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The history of socialism


I had the pleasure recently of attending a lecture on the history of socialism.


This event was less about politics and more about history. Tom Phillips, a brilliant (and very young) historian, offered his insights. He is a former socialist who is now a conservative. He grew up under socialism, and has seen the results.


Yet people often throw around the word “socialist” too causally. Who and what actually constitutes a socialist? Why does it matter?


With those questions being asked, I present the insights of Tom Phillips.


“Socialism goes back to Plato.


In Britain, the alternative to socialism was classical liberalism, not conservatism.


The socialist view was very popular with the Catholic Church, and throughout Europe.


The United States was the first to experiment with a liberal state. The only state powers came from the people.


Outside of America, the American experiment was considered a b@stardization of European Enlightement, particularly in France.


Edmund Burke supported the American Revolution, but he called the French Revolution ‘barbaric.’ All they wanted was ‘change.’ They tore everything down, but built nothing. Today we hear about change, but it is important to specify exactly what change means.


Karl Marx is not the father of all socialism. He was just a socialist. His dad was a socialist who admired Hegel.


How can we have the power of government while preserving freedom? This is an age old struggle. It did not first appear in November of 2008.


In 1876, the Communists were kicked out of Europe. They were deemed too radical. They needed a new home, so they moved to Philadelphia.


The Communists integrated into American society throguh the labor movement. This began the ascenscion of socialism in America.


In the late 19th century, Japan was at war with Russia. The United States was against this conflict because U.S. policy was to be against any conflict that was bad for international trade. Teddy Roosevelt had both sides come to the United States to sit down and talk. On the battlefield, Japan had clearly won. Roosevelt got Russia to acknowledge this. Russia never forgo that slight.


In 1917 there was the Russian Revolution. It was not done on the Gregorian Calendar since Russia was 14 days behind. So the February revolution was actually the March revolution and the October revolution was actually the November revolution.


The Bolsheviks were on a messianic quest. They wanted world control, and they hated the United States. They never got over the slight of the U.S. with regards to the Japan conflict.


The Communists felt that the easiest way to take over America was to take over the means of communication. They wanted control of the entertainment industry, academia, and religion. Religion was considered the most important because religion attracts crowds.


In 1925 there was a split among the Communists. Stalin chased out the Jews.


Trotsky was a Democratic Socialist. He hated Tyranny. He felt the replacement of the Czar with the Bolsheviks was substituting one tyranny for another. This led to a power struggle between the Stalinists and the Trotskeyites.


Original Trotskeyites included Lionel Trilling and Irving Kristol. Irving Kristol eventually left the left, and led the Reagan Revolution.


Communists did infiltrate the government. The OSS did get into the CIA. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the first Socialist President.


American Socialists and Communists were actually Pro-German National Socialism as long as Hitler and Stalin remained friends.


The Trotskeyites defended Joseph McCarthey. They understood the Communist threat. The true left never forgave the Trotskeyites for this.


One irony was that the original left of center party called itself the Democrat Party. The Communist parties of Russia and Iraq were Democrat parties.


Leftists took the word “liberal” to avoid being called socialist. Liberal sounded better.


Liberalism means freedom. The right then became conservatives, and the labels stuck.


Saul Alinsky was actually schooled in cultural Marxism. He did not create anything.


The Neocons were actually the right side of the left. They came about because in 1968, Neo-Marxists took over the Democratic Party.


In 1972 the Neo-Marxists seized power with the first Communist presidential candidate, George McGovern. Irving Kristol then penned his letter, and formed “Democrats for Nixon.” Lionel and Dinana Trilling did not sign the letter.


In 1976 the Democrats nominated another socialist, Jimmy Carter. On his watch five new Soviet states were created, along with three similar states in Asia.


During the decade, there was mass slaughter from social justice and peace movements.


Then came Ronald Reagan in 1980.


In 1932, FDR was the one who moved liberalism toward socialism. Every President since then either wanted to accelerate or decelerate socialism. Ronald and Reagan and Margaret Thatcher did not slow socialism. They outright reversed it. America became hated, and Reagan was vilified by the left. For those who think George W. Bush was hated, Reagan was truly hated.


