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Is "Liberalism" Really "Socialism" Incognito?

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The day socialism comes to America

Posted: February 17, 2008
1:00 am Eastern

© 2008 

Norman Thomas, American socialist
    "The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name of liberalism they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without ever knowing how it happened."

     – Norman Thomas, American socialist

I've been thinking deeply about those famously prophetic words spoken by America's premier socialist thinker and leader.

They didn't resonate in the 1940s when Franklin Roosevelt, in the name of ending the Depression, exceeded all constitutional authority by approving new federal assistance programs.

They seemed a bit far-fetched to most of us in the 1960s when Lyndon Johnson vastly expanded the welfare state in his failed bid to end poverty in America.

They still didn't connect in the 1970s when Richard Nixon, in a bid to ingratiate himself with Democrats in Congress and stave off an impeachment, greatly increased spending on wealth-redistribution schemes.

And by the 1980s, with Ronald Reagan in power, it seemed this 40-year trend had finally been reversed.

But with the initiatives being proposed by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the 2008 presidential campaign, it appears Norman Thomas was right all along. Americans will, indeed, embrace every fragment of the socialist program in the name of liberalism.

Both of the leading Democrats call for nationalized health care – for a power grab by Washington in which the federal government will seize full control of another one-seventh of the U.S. economy.

This would, of course, be the most dramatic and irreversible step toward U.S. socialism in the nation's history.

Even today, however, the architects of these plans conceal from the public the centralized, command-and-control nature of the new system they devise.

They are not asked by the press to show the American people even one successful program government has run. Yet the American people seem ready to put the lives of their children and grandchildren in the hands of Washington bureaucrats.


Now comes an even grander proposal by Barack Obama. It's called the Global Poverty Act, that would, in the next decade, transfer at least $845 billion of U.S. taxpayer money overseas. Think of Johnson's failed war on poverty going international – directed not by Americans but by the United Nations.

How we could even be debating ideas like this in the 21st century, after all of the climactic failures of socialism around the world, is amazing to me. But we're not really debating them. It seems we're not even capable as a people of debating them, reasoning over them, using our brains to consider them.

Americans may simply be too far gone spiritually, morally and intellectually to reject the temptations of socialism.

Socialism is antithetical to human nature, yet it has great appeal to the human mind.

It's one of the great lies of all time – similar to the one told by the deceiver in the Garden of Eden. You can be like God! You can have it all right here on Earth. You can live in utopia, and you don't have to obey the laws of the universe to achieve it.

That's the essence of socialism. And it is finally seducing America as it has seduced much of the rest of the world over the last century.

Unfortunately, Americans don't even have a party representing clear, unequivocal opposition to socialism. The Republicans dare not even speak its name. John McCain admits publicly he doesn't know much or care much about economics.

And so, Americans don't even have a reason or a mechanism to say no to the socialism that is coming to their country under the guise of liberalism – just the way Norman Thomas predicted it would come.

by on Feb. 21, 2009 at 9:54 PM
Replies (81-82):
by on Mar. 8, 2009 at 11:34 AM

this is refreshing to hear..  it's a lot of what i was thinking with a mix of capitalism and social programs by govt, like schools, social security, etc..  and nice to hear someone is basically happy  with their  universal health care.. 

thanks for the post !


Quoting Intrinsic.Elite:

I don't live in the US so I really cannot say much on this at all.  As much as Socialism appears to be a utopic and altruistic economic system.  It has and does still work well in some areas of Europe, the UK and many others.  The problem is - Is that there is an assumption that these nations solely rely on socialistic behaviour without much view of capitalism in place.

Socialism already exists in the US.  Police, Firefighters, maybe in some cases state roads and so on.  Then we have public schools as well.  Then of course we have SS, medicaid/medicare.  I have never heard for the life of me a "pure" capitalistic nation as most countries have a mixed amount of social and capital. 


As far as myself I live in Australia and capital/social is combined.  It works well and of course it has it's hiccups.  Just like any other economic system and the same as capital.  Universal healthcare and other benefits supplied from my own country I am thankful for and has served me well with no problems at all.  Even when I had the choice of taking private healthcover but was never coerced to do so.  Without it - this country (mine) would be in a worse crippling mess than what it is with the recession.


by on Mar. 8, 2009 at 4:41 PM

Liberalism - Or as I should say "classic liberalism" is not nor never was socialistic in nature at all.  It started in the medieval times through Europe and then eventually through Great Britian and the UK.  The liberalists of the time believed in liberty and laissez-faire economics as a way to break free from the strongholds of government.

What about the Libertarian movement?  The philosophy of the American based party is based on the very liberal standards of the earlier practises of those liberals I mentioned above.  There are DIFFERENT types of Liberalism.  Libertarian to the Right.  American Liberal Democratic (or social) to the left.

There is no such thing as one "wing" of liberals at all.  And even though you say you have travelled the world - The roots of social liberalism lay heavily in the hands of the US and have spread the two words combined together.  Do I know the roots of liberalism and what they stand for?  Of course I do.  Because the word "liberal" encompasses more than just the definitions you have mentioned.  As much as you can say that your family and friends believe that liberalism is totally rooted in socialism.  I would suggest going back into historical books.  The word "liberal" does have different meanings for different people in different countries.  Asking a handful of people off the stroke of your hand does not equate the meaning for a whole population.

Quoting blondekosmic15:

Quoting Intrinsic.Elite:

For the person in pink (supermom) in the US some people might see socialism and liberalism as the same thing.  BUT if you said that to any other country around the world they would roll on the floor in laughter.  Only in the US is the word Liberalism advocated with socialism.  Some people in the US would call other countries with socialism liberal nations.  

I wonder why......if one embraces liberalism/socialism as a part of life than that person will not be sensitive to the very dangers of these philosophies. The belief & practice concerning liberalism which subtly opens the political door to socialism is easily manifested when others blindly fail to discern the roots of these doctrines. Europe is socialistic...I have traveled the world extensively & lived overseas. I have 6 siblings who travel frequently due to their jobs * families * 1 of my younger brothers currently resides in Germany w/ his German wife. He leans toward socialism & moved back to Germany for that very reason. My younger sister is married to her husband from the Philippeans who shares the same sentiments I do. My older brother has traveled the most overseas esp. Asia b/c his wife of 26 yrs. is from Thailand...he is not Conservative & agrees w/ me concerning the socialism issue * the 2 are closely interwoven~

Quoting hsteele:

Canada has "socialized" medicine. They don't seem to be doing all that rotten. I'm sure they're in the same financial crisis the rest of the world is in right now, but it doesn't seem like national healthcare has led Canada down the "slippery slope" to communism the doomsayers seem to think it will.

Quoting supermom11995:

Socialism and Liberalism are the same thing.  The uniform health plan they are trying to create is also known as "socialized" medicine.  What a disaster we are heading into.  Too bad so many people refuse to see it for what it is.  I shudder to think of what this country will be like at the end of Obama's term...

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