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Allen West Needs a Remedial Political Science Course or Two

Via The HillRep. West doubles down on communist ‘ideology’ of Progressive Caucus

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) on Thursday maintained that "the strategy, the tactics, the ideology" of Progressive Caucus members in Congress are the same as those of the Communist Party.

"I’m just talking about the fact of the ideologies, the principles you believe in," he said on CNN, urging others to "stand upon truth" and learn to identify the ideological motivations of members of Congress. "I’m calling it this: communist, progressive, Marxist, socialist, statist."

[…]

"I’ve had to give quite a few people a little tutorial about the political spectrum of ideologies," West said on CNN. "At the turn of the century here in the United States of America, American communists renamed themselves progressives, but the strategy, the tactics, the ideology remains the same. When you’re a member of a caucus that wanted to have a constitutional amendment to redistribute wealth in the United States of America, I don’t think that’s in keeping with the principles and values of this country."

I am sure his “little tutorial[s]” are amusing, but they clearly are not too informative if West cannot distinguish between progressive politics within the panoply of American mainstream politics and communism.  Further, the notion that words “communist, progressive, Marxist, socialist, statist” are all synonymous is likewise problematic.

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Problematic? It’s downright ridiculous as far as I’m concerned.

    West needs to read up on the Palmer Raids, conducted under a “Progressive” President named Woodrow Wilson.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  2. legion says:

    Once a disgrace, always a disgrace.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  3. @Doug Mataconis:

    Problematic? It’s downright ridiculous as far as I’m concerned.

    I am somewhat prone to understatement, to be sure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  4. The pathetic thing is how many people consider this man some kind of hero

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 1

  5. Andy Gaboury says:

    Saying that communist, progressive, Marxist, socialist, and statist are the same is like saying red, green, purple, yellow and blue are the same because they are all colors.

    There is a disturbing trend recently in making ridiculous statements to simply double down on the Loony Tunes probably because it’s better to look totally committed than it is to acknowledge any possible misstep?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  6. This is why we lose the wars in politics, and have for a century. Failure to actually see what the other side is trying to do. Sorry, but it looks like their indoctrination system has gotten to you both. While progressivism and communism are not exact, they are synonymous. They have similar actions, similar ways to be done, similar end points, similar wants. They both want large intrusive governments, more progressive income taxes, reduce the influence of religion in government and society, regulations to depress industry until it is a handful that they can control, government take over of private enterprise, and many more. When people believe that these people are just for a slightly different view of government, they become mainstream and acceptable. Its happened for so long with the help of the invasion of higher learning by socialists/communists/progressives that even the most bright people, even those who consider themselves conservatives/libertarians, have accepted the narrative and premise hook, line, and sinker.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 43

  7. Andy Gaboury says:

    @Doug Mataconis: West would probably reply that Mao and Stalin got rid of a lot of communists too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  8. @Andy Gaboury: It is useful to gin up support to use people similar to yourself to be able to say you are against them while implementing things that they would cheer on. Its happened numerous times throughout history.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  9. Doubter4444 says:

    @Joshua Saunders:
    Wow.
    I just have to say: one thing is not the other.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  10. Andy Gaboury says:

    @Joshua Saunders: I don’t really know what that means. I do know that believing something to be true and it being actually true are two different things.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  11. Graham says:

    “At the turn of the century here in the United States of America, American communists renamed themselves progressives”

    I’m not sure Alan West knows what century it is.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 3

  12. Ben Wolf says:

    @Joshua Saunders:

    They have similar actions, similar ways to be done, similar end points, similar wants.

    Now you’re just being silly. A silly-silly man.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  13. Graham says:

    Whoops. “Allen”. My apologies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  14. Rick Almeida says:

    @Joshua Saunders:

    Its happened for so long with the help of the invasion of higher learning by socialists/communists/progressives that even the most bright people, even those who consider themselves conservatives/libertarians, have accepted the narrative and premise hook, line, and sinker.

    Alternate hypothesis: Your views are completely divorced from reality.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 2

  15. Tillman says:

    I long ago ran out of words for Allen West. I know too many people who like him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  16. PD Shaw says:

    One of my favorite political science professors in college was a communist. IIRC that was one of the first words to the class “I am a communist.” I think he’s still teaching political philosophy, and would do an excellent job of explaining why these people are not like him.

