Socialist or National Socialist? Take Your Pick

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Americans will decide next week whether the next president will be a socialist or a national socialist. Lest you think I exaggerate, consider McCain’ campaign theme of "country first" before everything else — your private life, your job, your children, your education, your marriage, everything. Ask yourself how this differs from the philosophy of German fascism, which preached "the common good comes before the private good" (see Paul Lensch, Three Years of World Revolution).

Or consider the fact that McCain supported the Wall Street Plutocrat Bailout Bill. A defining characteristic of fascism was that all profits were private, but losses were socialized. And oh yes, military imperialism (a.k.a., "national greatness conservatism") and a dictatorial executive were also key features of European fascism. Recall that McCain promised that if elected (paraphrasing), "I will order the Secretary of the Treasury to buy up all of the foreclosed mortgages." Is that really a part of the delegated powers in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution?

Then there is Comrade Obama, who has announced that he wants to "change the world" by "spreading the wealth." Didn’t Marx and Engels say the same thing in 1848? As is well known, Obama has long had a close association with ACORN, the far-left political organization that employed him as its legal counsel in Chicago. It is ACORN-style "community organizing" that Obama claims is his political forte and qualification for running for president. He boasts of having worked with ACORN to register tens of thousands of new voters and has defended the organization against all critics. It is safe to assume that there must be a congruence of interests between Obama and ACORN.

So the question becomes, what does ACORN (and by implication, Obama) stand for politically and philosophically? It so happens that I researched and wrote about ACORN over twenty years ago when I co-authored a book and numerous articles on the subject of "tax-funded politics," i.e., the (illegal) granting of tax dollars to "nonprofit" organizations to fund political activities. ACORN was receiving single grants from the federal government in the half million dollar range as far back as the 1970s.

And what was ACORN doing with your hard-earned tax dollars? According to the 1983 ACORN Members Handbook, "We will continue our fight until the American way is just one way, until we have shared the wealth . . . our freedom shall be based on the equality of the many . . ." Socialism, in other words.

The Handbook published a very communistic-sounding "Peoples’ Platform." With regard to the energy industry, nationalization was recommended in order to "put people before profits," one of the oldest of Marxist slogans. The Marxists never understood that in the free market the only way a business could earn profits was to serve its customers.

All of the public utilities should also be nationalized according to ACORN, so that the prices of electricity, natural gas, etc. could be determined politically according to "social considerations." Nor would there be any discontinuation of service for nonpayment, said the ACORN Handbook, which begs the question, "why would anyone pay their bills under such a standard?"

Price controls would be the order of the day for industries that were not nationalized, and the "health care plank" of the "People’s Platform" called for socialized health care. All hospitals would be managed by "democratically elected community-based committees." "Throw doctors and hospital administrators off the boards of directors, and replace them with a low and moderate income majority," demands the People’s Platform. Can you think of a better way to totally destroy health care in America?

The housing industry would also be subjected to the ruinous policies of price controls and prohibitions of evictions of tenants who failed to pay their rent. Welfare indexed for inflation would be part of "the rights of workers" when out of work, as would a "guaranteed minimum family income." Corporations would be required to have low-income rabble on their boards of directors to give "the people" a "voice."

In short, ACORN has always advocated nothing short of the destruction of American capitalism and its replacement by the dumbest and most destructive forms of socialism. For years, it made millions for itself by "challenging" bank mergers and branch expansions, as allowed for by the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act. In return for millions in donations and promises to make millions more in sub-prime loans to unqualified borrowers (i.e., "the people" referred to in "The Peoples’ Platform"), ACORN would withdraw its protests (usually administered by the Fed) and the banks would be permitted by the Fed to carry out their plans. ACORN worked diligently for three decades to force mortgage lenders, though this policy of legalized extortion, to make bad loans to unqualified borrowers. And their defenders, like Obama, claim that the Community Reinvestment Act and all of the "community organizations" that it empowered had nothing to do with the sub-prime crisis. It was all caused by "greed," they tell us. Have we really become a nation of morons?

So here’s your choice on election day: McMussolini (as Ilana Mercer calls him) or ObaMarx. Take your pick. Or do the patriotic thing and stay home. Don’t vote. It only gives them a reason to claim that "the people have spoken" and that they have a "mandate" to ruin our country.

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book, Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution — And What It Means for America Today, will be published on October 21.

Thomas DiLorenzo Archives at LRC

Thomas DiLorenzo Archives at Mises.org

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