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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/11730/obama-denies-that-he-is-a-socialist/

Obama denies that he is a socialist

February 24, 2010 by

Not at all, he says; instead, he is an “ardent believer in the free market.” (Yes, he said that.)

I seem to recall that Bush said the same thing. In the same way that inflation is not the Fed’s doing, no one is actually growing government. It just happens by the forces of history – or something like that.


Louis B. February 24, 2010 at 9:46 pm

A socialist is someone who believes workers should own their own capital. This certainly isn’t the case with Obama.

newson February 24, 2010 at 10:25 pm

to louis b:
i thought it was control of the means of production by the state. on that definition, he should step out of the closet.

Steve Hogan February 24, 2010 at 10:38 pm

If Obama had denied he was a socialist, only to confirm that he is an ardent corporate fascist, I’d give him high marks for candor. No such luck.

I’ve been reading the musings (I can’t tolerate watching or hearing his speeches. My BS meter overheats) of this empty suit from Chicago politics since the presidential campaign began. Some things are obvious to anyone that isn’t a Kool-aid drinking Obama sycophant:

1. Obama lies. He lies about everything. He’s not as good as Bill Clinton, but he’s just as prolific.

2. Obama doesn’t know squat about economics. Come to think of it, he doesn’t know much about anything.

3. Since Obama used to teach Constitutional law, he can’t possibly feign ignorance in this regard. Thus, he has consciously chosen to ignore his oath and do whatever he thinks he can get away with, which is really no different than any of his predecessors – only he seems intent on doing so on an even more massive scale. This might make for good politics, but it is simply immoral. It’s also evil.

I’d go on, but this is too depressing. I need a drink.

Ohhh Henry February 24, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Obama is a master of doublespeak. He frequently sprinkles denials that he’s a socialist and that he hates the free market, amid speeches which are manifestly socialist.

But the Republicans are no better. There is really no party system at all, just a shell game being played on voters. As Obama is a big step down in intelligence and prudence from G. W. Bush, who was a big step down from Clinton, the heir apparent Sarah Palin will be another big step down from Obama.

Jake February 24, 2010 at 11:05 pm

I guess now we who really ARE “ardent defenders of the free market” will have to answer for all the stupid things Obama did and why we support them. Afterall..if a politician said he supports the free market then surely that IS the case!

Sounds outrageous I know…but the same thing continues to happen with G.W. Bush’s policies.

EIS February 24, 2010 at 11:08 pm

“A socialist is someone who believes workers should own their own capital. This certainly isn’t the case with Obama.”

A socialist is someone who believes that workers should save and invest? The various definitions of socialism change from day to day!

Either way, Obama’s socialism is closer to Hitler’s socialism than Lenin’s socialism.

Steve Moroz February 24, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Reading thru some postings elsewhere, it seems his idea of “believing in free markets” is as a partner in them. He arrogantly assumes that any business would want him as a partner, but they obviously don’t grasp how brilliant he is. Government creates the problem in the first place, then offers “to fix the problem.” I say get out….

Nick February 25, 2010 at 12:57 am

From what I read of The Fabian Freeway (Martin 1966, download free at this site), the self-conscious champions of socialism, and their heirs, in this country, long ago abandoned the term “socialism”, as being bad PR.

But, since economic literacy is not part of our mainstream culture, the concept of socialism vs. free market is very fuzzy and ill-defined, I believe, for most Americans. It certainly was for me for most of my life. In today’s popular discourse, it seems that “free-market” is synonymous with “capitalism” and with “contemporary American economic reality”. In other words, its kind of axiomatic that America=freedom=capitalism and nothing the government does really changes whatever economic interactions remain from being “free market” interactions.

So, if this is how Obama thinks about it, I guess it is plausible that he is being, in this case, in his mind, sincere about loving the free market (just not what Rothbard had in mind). Based on my experiences arguing with leftists, they are capable of ardently holding all kinds of contradictory, illogical beliefs, quite sincerely. Again, without the light of reason and good economic reasoning, its very easy to get one’s head all messed up by the “propaganda waves” that make up education, news etc. today. I got a degree in Env. Sci., and my guess is that none, or few, of my statist peers or professors would have considered themselves “socialist”, although neither would they have considered a true “free-market” to be a good thing.

My sense, based even on my own previous thinking, is that the modern leftist considers themself an enlightened idealist, one who understands that markets and business are somehow good and important, but that it is silly to consider the market to be a perfect institution, and that of course government can be a great way to prevent greed-borne evils of all sorts. Economic concept/and considerations almost never enter into this sort of reasoning. I kind of stumbled across them, almost by accident, in my last semester of school, and more so after I graduated and had more time to investigate what I was never taught.

