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Authoritarian Socialism, American Elites and China
by Howard Rotberg
“(A)lways there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless”
- George Orwell, 1984
The United States and its northern neighbour, Canada, have very similar ideologies, when it comes to their “elites”.
Some years ago, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, was just the leader of the Liberal opposition party, he made a statement at a question and answer part of a women’s event.
The Liberal leader was asked which nation he admired most. He responded: "There's a level of admiration I actually have for China. Their basic dictatorship is actually allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime."
Although many Chinese Canadians, especially those who had earlier been imprisoned or tortured by the Chinese government for speaking out for liberal democracy, were horrified, mainstream Canada pretty much ignored the matter. Canada proceeded to give Trudeau a majority government in the next election, and in October’s recent election, his party came close to a majority government and should be able to rule with the support of the socialist New Democratic Party.
Then when longtime Cuban dictator Fidel Castro died, Trudeau called him, a “remarkable leader,” not of course mentioning his long Communist dictatorship, filled with government murders, human rights abuses and social dislocation that resulted in a million refugees seeking freedom in Florida. Instead, his official statement talked of Castro as a “larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.” On the other hand, some of us believe that an education against freedom is not really an education at all.
Trudeau has implemented some rather illiberal policies, such as giving grants totalling almost $600 million to “trustworthy media”, which of course does not include right wing media. He says Canada’s main value is “inclusive diversity” rather than liberal democracy, and governs accordingly, promoting the ideals of Islamist illiberals.
In the United States, with the growing acceptance of socialism by the radical parts of the Democratic Party, such as the “Squad”, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, there are many issues crying out for study by those committed to human rights and democratic government. The issue of China, I predict, will increase in importance, as China increases its international power, and continues its path of becoming a digital gulag, oppressing its citizens with around the clock spying with street cameras and soon to come e-currencies that will allow the government to access every transaction. The ravages of the coronavirus, I predict, will only enhance government power.
Yet Joe Biden, the former Vice-President under Obama, and a leading contender for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President, together with his son, did a private $1.5 billion dollar business deal in China, notwithstanding its corruption and bad human rights record and its increasing hostility to the United States and attempts at world hegemony. President Trump, at least, is unafraid to take China on with respect to its unfair trade practices.
Too few people are bothered that Muslims in China, the Uyghurs are now rounded up in concentration camps for “re-education”. The Uyghurs are subject to persecution, surveillance, and spying in their global diaspora. Will the techniques used to oppress the Uyghurs be limited to the Uyghurs?
In fact, China is racing towards becoming a “surveillance state” using artificial intelligence to determine the attitudes and actions of each citizen and determine which might pose a problem for a state seeking social stability.
Do the socialists among us have a greater tolerance for the Chinese communists and their illiberal regime?
What is now happening, in my opinion, is the first stage of the implementation of “Authoritarian Socialism” backed by the “elites” in the government bureaucracy, the media, and the universities, and systemic bias and uncontrollable power in social media such as Facebook and the search engine, Google.
We need to look at the proposed “Green New Deal”. We need to be worried about members of the Democratic Party, and their media shills, who have shown that they believe, since the election of Donald Trump, that due process and legality, are to be cast aside when they hinder the power of these elites. We need to be worried about what search results are given priority by Google and what bias is used by Facebook in promoting content.
There is little doubt that major media in the United States are backing such Democrats as Adam Schiff, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Peloso, who have all promoted “impeachment” of the President almost from the day he was elected. Just review the “fake news” (especially as to the Russian “collusion” narrative) and the bizarre opinion pieces (passing as factual reporting) by the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and MSNBC, to name just the most important.
For example, the actions of Adam Schiff during the impeachment process seem to be questionable as he repeatedly lied about Russian “collusion” by President Trump, made up a crazy story about what Trump actually said in his communications with the Ukrainian president, and then established authoritarian rules for the impeachment inquiry giving himself a multitude of powers over testimony, to rule what witnesses could be called and the ability to have secret depositions.
However, just google “Adam Schiff”. On the first two pages of results, one will not read any pieces about his dishonesty and illiberal rules subverting due process in the Impeachment Inquiry, and the only news stories come from the biased media above.
For a full explanation of the procedural unfairness and lack of due process implemented by the Democrats, see: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/the-adam-schiff-empowerment-act which concludes that:
“For the young, who get most of their news online, the control of social media is a pressing problem. When Google uses its power to promote the Democratic Party, ignore illegality of the ‘Deep State’ actors in the Government, and harass the President, that bias should be made clear at the very least.”
