Written by Thomas E. Brewton
April 5, 2008
by Thomas E. Brewton
Believing apparently that specifics are not necessary, Senator Obama promises us that his election will bring us all together in one happy family via a miraculous transformation of society and its citizens.
Earthly perfection of human nature and human society, here and now, is what Senator Obama is promising us. This is his implicit message when tells us that he can, as President, bring us all together and move us beyond strife, aggression, and wars.
One thing we can state categorically in that regard is that what Senator Obama promises is emphatically, irreconcilably opposed to the Judeo-Christian foundations of Western Civilization. Parenthetically, the Senator’s secular and socialistic mind-set may explain in part why he saw no problem with the unchristian hatred preached by his minister, the Rev. Wright.
Senator Obama is not necessarily painting himself as the Second Messiah who will personally effect the transformation. Rather, as a good socialist-progressive-liberal, he expects that structural changes in the political state will do the necessary work.
Such structural changes will include higher taxes, especially on capital gains which fuel business innovation and more efficient production, massive increases in Federal welfare-state spending programs, and crushing inflation, along with extensive increases in regulation of personal and business conduct (including stronger affirmative-action measures).
As the German Empire’s Iron Chancellor Otto von Bismarck told the Reichstag in the 1880s, he was instituting the world’s first welfare state in order to gain total control over the German people. Those who are dependent upon the political state for their benefits, he observed, can be herded like cattle.
In contrast, in the Old Testament, King Solomon tells us:
The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? (Ecclesiastes 1:1-3)
I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. (Ecclesiastes 1:12-14)
I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well—the delights of the heart of man. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.
I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:4:11)
The operative words in these quotations are “under the sun” and “under heaven,” meaning within the earthly realm, as opposed to the spiritual worship of God the Creator of the Universe.
Transformation of human nature, obviously a necessity if earthly perfection and salvation are to become reality, is as old a fantasy as socialism itself.
Indeed, it is the most basic element in the dogma of socialism. If there is not the religious hope of secular salvation, a return to the Garden of Eden, why endure the loss of political and economic liberty implicit in submission to the rigors of atheistic, collectivistic tyranny?
Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s utopian fantasizing led him to believe that humans, in the original State of Nature, had been harmoniously benevolent, sharing freely with each other the abundance of nature. This idyllic state was shattered, not by Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, but by the invention of private property, whence come greed, aggression, crime, and war.
Thus the liberal-progressive-socialist plan for returning to the State of Nature is to socialize, that is to confiscate, private property and employ the coercive power of the political state to redistribute property and income as equally as possible, without regard to merit or hard work.
Needless to say, we have seen already that high taxes, inflation, rigid regulation of economic activity, affirmative action, and denigration of Judeo-Christian morality effectively make us all equally poor and make of society a squalid cesspool of immorality.
The original conceptualizers of modern socialism – Henri de Saint-Simon and his pupil-colleague Auguste Comte - in the early 1800s believed that socialism itself was so compelling a vision of earthly harmony and perfection that peoples of all nations would willingly and happily submit to their teachings.
Unfortunately, as all experience with liberal-progressive-socialism has shown since the first two decades of the 19th century, in no society do people willingly give up their hard earned savings for the benefit of an abstraction called “humanity.” Some degree of political compulsion always is necessary.
Karl Marx believed that the crucible of a bloody workers’ revolution would itself literally transform human nature. The English Fabian socialists and their 20th and 21st century American followers, including Senator Obama, have been willing to play the role of boa constrictor: squeezing society with unremitting small changes until the life’s breath of political liberty has departed.
SOURCE: A View From 1776
Thomas E. Brewton, who maintains this blog, had the great good fortune in the middle 1950s at Louisiana State University to study under two of the 20th century’s great minds: Eric Voegelin in political science, and Walter Berns in Constitutional law. These two professors opened the door of education to a glimpse of Western civilization and of American political and social thought as they had been before socialism was unconstitutionally established as the official national religion of the United States in 1933.