Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The New New Anti-Communism

by Joh Feffer
From Foreign Policy in Focus

Hillary Clinton is a commie symp.

That's a familiar line from the rabid right, which hasn't yet gotten the news that the Cold War is over. Google the secretary of state's name and "communist," and you'll get over a million links, some of them to neo-Nazi websites. Folks say the craziest things on the Internet. I just didn't expect The Washington Post to make the same argument.

In a recent editorial, the Post lambasted Clinton's speech on human rights in which she quite sensibly added "oppression of want" to the traditional concerns with the oppression of tyranny and torture. "Ms. Clinton's lumping of economic and social 'rights' with political and personal freedom was a standard doctrine of the Soviet Bloc, which used to argue at every East-West conference that human rights in Czechoslovakia were superior to those in the United States, because one provided government health care that the other lacked," the Post opined.

I can just visualize Hillary Clinton and her speechwriters over at State sifting through arcane historical texts for inspiration. They pull a book from the shelf. It's old and hasn't been touched in quite a few years. Is it Marx's Capital? Lenin's State and Revolution? No, it's the collected speeches of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In his famous "four freedoms" speech from 1941, FDR identified "freedom from want" as "economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world." Sounds a lot like "oppression of want" to me.

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