Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Leftists aren't Liberals

Some who fancy they are on the opposite side from me really aren’t. They want better medical care, better dental care, better social security. So do I. Wanting those things doesn’t put anyone on the opposite side of me. When Francis Fukuyama looked about the world to determine the extent of Liberal Democracy, he didn’t differentiate between the Welfare States of western Europe and the more Liberal Democracy of the U.S. They all met his definition of “Liberal Democracy.” And while I might quibble with the wisdom of too many entitlements in France, for example, I won’t because of that, shove them off into a totalitarian alternative. No, we are all Liberal Democracies. We may have Conservative and Liberal Wings within our Liberal Democracies, but the Liberal Wing of Liberal Democracy is not what I am criticizing when I refer to “Leftism.”

Leftists want to do away with Liberal Democracy. They want to replace Liberal Democracy with Socialism. They oppose Americanism, aka Liberal Democracy, because its freedoms allow some people and corporations to become rich and powerful. Richness and power, according to them, should belong to totalitarian state leaders and not to ordinary individuals or corporations. This wouldn’t be the way they would explain it I hasten to add. They wouldn’t use the word “totalitarian.” They prefer such terms as “dictatorship of the proletariat,” “the Workers Party, or “the People’s Party.” If a dictator claims to be ruling for workers or the people then those who admire Socialism don’t think of him as a totalitarian dictator, but that is what he is. Does anyone rule besides him? Can he be removed from office by means of a term limit or a democratic vote? If the answer is “no,” then he is a dictator. Now to determine whether his system is totalitarian, ask whether it rules almost every aspect of life in a given nation.

Here is a good definition of “Totalitarianism” from Wikipedia: Totalitarianism (or totalitarian rule) is a concept used to describe political systems where a state regulates nearly every aspect of public and private life. Totalitarian regimes or movements maintain themselves in political power by means of an official all-embracing ideology and propaganda disseminated through the state-controlled mass media, a single party that controls the state, personality cults, control over the economy, regulation and restriction of free discussion and criticism, the use of mass surveillance, and widespread use of terror tactics. The term has been applied to many states, including: the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Socialist Republic of Romania, People's Socialist Republic of Albania, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, People's Republic of China, Democratic Kampuchea, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea).

So if I criticize an individual or groups of individuals for being Leftists, I don’t mean that they favor better medical insurance. I mean that they favor the abolition of Liberal Democracy and the substitution of the form of Totalitarianism popularized by Marx, Lenin, and Stalin. Fukuyama was overly optimistic to believe that Liberal Democracy had defeated Communism because the USSR collapsed. Perhaps Leftists suffered a period of depression, but they are busily back at work today. They are busy cleaning up Stalin’s image, for example. They are busy focusing people’s attention on American ant-hills of guilt; so they won’t have time to look at Stalinism’s totalitarian mountains.

In my opinion, we in our Liberal Democracies need to get a grip. We should pay attention and recognize when we are being lied to. Stalinism wasn’t a worker’s paradise. The abuses under Stalin were comparable to those under Hitler. They have much in common. Their systems of government have much in common. Neither system has much in common with Liberal Democracy.

Also, we should notice, we who don’t want to give up our Liberal Democracies, that critics like Chomsky and Ward Churchill are voicing a “party line” owing much, if not everything, to the party line inherited from the propaganda of their Communist forebears. We should recognize that they want to do away with Liberal Democracy. We should understand that they have “faith” in a Socialistic utopia that has thus far not come into existence. We should understand that they believe that their Socialism will cause a change in human nature such that people who live in their Socialistic utopia will be better people than presently exist anywhere on earth. And hey, if you want to accept their belief, that is up to you. This is still a free country. We have no Stalin able to ship us off to an Alaskan gulag. You can believe whatever you like. But don’t deceive yourself. Find a knife and cut through the Gordian knot of their obfuscations:

“Today, they claim that “it [Stalinism’s crimes] never happened” – crucial to the success of the radical reclamation project – is far more difficult to sustain, but in some ways it is almost as effective as in the days of Stalin himself. Even when it doesn’t work, it works. By the time the truth trickles out, no longer deniable genocides have become admissible ‘errors’; previously hidden atrocities are grudgingly acknowledged as ‘mistakes.’ By the time the facts of the socialists’ experiments are generally acknowledged, they have been nibbled to death by partial explanations and incomplete admissions, until they have become emotionally, morally, and politically distanced – mere curiosities of the historical past. Did Stalin kill twenty or thirty or sixty million of his own countrymen to create the social future in the U.S.S.R.? Did Mao kill twenty or thirty or fifty million during his Great Leaps and Cultural Revolutions? How many millions of dead people can dance on the head of the socialist pin?” [Collier and Horowitz, op. cit., page 251]

No comments: