Redshift: How Obama’s Marxist Transformation of America Succeeded
Redshift is the astronomical phenomenon in which light-emitting objects moving away from us at speed appear red, because their receding motion lengthens the light waves reaching our eyes, which constitutes a “shift” toward the low frequency end of the color spectrum — the red end of the rainbow, if you will.
For eight years, American conservatives struggled to understand why their warnings about the existential threat of Barack Obama’s promised “fundamental transformation” of America seemed to fall on deaf ears. The danger seemed so obvious, didn’t it? So why did most people, including many self-identified conservatives, grin condescendingly or stare at their hands when you told them that Obama was a neo-Marxist enemy within? Why, even after the evidence of his first term, punctuated with the gross dereliction of duty and blatant cover-up of Benghazi just weeks before his re-election, did they dismiss or ignore your claims that he and his allies in the Washington establishment (on both sides of the aisle) were on an mission to reduce America to a self-destructive mess willing to abandon its noble foundations forever in favor of a full-on progressive authoritarian regime, by means of a Cloward-Piven cocktail spiked with a shot of Antonio Gramsci?
Thoughtful observers have proposed sophisticated explanations for America’s suicidal refusal to face the obvious, including blinkered American optimism, racial guilt, ignorance of historical parallels, cognitive dissonance, and collective denial.
There is another option, however, much simpler, though more disturbing and harder to swallow than the others: most Americans did indeed see this anti-American, Marxism-inspired power surge clearly enough, but they approved of most of it, because they shared Obama’s Marxist premises.
Let’s begin with a recap of what we all know: Barack Obama’s mother, father and stepfather were Marxists. His grandfather sought out a Marxist sexual deviant on the FBI’s domestic communist watch list to be young Barry’s personal mentor. Obama has boasted in a best-selling autobiography that he gravitated toward Marxist professors in university. He worked in Chicago as a “community organizer,” a euphemistic descriptor for a socialist proselytizer, and a job title generally thought to have been coined by the occupation’s most famous practitioner, Saul Alinsky, a Chicago communist. Obama’s political career was launched in the home of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, two of the most radical leaders of the communist “student” movement of the late ’60s and early ’70s. The Communist Party USA not only endorsed Obama’s two presidential bids, but actively campaigned on his behalf and urged its supporters to do the same.
Yes, you say, but the media hid all of this from most people. Well, they certainly tried to hide it or downplay it, but in fact the information was all easily available to anyone interested in finding it – and that brings us closer to the real solution of this mystery. For while the media’s selective silence has been complicit in the progressive usurpation of America, that same media has also provided the megaphone for the most overt and direct declarations of progressive power, most of which have been met with barely a peep from Joe Public.
During the eight years of his presidency, Obama consistently followed through on his 2008 campaign’s promises to take gradual steps toward the direct or de facto nationalization of vital industries (healthcare, energy), education, and law enforcement. His administration, working both with and without Congress, used legislation and the bureaucracy to curtail economic freedom, threaten freedom of association, redistribute wealth, and increase presidential authority in defiance of constitutional limits. He used his bully pulpit and his appointing privileges to promote various agenda items that grew directly out of twentieth century academic Marxism, where they were concocted as methods of subverting American individualism to achieve Marxist goals through indirection.
For example, in making high-level appointments, his glaringly disproportionate favoritism towards unmarried, mannish women and homosexual men helped earn him Newsweek’s admiring epithet “First Gay President.” These appointments and the policy foci that follow from them (gay marriage, transgender school bathrooms, pansexual military, gender identity indoctrination in elementary school) were calibrated to dilute the natural family, to sexualize and, if you will, “crassify” public life, and gradually to normalize deviancies of even the most absurd and pitiable sorts. Radical feminism and LGBT activism have little to do with private predilections or personal choices, which may properly be objects of old-fashioned tolerance. They are, rather, attitude-remolding strategies, pointed political assaults on the so-called “traditional family” in accordance with a long-standing progressive premise, namely that private family life is history’s great obstacle to the melding of individuals into a socialist collective, and must therefore be undermined.