    BTW/ a tip of the hat to whichever commenter pointed out in the previous thread that West said they were members of the Communist Party. It took me a while to confirm that, but that is what I heard on the tape. I think a lot of the media has misreported this. Its markedly different to identify people as communists (under whatever loose ideological criteria is being used) and claiming Party membership (particularly given what that meant at one time).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  17. james says:

    @Joshua Saunders: This Post Rocks.
    Flatlander in TX

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. @Rick Almeida: My views on politics are quite frankly largely based on the views of those that founded this country. All of the above that is mentioned here, socialism, communism, statism, progressivism, they all seek one thing that I rebuke that is large, controlling governments and loss of freedom. So I guess they were all as you describe as well as they warned us against doing the very things we have done in the past century, and I have seen first hand in many institutions the pervasiveness of the idea that government is the fix for all ills and that government should be in everything.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 17

  19. @PD Shaw:

    Its markedly different to identify people as communists (under whatever loose ideological criteria is being used) and claiming Party membership (particularly given what that meant at one time).

    Indeed.

    In fact, he said:

    “I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party.”

    Although you have to love:

    At a town hall meeting with constituents in Jensen Beach, West was asked how many members of Congress are “card-carrying Marxists.”

    I was unaware that that there was a Marxists Party for which one could get a card…

    (Just a further illustration, that he is just blathering).–update: upon re-reading I see that he was asked about the card-carrying Marxists and that that was not his formulation. Still, the basic point stands.

    Source: CNN

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  20. @Joshua Saunders:

    My views on politics are quite frankly largely based on the views of those that founded this country.

    Considering that Marxism, communism, socialism, progressivism, et al. were all products of the 19th Century, it is a bit difficult to look to the Founders/Framers for much help on these topics.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 2

  21. @Andy Gaboury: Can you challenge any of the proposed similarities within each movement? Because if you cannot do so, this is mere semantics that you are using against those with whom you have one disagreement or another. I’ve read the communist manifesto, the federalist papers, john adams, thomas jefferson, ben franklin, george washington, and pretty much every major influential member of the constitutional congress speech transcripts and letters. I know what this country was intended to be by their own words, and I know what the legs of communism are and what similarities they have to our current governance, and that which progressives envision for this country. If you do not see those similarities, you (aggregate) are the ones divorced from reality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 12

  22. @Joshua Saunders: Just for calibration purposes:

    Is Sweden a communist country? How about Germany?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  23. Graham says:

    @Joshua Saunders:

    All of the above that is mentioned here, socialism, communism, statism, progressivism, they all seek one thing that I rebuke that is large, controlling governments and loss of freedom.

    The Democratic and Republican parties both want large, controlling government, with a corresponding (sometimes unintentional) loss of freedom. While that similarity is enough to dissuade me from voting for either of them, they’re still different organizations with differing specific goals and motivations.

    Likewise, modern socialists, communists, progressives, and statists are not the same.

    I know socialists who are also capitalists, communists who are not statists, progressives who are not socialists, and statists who couldn’t give a duck’s fart about the plight of the sick and the impoverished.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  24. james says:

    Antithetical: Progressive are……..to the Constitution, just ask BOB.
    Flatlander in TX.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  25. @Joshua Saunders: Another calibration question (i.e., seeking to understand your definitions):

    How high does the top marginal income tax rate have to be for it to be considered communist?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  26. Ben Wolf says:

    One gets the impression some believe we once lived in a state of bliss, God’s chosen people and dedicated to maximizing shareholder value. Then came Steven Taylor and other malcontents:

    Then Karl Marx Lucifer did betray the God of Capital Formation, and convinced a third of his employees to rebel also, and fell from the boardrooms Heaven unto the commoners of the Earth, where he did lead God’s employees into wickedness and desire for workplace safety regulations.

    And Karl Marx Lucifer took the form of a serpent hidden in the beautiful filth of the poor-houses, and whispered to them therein that they might also have a taste of fruit from the Tree of Moochers and Looters. Yea, verily did they eat, and asked of God, “Why may we not learn to read and write?,” and God was wroth for now did they, the laborers, have the ability to read the contracts they were signing, and ability to refuse without being beaten by strikebreakers and were now cutting into profit margins with calls for pension.

