21st Century Democracy and the Third
Steve Farrell and Diane Alden
October 20, 1999
Last time around, this column raised a justifiable flap about the
hush-hush history of that Tsunami for political and sociological
change called the Third Wave or the Third Way. We presented
evidence that today’s famously popular Third Way emerged like a
creature in hiding from the socialist badlands of communism and
Among the plotters who laid the foundation for this modern mistake
were Plato in his manifesto for a pre-Christian communist tyranny,
The Republic; Karl Marx in his 19th Century Communist Manifesto
and his sundry other works; and Adolf Hitler and his 20th Century
plunge into fascism, which he identified as a Third Way or safe
alternative between the two extremes of communism and
It’s a dark account, and assuredly Third Way proponents would be
hard pressed to admit the connection to any of these. But then, who
would? Socialism, communism, and fascism, are all deservedly
four-letter words in anyone’s common sense and political
vocabulary. So, roughly every decade, their supporters are forced to
search through the archives for a new name for old tyranny.
The Third Way just happened to be next in line.
Disturbingly, consideration of the Third Way presents not only links
to foul political thought in far gone times, but highlights the
unsettling possibility that the fall of communism and socialism was
not the result of the victory of capitalism or Reaganism, but rather a
Communist vote of confidence that the West was dumbed down ,
disarmed and ripe and ready for the long ago predicted comfortable
The Third Way wants this merger, and wants a removal of all
stop-gap reform tactics in favor of a radical new approach; one
befitting our fast paced and rapidly changing world.
Pathetically the Third Way has succeeded in attracting a crowd of
fanatical followers both in Europe and in the United States, who
really think they are on to a fresh Jeffersonian formula. It’s utopian
Woodrow Wilson’s holy ‘Lets make the world safe for Democracy
all over again’ minus sensible opposition from the US Senate.
Today the dream is of a 21st Century Democracy that will
compassionately and progressively lead the world.
Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, and the Third Way
Fortunately for the conservative movement, Tony Blair pulled an
international boo boo by confessing before the World at NATO’s
50th Anniversary Celebration that he, Bill Clinton, and other
national leaders, were hammering out a political plan for the future
loosely based around the notion of the Third Way, which is an
attempt by centre and centre-left Governments to re-define a
political program that is neither old left nor 1980s right. He declared
that the Third Way is their way, and the way of the future for both
NATO and all the world under the United Nations.
Coming right on the heels of President Clinton’s Impeachment, right
in the middle of a fresh Clinton China treason scandal and also the
first use ever of NATO as an offensive war power, Blair couldn’t
have done a better job of casting a suitable cloud of suspicion over
the Third Way.
That said, his explanation of what was the Third Way was even
It is not, he said, Mrs. Thatcher with a smile instead of a handbag
(compassionate conservatism), [or] really old-style socialists
(Fabians) in drag, desperate to conceal our true identity. Rather it is
something different, something new.
But what is new is not a rejection of socialist principles. It embraces
those fully. Blair, himself, chose the Socialist Fabian Society as the
publisher of his booklet The Third Way. What is new, or so they
claim, is their rejection of socialisms incessant inflexibility in a
modern world. This then is an out of the closet and better-educated
Seven months earlier, September 21st 1998, speaking at a Third
Way Conference at NYU, again with Bill Clinton, Blair clarified this
point. The Third Way rejects the moderate left which too often. . .
argued for a slower pace of change, [while ignoring] the world of
ideas. . . The Third Way is a serious reappraisal of social
democracy, reaching deep into the values of the left to develop
radically new approaches.
The Radical Center
Radical, as a matter of fact, is on the frequently-used-words-list in
all Third Way literature. Appropriately the Third Way Party in
Great Britain describes itself as the Radical Centre (sic). And the
Third Way truly is radical. A summary of their beliefs from Prime
Minister Blair, from the Third Way Party, and from Bill Clinton and
the Democratic Leadership Council, includes the following:
1. On top of [the] foundation (of the Third Way), is a new
economic role for government, which is this: We don’t believe in
Laissez-faire [free enterprise].
2. The Third Way also opposes compromising socialism, which
Lenin decried as spontaneous socialism, that is, a socialism that’[s
so busy cutting deals with capitalism that it loses touch with its
founding principles and becomes but an arm of the capitalist ruling
class or state monopoly capitalism. Nevertheless, the Third Way
accepts some capitalism, because it claims to have experienced a
Russian/Chinese like awakening that a little bit of capitalism is
necessary for the sake of efficiency and adaptability in our high tech
world. With one difference:
3. The socialists must be in charge, and the capitalists closely
monitored, serving the interests of the state and the people not the
interests of individuals. This socialist in charge idea is critical,
because although the socialist has been awakened to the benefits of
capitalism, nevertheless, he declares unequivocally that:
4. Capitalism cannot be left to itself (laissez-faire] because of its self
serving, lawless, unstable, divisive, and environmentally insensitive
nature. And so it must be tempered with the social justice, equality,
law, peace, environmental protection, and the good of the whole,
which socialism offers. Thus, socialism becomes the moral and legal
fabric of society; capitalism, the financier.
This new, unique combination of the left and the right provides for
a radical new social democratic state which rejects complete state
ownership of all the means of production, in favor of a mixture of
private ownership here, state ownership there, and state private
partnerships everywhere else.
