Norman Thomas, the best known leader of the Socialist Party of America and six-times Socialist Party candidate for President of the US, has been attributed for this in a 1944 speech:
“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism,’ they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”
He is also alleged to have continued to say: “I no longer need to run as a Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democratic Party has adopted our platform.”
I say that these statements are attributed to Thomas, yet the only thing close to these statements come in the form of a letter to Thomas in 1951 from Upton Sinclair, a noted Socialist and author of The Jungle, in which he wrote:
The American People will take Socialism, but they won’t take the label. I certainly proved it in the case of EPIC. Running on the Socialist ticket I got 60,000 votes, and running on the slogan to ‘End Poverty in California’ I got 879,000. I think we simply have to recognize the fact that our enemies have succeeded in spreading the Big Lie. There is no use attacking it by a front attack, it is much better to out-flank them.
The point is the Thomas held the same views as Sinclair.
Thomas’s last Presidential campaign was in 1948, in which election Harry Truman beat Thomas Dewey.
Norman Thomas died in 1968 having only partly achieved his dream of a socialist America, but he got close. With Roosevelt and Truman, Thomas must have been elated. Then, after brief disappointment with eight years of a successful conservative Eisenhower, his dream came alive again with Kennedy and Johnson. Thomas may have seen how, during their campaigns, Nixon proved himself to the left of John Kennedy, and, when he died on the eve of Nixon’s inauguration, it is not inconceivable that he believed his dream would actually live on. Liberalism had become, by then, an ingrained concept in the American consciousness.
How right he was. Nixon, a rank politician with his own self-interest at the center of his agenda, was no conservative. Supported by big-mouthed liberal Daniel Patrick Moynihan, he outspent his predecessor, Lyndon Johnson, on social programs. Gerald Ford, who said that Poland was NOT under Soviet domination, was a complete joke, who presented no worry for Thomas’s aggressive dream. And when the egotistically idiotic Jimmy Carter drove us into double digit inflation with his Social-Democrat policies, Thomas must have smiled in his grave. If he could have risen from it, he’d have danced a jig.
Adopting a conservative stance, the pro-big-business Ronald Reagan, whom conservatives so admire for his sincere and honorable intentions, let loose huge increases in government spending, in collusion with big business. Ultimately, Reagan gave us the default of big government in perpetuity.
Thomas would have hated Reagan for creating a new class of Billionaires, only a few of whom existed before Reagan, but after him replaced the once-ambitious dream of becoming Millionaires. Nowadays, compared with Gates and Buffet, Millionaire are under-achievers. Reagan also gave us the age of Corporate Raiders, whose fake capitalism handed on a silver platter the Liberals’ golden opportunity to defame decent capitalists whose businesses, big and small, built the wealth of this nation and made the standard of living for all working people not merely comfortable but enviable. Norman Thomas might have despised big businessmen, but he would have seized the opportunity to point to the evils of capitalism at its worst.
Reagan’s defenders point to the enormous spurt in the growth of wealth during his eight years in office, but there was a downside. While some working people did well during the 80s, the super-rich got super-richer, and the wealth of the middle class stagnated. Thus, in very practical terms, the rest of us seem to have gotten measurably poorer as a class.
Although Reagan was a social conservative, God-fearing and traditional in his values, in the economic world, which leads ultimately and inevitably to those in power, he was an outright hero, even among the Democrats, who love wealth as much as anybody does, despite what they say publicly about “the Rich.” In public, they may have made a laughing stock of Reagan, but they all invested and cultivated their private greed which was unequaled by previous generations.
Thus, whatever praise is heaped upon him by Rush Limbaugh and other conservative defenders, the alarming truth is that Reagan eventually gave us lame-brained George H. W. Bush, thus also Clinton who, had it not been for the warrior Newt Gingrich and his 1994 conquest of both houses of Congress, would have been unfettered in leading his cohorts toward historically unprecedented levels of corruption.
Gingrich was cut down by forces who sought to reinstate the potential for the corrupt status quo – and they were all Republicans. Bob Dole dismembered the original Contract with America and ultimately won the reinstatement of Norman Thomas’s pickpocketing strategy, although he did so in the fictitious name of political compromise. You cannot compromise with enemies for whom your compromise is pure concession! The idiots in the Republican Establishment don’t seem to realize this.
After the indecent Clintons, Middle America sought someone to put the brakes to the Liberals’ pickpocketing of our rights. George W. Bush, whose abysmal lack of wit and ubiquitous stream of malaprops, embarrassed everyone but him, supported and even strengthened the sodden leadership of the Republican establishment, and thus continued to build Thomas’s dream of creeping socialism. Harry Truman said that if given the choice between a real Republican and a fake one, the voters would pick the real one every time. That maxim was proven correct—in the opposite direction. When given the choice between a fake Democrat (or RINO—hint: John McCain, Mitt Romney) and a real Democrat, they picked the real one. They elected Barack Obama twice!
Without a President who would vigorously and uncompromisingly restore the foundations of our republic, that foundation is not merely in disrepair, but in the progressive stages of crumbling decay. Collapse is not far off. A republic, as Franklin warned, needs keeping, and liberty requires the price of eternal vigilance.
Norman Thomas’s dream may not be complete as yet, but it is certainly alive and well. It would do well to realize that Thomas’s dream of creeping socialism, still being fed to us under the name of ‘liberalism,’ has come about through the policies of every president and administration since Franklin Roosevelt’s. If we do not reverse that course in a massive and immediate change of direction, we will, as promised, have adopted “… every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”
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