    And God said, if thy professor offend thee, put him in prison for harboring communist sympathies. And he commanded that no man or woman should take any instruction from a professor, who should remain silent and accept corporate management as his master. “Suffer not a political scientist to live,” commanded the Lord, “and you shall be delivered to the land of $2000 wine and cronyism, where you may cast stones at the communists, and progressives, and liberals and guys like that.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 2

  27. @Steven L. Taylor: The top marginal rate is not a classification, merely the steeply progressive nature of the tax. I’m not saying that every country that has a progressive income tax is a communist country, but what I am saying, is that it is a tenet of the communist manifesto that is supported by a shockingly high number of people. Sweden and Germany both are further along the path to that end, but are not currently communist. I am not saying that socialism and communism etc are exactly the same, just that they share a number of similar goals and policies common throughout them that I deplore. Europe as a whole is a quazi socialistic collection of nations. Until recently when confronted with the need to change course out of necessity, they were speeding towards a more statist controlling government which ends in communism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

  28. james says:

    Calabratrion: @ Steven: How high does Gasoline prices have to go before you asy, Oooch.

    Flatlander in Tx.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  29. Its laughable that you think that these things were products of the 19th century. It was merely a retread of previous dictatorship that used monarchy instead of trying to fleece the people into thinking they ever had a voice. Regardless, the words of the founders speak to the principles I believe in, all of those things violate those principles and a good chunk of current american government is in direct opposition to it. I have said thousands of times that John Adams vs Thomas Jefferson would unite to fight Mitt Romney vs Barack Obama from culminating in this country were they here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 15

  30. Moosebreath says:

    “Considering that Marxism, communism, socialism, progressivism, et al. were all products of the 19th Century, it is a bit difficult to look to the Founders/Framers for much help on these topics.”

    In addition, the Constitution was created because we had a nearly decade-long period with week government under the Articles of Confederation and the Founders thought it worked so poorly (e.g., Shay’s Rebellion) that they needed to create a strong central government in order to protect their property rights. So the idea that the Founders were opposed to “large, controlling governments and loss of freedom” is simply wrong.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  31. Tillman says:

    I know what this country was intended to be by their own words

    And we are inextricably bound to their vision for all time, much like the reader of a book must submit to the author’s interpretation of it for all time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  32. Moosebreath says:

    Acck! “weak” not “week”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. @Joshua Saunders: With this reasonable response, however, you are allowing for the fact the terms “progressive,” “socialist,” and “communist’ do not have the same meanings.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  34. @Joshua Saunders:

    Its laughable that you think that these things were products of the 19th century. It was merely a retread of previous dictatorship that used monarchy instead of trying to fleece the people into thinking they ever had a voice.

    Now we are back to the unreasonable. This response indicates that you really do not understand the terms you are using.

    Sure, a hereditary monarchy and Castro’s Cuba are both authoritarian regimes, but there are rather substantial differences between the two, to put it mildly.

    For that matter, @Graham has a point when he notes “I know socialists who are also capitalists, communists who are not statists, progressives who are not socialists, and statists who couldn’t give a duck’s fart about the plight of the sick and the impoverished.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  35. @Ben Wolf:

    And God said, if thy professor offend thee, put him in prison for harboring communist sympathies. And he commanded that no man or woman should take any instruction from a professor, who should remain silent and accept corporate management as his master. “Suffer not a political scientist to live,”

    We are a troublesome lot, to be sure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  36. @Joshua Saunders:

    I have said thousands of times that John Adams vs Thomas Jefferson would unite to fight Mitt Romney vs Barack Obama from culminating in this country were they here.

    That’s nice, but repetition isn’t truth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  37. james says:

    Calibration: Cbama Care passed (Posted) by decree, was not read.

    Flatlander in TX

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 16

  38. @Ben Wolf: BTW, if OTB ever folds and I start another group blog I hope that I can call it ” Steven Taylor and other malcontents”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  39. @james:

    @ Steven: How high does Gasoline prices have to go before you asy, Oooch.

    You do realize that seeking to control price is, well, communistic? 😉

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  40. @Moosebreath: Except that its not wrong, they realized they had created a federal government that could not create cohesion or provide for the common defense as the articles of confederation in the end created a feeling that each state was a completely foreign country to the other states. It strengthened the federal government, but placed inherent limits on what government could do with the enumerated powers and 10th amendment. Just because they saw one government as too small doesn’t mean they’d believe that the federal government should be final arbiters in everything that is done in this country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  41. Moosebreath says:

    Steven,

    If not, that’s a good name for a bar band.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  42. @Steven L. Taylor: Its not about controlling the price, its about making less regulations so that the market can work to lower the price naturally. It is the antithesis of communism to do that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  43. @Moosebreath: Sadly, I have no musical talent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. @Steven L. Taylor: Have you read their letters and speeches? Can you tell me where in them could it ever be said that they would be for any of the crap that both our candidates are for? Omission also does not mean truth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  45. james says:

    Calibration: L————————————————-R
    Where is Steven?

