Many conservatives have noted Barack Obama’s Marxist roots. They fear that our president may be a radical ideologue, a loather of American values, a false Christian more likely to follow the Koran than the Bible, a slavish disciple of the odious Alinsky. They may be right. But there is another possibility: Barack Obama may be nothing more than a purely political animal, committed to nothing at all except his own fame, his own pleasure, and his own power.
Grasping this possibility requires understanding that those on the “Left” are overwhelmingly nihilists hungry for power: people who no more believe in Marx than they do in Moses, the Messiah or market economies. This was the common thread of modern totalitarianism seen by great moral minds. Solzhenitsyn, faithful to truth, brilliant in his grasp of great themes, and more knowledgeable about Soviet pathology than anyone in the Kremlin, told the West that no “Communist” leaders believed in Communism at all. They used the lingo of Marx and the dreary themes of this savage bully to steal the wealth of the productive to enrich themselves.
Orwell, in his masterpiece, 1984, observed that the Inner Party was created to preserve for its members power, privileges and perks separated them from the wretched rest of mankind. Ideology, or rather flurries of violent rhetoric pretending to mean something, was tweaked from day to day by the Ministry of Truth. History was continually re-written. Insoc, or “English Socialism,” was the nominal ideology of the Inner Party, but far from seeking equality and prosperity, it kept the lower orders poor and powerless.
Stalin, whose Soviet empire was the model for Orwell, purged almost everyone around him (or, as Orwell might have put it, sent them to the “Ministry of Love,” which refined torment to awful art.) Power and wealth were not given to the workers; both were kept entirely by the Party. Mao, as his best biographers have made clear, believed in nothing at all (least of all, Marxism or Leninism.) He had no context of human love in his life at all. The bizarre shifts in Party policy and campaigns reflected Mao’s passion to keep everyone, from Chou En Lai on down, living in quiet terror.
American politics has similar characters. Huey Long was called the Marx of the Hillbillies, but he was also considered a “Fascist” on the mythical “Far Right.” The Kennedy brood embraced anti-Semitism, strongly supported Joe McCarthy, passed tax cuts, professed desire to soak the rich (or which, of course, included them), dealt shamefully with women, championed feminism, and sought to negotiate secretly with the Kremlin to defeat Reagan. Power was the only common theme of their antics.
Bill Clinton lost re-election in 1980, so he donned the clothes of a moderate and proud Southerner. His conduct towards women was worse than the Kennedy clan, yet he put the Violence Against Women Act into law. He was a demagogue against the rich, yet Bill and Hillary pursued wealth with wanton greed. Clinton was a political hack, lusting for power and the money so easy to those who will lie and cheat.
Might Obama be just another political hack, who has conned not only Middle America but also the few who really believe in Marx? He agreed to continue the Bush Tax Cuts (which, for now and ever, should be called the Obama Tax Cuts.) Why? Creating business confidence will help re-elect him in 2012. Obama outraged his anti-American supporters by keeping potential terrorists in Gitmo. His speech in Tucson pointedly discarded venom against conservatives, which solidifies his image as a nice moderate and boosts his popularity.
Analyses of Obama’s life amid Marxist America-haters may tell us nothing, really, about the man. Given his background, the clearest path to power was to play the racial socialist. Pseudo-Marxists in Stalinist Russia and Maoist China spoke the babble of Marxism because its silly words and phrases were a code of recognition devoid of other meaning. Obama portrayed radicalism because it was the easiest, fastest, and surest way to power.
Conservatives find this attitude hard to grasp because, unlike our enemies, we hold honest beliefs. Most of us believe in the Blessed Creator of Christians and Jews. When that belief is true, then it trumps all other beliefs, including socialism. We believe in markets – all sorts of markets, and not just economic markets. We believe in liberty. We do not hold these beliefs because it prospers us. (Many conservatives pay a high price for their beliefs.) The men who signed the Declaration of Independence acted profoundly against their own interests. Our beliefs are based upon ideas of right and wrong in life (or, as our enemies say, we are “judgmental.”)
But when we presume that our enemies or anyone with power believes in Marxism, then we might as well believe in unicorns and leprechauns. We give these people undeserved dignity. Their belief system is that of Al Capone. Ideology to them is “just business.” They attack the American middle class because the middle class threatens their power. They revile Judeo-Christian faith because conscience is too constraining.
If Obama is a hack, he will embrace whatever will help him politically (like the “Obama” Tax Cuts.) He will keep Gitmo open. He will slither through ideological constraints to do whatever makes him popular. He will gamely use those pathetic, dull clods who actually believe in Global Warming or capitalist exploitation by positioning himself so that they must support him in 2012, even with dashed hopes of revolution. Is he a hack? I think so. Time will tell. But we would be silly to just assume that Obama believes the things he professes to believe. He is a liar: why trust liars? Con men usually are empty shells, and Marxism is the ultimate con game. Do we want such people as presidents? No, but less because they believe in something bad than because they believe in nothing at all.