Shay February 25, 2010 at 6:33 am

He believes so much in free markets that he’s willing to have the government step in and do a lot of work to keep them from collapsing. Yet these Austrians claim to support the free market, all the while arguing for the government not to help, hell they think it should be left alone and left to its own devices, to collapse under its own weight! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go help some caterpillars hatch into butterflies, becuase as I’ve found, they very often die if I don’t help them just right…

mpolzkill February 25, 2010 at 6:59 am

That’s good stuff, Shay. You put another take in my mind.

O.J. Simpson reasoning with the world (and I paraphrase): “Now, let’s say I did kill Nicole, it would have to be because I loved her *so* much, right?

haywood February 25, 2010 at 7:42 am

i never knew ‘ardent supporter’ meant someone who vilifies at every opportunity. i should thank him for improving my vocabulary.

Creepy Politics February 25, 2010 at 7:53 am

You guys might get a kick out of this…



Brad February 25, 2010 at 8:29 am

We can play with the semantics all day – socialist, communist, capitalist, the reality is certain economic systems require offensive Force to operate and others require defensive Force to operate, and the further question is that Force to be riskily given to a State or should be also be left to free market processes. It doesn’t really matter what label you care to stick on it, the question is does your economic system require offensive Force to operate? Hitler and Stalin came to grips with the fact that they were essentially the same in practice (they were only really at odds over resources).

It is obvious that both parties today have come to realize that the can leave the tip of the spear be some semblance of capitalism while the remainder is Statist. It is the trojan horse economic form. It has gone on for so long now that the host has made its peace with the parasite and has learned to get along with it if not learned to like the mutualism involved. All our captains of industry need to know is that they will be rhetorically thrown under the bus when things go wrong knowing that behind the scenes they are in play. There’s cache in being “too big to fail” after all.

What scares me most is that Bush and Obama seem to think that the use of such Force is now inevitable (as if the really wanted it any other way themselves). It doesn’t matter what you may think, the Leviathan is on auto-pilot. Offensive Force is now the default answer for everything and there is nothing we can do about it, not even the President. And the effects of the use of such Force is even more economic misallocation that will have to correct. We are on a run away train, and to spike the track and derail will cause a lot of pain, but we their will be survivors who can recover, but no one is willing to do that, so we just gain momentum for the mother of all crashes.

Magnus February 25, 2010 at 8:39 am

But the Republicans are no better. There is really no party system at all, just a shell game being played on voters.

I also believe the American government does have a party system — it’s just that it’s a one-party system.

However, unlike all the other one-party governments around the world, the American one-party system came up with the brilliant innovation of masquerading as a two-party system.

We are free-range slaves on their tax farm.

fundamentalist February 25, 2010 at 9:13 am

Most people today associate socialism with the old USSR, but that was just one version of it and not the original. As Mises pointed out, Germany had the first socialist government before WWI under the Kaiser. It realized that it needed a certain amount of a free market in order to keep people from starving. So yes, socialists can admire the free market. Marx said it was the most productive system mankind had ever invented. They just want as little freedom for the market and as little private control over property as possible. They see the market as a necessary evil, but one that must be beaten into submission.

There are statues in Washington of men taming wild horses. The titles indicate that the men are taming the market. In other words, socialists don’t see the market as human interaction. It is some wild beast, foreign to mankind, that must be captured and forced to submit to man in order to be useful.

Ohhh Henry February 25, 2010 at 9:18 am

“the American one-party system came up with the brilliant innovation of masquerading as a two-party system”

Perhaps a Venn diagram is a better way to describe political factions. The data are not their stated platform positions – those are just empty rhetoric (read: lies). Instead the data are the political parties’ true constituencies – their favorite lobbyists and their most solid and mindless voting blocks.

For example, both of the US parties are beholden to Wall Street, the arms industry, big pharma, agribusiness and Israeli hawks. The differences are that the Repubs overlap with big oil and evangelicals, whereas the Dems contain unionized Rust Belt industries and the ethnic vote.

Speaking of Venn diagrams, I see that the USA is a charter member of the Sovereign Debt Ring of Fire. Enjoy your charcoal-grilled economy. Would you like freedom fries with that?

Laurence Vance February 25, 2010 at 11:22 am

Obama claims to be, but isn’t, an “ardent believer in the free market.” This means that instead of a socialist he is a Republican.

Russ February 25, 2010 at 11:40 am

Is Obama a socialist?

I am not a religious person, but nonetheless this teaching comes to mind; by their fruits shall ye know them.

Magnus wrote:

“I also believe the American government does have a party system — it’s just that it’s a one-party system.”

Hmmm…. almost. I believe it’s more of a one-and-a-half party system; we have the Socialist Party and the Socialist Lite Party.

Caley McKibbin February 25, 2010 at 4:32 pm

There is no such thing as a “communist” or “capitalist”. These are just silly labels used by reactionary neanderthals.

Bruce Koerber February 25, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Socialist Politicians Spew “Free Market” Rhetoric.

It’s the ‘free’ part that he ardently believes in!

