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Obama to students: Don’t call our socialism “socialism”!
May 4, 2010
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The University of Michigan awarded President B.O. an honorary “Doctor of Laws” degree last Saturday thereby recognizing his extensive experience in doctoring laws. But Obama urged further: we must doctor our language as well.

As he spoke to UM’s graduating class, Obama denounced the rhetoric flying around these days: we must dispense with phrases like “socialist,” “Soviet-style takeover,” fascist,” and “right-wing nut.” Of course he only threw “right-wing nut” in there so he could claim fairness. The point, of course, is to tar and feather those who call his administration what it is: socialism and fascism.

The irony explodes as Obama had just praised how the great socialistic schemes of past presidents saved our Country and made it great. Lincoln—a railroad lawyer who helped government appropriate land and public money for cross-country railroads and land-grant universities—gave us the phrase so often used by socialists today, according to Obama, “the role of government is to do for the people what they cannot do better for themselves.” Teddy Roosevelt, the trust-buster, later concurred with Lincoln, “the object of government is the welfare of the people.” He gave us the gigantic government confiscation of land called the National Park Service. Today almost 40% of the land in the U.S. is owned by the Federal Government. In some states, such as Alaska, Nevada, and Utah, the number approaches 100%. Obama praised Johnson’s “Great Society,” Medicare, Eisenhower’s Government-run Interstate System, the formation of the public (government) schooling system, and FDR’s socialist measures in reaction to the Depression.

But whatever you do, he argues, don’t call it “socialism”! Oh no, that would be uncivil. Calling socialism “socialism,” according to Obama, “prevents learning,” as if socialistic public schools and land grant public colleges didn’t do enough of that already (via the teaching and tactics of socialism).

He says that calling it socialism “closes the door to the possibility of compromise.” Of course, any compromise with socialism by necessity results in accepting some socialism. So one should recognize that, by definition, “compromise” equals “socialism.” Ergo, closing the door to the possibility of compromise literally means closing the door the possibility of socialism. I’m all for that, Dr. President.

He says that calling it socialism also “coarsens our culture.” Unfortunately, he’s right to say that telling the truth often results in anger and expressions of hatred. These usually come from those who stand to lose benefits when socialism is threatened: government employees (note the riots in Greece right now), moochers, deadbeats, unions, and special interests of all sorts. It is a sad fact that by simply calling socialism “socialism” you immediately stir up the hornets of society and risk social coarseness. But every mama bird sometimes has to kick the little ones out of the nest—and that’s just downright coarse. “No,” is perhaps the coarsest answer possible, and yet sometimes the most necessary.

Socialism requires government coercion through threats of violence and penalty. Does government coercion not “coarsen our culture”? Are not extractions of wealth, confiscations of property, garnishing paychecks, and threats of government violence as coarse as it gets? When in the course of human events governments rule through coercion, people must coarsen themselves to the point of saying “No,” lest they long remain subjects of coercion. Coarseness against socialism helps preserve freedom.

Obama, of course, is coarsely (if subtly) admitting that calling socialism “socialism” may stifle his socialistic agenda. Calling socialism “socialism” prevents people from blindly swallowing socialistic propaganda (or as he puts it, “prevents learning”). It also ends the prospects of “compromise,” which means a stop to the advance of socialism. It likewise makes us less tolerant of socialistic schemes and schemers, which to Obama is just too coarse.

He spins more when he gives recommendations: stop listening to only one side. Today’s cable channels and internet narrow-casting had led to the development of one-sidedness in news consumers. So, people should make a point to read posts from the other side. “If you’re a fan of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, try reading a few columns on the Huffington Post website.”

And where, exactly, does B.O. think Beck and Rush get their material? How often are they heard reading directly from the left’s own words?

And why did today’s narrowcasting arise to begin with? Because the mainstream public only had one side to listen to for decades. Now conservatives are blowing away the network competition because they can finally get their voices heard without depending on major networks. “Stop listening to the other side” really means “please quit ignoring the voices of socialism.”

Exactly how out of touch with Constitutional law is our Doctor of Laws? In the course of this one speech, the newly-lettered Barack Obama, LL.D., referred to our form of government as “democracy” or “democratic” sixteen times. This comes despite the fact that he even included the classic story told of Ben Franklin and our “republic”:

On the last day of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was famously asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got – a Republic or a Monarchy?” And Franklin gave an answer that’s been quoted for ages: “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Obama then immediately answered, “we have kept it.” What, we have kept our republic? Silly Joel, no. Obama continued, “[O]ur democracy has survived.” Of course, I don’t think this was mere ignorance; it takes an agenda for a bright man to turn that quickly away from obvious facts.