Obama, utilizing his community organizer training, deliberately stoked racial discord, animosity, and the illusion of widespread systemic injustice to promote the breakdown of civil society, exactly as Ayers’ Weatherman terrorists tried to do, and for the same reason: to create an alliance of militant minority factions – black, Hispanic, and now Muslim — which might exploit intimidation and indoctrinated white guilt to destroy what American neo-Marxists call “oppressive power structures,” aka republicanism and the rule of law.
Obama and his cohorts, puppeteers, and corporate moneymen used rhetorical manipulation and bureaucratic machinations to denigrate private initiative and success (“spread the wealth,” “You didn’t build that”); belittle rural Americans (“clinging to their Bibles and guns”); promote urban planning as a form of class warfare and social justice activism (HUD is now in “full acceptance of transgender men and women,” and modifying regulations to “ensure they receive the proper services that respect their identity”); and, of course, exploit immigration policy to instigate sudden and revolutionary changes to the economic, moral, linguistic, and social background of the American population, changes of the sort that diminish any possibility of projecting the nation’s historically unique ethico-political traditions and sensibilities – as embodied in the Declaration, the Constitution, The Federalist Papers, and Washington’s Farewell Address – into the future.
In other words, the cumulative aim of his presidency’s policies and rhetoric was to erase the United States of America as founded from the world landscape and replace it with a bloated, unprincipled, pleasure-obsessed laughingstock ready to be divided up for dinner by global corporatists, Chinese crypto-communists, Russian oligarchs, and the tribal warriors of the global caliphate.
We might add that the extent to which these aims have been realized may be observed in the 2016 election to replace Obama as president. For the first time, both major political parties took the liberty of bypassing even the optics of traditional statesmanship, nominating candidates who elevated self-aggrandizement and lack of political principle to the status of selling points. It is particularly telling that the Republican candidate’s supporters openly and vehemently rejected constitutional principles and “constitutional conservatism” as obsolete concepts – echoing the Rockefeller Republican establishment they claimed to want to drain from the swamp – in favor of embracing the anti-republican fantasy of the populist hero (aka demagogue) who will sweep in and fix everything, constitutional reckoning be damned. In other words, there is no longer any substantial faction in mainstream America, or even on the banks of the mainstream, to serve as the nation’s conscience by preserving the voice of the founding fathers against the progressive flow.
America, understood as the clutch of philosophical ideas that made her a world-historical nation – the ideas of individual liberty, rational self-determination, and moral self-government – is now essentially dormant, at best.
How did this “fundamental transformation” proceed so successfully right under America’s nose? I believe that after all the fancy psychologizing and intellectual gamesmanship have played themselves out, we must finally apply Ockham’s razor and choose the explanation requiring the fewest and simplest assumptions, namely that there was really nothing fundamentally transformative about America’s past eight years. That is, Obama’s promised transformation did not meet sufficiently widespread or dogged opposition because it turned out not to be so fundamental after all. Obama merely espoused as explicit policy some views that had long been infused into the American mainstream.
The firm terrain and solid foundation of modern civility and republicanism had already been weakened with generations of progressive flooding. At last, during the Obama years (and, one might add, the final Bush years), the mire which had long been seeping up through the floorboards, gradually sinking the structure, burst all its restraints. The house is now awash in muddy water, and the progressives are swimming up from the “left” and “right,” leaving their natural habitat in the primordial muck at last to occupy the house’s abandoned rooms, and the souls of its slow-drowning homeowners.
In other words, the Obama years, far from revolutionary in fact, represented at most the grand unveiling of a gargoyle generations in the sculpting. The real fundamental transformation began well over a century ago. The reason most Americans either could not accept that they had a Marxist president, or could not quite put their finger on what was so Marxist about him, is that most Americans, like most of the citizens of the rest of the planet, are fundamentally, if unwittingly, “Marxist” in their own presuppositions. That includes, unfortunately, a lot of people who self-identify as conservatives. From this era’s ordinary point of view, Obama didn’t seem all that extreme when you actually came down to thinking about the aims of his policies, or listened to his explanations of them, because seen in non-alarmist terms, he was only proposing or enacting what most people basically believe to be true and just these days.
