Would you take a car to a mechanic who believes that an internal combustion engine operates by tiny nuclear explosions and the exhaust is just tiny fairies dancing in the air? Of course not. Well, Florida Rep. Allen West is the political equivalent. He has now made it clear that he has no concept of political ideologies.
Last week, West said that he heard 78 to 81 members of Congress are communists. This week, West explained that comment without backing down. In the process, he became a political scientist’s nightmare.
The video below is filled with so many distortions, misunderstandings and outright lies that I couldn’t write them down as fast as he was talking.
“And I think that if you would take the time to study the political spectrum of ideologies, you’d understand that at the turn of the [20th] century, American Communists renamed themselves as progressives. If you study the Woodrow Wilson administration, people referred to the Woodrow Wilson administration as a progressive administration.”
“Now, what I would hope that people would do in the media is — maybe you should do a little research, and start looking at what political ideology they stand for. There’s a very thin line between communism, progressivism, Marxism, socialism — or even, as Mark Levin has said, statism. It’s about nationalizing production. It’s about creating and expanding the welfare state. It’s about this idea of social and economic justice. And you hear that being played out — you know, now with fairness, fair share, economic equality, shared sacrifice, ad nauseum, ad infinitum.”
Allen West infers that Woodrow Wilson was a communist because he was called a progressive. Just because communists called themselves progressives doesn’t mean all progressives are communists. That’s basic critical thinking. Members of the KKK call themselves conservatives, but that doesn’t mean conservatives are members of the KKK.
In the 1912 presidential election, Wilson was elected president. It was an unusual four-way race between the sitting President Howard Taft, a Republican, former President Teddy Roosevelt and Socialist Eugene Debs.
First of all, socialists are not necessarily communists. The socialists were split that year between conservative and radical factions. The conservatives ran on a platform to the left of the Democrats. Basically, they wanted to reform capitalism, were against corruption and sought the reorganization of government like abolishing the Senate. The radicals, who wanted to work with the communists, sought to create an international revolution that would overthrow capitalism. The conservatives managed to control the party platform that year, and Debs received 6% of the vote. If West thinks that Wilson is a communist, then he surely thinks that of the socialists as well.
The other candidate in the race was Teddy Roosevelt who sought the Republican nomination but didn’t get it. Roosevelt bolted from the Party and ran on the Progressive Party. Roosevelt got 27% of the vote. If West thinks Wilson was a communist because his administration was called progressive, he must think that Roosevelt was a dyed in the red commie because he ran for president as a progressive.
During his time as president, Roosevelt promoted welfare legislation, government regulation, and conservation. He broke up corporations that were monopolies stiffling competition. He sought to regulate dangerous business practices like those found in the slaughterhouses of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. He started the national park system. In West’s mind, all those accomplishments equate to Marxism.
When West took his political science classes, he must have slept through them.
Wilson, of course, was a Democrat and received 42% of the vote. Taft received the lowest vote percentage by an incumbent president ever. He got just 23% and ran third behind Roosevelt. Wilson, Roosevelt and Debs combined for 75% of the vote. According to West, that is 75% of Americans who endorsed communism in 1912. The Russian Revolution hadn’t even happened yet, and three-quarters of Americans must have been in favor of changing Old Glory to the hammer and sickle.
West claims that “There’s a very thin line between communism, progressivism, Marxism, socialism.” Here are Dictionary.com’s definitions of the four:
- Communism: A theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.
- Progressive: Favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are, especially in political matters.
- Marxism: The system of economic and political thought developed by Karl Marx, along with Friedrich Engels, especially the doctrine that the state throughout history has been a device for the exploitation of the masses by a dominant class, that class struggle has been the main agency of historical change, and that the capitalist system, containing from the first the seeds of its own decay, will inevitably, after the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat, be superseded by a socialist order and a classless society.
- Socialism: A theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
Yes, there is a thin line between Marxism and communism. One can even argue that between those two and socialism because socialism does include communism. However, anyone who has taken a first year college course in political science learns that socialism means everything from the system in Sweden to that of North Korea. Socialism can require total control of property in the state or just some of the property with the rest operating under private ownership. If there is a line between the Swedes and North Koreans, it isn’t a small one. Commonsense explains that.
Progressivism cannot even be spoken in the same breath as communism. They are two totally separate lines of political thought. Change does not equate to communism.
West is a smart man, but he acts like an idiot. He studied political science at the University of Tennessee, Kansas State University and U.S. Army Command and General Staff Officer College where he received a Master of Military Arts and Sciences in political theory, military history and operations.
I am sure none of those places taught that Wilson and Roosevelt were communists or that there is a thin line between the four ideologies he mentioned. West uses such a broad brush to paint communism that he basically includes everything to the left of center as communist. West may as well toss out what he thought that he learned at the colleges he attended because he wasn’t paying attention anyway.
Later in the video, West said that the left has claimed that Republicans are trying to kill women. He must be referring to New York Rep. Louise Slaughter who made that comment recently. West is right to feel outraged by that. It went too far. That doesn’t prove that all liberals are making that point anymore than West’s claiming that communists fill the Democratic Party ranks in Congress means all the conservatives feel the same.
West goes onto argue that the current administration is nationalizing the means of production. He uses examples like the financial institutions and auto industry to support his claim that it is all a communist plot. West hasn’t caught on that all those happened during a bailout to keep the country out of a depression. The president who initiated many of these actions was that old Marxist George W. Bush. As those companies have returned to health, they have also shedded the government’s stake in them. If the Democrats were pushing for collectivization, then they wouldn’t have given up control. As it was, some of the biggest opponents to these bailouts were liberals who didn’t think government should be trying to keep big businesses afloat.
West also states that the left wants “a constitutional amendment to redistribute wealth.” There must be some of those somewhere, but that is no more the mainstream of the Democratic Party than some of the extremist views of Republicans speak for the Republican Party. West then goes onto make the comment that a constitutional amendment of this nature is not “constitutionalism.” West may be the first American politician to argue that a constitutional amendment is not constitutional.
West then states that the left is not arguing against his statement that 80 or so members of Congress are communists, but only that he exposed the fact. Apparently, West didn’t just miss what his political science instructors were saying but he can’t grasp contemporary news as well. West needs to log onto the internet or pick up a newspaper. There are plenty of people pointing out his ignorance and asinine comments.
West may be one of the most dangerous politicians in America. He is a fanatic with a closed mind. He is articulate, rouses support wherever he goes and as a Congressman he has the power to introduce legislation. Yet after getting a master’s degree in political theory, he still can’t figure out the difference between a progressive and a communist. It is downright scary.