It is revealing that liberal/progressive/moderate types highly value adherence to what might be called “the party line”. After all their political godfather is Lenin. No, no I’m not throwing the communist label at the modern left. I do put the Leninist label on them however because the evidence requires it.
Lenin was very much a top-down kind of guy. Since the Marxist critique of western institutions was “scientific” there obviously could only be one correct political approach. Lenin and his ilk spoke much of “the people” but only trusted a small professional cadre, themselves, to perfectly represent the people’s will.
Whatever his faults (murderer, liar etc.) Lenin was a bright fellow: bright enough to realize that debating Marxism-Leninism was a perilous and probably losing proposition. Therefore rather than debate he and his henchman used characterization. Thus opponents were “enemies of the people”, “reactionaries”, “fat cats” and many more pejorative categories. This strategy was and is essentially a variation of “Do you still beat your wife?” Unless handled very skillfully it places your opponent on the defensive. From the Leninist stand point it had the additional virtue of saving acolytes from the need to think.
Many western intellectual types immediately adopted Leninism as their preferred political method even if they were wary of what was going on in Russia and later the USSR. Their reason, I believe,was and is that they are neat freaks. Why should you have fifty different cars from which to choose? Wouldn’t it be more rational to have just one or two especially if one is electric. Why should an enlightened state trust citizens to provide for old age? And isn’t commerce rather vulgar anyway.
Historian Paul Johnson noted that Lenin was a theorist and only that. He had no idea how things were made, how stuff got distributed. He was a man entirely without practical experience who none the less had iron-bound opinions about just such matters. With the USSR the entire world witnessed that bad and stupid ideas have bad and stupid consequences especially when enforced at the point of a gun.
If my point,that today ‘s liberals/progressives/moderates are Leninists, seems hyperbolic leave us check the record. President Obama who I think it is fair to say knows nothing of the manufacture and distribution of cars dictated terms to GM and Chrysler and then put in charge a man who self-admittedly had no auto experience.Ford Motor which had not run itself into the ground was “rewarded” by having its two domestic competitors infused with public money.
Like a Leninist President Obama and his merry men demonize whole sections of the US economy. The health insurance industry is “greedy”. Oil companies are “reckless”. Bankers are “fat cats” The fact that millions of Americans work in these industries seems of no consequence.
The so-called main stream media is happy to join in. It’s once comfortable monopolies are now being challenged by the blogosphere and cable outlets. Main stream journalists are the worst group thinkers of all. Rush Limbaugh loves to play sound bites of main stream broadcasters using exactly the same word or phrase in relation to a news item.
Top-down group think types are baffled/frightened by creative destruction. They worry (or pretend to) that the Republican Party’s Tea Party fueled resurgence is bad, very bad. “This is not your father’s Republican Party,” VP Biden laments. No Joe it isn’t. One key difference is the desire to win rather than be a good loser.
Lenin never understood that the most important capital is human dynamism, intellect and talent. The United States rose to pre-eminence so rapidly just because it’s system of limited government allowed its citizens to flourish. Sadly, government in the US has tentacles throughout the national economy. That’s the bad news. The good news is movements like the Tea Party are providing an outlet for political creative destruction.