Being economically ignorant, he thinks that things arbitrarily deemed by him as important should be free!

Being a politician he lies in the guise of rhetoric.

Being an ego-driven interventionist he thinks that if only he didn’t have to fix the crimes of the earlier ego-driven interventionists he would not be seen as a socialist.

Jesse Forgione February 25, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Calling Obama a socialist makes the mistake of thinking he holds some kind of ideology, however ignorant.

But that is not the case. He’s an empty, amoral, pragmatic coward, and he’ll do anything that he thinks will secure more power for himself and the rest of the scum he colludes with.

Deefburger February 25, 2010 at 7:42 pm

“Calling Obama a socialist makes the mistake of thinking he holds some kind of ideology, however ignorant.

But that is not the case. He’s an empty, amoral, pragmatic coward, and he’ll do anything that he thinks will secure more power for himself and the rest of the scum he colludes with.”

This is exactly the result of power itself. All of those infected with it are basically the same. The belief is in the power only, all other things are secondary in their minds. Power is their ideology.

What a sad state to be in.

Russ February 26, 2010 at 8:00 am

I don’t agree with the assessment that Obama has no ideology except that of power. He is a socialist, pure and simple; a “true believer”. Clinton was more the unprincipled pragmatist than Obama. I don’t think Obama would be so focused on pushing for socialized health care or cap and trade if he weren’t a true believer. If he were pragmatic, he would just take as much power as he could without making waves, in the tried and true Fabian style. He wouldn’t continue to push for the full socialist agenda, no matter what.

Jesse Forgione February 26, 2010 at 9:44 am

I would agree that he probably started out a true-believer, but I think now he’s more of a PR guy for the people who really make his mouth move (Fabian is certainly the right word). But I think even for them, “socialism” serves the same purpose that “heaven” does for the televangelist. They know what the word “socialism” really means.

farm February 26, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Obama is a socialist. I don’t know why that should mean anything to anyone though the US is a socialist country. Granted not as socialist as France but still socialist.

Dewaine February 26, 2010 at 9:15 pm

War is peace..

Ned Netterville February 27, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Obama is neither fascist nor socialist. He is Almighty. Like God, he “creates” things such as jobs, new, industries, good health happiness and abundance. If you disbelieve him, just ask Joe Biden, who will show you government statistics to prove it.

By the way, will all those who believed Obama’s campaign promises and voted for him please stand up. I have a friend named Bernie Maddox who is selling shares in a bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn at a very fair price. The traffic over this bridge is such that you can’t go wrong. It’s a sure thing. Now if you’ll just give me your name, Bernie has promised me a small commission for each Obama voter whose name I procure for him.

Christian March 1, 2010 at 7:40 am

Free market and less government role? How many Czars do you have? Socialized healthcare is free market and small government role? Interesting perspective.

penny June 19, 2010 at 11:57 pm

I guess that settles it: Obama is a socialist AND a liar!


talkpc June 21, 2010 at 3:26 am

I’m not blaming the Chinese; they simply played the cards they were dealt better than anyone else.

jeff November 30, 2010 at 3:18 pm

So, I’m new to this site. Is Obama to blame for the financial crisis? Is that the answer? What would be the differences now if McCain were elected? Is there a difference between the two? I always thought that the president was separate from the legislative branch of the US government. Is that rubbish? What’s the fix? Sorry for all the questions, but I am unable to discern the difference between Obama and McCain and what bearing either would have on the economic situation that was inherited in 2008. Would things be different if McCain were elected? Is that the answer? Sorry if I sound ignorant, i’m only 15.

Ned Netterville March 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Hey Jeff, this is rather belated but I see no one here responded to your questions, which certainly deserve to be answered. I don’t think anyone conversant with Austrian-school economics, which is what is featured at this website, blames President Obama for the so-called financial crises, since it began before he took office, although I’m sure a case could be made that many of his votes as a Senator in the years preceding the onset of the financial meltdown did contribute to the crisis. However, what many of us “Austrians” do believe is that Obama’s policies in response to the financial crisis and recession had and will continue to have perverse economic affects. Certainly the continuing high level of unemployment is a direct result of Obama-recommended legislation and his executive decisions.

There are probably few people here who think McCain would have done much of anything differently that would have ameliorated the financial crisis and the economy’s lethargy. Both Obama and McCain have demonstrated their belief in “Keynesian” style economic policies, that mistakenly assume that government actions can positively influence economic activity.

Your other question show a great deal of perception and a sound understanding of the the theory behind this constitutional republic. However, before you put too much confidence in what you may have learned about that theory, I would highly recommend reading an article recently re-published here by Lysander Spooner entitled “No Treason, No. 1,” written almost 150 years ago, by a man I think was the best lawyer America ever produced. Find it here: http://mises.org/daily/4723/No-Treason-no-1.

I do hope you get to see this response to your questions.

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