Let’s not get carried away

Tom DeLay says of Barack Obama, “unless he proves me wrong, he is a Marxist.” But there is no evidence that Obama believes in any of the central tenets of Marxim –the dialectic, economic determinism, the class struggle, the dictatorship of the proletariat, or state ownership of the means of production.

Obama appears to be a big government liberal, but that’s a far cry from Marxism. And to the extent that he’s a modern “identity politician,” that’s contrary to Marxism in which the only relevant identity is economic class.

UPDATE: Reader Michael Karounas writes:

I think your point about Obama not being a textbook Marxist in undeniable on the surface, but I would suggest that he walks and talks very much like a transnational, cultural Marxist. The traditional Marxist discourse of the economy is applied to culture so that the distinctives you mention are now defined in terms of the media (the means of production), race/gender/orientation (class), multiculturalism (dialectic), big government (state ownership), etc. Hence, the attempt to tax carbon emissions is yet another attempt to control the means of production as is the attempt to control talk radio. I don’t think we can underestimate Obama. He and his fellow travelers constitute a fifth column.

I don’t intend to minimize the danger an Obama presidency might well present, but I continue to resist making him out to be a Marxist in any sense. If one stands Marx on his head and attempts to apply his discourse to culture, one can find similarities, but not enough to support DeLay’s claim. For example, Obama doesn’t advocate race/gender/orientation warfare any more than he advocates class warfare, and big government is simply not the same thing as state ownership. There are labels that apply to advocates of big government; “Marxist” isn’t one of them.

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