By Rabbi Aryeh Spero
Three of the distinguishing features of our historic American outlook are the emphasis of (1) right over wrong, (2) liberty, and (3) judging a person as an individual, not simply as a member of a group.
Socialist societies, in contrast, have a different vision. They wish to engineer equality at the expense of liberty. Instead of allowing societies to evolve based on the merits of the individuals within society, they have a pre-determined vision of how the “utopian” society must look. They accomplish their end game through sweeping moves of social engineering designed not for the benefit of the individual but, instead, the group or class. For them, societies are perfected through class/group struggle. What matters in class struggle is not right vs. wrong but elevating the weak class and downsizing the powerful. Merit means nothing, nor does the specific situation.
Though democratic, Europe follows the socialist model. America stands out in the world in that it is not only democratic but chooses liberty, the individual and right over wrong as opposed to the implementation of the socialist model. America’s political philosophy remains unique. Not all Americans, however, believe in the pure American model. Inasmuch as the term socialism reminds many Americans of something European-like and that which often is a forerunner to communism, American socialists prefer the term liberal.
Furthermore, many of America’s liberal social and political elites come from families who arrived in America from Europe after their fore bearers had already been taught in Europe’s early 1900s that the only way for the common man to improve his lot was through socialism. They came here believing that only socialism guaranteed equality, and even today their descendants don’t grasp the uniqueness and efficacy of the American model. They call themselves liberals and congregate in the Democrat party.
However, by observing how American political liberals come down on issues, it is quite obvious that the prism through which they view society and what they hope to create here is, really, socialism
During the first year of the Duke Lacrosse case, liberals, in knee jerk fashion, criminalized the boys and exonerated the girl. They did not look at the merits and obvious specifics of the particular situation. As liberals, they did not look at these boys as individuals but as members of a group. Because these boys come from a group liberals consider powerful, the boys were automatically guilty. After all, as liberals see it, the boys are from that “powerful” group known as white Christians. Even if they didn’t do it, the goal of equality demands they be brought down and leveled.
Though full of glaring inconsistencies, the girl was nonetheless, according to liberals, a victim and entitled to her pound of flesh. Why? Because she is not to be seen simply as an individual but, more so, as a member of a “weak” group, namely, women – and a black woman to boot. In the name of leveling, she had to be brought up and the boys brought down, even if the facts were otherwise. Right over wrong did not matter; only class/group struggle did. Even today, some of Duke’s outspoken liberal professors would sacrifice the justice due these individual young men on the altar of social engineering for the sake of the “utopian” enterprise.
Throughout democratic but socialist Europe, America is fervently condemned in whatever war or conflict it finds itself, even when America is trying to bring freedom or assistance to a region. Because America is seen as powerful it is, therefore, presumed to be guilty, an oppressor. The country or movement America is battling is viewed by the socialist as righteous since in relation to America it is weaker.
No credence, however, is given to America being powerful because it has earned its power through hard work, sacrifice, an ethos of cooperation, and living by a standard of right over wrong instead of expediency. No criticism is made of those societies and countries that remain weak because they have chosen a system and ethos that necessarily leads to corruption, weakness, backwardness, and continuous strife and dictatorship.
Likewise, in America itself many liberals and all on the Left find America always guilty and its enemies, somehow, virtuous. Believing in democracy is good, but when coupled with socialism falls far short of the unique American model and outlook. Americans on the Left always reach the same conclusions as their counterparts in Europe for they are ideological brothers, kindred political spirits. Their outlook is not American. It is socialist. Though not communists, they are Marxists, Karl Marx being the European who taught fellow Europeans that all life was to be seen through the lens of class/group struggle, the weak vs. the oppressor.
In Europe and among Americans here on the Left, the Moslem Palestinians are always given a pass and “understood”, no matter how much terrorism they inflict, no matter that they even kill one another, raise their children to be murderers, and never agree to any terms of offered peace. Even when members of Palestinian Fatah kill Palestinian Hamas, it is Israel’s fault. And that is because, in the liberal view, the Moslems are weaker and thus noble victims, whereas the Israelis are stronger and therefore “oppressors”. The merits of the situation are irrelevant. What matters is only “group struggle”, not right vs. wrong.
That the Israelis, like Americans, have broken their backs for decades to build their country from swamps into fertile fields and have chosen education and hard work over sloth and water-pipe smoking means nothing to the class/group struggle socialists. That the Arabs have shunned productive work and sacrifice for the accolades of victim hood, continue to revel in internecine strife, and that its sister Islamic countries refuse to better their situation outside of providing money for ‘bombs- for- children’ is ignored by those on the Left who overlook reality and truth so as to propagate yet another fictionalized victim vs. oppressor scenario that constitutes the ongoing myth of socialism.
There doesn’t even seem to be, from the liberal Left, any sympathy for the innocent Israeli individuals and families who are the genuine victims of Moslem Palestinian suicide bombs and terrorism. And that is because true to “group struggle” outlook, individual Israelis are not seen as individual persons but members of the group, in this case the “oppressor” group whose constituent members are not entitled to sympathy.
The pernicious flaw in all this is that the Left assigns victim hood to groups who are often not victims but perpetrators and ascribes weakness to groups who while not in charge of big armies often hold the upper hand and, unrestrained, cause the most physical devastation. The groups the socialist and liberal Left support are not the truly weak we think of when reminded of the Bible’s call in behalf of the widow and orphan. Their support goes to groups who share their political goals, who wish to bring down the big, bad America, Israel and other parts of the free-enterprise world.
The American liberal’s true loyalty is to the politics of universal class struggle. It is an ideological pull, almost religious like, that pulls more than even loyalty to country. Worse for us, he sees America, the strong, as being on the bad side of the strong vs. weak see saw. It is not just the American outlook he rejects but its very reality.
The only strength the liberal finds legitimate is that which is used in pursuit and implementation of the socialist agenda – be it in social engineering or the enactment of a forced equality. While condemning the power and wealth of others, he justifies and expands his own under the rational that his power and wealth are good inasmuch as he uses it “wisely”, in other words, for liberal causes and leveling those groups he disdains.
Nothing bothers the socialist more than the notion of good vs. bad predicated on the Bible. Yet it is that version of what constitutes good and bad that has animated the American experience since its founding and by its founders. Our historic understanding of what is good and what is bad pre-dates that which Marx initiated and is most often in conflict with Marxist ideology since ours' is biblical and religious whereas Marxism is intrinsically anti-religious and dismissive of the Bible, indeed, a replacement of it.
Perhaps that is why the American liberal community is so critical and derisive of their fellow countrymen. For nowhere in the world does a population take its guidance from the Bible as does mainstream America. It grates them to no end. I understand. It must be hard living in a country that holds views so contrary to one’s whole philosophic outlook. There is a place in this world for liberals and socialists. It is not America. It is called Europe – and home is where the heart is.