    Flatlander in TX

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  46. Moosebreath says:

    Joshua Saunders,

    “Just because they saw one government as too small doesn’t mean they’d believe that the federal government should be final arbiters in everything that is done in this country.”

    True (and fortunately, no one in the country thinks it should be). It does however mean that they were in favor of large governments who can exercise some amount of control and thus take away individuals’ freedom, cotnrary to your earlier statement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  47. @Steven L. Taylor: As I have said from the beginning. I said they are not exactly alike, but that they have similar goals and similar policies. Not that every issue is dealt with exactly the same but that there are inherent similarities between them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  48. @Joshua Saunders:

    “I would propose that…the national government should be armed with positive and compleat authority in all cases which require uniformity; such as the regulation of trade, including the right of taxing both exports and imports, the fixing the terms and forms of naturalization, etc. etc.”–James Madison in a letter to George Washington in April of 1787.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  49. @Moosebreath: There is nothing contrary to my earlier statement. They created the constitution as a force to protect individuals rights, not to take them away. They merely saw this country as one country with many states that each state should be treated equally with regards in particular to trade and also in defense of this country. That is not a large government, just a smarter government. They still limited the powers of the federal government which have been ignored for a century now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  50. J-Dub says:

    I have recently read both “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Jungle”. An environment that people like Joshua Sanders envision from “Atlas Shrugged” in reality would end up as “The Jungle”(and did, actually).

    By the way, did Ayn Rand have an editor? That book should have been 500 pages shorter, at least.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  51. @Steven L. Taylor: Differences in them do not make the similarities any less pronounced. The general credo of these governments have inherent similarities that go back thousands of years. They took many of their policies and aims from what was the norm previously.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  52. J-Dub says:

    @Joshua Saunders: So the Founding Fathers invented the European Union?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  53. @Joshua Saunders:

    As James Madison argued in a letter to George Washington in April of 1787: “I would propose that…the national government should be armed with positive and compleat authority in all cases which require uniformity; such as the regulation of trade, including the right of taxing both exports and imports, the fixing the terms and forms of naturalization, etc. etc.”

    Oddly enough, I have. The top three books on a stack to my immediate left are one on James Madison, one that collects Madison’s writings, and the Federalist Papers.

    The problem you are having, and it gets to my reference to the 19th Century earlier, is that you do not recognize how substantially the world has changed since 1789. You cannot discount the industrial revolution and the onset of modernity when judging these issues.

    By your logic, I would note, there is no room for federal regulation of aviation or, for that matter, having an Air Force or ICBMs in our national arsenals because, after all, the Founders didn’t mention them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  54. @Joshua Saunders:

    The general credo of these governments have inherent similarities that go back thousands of years.

    This is simply silly.

    Look, you are entitled to your opinion and political positions, but despite your alleged reading list, you don’t understand basic regime classifications and apparently likewise don’t understand the connection of ideology to politics and governance.

    Right now you sound like someone who is convinced that illness is caused by bad humors in the blood and therefore leeches are in order talking to someone with an MD. I really don’t know how else to characterize it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  55. james says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Remember the Seven Oil Sisters?
    Today we have maybe Three Sisters.

    Flatlander in Tx

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  56. al-Ameda says:

    For a convicted war criminal West sure seems to get a lot of media play.
    Also, Allen West is even more stupid than I initially thought him to be.

    That said, I hope that Romney puts West on the 2012 Ticket.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  57. @Steven L. Taylor:
    “If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the “general welfare,” and are the sole and supreme judges of the “general welfare,” then they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every state, county, and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the United States; they may assume the provision for the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, everything from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police would be thrown under the power of Congress, for every object I have mentioned would admit of the application of money, and might be called, if Congress pleased, provisions for the “general welfare.”

    “I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: that “all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people” [the Tenth Amendment]. . . . To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.”

    “The states can best govern our home concerns, and the [federal] government our
    foreign ones.”