Richard Nixon was the one who said “We’re all Keynesians now.” He only wanted to slow socialism, not reverse it. Reagan reversed it, and was hated by the left.


So where are we now? Today the left controls every facet of society in America. Look at the cultural institutions. Look at the pulpits. Politics and theology are now fused. Jeremiah Wright is not out of the ordinary. His speeches are common.


Most religions support the leftist cause despite the left attacking religion. Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and yes, even Islam, support the left. Radical Islam is derived from Maoism and Stalinism.


Today the socialists control everything. It did not start in November of 2008.


Socialism is like a seven headed hydra. You cut off one head, another one pops up.


We are now living in a world we no longer recognize. Our institutions are collapsing. 9/11 was another step in the institutional collapse.


So how will all of this play out? The same as everywhere else.


Socialism always creates short-term benefits. It offers instant gratification. People are given free stuff.


Why bother buying ingredients when people are just given the free food already made? Socialism is the food. Capitalism is the ingredients.


Every few years socialism sows the seeds of its own destruction. The markets and capitalism get blamed, when the actual cause of the destruction is bad policy.


America has not been ruled by the right in some time. The left controls the cities, the counties, and the schools. Electing a Republican president does not matter. It is irrelevant. The left controls the institutions. The left is the establishment. The right is the anti-establishment.


The right needs to take back the institutions. We should start with academia before religion. The world shuns academics. Conservatives must embrace academia. They can either write books, or talk to themselves in the mirror.


I was a socialist, and am now a conservative. Facts did not sway me. What I saw around me did.


Socialists were just Communists moving slowly.


Socialism, like Christianity, has a theological perspective. Being a socialist does not tell what denomination of socialism is being practiced. There are so many currents. A Christian can be a Methodist, an Episcopalian, a Baptist, or other denomination. A socialist could be a Trotskeyite, a Communist, or a Democratic Socialist. A Communist could be a Maoist or a Stalinist.”


I would like to thank Tom Phillips for a stimulating lecture. If more people like him went into academia, I would have a more favorable view of academics. Also, society would be better off.




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This entry was posted on Thursday, May 14th, 2009 at 10:32 am and is filed under POLITICS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


3 Responses to “The history of socialism”

 thepoliticaltipster Says:


May 14th, 2009 at 12:03 pm

For once I am going to have to disagree. I don’t think FDR was a socialist. The New Deal was corporatist and left-wing (e.g. the NRA and 90% tax rates) but FDR would have had to nationalise significant swathes of industry to have been an actual socialist. One could even argue that the NRA (which was declared unconstitutional in 1935) was essentially a formalisation of some of what Hoover had been trying to achieve through voluntary means. It should also be pointed out that FDR was more sympathetic to free trade than his predecessors (though that is not saying much given that protectionism was the norm between Reconstruction and the end of the Second World War.


Similarly, Jimmy Carter was undoubtedly a walking disaster where much of foreign policy was concerned and a disorganised mess generally, but again it would have been difficult to characterise him as a socialist. Indeed, his administration started many of the reforms that Reagan would carry out (deregulation, cuts in capital gains tax, appointment of Paul Volcker as Fed Chairman). According to the Fraser institute’s (admittedly idiosyncratic) measure, economic freedom increased between 1975 and 1980 (though from a relatively low base). Of course, many of these changes only appeared in the dying days of Carter’s feeble administration and would probably not have been carried further if he had been re-elected.


 hauk Says:


May 14th, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Something else to consider- History has always been written by the victors, except in one case- the 1970s and the follow up to the Hippie/Counter Culture Revolution. The Hippies failed to change the country and the government- they lost to the establishment. Where did they go? Straight into the Ivory Tower to rewrite American History and then re-educate Americans.


As for Socialism vs Democracy- in an Ideal Democracy, everyone votes for what is best for the greatest number. In a real Democracy- everyone votes their self interest. They vote themselves beer and circuses, and vote the bill to someone else, which just doesn’t last long…


I fear for my country. I have done for many years.


 Jersey McJones Says:


May 15th, 2009 at 12:09 am

This “history” is very humorous - I’ll give it that. It’s about as accurate as Mr. Magoo’s vision. As the lecturer reminds us, “Facts did not sway me.” ‘Nuff said.



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