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American Thinker asks when a liberal descends into Stalinism

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Posted on August 12 2009 9:30 am
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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There’s a fascinating piece over at American Thinker by James Lewis pondering the links between American Liberalism and Stalinist totalitarianism.

Here’s a passage I found engaging (though you should be sure to read the whole thing):

I cannot read minds, and I don’t think anyone else can, either. I don’t know all the little inner wheels turning inside Obama’s mind, or in Axelrod and Rahm and Ezekiel Emanuel (who is apparently their “expert” source on the evils of American medicine).

I do have the impression that another Alinsky disciple, Hillary Clinton, has matured somewhat over her life. People do grow up, sometimes. People do let go of some of their harmful character traits. But I can’t tell for sure.

So I would not necessarily try to see Obama as a community organizer in the style of Saul Alinsky. But it would be irrational to deny that there are many close, lifelong relationships between Obama and far-Left radicals, people who are much colder and more strategic than your everyday touchy-feely liberal. They are true Alinskyites.

Stalin is dead. But Stalinism lives because that kind of cold, calculating, destructive “idealism” seems to appeal to certain personalities. Stalinists don’t carry membership cards in the CPUSA any more. They don’t come with convenient labels — “Look, Mom, I’m a Stalinist!” Nor should we go around and loosely allege that so-and-so must be that way. We live under a Constitution that explicitly guarantees free speech and free thought, even if it is abhorrent. Millenarian fanatics are not so unusual in American history. They’ve been around from the beginning, and yet we have kept our freedoms, most of them, alive and well.

It’s important to think as Lewis does in his essay. Yes, it’s possible to link Obama and Clinton to Alinsky and other hard-left radicals. But to regard our Commander-In-Chief and Secretary of State as no different than Alinsky is to make a grave mistake — and one that the Democrats can then exploit. This builds on the argument that I’ve been making, that to attack Obama as “socialist” is ultimately inaccurate and counterproductive, no matter how emotionally satisfying and fun it might be.

(Lewis’s essay also has connections to my recent post on the Stalinism of former Air America host Mike Malloy and the must-read book United In Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror, which I reviewed for American Thinker here.)

Pieces like Lewis’s — engaging, reasonable thoughts — are pretty much par for the course for American Thinker. Be sure it’s on your list of sites to read every day if it isn’t already.

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