Democracy tends towards socialism and tyranny. The American founding fathers knew this and openly detested “democracy.” Their representative republic had much better safeguards against socialism and tyranny. For this reason, our socialists prefer to ignore “republic” and talk about “democracy.” (This is true at home, but not worldwide).

Obama urged the bright smiling kiddies, “how will you keep our democracy going?” According to B.O., this departure from Constitutional reasoning is “the question for your generation.”

He then, like a good socialist propagandist, elaborates three measures for ensuring that the graduates can extenuate “democracy.” In a word, these are: 1) expand socialism, 2) quit calling it “socialism,” and 3) become a socialist.

Each of these three is troublesome by themselves. For example, the prospect of expanding government smacks against public opinion right now. There are many rallies demanding a return to the Constitution, which means reducing government. To counter this, Obama quotes the limited-government founder Jefferson on the need to change laws once in a while: “with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times.” Doctoring the laws, of course, is Obama’s specialty, so he takes this and runs.

This is where he begins praising those past presidents for their socialism. So we know what he’s thinking when he spins Jefferson’s phrase “institutions must advance.” He’s thinking “more socialism,” certainly not less.

In his extremely gifted way, Obama succeeds in making Jefferson sound like Obama: we need a living Constitution. Obama does not mean “keep the republic” as much as he means “keep changing it.” Change it into a socialist democracy—just don’t call it “socialist.”

This is why he so vehemently follows up with the second point: we need to tone down the rhetoric! Don’t say “socialism.” We leftists will even stop using the phrase “right-wing nut,” if you will please stop saying “socialism”! Of course the problems inherent in “socialism” are structural—that is, they pertain to socialism itself. The problem with “right-wing nuts” is that they’re nuts, and these problems pertain to a few people, not conservatism itself. So, Obama is asking us to legitimize leftism in general while the left must only stop using abusive pejoratives that don’t apply generally anyway. Sorry, not a fair compromise in my book.

Taken together Obama’s three points are even more egregious. Since for the first point he praises every socialistic advance of government in American history, the second point would obviously require one to lie. This is a small thing for socialist politicians, I understand, but a very high offense on the list for conservative Christians—in fact, right next to the transgression of socialism itself (“thou shalt not lie” comes immediately after “thou shalt not steal,” for those who follow the list). Worse yet, the third point would make one a complicit offender on both points.

Of course, we know who the real liars and thieves are. On his third point of “participation” in government, our Doctor of Laws lectures: “when we choose not to make our voices and opinions heard, that’s when democracy breaks down.” What exactly does he think has caused conservatives to grow so vocal for the past year and a half? Did it not begin with the $700 billion TARP bailout under Bush, when our representatives in Congress completely ignored the voice of their constituents and approved it? Was it not the failure of Obama himself to listen to the great public outcry against Obamacare? The problem is not a failure to make our voices heard, it is a failure of representatives to represent faithfully.

Obama has the sheer arrogance to tell us, “Write letters, or make phone calls on behalf of an issue you care about.” Besides the fact that we flooded Congress and jammed phone lines for months over the issues just mentioned, Obama himself began this very speech mentioning how every night he reads a few of the thousands of letters the White House receives every day. This means two things: 1) people have been writing letters all along, and 2) if you write a letter to Obama, you have a 1-in-1000 chance of him reading it.

Forgive me, for I am failing to see where the people have failed in making their voices heard. This is not a voice problem, but a hearing problem.

Nevertheless, Obama quoted JFK in calling students to “contribute part of your life to this country.” We can only assume that Obama had his plans for compulsory national youth service in the back of his mind, but he declined to get specific. Besides, even if he had, I suspect that calling his dream for compulsory national youth service “socialism” would indeed coarsen our culture in a way that conscripting children for government purposes does not.

Not to end on a soft note, Obama reminded us, just to be sure, how individual liberty and freedom do not define our not-to-be-called-“socialist” socialist nation. Rather, it’s our ability to work together to achieve common goals that makes us distinctly American: “That is what makes us American – our ability at the end of the day to look past all of our differences and all of our disagreements and still forge a common future.”

And what might this forged common future hold? He has told us in his three points: 1) expand socialism, 2) lie about socialism, 3) give our lives to socialism. Obama is right about one thing here: we will definitely have to “forge” it to call his vision “America,” for it certainly ain’t the real thing.

It doesn’t take a Doctorate in Laws to figure out that. It takes one slick lawyer to deny it.

As for me, I intend to call Obama’s forgery “socialism.” That will keep me busy until I can “participate” in voting a socialist out of office.

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About author

Dr. Joel McDurmon

Dr. Joel McDurmon

Joel McDurmon, Ph.D. in Theology from Pretoria University, is the Director of Research for American Vision. He has authored seven books and also serves as a lecturer and regular contributor to the American Vision website. He joined American Vision's staff in the June of 2008. Joel and his wife and four sons live in Dallas, Georgia.

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