Most Americans believe that we won the fight against Communism when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and Khrushchev’s famous boast that they would bury us proved to be empty. Not so. Communism is a monster of two guises. There is Marxist-Leninism and there is Gramsciism from Antonio Gramsci, an Italian communist thinker who broke with Marx and Lenin in the 1920s. The former preaches the violent overthrow of capitalism; the latter preaches the subtle subversion of capitalism and its ultimate transformation into tyrannical “mega-statism” over time.
In 1991, revolutionary Marxist-Leninism died, but gradualist Gramsciism still vigorously thrives. In fact one of its main proponents sits in the White House right now, and another proponent is trying to get elected so she can sit there also. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are two nefariously talented advocates of Gramsci’s gradualist socialism. Gramsci understood that the workers would never revolt as Marx and Lenin preached until the fundamental philosophical values that supported capitalism and freedom had been destroyed in the workers’ minds via ideological indoctrination. Individualism, personal industry, family solidarity, monogamy, private property, patriotism, belief in a Creator God, etc. had to be discredited through education. Then, and only then, could the system of free-enterprise be demolished and replaced with the “communist ideal.”
Obama and Clinton learned their lessons from one of Gramsci’s top disciples, Saul Alinsky, the famous author of Rules for Radicals published in 1972. Alinsky’s screed is a revolutionary lesson in how to organize masses of men and women to hate the system of capitalist freedom, to take it down and replace it with a regimented collectivist system that centralizes government and levels down the productive classes to equality with the less productive classes.
The history of America for the past 100 years has been that of implementing Marx’s Communist Manifesto gradually rather than violently. Progressive taxation, centralization of credit and banking, and centralization of schools under government dictates are three of his ten planks that are already solidified in America. Abolition of the right of inheritance and centralization of the means of communication are steadily gaining ground among the people. These five planks are sufficient to bring about the ultimate destruction of capitalist freedom. Gramsci’s and Alinsky’s vision of gradualist socialism is making great strides.
In Rules for Radicals, Alinsky teaches that true radicals do not flaunt their radicalism. They are infiltrators. They fight from within, slowly, patiently. Their goal is to deconstruct the foundation of values taught by the established institutions of capitalist freedom, to organize communities by agitation and teach them they have the right to seize the wealth of the productive classes because as Marx demonstrated via his “labor theory of value,” their profits were stolen from the laboring classes. [Marx’s labor theory of value is a gross fallacy, but that’s another discussion for another day.]
Is not Barack Obama the perfect embodiment of an Alinsky radical? “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” he told us in 2012. Like all collectivists, he believes that capitalism is evil incarnate and that government is more responsible for our economic productivity and enterprise than we as individuals are.
Is not Hillary Clinton of the same Alinsky mold? “Don’t let anybody…tell you,” she told us in a campaign speech earlier this year, “that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know that old theory, trickle-down economics. That has been tried, that has failed. It has failed rather spectacularly.” In her mind, capitalism must be transformed, and gradualist socialism is the way to do it.
Both Obama and Clinton studied Alinsky in their youth. Obama eagerly taught his organizing methods in Chicago for several years before he ran for political office. Clinton wrote her senior political science thesis at Wellesley College on Saul Alinsky’s model for political organization and deconstruction, and then personally corresponded with him for several years afterwards. Alinsky and his mentor, Gramsci, have been hugely influential in both of these politicians’ ideological / activist development.
Thus when Obama does something seemingly irrational and counter to America’s system of freedom, he is doing it on purpose. The primary goal of all Alinsky disciples is to “deconstruct” the system of capitalist freedom, which they perceive as oppressive and inhumane. This “deconstruction” is to take place by any means necessary, which the deconstructor thinks he or she can get away with.
Alinsky was a total “moral relativist.” He preached that one’s means must always be judged within the context of one’s time and situation. “You do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments,” he writes in Rules for Radicals. All ethics are dependent solely upon success of the purpose that one’s means are being employed toward. This, of course, leads to the justifiable use of force, theft, bribery, mendacity, even murder to bring about that purpose.
If one wonders why the past 100 years of life on this planet have been a relentless descent into egregious political power lust and wholesale carnage of human lives on the part of all nations’ governments, here lies the reason. The socialist-relativist thought of Marx, Lenin, Gramsci, and their disciples such as Saul Alinsky have scooped up millions of verdant minds in their formative years to brainwash them with ideologies of hate for the productivity and nobility that built Western civilization.
The Real War
We are involved in a monumental war of ideas. It is a war that is far more powerful than those of bombs and rifles. The conflict we face today is a war between advocates of collectivist totalitarianism and individualist capitalism. The former manifests in the ideologies of communism, socialism, fascism, Islamism. The latter manifested in the vision of Jefferson and the Founders in 1776. It built the greatest and freest way of life in the history of mankind. But lurking in the souls of many humans is a hatred of freedom and its requisites of self-reliance, courage and creativity. Philosopher Ayn Rand called this, “hatred of the good for being the good.”
This hatred of freedom is the real motive behind all collectivisms, all totalitarianisms. I believe that the Alinskys, Obamas, and Clintons of life have a built-in animosity toward freedom prevailing in their makeups from birth. If this predisposition is countered with teachings of political-economic rationality and moral probity in one’s youth, it will lie dormant and not cause any problems. But when it is mixed with the teachings of collectivist philosophers in one’s youth, it springs forth in justifications for massive governmentalism. It spawns Bolsheviks, Jacobins, Fabians, welfarists, nihilists, etc. who then proceed to deconstruct the institutions of freedom in any way they can throughout their lives.
The enemies of freedom have a totally different value system than those who defend freedom. Values lie in the province of the mind and heart. Thus the real battlegrounds of life are not the Vietnams, the deserts of the Middle East, and the Normandy beaches. They are the schoolrooms, the churches, the publishing houses, the movie studios. Ideas move the world. In the beginning was the word, i.e., the truth. Collectivist hatred is bent on replacing that “truth” with a regimented life for humanity.
Nelson Hultberg is a freelance writer in Dallas, Texas and the Director of Americans for a Free Republic www.afr.org. A graduate of Beloit College in Wisconsin, his articles have appeared in such publications as The American Conservative, Insight, Liberty, The Freeman, The Social Critic, The Dallas Morning News, and the San Antonio Express-News, as well as on numerous Internet sites.
He is the author of The Golden Mean: Libertarian Politics, Conservative Values
Email: NelsonHultberg (at) afr.org