The New Face of Tyranny

The left's tack toward traditional redistributive communism recalls 1960s New Left movement
March 6, 2019 Updated: March 6, 2019

Commentary

Young lawmakers are advancing old ideas. A shift to an old-style left—traditionally Marxist with modern garb—has perhaps been in motion for decades. Now, the movement has accelerated.

Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has repeatedly demonstrated a Soviet concept of equality. Her successful disruption of the Amazon HQ2 proposal in New York can best be interpreted as an attack against prosperity as personified by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos—a vilification of the successful and a desire to penalize the wealthy at the expense of the masses.

Who cares about those thousands of jobs that Amazon’s presence would have generated—the small businesses, bodegas, barbershops, dry cleaners, and the like—that now will never come into being? This is apart from those who would have been employed directly by Amazon, but who will now be employed in another congressperson’s district.

To the Marxist lawmaker, what really matters is the “greater good,” or in Ocasio-Cortez’s case, principles unhampered by a lack of understanding of the basic economic concepts involved, as exemplified by her statements concerning alternate uses for the $3 billion that Amazon would have received in tax breaks.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

The new New Left’s move toward traditional redistributive communism is evidenced by the confiscatory tax rates proposed by Ocasio-Cortez and other young, recently elected lawmakers, such as Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). The ultimate objective is to drag down those who have achieved and earned the rewards that are the fruits of initiative and hard work, as if they were ill-gotten gains.

Are there wealthy individuals who have exploited others? No doubt. However, the best tool for righting those wrongs is a scalpel, not a machete.

Abuse of the system for truly unfair gain should target those who are, in fact, abusers. Expropriating the profits of all those who are successful is indicative not of a desire to limit economic exploitation, but rather of an intent to drag all who are successful down to the lowest common denominator, so that all may “equally” share the same squalor, to create a classless society. Except, of course, for the lawmakers, who will require some degree of privilege to create an environment that facilitates the exercise of their decision-making on our behalf.

The result: a truly classless society. And just as in Soviet Russia, communist China, and “socialist paradise” Cuba, there will be those who are lower-classless, others who are middle-classless, and the commissars, who will be upper-classless.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN)
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) looks on ahead of the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington on Feb. 5, 2019. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A chilling example of the Soviet-style manner of conducting a public hearing occurred during the Feb. 13 questioning of the U.S. special envoy to Venezuela, Elliott Abrams. As reported by Gideon Resnick in the Daily Beast, Omar stated during the congressional hearing, reading from notes:

“In 1991, you pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress regarding your involvement in the Iran-Contra affair, for which you were later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush. I fail to understand why members of this committee, or the American people, should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful.”

Abrams quickly replied, “If I could respond to that,” at which point, Omar shot back, “That wasn’t a question.”

The testy exchange ended after some more back and forth. “Members of this committee can’t attack a witness who is not permitted to reply,” Abrams said.

U.S. special envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams
U.S. Special Envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams testifies during a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 13, 2019. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

As for the Soviet police state? The predawn knock at the door by the KGB could never happen here, of course. Just ask Paul Manafort and Roger Stone.

Rise of Anti-Semitism

The rise of Soviet-style anti-Semitism seems similar to that seen in the days of Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin, and Nikita Khrushchev. In Russia, the evolution was from Jewish philosophical leaders at the forefront of the new Soviet state—like Karl Marx and Leon Trotsky—to institutionalized anti-Semitism. Witness the victimization of Anatoly Shcharansky and his long prison term before being released to immigrate to Israel.

Now, the left wing of the Democratic Party has commenced its evolution toward a new anti-Semitism, informed as well by radical Islamic ideology combined with classical Marxist philosophy.

Anti-Semitic leaders have co-opted the women’s movement, with leaders such as Tamika Mallory openly supporting Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. In the House of Representatives, Omar does little to hide her beliefs, as seen in her well-publicized tweets: “Israel has hypnotized the world,” “It’s all about the Benjamins,” and more. As reported in The Times of Israel on Jan. 19, the Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced both Omar and fellow newly elected Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for repeated “anti-Israel and anti-Semitic statements.”

Tolerance toward anti-Jewish violence is on the rise. The Jerusalem Post on Jan. 29 documented several assaults on identifiably Jewish victims—violent assaults and unprovoked beatings that received virtually no domestic media coverage. However, on the date of a most violent anti-Semitic attack, an allegedly self-orchestrated “homophobic and racist” assault on actor Jussie Smollett received nationwide media coverage, and immediate tweets from Hollywood celebrities and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemning the “attack.”

Presidential aspirants Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Sen. Corey Booker of New Jersey—both of whom have been silent on anti-Semitic rhetoric and incidents—issued near-identical responses, with Booker tweeting that “[t]he vicious attack on actor Jussie Smollett was an attempted modern-day lynching. I’m glad he’s safe.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) speaks at his “Conversation with Cory” campaign event at the Nevada Partners Event Center in North Las Vegas on Feb. 24, 2019. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

No accusations of lynching are voiced when the victims are merely Jewish.

Not long ago, institutionalized anti-Semitism in the United States was unimaginable, as was a shift toward the tyranny of the left. When I graduated from law school as a young Jewish attorney, I asked my father if I should have my diploma mounted on a wooden plaque. He advised against it, saying I should be prepared for the day when I would need to stick it in my back pocket for a quick departure. Now, I know just how wise his advice was.

With the old Soviet-style tyranny, power was retained by prohibiting individuals from crossing borders in an outward direction. In the new tyranny, unlike the Soviet and Cuban practices, power is retained by refusing to prevent any individuals from crossing the borders inward. The more who do manage to enter, the larger the power base for the socialist elite. But have no doubt, once the left has successfully reduced the standard of living for the masses, the barriers to exodus will be raised. Then, to consolidate their power, they will have to evolve along traditional communist lines and prevent free emigration.

For those with lingering doubts about the tectonic shift this country is undergoing, the Green New Deal is revelatory. That it could be taken seriously by lawmakers wouldn’t have been a surprise to George Orwell—his only error was one of timing, because he expected the transformation to have been completed by 1984.

This benignly named Green New Deal is summarized this way by CNN (not a right-wing media outlet) analyst Zachary Wolf: “What was entered as official legislative language on Capitol Hill declares the government should take a stronger position on everything from cutting carbon emissions, to giving every American a job, to working with family farmers to retrofitting every building in the country.”

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas warned: “As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air—however slight—lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”

It’s time to turn on the light.

Epoch Times contributor Marc Ruskin is a 27-year veteran of the FBI, an adjunct professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and the author of “The Pretender: My Life Undercover for the FBI.” He served on the legislative staff of U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, New York.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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