    “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.
    The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security. As the former periods will probably bear a small proportion to the latter, the State governments will here enjoy another advantage over the federal government. The more adequate, indeed, the federal powers may be rendered to the national defense, the less frequent will be those scenes of danger which might favor their ascendancy over the governments of the particular States.
    If the new Constitution be examined with accuracy and candor, it will be found that the change which it proposes consists much less in the addition of NEW POWERS to the Union, than in the invigoration of its ORIGINAL POWERS.”

    “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare but is restrained to those specifically enumerated, and . . . it was never meant they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers.”

    All quotes by Thomas Jefferson, to me the first is the most enlightening on what his thoughts would be on the current state of federal policy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  58. @Steven L. Taylor: The mentioned things here are for national defense. While the constitution is specific in its power for things inside the country it is also broad in its power for foreign policy and national defense. They also set up a process wherein to change the content of the constitution. I believe that the IRS and income tax are both evil in their nature, and while I will fight them to get them taken off the government, I cannot argue sufficiently to say that they are unconstitutional. The power to do so was given by amendment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  59. @Joshua Saunders: First, simply quoting at me isn’t an argument. At a minimum you need to explain what you think these quotes do for your position.

    Second, no one (certainly not me) has claimed that the central government has unlimited power. Were we even arguing that?

    Third, you are eliding the fact that all of these matters still require interpretation (something that Jefferson himself was known to do, even to the point of violating some of his own principles. I suppose you’ve heard of the Louisiana Purchase?).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  60. legion says:

    @Joshua Saunders: OK, here’s another calibrating question: how exactly would a national government “provide for the common defense” without implementing policies you have already declared “Communist”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  61. @Joshua Saunders: Yes, but by that argument you ahve to deal with the expansion of what “commerce” means in the current era. You can’t have it both ways.

    One thing is for sure about the Founders and national defense, btw, they largely all opposed standing armies, yet we have had those for some time now. If you are a purest then you are going to have to go back to the notion of a navy to protect the coast and trade and then calling up the army, et al. only when we are at war.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  62. legion says:

    @james: Maybe you should try typing in English, rather than just copy-pasting random words into the box…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  63. james says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “Clever Ludicrours” Thomas Sowell

    Flatlander in Tx

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  64. David M says:

    @Joshua Saunders: A couple points

    While progressivism and communism are not exact, they are synonymous. They have similar actions, similar ways to be done, similar end points, similar wants

    You’re going back and forth saying they are the same, but aren’t the same. You’ve listed a lot of very general similarities, but none even as convincing or specific as “communists and progressives both like dogs”. Just saying they both like bigger government doesn’t really mean anything, as “big government” just a political slogan.

    They both want large intrusive governments

    I can’ t speak for communists or socialists, but progressives don’t want a large intrusive government. (Who would?) They may wish to have the government help solve problems, but supporting Medicare doesn’t automatically mean someone wants the government overly involved in everyday life.

    more progressive income taxes

    This doesn’t make any sense at all, as a communist country wouldn’t necessarily even have an income tax. Supporting progressive income taxes is just common sense, as a completely flat tax is basically unworkable.

    reduce the influence of religion in government and society

    There’s a problem with reducing the influence of religion in government? And I’ve not aware of any nationally elected Democrats supportive of reducing the influence of religion in society.

    regulations to depress industry until it is a handful that they can control

    Again, the Democratic Party does not support regulations with the goal or result of depressing industry so they can control it.

    government take over of private enterprise

    Evidence?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  65. james says:

    @legion: Professor …….maybe not……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  66. @legion:

    Maybe you should try typing in English, rather than just copy-pasting random words into the box…

    I stopped trying to figure it all out a while back.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  67. @Steven L. Taylor: But yet, the broad powers described in the constitution for national defense did not specifically disallow a national army. The only specific that I have read that was inherently against the constitution was allowing military operations (real operations not exercises) inside of our borders, which is why I contend that the standing army argument is not applicable. There is a procedure for adding non-defense power to the federal government, a procedure that is not being followed. And yes, the application of the commerce clause has been counter to the constitution for a century.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  68. Scott O. says:

    @james:

    Calibration: Sane————————————————-Insane
    Where is James?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  69. al-Ameda says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    West needs to read up on the Palmer Raids, conducted under a “Progressive” President named Woodrow Wilson.

