama and the Social Liberal revolution of 2008, or will a new Iron Curtain rise over the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Daniel Greenfield is a New York City writer and columnist. He is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and his articles appears at its Front Page Magazine site.
Daniel can be reached at: sultanknish@yahoo.com

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