What is “Authoritarian Socialism” and is the pre-eminent liberal democracy in the world in danger from this ideology?
Authoritarian Socialism is often referred to as “socialism from above”, and connotes a collection of political-economic policies and systems describing themselves as socialist and rejecting the liberal democratic concepts of multi-party politics, freedom of assembly, presumption of innocence, and freedom of expression. The proponents of such a socialism are well represented in government, NGOs, the media and the universities giving them power beyond their numbers.
The generation trained in the social science and humanities departments of universities to aspire to be “social justice warriors” love Bernie Sanders’ ideas of a single-payer healthcare system, free college tuition, increased taxes on the rich, breaking up big banks and a big powerful government to “create” jobs by supervising a full transition to a renewable, clean, and energy efficient economy. Unlike classical social theorists like Marx and Engels and the Communists, however, these fans of Authoritarian Socialism, do not promote the collective ownership of the “means of production” but rather a controlling role for the federal government and its legions of new college graduates. As Adrian Kuzminski has pointed out, the model our new socialist prefer, as opposed to unlimited collectivism, is the “vastly expanded power the federal government wielded during World War II, to command the resources necessary for victory (including) government-controlled prices, directed investment, set production goals, and rationed consumption” and while ownership of industry would remain legally in private hands, essential control would be given to powerful government bureaucracies aided by university professors and non-profits, who would rule on a “top-down” basis, with vague concepts of “social justice” and “climate justice” replacing the free market and limited government.
The supposed coming environmental collapse, a government takeover of energy companies and the near-worship of ecological alarmists, even a sixteen year old girl named Greta Thunberg, will obviously hasten the new model. Thunberg told the United Nations in September:
"The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say – we will never forgive you."
This is from a girl from Sweden where unlimited immigration of young Syrian men, from a culture of rape, has resulted in Sweden now having the second highest rape numbers after Lesotho in Africa. But speaking out against that brings allegations of Islamophobia; it is much easier to be a media darling for the self-hating, masochistic elites who cheer wildly after being hectored by Greta: “you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”
One can understand that the main policies of the Authoritarian Socialists in the Democratic Party and its allies are all meant to increase the power of the elites – from racial and gender redress, to actions against the supposed white supremacists (and in fact anyone named as conservative, right-wing, alt-right or far right), with the assertion that while males are collectively guilty of past “crimes” necessitating the most illiberal and prejudiced actions against them.
Without measures to ensure that state management of the private sector is accompanied by increased measures to ensure democratic and liberal accountability, we risk the fate of all historic socialist states, where eventually “equality” overtakes “liberal democracy” and everyone is equal but some are more equal then others. And so, as in the former Soviet Union, the elites, whether we call them members of the “Party” or they pose as experts in governmental and non-governmental organizations, will invariable leave the “people” worse off.
The idea that “government” will have the resources to implement the Green New Deal without confiscatory actions and economic dislocation is more and more naive, given the national indebtedness, which in the U.S. is over $23 trillion. American have indeed mortgaged the future and any socialist government will need to be enlarging government at the same time as a growing portion of its budget goes to pay only interest on that debt.
Would a Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or Alexandria Octovia-Cortez be able to pull that off? Even Donald Trump has increased the debt by some $2 trillion dollars since taking office, so we all seem to be sleep-walking into a catastrophe. Less government expenditures, not more, seem to be called for. But few in the media are prepared to support candidates supporting reduced spending, as they promote political promises by those who have the best ideas to buy our votes with our own money.
Deficit financing should be reserved for periods of recession where government revenues are low and some economic stimulation might help. But during the Trump administration, as the President is fond of saying, the economy is strong. Perhaps tax cuts that lead to deficits are not appropriate now.
And so, we continue along, handing off to the next generations the obligation of repaying the massive public debt, even as we promise them to forgive their massive private debt for education and credit cards to tie them to socialist governments and escape all personal responsibility for having lived beyond their means. But ideological acceptance of authoritarian socialism and social media manipulation by our power-hungry elites could lead us closer to the nightmarish Chinese system.
Howard Rotberg is the author, most recently, of Tolerism: The Ideology Revealed and its sequel, The Ideological Path to Submission ... and what we can do about it. He is the founding publisher of Canada’s sole conservative and pro-Israel publishing house, Mantua Books www.mantuabooks.com .