    Wilson is one of my least favorite presidents of the 20th Century. Wilson appointed A. Mitchell Palmer as his attorney general, and Palmer subsequently recruited Hoover as his special assistant. That’s how Hoover got his start. Those 2 used the Espionage and Sedition Acts to to round up, arrest and otherwise destroy perceived radicals and left-wing organizations.

    How Wilson has been elevated to the pantheon of great presidents is beyond me.

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  70. @Joshua Saunders: Well, first you might want to re-read some of that long list of readings you claim above to see what the Founders’ views were on the subject.

    Second, if you look at Article I, Section 8 you will notice that there is a specific limitation on appropriations for the army to 2 year periods (this is not the case for the navy). If you were to research that clause and the basic process of giving congress the power to declare war you will find out that the framers had a very different view of the army and national defense in general that we do now. As such, if you really are going to be a purest for late 18th century views about policy you are going to need to reformulate your views on national defense.

    Third, you simply cannot (and be logically consistent, anyway) hold to the view that current vision of national security would be recognized by the Framers and yet insist on a 1790s interpretation of “commerce”. (And, in truth, I would question your interpretation of that term in context as well–see Barron v. Baltimore).

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  71. @David M: You apparently haven’t been paying attention for the past four years to whats going on. Progressive income tax is theft, period. It is a founding principle in marx communist manifesto. Eliminating religions influence from government is something the founders warned against.

    “[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    “The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet,” and “Thou shalt not steal,” were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free.”

    -John Adams

    “Our liberty depends on our education, our laws, and habits . . . it is founded on morals and religion, whose authority reigns in the heart, and on the influence all these produce on public opinion before that opinion governs rulers.”

    -Fisher Ames

    “Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime & pure, [and] which denounces against the wicked eternal misery, and [which] insured to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”

    -Charles Carroll

    “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that “except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.”

    -Ben Franklin

    “No free government now exists in the world, unless where Christianity is acknowledged, and is the religion of the country.”

    -Pennsylvania Supreme Court

    “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of man and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice?

    And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?”

    -George Washington

    Mandating contraception against catholic doctrine particularly when there is no enumerated power to say they can. California requires a costly permit to have a Bible study in your house. Its so numerous that I can likely say if you don’t see it you are not paying attention. Its been going on far longer then 4 years.

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  72. @legion: Which of the things that I have attested to have any bearing whatsoever on defense? There are none.

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  73. @Steven L. Taylor:

    Unlimited power is achieved by ignoring the limits of power put on the government by the constitution. Once you do it, it creates an unlimited power. Only limited by what the government itself thinks that the constitution “evolved to”

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  74. @Steven L. Taylor: Even if true, it wouldn’t change my views on national defense, but it would however move me to create an amendment. If I have missed that I will start calling for an amendment for it. If we do not honor the words of the constitution and abide by its process it is nothing but ash. Without it we are merely a democratic republic where a majority can decide what it wants the country to do with no limiting principles at all.

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  75. David M says:

    @Joshua Saunders:

    California requires a costly permit to have a Bible study in your house

    Not true

    Mandating contraception against catholic doctrine

    Churches are specifically exempted, and the coverage is provided by the insurance companies for church-related institutions. Anyway, no one is being forced to use contraception, and the employee certainly has more freedom if their insurance policies are not subject to arbitrary whims of their employers.

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  76. The rule of law must be established and maintained. Otherwise we will descend into anarchy which will end in tyranny. With that I must bid adieu. The quotes speak for themselves. Particularly the thomas jefferson one that lists a bunch of things that are already done by the federal government he particularly mentioned as being violations of the intent of the constitution.

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  77. @David M: They are not exempted from the law..Obama merely changed it so that the insurance company handles it *wink wink* *nod nod* but the catholic institution must decide either to forego giving insurance, or paying for something that is implicitly against its own belief system regardless of who is “paying for it”. Not to mention its entirely unconstitutional which hopefully in june we see the end of the power to do that in striking down obamacare.

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  78. mattb says:

    Couple more points:

    While progressivism and communism are not exact, they are synonymous. They have similar actions, similar ways to be done, similar end points, similar wants

    Is an easy out to enable comparing any two parties. We could easily use the same line of thought to suggest that Facists and peace-through-strength Republicans/Conservatives are “not exact, but synonymous” in that they have “similar actions, similar ways to be done, similar end points, similar wants” – both are heavily invested in maintaining control through jingoistic patriotism and a strongly empowered military industrial complex.

    Likewise, we could argue that Marx and John Adams had similar interests in that both were supporters of the Communist tenant of free public education for all.

