Conservative blogs are going wild over an excerpt from a 2001 interview with Barack Obama that was originally broadcast on Chicago Public Radio, WBEZ. Here is what Obama says that is so stunning:
And uh, to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution — at least as it’s been interpreted, and Warren Court interpreted it in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties: [It] says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.
And that hasn’t shifted, and one of the, I think, the tragedies of the civil-rights movement was because the civil-rights movement became so court-focused, uh, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change. And in some ways we still suffer from that. (emphasis added)
My first reaction when I read this quote this morning was simply, "Okay, now we know what the Obama "litmus test" for Supreme Court justice nominees will be."
Sure, Obama says that the Court itself cannot specifically order the confiscation and redistribution of wealth. That would be unconstitutional. But the massive power grabs that Congress must necessarily impose in order to make socialism a reality here in the USA will certainly generate numerous individual lawsuits challenging their constitutionality.
Just as FDR packed the Supreme Court with sympathetic justices in order to legitimize the Constitutionality of the New Deal, so must Barack Obama pack his Supreme Court with socialist justices, in order to legitimize his redistribution plans. Someone has to keep discovering and defending those emanations and penumbras.
I also believe that any appellate court justice who embraces the notion of "social justice" through the government-enforced redistribution of wealth would, almost without exception, support government-sanctioned abortion on demand. Therefore the abortion "litmus test" is redundant and can probably be ignored. This will be to Obama's advantage, as it could make his appointees more palatable to the Religious Right.
What Obama actually seems to be advocating is a rebirth of the Poor People's Campaign, which was about to be undertaken by Martin Luther King, Jr. at the time of his assassination. The PPC was focused on the plight of all poor Americans, regardless of race or geographic location. King's plans included a demand for an "Economic Bill of Rights" that, among other things, guaranteed a living wage-based permanent income for the poor. You should also recall that Dr. King unapologetically supported government-sanctioned wealth redistribution and himself wrote, "good and just society is neither the thesis of capitalism nor the antithesis of communism, but a socially conscious democracy which reconciles the truths of individualism and collectivism."
MLK is considered a modern-day prophet. Could Obama's embrace of MLK's ultimate fight be the deed that elevates Obama to the level of modern-day Messiah?
In America, we have a Constitution that was written by a group of men whose lives had been deeply affected by persecution at the hands of various government and religious groups. The men who wrote the Constitution wanted to make sure that future generations did not suffer from persecution as they had. That's why they wrote the Constitution in a way that stressed the limits of the government. They wanted to ensure that the government of the United States never directly interfered with the ability of its individual citizens to fully enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Has America been perfect in this regard? Of course not. Our economy has occasionally been overtaken by robber-barons. Our citizens once held slaves. Local and state governments used denial of the franchise as a powerful political weapon. Our Federal government stood by while its citizens faced discrimination and persecution. And in some cases, the government led that persecution. But even for all our failings, the principle of freedom for the individual has never been abolished.
But Barack Obama wants to change that. To Obama, the failure of the Supreme Court to eliminate the limiting character of the Constitution is a tragedy! Obama wants a Constitution that empowers the government, rather than limiting it. He wants a Constitution that gives the Federal Government a mandate to guarantee financial equity and equality of outcome for all Americans, presumably with an unlimited scope of power in order to be able to enforce that mandate. And he believes that such a Constitution is the only hope for the collective salvation of our nation.
This is, in short, the most radical vision for "reinventing government" ever articulated by a major (and currently leading) Presidential candidate. And it scares the living hell out of me.
But Mike, if you're really a Christian, don't you want to see hunger and hopelessness abolished? Don't you want to see an end to the suffering of the working poor? Don't you want to see everyone have a fair chance?
Absolutely. And I have been involved in Christian social justice efforts here in Oklahoma City for about two years now. I have even attended community organizing meetings. But I would like to see true change, brought about by spiritual revival and the work of the Holy Spirit, not government mandates. Because such mandates will give the Federal Government an incredibly dangerous amount of power over our bank accounts, our income, and our private lives. And trust me, it will be used to punish those who don't toe the party line -- regardless of what party is in control. That kind of a power grab by the Federal Government is not a manifestation of "holiness," nor is it "justice," nor will it increase freedom or security for anyone. We don't need it and I don't want it. Period.
ADDED: If you want to understand the dangers of giving government absolute power to enforce its own definition of "fairness," then you should watch this disturbing video, part of a 1982 documentary on the Weather Underground -- the group co-founded and led by Barack Obama's mentor Bill Ayers -- entitled No Place To Hide:
It features former FBI informant Larry Grathwohl, who infiltrated the Weather Underground and helped law enforcement put an end to their terrorist activities. Grathwohl's tips stopped several attempted bombing attacks by the group. In the video, Grathwohl describes a high-level group meeting held by the group to discuss the logistics of the American People's Revolution that they were attempting to lead:
I brought up the subject of what’s going to happen after we take over the government. You know, “we” become responsible then for administrating, you know, 250 million people. And there was no answer. No one had given any thought to economics, how you are going to clothe and feed these people.
The only thing that I could get was that they expected the Cubans and the North Vietnamese and the Chinese and the Russians would all want to occupy different portions of the United States. They also believed that their immediate responsibility would be to protect against what they called “the counter-revolution.”
… I asked, “well what is going to happen to those people we can’t reeducate, that are diehard capitalists?” and the reply was that they’d have to be eliminated.
And when I pursued this further, they estimated they would have to eliminate 25 million people in these reeducation centers.
And when I say “eliminate,” I mean “kill.”
Twenty-five million people.
I want you to imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees, from Columbia and other well-known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people.
And they were dead serious. (Emphasis added)
Liberals often accuse conservatives of being paranoid, suffering from delusions of Red Army bogeymen swooping down on America and locking everyone away in concentration camps. But we aren't making this stuff up. It has been discussed at the highest levels of academia and in all the major camps of the progressive movement. Does it not frighten you that a group of domestic terrorists, led by Ivy League-educated elites, sat around coldly planning the murder of 1 out of every 10 Americans for none other than purely political reasons? Does it not frighten you that the leader of that group mentored our current leading Presidential candidate? Does it not frighten you that government records were searched for evidence to discredit and destroy an ordinary citizen who dared to challenge that Presidential candidate? Does it not frighten you that the previous Democratic presidential candidate believes that the Communist reeducation camps set up in Vietnam were no big deal, because the former inmates of those camps are now "thriving?"
Maybe we'll end up like Sweden, with suffocating government control over education, career choices, employment opportunities, salaries, benefits, profit levels, and retirements, yet without the need for a secret police force, or armed troops in the streets, or "reeducation" camps. Maybe. But the truth is that the progressive intellectual and moral "brights" who walk the marble halls of our finest universities and political institutions seem to have no problem with "social justice" in America at any price, even the intimidation, imprisonment, and death of anyone who dares to oppose their vision of Utopia. If that's how we must achieve a "better America," then God help us all.