“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!” – Samuel Adams

Obama and Marxism: A Legitimate Question

obamamarx08By Victor Morawski

Whether or not Barack Obama is a Marxist is one of the most prevalent philosophically-related questions asked about him. Yet, if we are to go bythe reaction of current Vice President Joe Biden when he was confronted with the question on the campaign trail by Orlando television reporter Barbara West—“Are you joking? Is this a joke?”—the question isn’t even legitimate and is a “ridiculous comparison.”

But the Vice President never gave that particular reporter a good reason why the question is ridiculous. He merely attacked her for asking it.

Many studied philosophers, including myself, think the question is far from ridiculous and can not be dispensed with by mere Ad Hominem attacks against those who ask it. We will deal with it by asking two more questions over the course of the next two Philosopher’s Stone columns: “Can we tell that he is a Marxist from his associations?” and “Can we tell that he is a Marxist from the principles he adopts?”

Attempts to argue that Barack Obama himself is a Marxist, given his past connections with known Marxists, have abounded on the Internet and on conservative talk radio, especially prior to the November election. That those connections do exist is hardly a matter for debate.

Abundant evidence has been cited to show that his long-time mentor and father figure in Hawaii, Frank Marshall Davis, was a full-blown, active member of the Communist Party. After coming to Chicago, Obama for years attended the church of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, an ardent and vocal advocate of Black Liberation Theology, a movement with its roots planted firmly in Marxism.

Obama also had extensively documented contact in Chicago with Bill Ayers, former member of the Marxist-influenced Weather Underground, and a self-identified Marxist:

In an interview published in 1995, Ayers characterized his political beliefs at that time and in the 1960s and 1970s: “I am a radical, Leftist, small ‘c’ communist … [Laughs] Maybe I’m the last communist who is willing to admit it. [Laughs] We have always been small ‘c’ communists in the sense that we were never in the Communist party and never Stalinists. The ethics of communism still appeal to me. I don’t like Lenin as much as the early Marx.”

Obama’s defenders characterize the above charges as mere “guilt by association.” They contend that his connections with known Marxists do not necessarily imply that he shares their views. They claim we can draw no legitimate conclusions about Obama’s own beliefs from the above facts concerning his associations.

In so doing, they are in effect charging his detractors with committing a reasoning error logicians call a “Circumstantial Ad Hominem Argument.” They thus gainsay his opponents’ claims that because of his own special circumstances—in this case that Obama has had ongoing relationships with many known Marxists—he must share certain specific views (namely, Marxist). They argue that these relationships are, in fact, utterly irrelevant to his actual beliefs and should not be cited as evidence of them.

One who commits the above fallacy wrongly assumes that there is a necessary logical connection betweenBeing an A and advocating a particular view. As a textbook example, I would be doing so were I to contend that, because you are a Democrat, you cannot be Pro-Life. Here, I would be assuming wrongly that being Pro-Abortion (or as they would prefer, Pro-Choice) is a necessary aspect of being a Democrat, when it in fact is not. There is no necessary logical connection between your being a Democrat and your abortion views, and it would be wrong for me to assume that there is just because so many with whom you associate are Pro-Abortion.

But, in philosophical terms, the connection claimed to exist between Obama and his Marxist associates is not merely logical, but causal. His life-long, self-selected connections with known Marxists are claimed to have had a causal influence on his own beliefs. And that is a vital distinction when examining one’s resultant behavior patterns.

It is probabilistic, not deductive, reasoning that best deals with causal relationships. While we cannot conclude with certainty from the truth of documented facts concerning his Marxist associations that Barack Obama himself is a Marxist, it is reasonable to conclude that there is a significant probability that he is and doing so commits no logical fallacy. So his associations are not, as his defenders maintain, irrelevant as evidence of his own beliefs. They are, in fact, determinant.

Yet, all of the above might be a moot point when another of his associations, rarely discussed, is considered: that of his relationship with his own Marxist father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. Guessing whether he was influenced significantly by the Marxism of his father is utterly unnecessary here for, in his first book Dreams from my Father, the younger Obama clearly states that it was his deliberate intention to build his own life in his father’s likeness“It was into my father’s image, the black man, son of Africa, that I’d packed all the attributes I sought in myself, the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, DuBois and Mandela.”