    But of course, these sorts of over generalization are ridiculous and requires both an over-generalization of certain positions AND completely ignoring all the points where there are disagreements.

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  79. @Joshua Saunders:

    You apparently haven’t been paying attention for the past four years to whats going on. Progressive income tax is theft, period. It is a founding principle in marx communist manifesto.

    Q: Why do Marxists only drink herbal tea?
    A: Because proper tea is theft.

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  80. mattb says:

    @Joshua Saunders:

    California requires a costly permit to have a Bible study in your house.

    Utterly not true in that (a) it wasn’t California, it was a local municipality (you know, that local governance that conservatives are so hot on) and it was all about parking, not bible study. The issue the municipality had was the regular influx of parking in a residentially zoned area.

    The rule of law must be established and maintained. Otherwise we will descend into anarchy which will end in tyranny.

    See my point about Facism. An btw, extreme conservatism/libertarianism actually has a lot more in common with modern anarchist movements than would probably make you comfortable.

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  81. mattb says:

    @Joshua Saunders:

    Particularly the thomas jefferson one that lists a bunch of things that are already done by the federal government he particularly mentioned as being violations of the intent of the constitution.

    And with his announcement that “he’ll let the quotes speak for themselves” our most recent ThoughtfulConservaitve(TM) departs without ever attempting to address Steven’s note that Jefferson violated a number of his own quotes during his own period of governing.

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  82. legion says:

    @Joshua Saunders: What I was trying to point out is that many – perhaps all – of the functions of a modern centralized national government simply cannot be carried out or funded without certain policies that you have already declared “Communist” (despite the fact that you appear to be defining such things as “anything that’s not what I like about Capitalism” == “Communism”).

    Progressive income tax is theft, period. It is a founding principle in marx communist manifesto.

    Wha? So, how is progressive taxation different from (and more theft-like than), say, flat taxing? Earlier, you stated that you didn’t like taxation, but couldn’t necessarily call it unconstitutional… Just the fact that you don’t like a thing doesn’t make that thing “unconstitutional”, or even necessarily “wrong”.

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  83. David M says:

    @Joshua Saunders:

    The quotes speak for themselves. Particularly the thomas jefferson one that lists a bunch of things that are already done by the federal government he particularly mentioned as being violations of the intent of the constitution

    A quote from several hundred years ago regarding the “intent” of the constitution is pretty thin, especially when you don’t actually list what the government is doing.

    Progressive income tax is theft

    I’ve got it, the new definition of communism is theft! Thanks for clearing it up.

    [Progressive income tax] is a founding principle in marx communist manifesto

    So are public education and child labor laws, should we throw those out too?

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  84. legion says:

    @David M:

    So are public education and child labor laws, should we throw those out too?

    You know who else breathed a nitrogen-oxygen mix his whole life? Hitler! That’s who!

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  85. Doubter4444 says:

    @Joshua Saunders:

    The rule of law must be established and maintained. Otherwise we will descend into anarchy which will end in tyranny. With that I must bid adieu. The quotes speak for themselves. Particularly the thomas jefferson one that lists a bunch of things that are already done by the federal government he particularly mentioned as being violations of the intent of the constitution.

    You are getting the vapors.
    I really hink that adherence to the constitution in the way you seem to demand we do amounts to a fetish-ization of it, and is a bit strange. While one can argue about the “living” or or not interpretation of the constitution, it’s a bit bizarre to pretend that concepts formed over 200 hundred years ago can immune to evolution of thought and intent. In fact the very addition of amendments to the document are examples of additional information being accepted and deemed necessary for it’s strength and growth.

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  86. al-Ameda says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    How high does the top marginal income tax rate have to be for it to be considered communist?

    The top marginal tax rate during the Eisenhower years – America’s golden age, the fabulous 1950s – was over 90%. I’m sure that Joshua would agree that Eisenhower was a crypto-Communist.

    These days we’re reduced to the brain dead spectacle of conservative Republicans asserting that restoring the top rate to 39% from the current 34% is “class warfare” and harming our “job creators.”

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  87. @Joshua Saunders:

    The quotes speak for themselves.

    Except, in fact, quotes don’t speak for themselves, especially when deployed as alleged evidence in an argument–one has to explain why one thinks a given quote means what it means. Further, there are those minor issues such as context and interpretation,.

    An example:

    “Thou shalt not kill.”