Most people intuitively “know” that it’s unfair that rich people have opportunities and access that the rest of us don’t. Most people “know” that children should not be barred from such opportunities or access due to the wealth or life choices of their parents. Hence, for example, everyone “knows” that all children must have the “equal opportunity” of education provided by the state (whether directly or through government-funded “school choice.”)
Most people “know” that the sick or weak have a right to receive the best available healthcare, regardless of expense, in the name of compassion and justice.
Most people “know” that “society” — which has become our standard euphemism for the State — must provide financial security and caregiving to its elderly and infirm. Most “know” that the value of work may be determined independently of those who voluntarily pay for it, by government experts in the mystic science of economic justice; that the “traditional family” is inherently unjust to women’s aspirations to self-development; and that men need to be more sensitive and take on more of the stereotypical maternal responsibilities, in the name of correcting historical injustice.
Most people “know” that workers need strong unions and declarations of “workers’ rights,” “tenants’ rights,” and so on, to protect them from greedy capitalists and property owners. Most people “know” that the haves ought to pay a higher percentage of their earnings than the have-nots to provide public services. Most people “know” that the days of the classical night-watchman state are over, and that in today’s “industrial economy” the government must have a much broader role as regulator, ameliorator, redistributor, and educator to the people.
Most people “know” that judging other people’s private behavior, sexual predilections, substance use, aesthetic taste, or non-adherence to older notions of correct, polite, or decent speech, dress, and public deportment, is intolerant, antiquated, and oppressive.
“Knowing” all of these things, the only real question remaining in the normal person’s mind is how to achieve or embody these beliefs at a societal level. Should the government enforce them with laws, regulations, and indoctrination? Or should we exploit a subtler manipulative partnership of government and the corporate elite (cronyism), to achieve these goals or ideals through a “market-centered approach”? That’s the left/right divide today, in a nutshell. Hence, the mainstream “left” saw Obama as a good man favoring the more direct government-centered methods, while the mainstream “right” saw him as impatient, overreaching, and immature in his eagerness to achieve by fiat what a sober person sees as too idealistic, or knows can only be achieved piecemeal over time, “given the imperfectability of humans.”
In this climate — the socialist temperature of a civilization — the person who says “Obama is a Marxist” sounds ridiculous to the wise elite and the great unwashed alike, not because it isn’t true in some sense, but because “we don’t talk that way anymore.” The person who says “America is headed for tyranny” sounds paranoid, because progressive tyranny is the de facto moral and intellectual ideal of our time, even among people who do not believe in all that workers’ revolution stuff, and would be appalled by anyone who stood up and declared an overt preference for dictatorship. Hence the word “Marxist,” which, like “fascist,” has become an empty catchword connoting evil, sounds out of place and hyperbolic in discussions of what are now mere policy differences among people who basically desire the same things.
Hence today, for example, the Chinese Communist Party is in many ways friendlier to what we casually call “capitalism” than is the American Republican Party, although, much as in the case of the GOP establishment, theirs is a fair-weather friendliness, unrelated to any deeper affiliation with the cause of individual freedom. One key difference between the Chinese Communist Party and the GOP, however, lies in the area of basic honesty: The Chinese communists state openly that their current free market orientation is, in neo-Marxist style, a calculated transitional step toward building a stronger economic foundation for the eventual reinstatement of communism, whereas the Republicans in this era of Mitch McConnell have spent decades strategically ceding political and moral ground to the socialists in backroom meetings, while publicly posing as defenders of the free market against the progressive siege, thereby effectively (and aggressively) diluting or drowning out the voices of the real advocates of liberty.
In sum, the great achievement of the Obama years was merely to expose at last just how far to the left mainstream America had already lurched in its underlying sensibilities. The past eight years constituted no real revolution, no fundamental transformation, but merely the deliberate acceleration of an ongoing process: the great republic’s long, sad drift away from itself, and from those ever fewer people who still cling desperately to its founding promise.
And as America recedes ever more quickly toward her nihilistic black hole, she reveals herself in a new light. Her accelerated drift produces a shift in our perception, and we are suddenly surprised how red she looks. In fact, only our perspective has changed. The new red we see is merely the last outward trace of a fundamental transformation generations in the making, the visual effect of a bright constellation speeding away from us.