Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Is President Obama a Socialist?

General Douglas MacArthur in the Philippines on January 9, 1945, as photographed by Carl Mydans for Life magazine. To MacArthur’s right are General Richard Sutherland and Colonel Lloyd Lehrbas.

Last night, on The O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly interviewed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Mr. O’Reilly (as he is inclined to do) tried to draw Mr. Romney into controversy.

Concerning the governing policy of President Obama, Mr. O’Reilly posed the question, “Is he a Socialist?”

Mr. Romney knows that our anti-Republican culture would characterize him as a “risky extremist” if he answered Mr. O’Reilly’s question in the affirmative. He chose instead this reply: “I consider him a big government liberal Democrat who thinks Europe got it right and we got it wrong.”

That was a deft response, but what if Mr. O’Reilly had posed a different question?

“Is President Obama an Authoritarian?”

That would have been a more interesting direction for the discussion. Claiming an affinity for the principles of Socialism / Communism / Capitalism is common amongst political leaders. The thing that is different about President Obama is that he appears to be seeking Authoritarianism in the governing of America.

What are the examples? Here are a few that come to mind:

--Employing American military power as a personal mercenary force.
--Operating the DOJ as though it were immune from oversight.
--Reinforcing the absolute authority of the TSA over airline travel.
--Expanding the power of the EPA.
--Politicizing the Department of Labor.
--Extending the authority of Executive Orders.
--Creating privileged opportunities for Democratic Party identity groups.
--Conducting lavish presidential excursions and family vacations.

During the Korean War, General Douglas MacArthur, though an extremely popular military figure, was removed from his duties as Commander in Chief, United Nations Command. President Truman didn’t take kindly to General MacArthur’s authoritarian tendencies, and exercised his constitutional powers.

It was a significant event at the time, and might have been one of the reasons Truman was a one-term president. Questions still remain: Did President Truman do the right thing? Was he within his powers?

President Truman’s actions demonstrate that our Constitution helps preserve the power of the people. When an elected leader or an appointed administrator takes on the mantle of authoritarianism, the Constitution provides mechanisms for the removal of said people.

Authoritarianism may work within a family unit, but it always brings about unsatisfactory outcomes for “the people” when enacted on the world stage. The recent demise of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il focuses our attention on the issue. Whether under the banner of Socialism, Communism, or national hegemony, Authoritarianism is a common theme for the world’s dictators.

Is it time to have a conversation about Authoritarianism in America?

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