    At first blush, pretty simple, right?

    But thou shalt not kill what? People? Ants? Birds? Plants? Bacteria? What?

    Does this mean no homicides or does it mean we are supposed to kill no one under any circumstances?

    What about killing to save an innocent life? To protect one’s family or country? Self defense?

    So, no, quotes cannot speak for themselves.

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  88. @al-Ameda: Indeed.

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  89. @Joshua Saunders: BTW: the income tax is constitutional because it is, you know, in the constitution. Or are you claiming that only the original, pre-amended constitution is only the constitution?

    Or did the 16th Amendment make the constitution a communist document?

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  90. An Interested Party says:

    I bet many of these same people who are making the rather ridiculous assertion that communists, progressives, and socialists are all basically the same would howl with indignation if conservatives were held to be the same as fascists, plutocrats, and oligarchs…meanwhile, West may soon be out of Congress, which would certainly serve to raise that institution’s reputation…

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  91. jukeboxgrad says:

    saunders:

    Progressive income tax is theft, period. It is a founding principle in marx communist manifesto.

    Naturally. That’s why progressive taxation was proposed by that famous Marxist, Thomas Paine.

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  92. MarkedMan says:

    @Joshua Saunders:

    I have said thousands of times that John Adams vs Thomas Jefferson would unite to fight Mitt Romney vs Barack Obama from culminating in this country were they here.

    Thousands of times? Really? You must be fun at a party… I kid! I kid!

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  93. MarkedMan says:

    So, serious question: Do you think this “Flatlander in Tx” guy is a bot? Or just a real person so drunk he doesn’t know what he is typing?

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  94. Mile66 says:

    “Remedial Education” AKA Re-education camp. We (teapartiers) rest our case.

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  95. mattb says:

    @MarkedMan: I would think bot, though the fact it’s addressing at time directly to Steven tips things towards drunk.

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  96. @Mile66: I was thinking maybe reading some actual book and learning what the words he is using actually mean.

    The horror.

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  97. @mattb: The drunk hypothesis did enter my mind yesterday, I must confess.

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  98. Andy Gaboury says:

    @Joshua Saunders: What you have a problem with is the principle of degree. It is fine to say that income redistribution is MORE communist than an alternative conservative plan just as it is okay to say that tax cuts primarily for the wealthy are MORE oligarchic than liberal policies. The problem is that you are saying they are the same thing. You are labeling activities as extreme that are not extreme. If you want to believe that this is all a slippery slope towards an ultimate communist system in America then you can BELIEVE that. But slippery slope arguments are in and of themselves logical fallacies: they do not indicate the rightness or wrongness of a given position, they merely illuminate what the ultimate fear of the debater is. And this is fine but for a Congressman to misunderstand what truly differentiates a progressive from a communist and to truly believe that a name change in an organization from over a century ago matters to contemporary politicians ideologies is worrisome.
    Also, West is using communist as a buzzword for totalitarianism. The Soviet and Chinese systems were and are totalitarianism but to somehow believe that a 3% increase in the highest marginal tax rate and government funded school lunches rises to the level of Maoism and Stalinism that that is ludicrous. And a failure to understand the principle of proportionality and degree.

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  99. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    Wha? So, how is progressive taxation different from (and more theft-like than), say, flat taxing?

    Reading comprehension fail. Marx lists an extremely progressive tax system as one of the ways that Socialists may achieve the transfer of all means of production to the state and, after the takeover of the democratic system by the workers, the creation of the class-less society.

    What he misses is that it is a tool, not a “founding principle”. A typical error of someone who is well-read but lacks the education to understand the connotations, systematic place or historical significance of individual statements within a broader context.

    You see that a lot with amateur lawyers and historians.

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  100. @Ebenezer Arvigenius:

    What he misses is that it is a tool, not a “founding principle”. A typical error of someone who is well-read but lacks the education to understand the connotations, systematic place or historical significance of individual statements within a broader context.

    Exactly.

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  101. mattb says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    BTW: the income tax is constitutional because it is, you know, in the constitution. Or are you claiming that only the original, pre-amended constitution is only the constitution?

    I noticed that he mentioned that the constitution protected individual liberty … which would suggest he meant the Constitution + Amendments (since the core doc really didn’t deal with individual liberties). But given the fact taht he ranted about the 10th, I’m suspecting that he stops counting amendments after he ran out of fingers.

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