"Mankind is divided into rich and poor, into property owners and exploited," Joseph Stalin asserted in a 1937 interview with H.G. Wells. "To abstract oneself from this fundamental division ... means abstracting oneself from fundamental facts."
Stalin's mind operated with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, but of one thing he was certain: there are "the rich" and there are "the poor," and the rich are the enemy. Sound familiar?
That same crude idea of perpetual class warfare seems to be the primary foundation of Barack Obama's re-election campaign, if not his entire presidency. The president is not just asking the rich to pay their fair share -- he is demeaning them and dismissing their accomplishments as well. And he is inciting his audience to join in a mean-spirited attack on the rich as "exploiters." "You didn't get there on your own" -- you got there on the backs of the poor, and now it's time for revolution.
It has been a while since Americans have heard a speech like the President's Roanoke address, but that speech did not come out of nowhere. It was, in fact, a perfect reflection of the radical tradition in which Obama was educated from childhood on. In that tradition, those who aspire to material success are regarded as "enemies of the people" -- a phrase that crops up very frequently in radical and anarchist writing and that is suggested in Obama's current populist attacks on the rich.
For centuries, leftists have campaigned against those whom they considered class enemies. At the height of the French Revolution, Robespierre ranted about how the revolution would treat "the enemies of the people." Without trial or appeal, it would simply kill them. The tendency to divide society into two distinct and opposed classes is a fundamental tenet of leftist thought, and it is a view that underlies Obama's entire conception of government.
For leftists like Obama, the rich deserve to be attacked not because of what they have done wrong, but because of what they have done right. All that Mitt Romney has achieved has been ethical and above board, but this is beside the point. The rich are enemies of the people for the very reason why they have succeeded while others have failed. Romney's "crime" is that he has aspired to excellence: educating himself, working hard, applying his intelligence, and succeeding. For that alone, he is the enemy of the left.
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