The war of ideas goes on. Toward the end of the 20th century the USSR dissolved itself. China shifted to thinly-veiled capitalism. Looked like "the Battle of the Century" was over and that we had won. Not so fast.
On February 21, 1848, Marx and Engels produced The Communist Manifesto. It began: "A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism." In practice, Communism proved something more like a bloodthirsty vampire than a ghost.
Per History.com, "Its idea … reverberated with increasing force into the 20th century, and by 1950 nearly half the world's population lived under Marxist governments." Then came Reagan and the overthrow, worldwide, of Marxist policies and governments.
Let's revisit the scene of the crime, our apparent but illusory victories. It may help us better understand the current struggle between Capitalism and Communism.
Dima Vorobiev, a former Soviet propaganda executive, wrote at Quora: "Instead of saving the USSR and transforming it into a State-oligarchical one-party Capitalist system like modern-day China, Gorbachev went about saving Communism. This was a dead man's journey (here's why). What Gorbachev should have done instead, was try to roll back the Communist project, introduce a market economy, and steer away from nationalist unrest and the resistance from Stalinists in the Party."
Meanwhile in China, Deng Xiaoping suavely retired Marxism. He did so by replacing it with "Socialism with Chinese characteristics," e.g. capitalism. Deng displayed a becoming pragmatism by noting that "it doesn't matter whether the cat is black or white so long as it catches mice." He declared that "Poverty is not socialism." And "To get rich is glorious." He thereby unleashed history's greatest wave of economic growth, letting an impoverished billion Chinese rise toward middle-class affluence.
And yet. As Anne Applebaum wrote at Prospect magazine, "If we don't feel at least as much revulsion for the crimes of communism as we do for the crimes of Nazism, we will be condemned to misunderstand both our own past and that of others." Such revulsion is not much in evidence.
There is an unsettling resurgence of favorable sentiment toward, and influence of, Communism and its slightly less feral bratty little sister, socialism. The Democratic Party, wherein "democratic" socialism has found a host, rejected nominating socialism's top champion, Sen. Bernie Sanders. Yet the Dems have given the passionately intense left great power over writing policy.
As reported by Michael Tomasky in the New York Review of Books, recently: "After Sanders withdrew, the discussions between the two turned more toward substance — and the extent to which Biden would be willing to adopt pieces of the Sanders agenda. Thus were formed the six task forces that the Biden campaign unveiled on May 13. The left-wing presence on many of them is remarkable."
Is Joe Biden an asymptomatic carrier of Bernie Sanders's socialist virus? Or merely placating a fractious faction?
The Democrats have long flirted with the agenda of "progressives," socialists-in-drag. Their pink slip showing would be less troubling if the GOP were not so ready to succumb.
The GOP, for example, shows unseemly enthusiasm for trillions of dollars of fresh debt. The Republican Party seems to have lost the proud Reagan capitalist mojo much as they lost Lincoln's emancipationist mojo. The Pachyderms pay lip service to capitalism (and equal rights), reduced to a slogan. Not a program. Not a governing philosophy.
The Democrats are much clearer on their purpose. As I noted in The American Spectator during 2016 the Democratic Party national platform unabashedly, although without attribution, leaned toward or embraced all six of the still-relevant 10 planks of The Communist Manifesto. These are abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes [rent control]; a heavy progressive or graduated income tax; abolition of all rights of inheritance [raising the estate tax]; centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly [hello, Fed!]; centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State [net "neutrality!"]; "free" education for all children in public schools [adios, school choice!].
The Democratic Platform 2020 is likely to be even more enthusiastic about these and other sinister totalitarian devices, like prosecuting thoughtcrimes.
Meanwhile, what's the Republican Party stand for?
"Make America Great Again, Again" is a slogan.
Not a program.
Not even a credo.
The GOP has gone limp.
One is reminded of Yeats's prophetic words:
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."
Will a political champion, à la Jack Kemp, of true capitalism and equitable prosperity arise to save both the GOP and America? If not…
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?
Ralph Benko, co-author of "The Capitalist Manifesto" and chairman and co-founder of "The Capitalist League," is the founder of The Prosperity Caucus and is an original Kemp-era member of the Supply Side revolution that propelled the Dow from 814 to its current heights and world GDP from $11T to $88T. He served as a deputy general counsel in the Reagan White House, has worked closely with the Congress and two cabinet agencies, and has published over a million words on politics and policy in the mainstream media, as a distinguished professional blogger, and as the author of the internationally award-winning cult classic book "The Websters' Dictionary: How to Use the Web to Transform the World." He has served as senior adviser, economics, to APIA as an advocate of the gold standard, senior counselor to the Chamber of Digital Commerce and serves as general counsel to Frax.finance, a stablecoin venture. Read Ralph Benko's reports — More Here.
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