Never Allow a Crisis to go to Waste

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read this book since I felt a little down on politics when I began reading it.  I quickly became interested, almost in spite of myself and by the time I was halfway through it I couldn’t put it down, (or couldn’t turn off my kindle). Never Allow a Crisis to go to Waste is not just another Obama-bashing book, nor does Bart DePalma attempt to psychoanalyze Barak Obama, as others have tried to do. Rather, he shows the connections between Obama’s politics and policies are related to the history of Socialism in America. This last he describes in some detail but the book doesn’t become tedious or uninteresting.

 Put simply, classical socialism has never been very popular in the United States. For a variety of historical reasons, calls for government ownership of businesses or massive wealth redistribution have generally failed to resonate with the great majority of Americans. To get around this obstacle and to implement their policies of social justice, socialists have been obliged to use indirect methods, much as an army facing a superior opponent might resort to guerrilla warfare. The guerrilla warfare or “asymmetric socialism” most often consists of non-reform reforms. Policies ostensibly for the purpose of correcting defects in a capitalist system but really meant to overwhelm and ultimately to collapse the system, by which time people will be forced to turn to socialism.

DePalma shows that by his inclinations, education and past associations, Barak Obama works firmly in the tradition of asymmetric socialism. Where possible he has increase government ownership of business, in the automobile industry. Where not possible, he has used regulation to increase government control of the economy, which provides the benefits of ownership without the troubles, or unpopularity.

This would be a depressing book indeed, if DePalma ended it on that note, but in the final two chapters, he chronicles the rise of citizen resistance to Obama’s policies in the form of the TEA Party protests and the Republican victories in the 2010 elections. I somewhat  regret that this book was published before the Occupy protests as it might have been interesting to read an analysis of them in the context of asymmetric socialism, but perhaps DePalma can be persuaded to write another book.


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