The View From 1776
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Why Democrat/Socialist Party Animosity Toward Private Enterprise
Marxian economic doctrine explains why liberal-progressives, the Obama administration in particular, push for restructuring our constitutional government to concentrate more power in the hands of labor unions and the Federal government.
Marxian economic dogma has been emphasized to an increasing degree in our colleges and universities, even in our high schools, since Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal imposed state planning upon the United States in the 1930s. That emphasis became dominant in the late 1960s and 1970s. Today so many generations of teachers and students have been so thoroughly and subtly imbued with Marxian concepts that they are unaware of their ideological environment, assuming that such concepts represent exclusive truth.
Marxian doctrine leads to the assertion that private property is power and that such power is used by employers to exploit the workers. To end exploitation, government must restructure society, using progressive income taxes, high death taxes, and punitive regulation of private businesses, coupled with welfare-state entitlements.
What then are the elements of Marxian economic doctrine that underlie the Democrat/Socialist Party’s socioeconomic paradigm?
First, the conception of scientific socialism, as opposed to the earlier varieties of utopian socialism. Utopian socialism had propounded broad concepts of social justice, appealing to the reason and benevolence of society. Marx and Engels dismissed this as unscientific and ineffective.
Rather than reason and benevolence, they saw human nature as the product simply of the material conditions in which people earned their livings. The implication is that there is no inherent human nature, that a socialist government can reshape human nature by improving working conditions and by restructuring government to impose a more equal distribution of income. In these materialistic surroundings, Lenin’s theoretical New Soviet Man was to be a selfless worker, giving to socialist society according to his ability and taking only what he needed as his share of communal production.
Our socialist welfare state embodies Marxian materialism. President Franklin Roosevelt expressed that conception in his 1944 State of the Union address. Our original Bill of Rights protecting individual liberties against government power, he said, had been superseded by a second bill of rights that replaced individual economic opportunity with the security of the welfare state’s guarantees of jobs, housing, clothing, education, and medical care.
A further implication of Marxian scientific socialism is its view of spiritual religion as the opium of the masses, concocted by the ruling capitalist class to keep workers downtrodden. Hence the Democrat/Socialist Party’s vitriolic opposition to Judeo-Christianity in public life. The secular political state is to replace spiritual religion as the source of society’s salvation.
Marx’s scientific socialism, it will be recognized, is a philosophy of history as the interplay of purely materialistic, economic factors. In common with earlier socialist theoreticians, Marx and Engels avowed a palpable “history” that was evolving inevitably toward worldwide socialism. They differed, however, in promoting revolution as the necessary agent to impose social justice. In the famous conclusion of the Communist Manifesto, they wrote:
The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.
WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!
This universalist philosophy of history led Marx to assume leadership of the First Socialist International. We see reverberations of the Socialist International in President Obama’s posture as a citizen of the world, expressed in his Berlin speech during the presidential campaign in 2008, and his apologetic presentation of the United States as historically guilty of crimes against the world
Socialist internationalism appears also in the liberal-progressive push, from academia to the Supreme Court, to establish international law and United Nations resolutions as superior to our own statutes and the Constitution.
Marx’s theory of history as a solely materialistic process leads to another central doctrine: the class struggle, pitting oppressed workers against their capitalist overlords. We see this in the Democrat/Socialist Party’s never wavering efforts to grant special legal status to those icons of socialism, the labor unions (who, by the way, have thus far displayed no intention of giving selflessly and taking only what they need). If one has been inculcated with Marxian dogma, it seems nothing more than simple justice to exempt labor unions’ monopolistic exploitation from anti-trust action and to protect labor union thugs against prosecution when they beat up citizens protesting Obama’s policies at town hall meetings.
So deeply imbedded is the class struggle conception that it is the very substance of the Democrat/Socialist Party. Franklin Roosevelt blamed the 1930s Depression on businessmen, whom he called malefactors of great wealth and economic royalists. Obama and his administration continue this abusive rhetoric, seeking to pin the 2007-2008 housing meltdown exclusively upon “Wall Street greed,” and renewing the call for higher taxes on “the rich.”
Allied to the class struggle is Marx’s labor theory of value. Only physical labor imparts value to production of goods. Hence profits (Marx’s surplus value) are part of the labor value that really belongs to the workers, not to their capitalistic employers. Businessmen grind workers down to the lowest subsistence level of wages, while luxuriating in unearned economic rent from workers’ use of the workplace and its tools.
Among other things, this is the view underlying the IRS’s characterization of dividends and interest on invested savings as unearned income. This explains the lust of Democrat/Socialist politicians to raise capital gain taxes to confiscatory levels and to impose special, higher tax rates on dividend income. It also explains the blindness of Democrat/Socialist Party politicians to the essential role of business managers and entrepreneurs in creating new jobs that raise the standard of living for everyone. Democrat/Socialist Party politicians instead cling to the faith that government macroeconomic policy can right all economic ills and that businessmen are too stupid, greedy, or dishonest to be trusted to act on their own.
In the Marxian conception, shared by leaders of the Democrat/Socialist Party, our political state prior to New Deal socialist planning was one created by capitalists solely to protect unearned property rights and the income arising therefrom. Workers were oppressed and forced to accept subsistence wages. With the growing political power of labor unions and other special interest created by welfare-state programs, it is within the power and duty of the Democrat/Socialist Party to restructure society, directing us toward redistributive equalization of income. This is what Marx termed the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.