Others have speculated that part of that image involved carrying out his father’s Marxist dreams. In view of this president’s nationalization of the banking and auto industries—and his impending nationalization of health care—it’s hard to seriously gainsay such speculation. Next week we shall see that a major means of his doing so involves adopting the Marxist principle that his father championed most: that of wealth redistribution.

Victor Morawski teaches philosophy at Coppin State University. His column, “The Philosopher’s Stone,” is distributed nationally free of charge by the Liberty Features Syndicate. Should you wish to subscribe, contact Alex Rosenwald at [email protected].

Reprinted by permission of Americans for Limited Government.


Try us out at the new location: American Clarion!


6 Responses to “Obama and Marxism: A Legitimate Question”

  1. I believe Obama advocates and has given government or taxpayer money to keep big corporations like GM,AIG and huge corprorate banks and lending institutions intact. That sure doesnt seem like Marxism unless it's wealth redistribution to the wealthy corporations which Carl Marx would never advocate

  2. The objective of Marxism isn't to destroy industry, but to control it–something which has happened to a staggering cross-section of the free market in just a few months.

    The wealth redistribution–which is already happening at a terrifying level in many areas of our country–will expand into new territories after control is firmly established.

  3. This is a good article and one that should have been available throughout the mainstream media (MSM) before the election. That the information in this article was suppressed by the MSM is as troubling as the suppressed information itself. That, however, is a different discussion. As to whether or Obama is a communist, the answer is unequivocally yes.

    Normally associating with the likes of Ayers, Davis the New Party and nameless other communists and leftist radicals and radical organizations would logically not mean that Obama was himself a leftist radical and communist. In this case, however, because of the nature of such organizations Obama’s associations are determinative.

    The reason for this is because the people Obama associated with were and are radicals. Many, if not most, came to leftist radicalism through Marxist organizations from the 60's such as the SDS – Students for Democratic Society. Others came from true underground organizations that spun off from movements like the SDS because those organizations were perceived as too moderate. The classic example of such spin off group is Ayers's The Weathermen.

    Now Obama's contact with leftist radicals and communists was not that of a rank and file member. He ran with the leadership of these groups. And much as with the mafia, such leftist radicals and communists would no more allow Obama to associate and be intimate with the leadership of their movements and organizations without sharing their ideas than you or I would be welcome into the top councils of the mob.

    Leftist radicals and communists only associate with their own. They simply have no tolerance for other views.

    If the leftist radicals Obama was hanging with smelled a rat in Obama and even suspected that he did not share their beliefs, then he would have swiftly been left out in the cold.

    So is Obama a radical leftist communist fascist Chicago thug – or some incestuous combination of the foregoing?

    As Sarah Palin says, “You betcha!”

  4. This is a good article and one that should have been available throughout the mainstream media (MSM) before the election. That the information in this article was suppressed by the MSM is as troubling as the suppressed information itself. That, however, is a different discussion. As to whether or Obama is a communist, the answer is unequivocally yes.

    Normally associating with the likes of Ayers, Davis the New Party and nameless other communists and leftist radicals and radical organizations would logically not mean that Obama was himself a leftist radical and communist. In this case, however, because of the nature of such organizations Obama’s associations are determinative.

    The reason for this is because the people Obama associated with were and are radicals. Many, if not most, came to leftist radicalism through Marxist organizations from the 60's such as the SDS – Students for Democratic Society. Others came from true underground organizations that spun off from movements like the SDS because those organizations were perceived as too moderate. The classic example of such spin off group is Ayers's The Weathermen.

    Now Obama's contact with leftist radicals and communists was not that of a rank and file member. He ran with the leadership of these groups. And much as with the mafia, such leftist radicals and communists would no more allow Obama to associate and be intimate with the leadership of their movements and organizations without sharing their ideas than you or I would be welcome into the top councils of the mob.

    Leftist radicals and communists only associate with their own. They simply have no tolerance for other views.

    If the leftist radicals Obama was hanging with smelled a rat in Obama and even suspected that he did not share their beliefs, then he would have swiftly been left out in the cold.

    So is Obama a radical leftist communist fascist Chicago thug – or some incestuous combination of the foregoing?

    As Sarah Palin says, “You betcha!”