And although it is apparent that the state penetrates every walk of
life, more than ever before, they promise it will not bureaucratize
the economy, nor rule it with an iron fist, but only guide and
provide opportunities for its success, while keeping a watchful eye
for social injustice, unnecessary factory shutdowns, economic
fluctuations, and so forth.
That is what they promise. Others see it differently.
Lord Ralf Dahrendorf examining the Third Way in the
September/October edition of Foreign Affairs, laments that in the
European Union nowadays: The Third Way is the only game in
town; and although it preaches of a coming wave of
democratization, there is a curious authoritarian streak in it.
The Creative Vocabulary of the Third Way
The authoritarian streak is not readily apparent, however. Third
Way propaganda attracts unsuspecting zealots and liberty lovers to
their cause thanks to an arsenal of democratic sound bites, which
hide very anti-liberty definitions.
So here’s a handy decoder:
When [they] speak of a second wave of democratization, [it] in
fact means deconstructing traditional democratic institutions, or in
other words, rejecting representative government, old inflexible
constitutions, and majority rule, and adopting direct or semi-direct
democracy, with minority rule.
Minority rule, in this new democracy, comes into being through a
new kind of representation — focus groups. Here, the government
grants bargaining status privileges for minorities, political outcasts,
select business institutions and even churches, who will individually
barter for rights and privileges at the foot of the state.
No doubt, deals will be cut, but for whose benefit? This is not true
representation. It is at best virtual representation, and oddly a
privilege only a few will be permitted to possess; so it is unequal,
even in theory. In practice it will eventually usher in an era of
extreme centralization of power and the negating of both majority
and minority rights, as underrepresented individuals feel naked
against so distant and powerful a state, and thus compelled to look
to one strong voice to lead them.
Third Way reforms of the welfare state include compulsory
savings and the old communist equal liability of all to work,
including single mothers and the disabled. But it doesn’t stop there,
throw in the part about creating state run Boy’s Town-like facilities
for the neglected, something Third Wayer Newt Gingrich fought for
in his Contract With America, and you get the picture.
First create welfare laws which encourage dads to leave the home,
then reform the laws to make moms leave the home, then have the
state confiscate the parent-neglected kids - which was the goal of
socialism from the start - and parenthood of the state finally wins
the day. Welfare reform at its best.
Third Way decentralization, as described in our previous essay, is
but the local administration of federal and international programs,
not our founders federalism, which granted state and local
government complete sovereignty over designated powers.
In Europe, says Lord Dahrendorf, it is translating into something far
more sinister. He reports, decentralization. . . at the sub-national
level. . . more often empowers militant activists rather than the
people and yields to the new nationalism of self-aggrandizing
leaders. And at the national level, problems and solutions alike
militate against the liberal [classical liberalism] order.
Among the problems, law and order stand out; among the solutions,
the proliferation of agencies and quangos (quasi-autonomous
nongovernmental organizations) that evade civil control. As stated in
our previous essay on the Third Way, this smacks of Hitler’s
decentralization plan: Brutal, lawless, yet subservient to the designs
of the order thanks to its war on the existing order.
Third Way self-determination, is for minorities, not sovereign
states. A key goal: The uniting of minorities across national borders
in a joint effort to throw off the bonds of their respective states; an
idea lifted verbatim out of the Communist Manifesto. Wrote Marx:
“In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different
countries, they [the communists] point out and bring to the front the
common interests of the entire proletariat independently of all
nationality.” Or as he shouted: “Working men of all countries
The Third Way is strongly in favor of secessionist Movements.
The British Third Way Party hosted an International Secessionist
Conference in 1997. There they presented the opinion that post
WWI and WWII political boundaries were drawn up hastily by the
hegemons of the world, without regard to the unnatural separation
of cultures and peoples they inflicted.
50 to 80 years later, these peoples, and others similarly situated [like
native Hawaiians], now possess an inherent right of secession, they
say; and all who would put the interests of a sovereign nation over
the rights of these to secede are worthy of contempt. Except in
cases like Taiwan and Chechnya, no one in the International order
has rose to defend their right to secede.
The Third Way Internationalism and the Globalization of all
government and economies is an irresistible reality imposed upon us
by technology. We are all internationalists now, whether we like it
or not, Tony Blair arrogantly proclaims. Yet it is not just about
technology, but the breaking forth of a new social revolution which
is intolerant to anything undemocratic, immoral (in a humanist, not
religious sense), and destabilizing to peace, prosperity, and world
We cannot turn our backs on conflicts and the violation of human
rights within other countries if we want still to be secure, says Blair
speaking for NATO. Defensive wars, he notes, have traditionally
been the only just wars. That narrow perspective must be forever
abandoned, he demands.
International law must be able to permeate national borders, and the
central pillar of that law must be the democratic loving laws of the
United Nations. Every prominent supporter of the Third Way has
said something like: [We] labor everywhere for the union and
agreement of the democratic parties of all countries, and as they do,
they feel like they are quoting the gospel. And it is the gospel of
Karl Marx, as these words are his found in the closing sentences of
the Communist Manifesto.
Third Way Free Trade means accepting the decisions of
international organizations, even when we don’t like them. It also
means to the US, Great Britain, and Japan, that protectionism
equals poverty. At the same time these Third Wayers insists that
protectionism must be the order of the day for Russia, which ought
to be flooded with grants, credits, subsidized loans, and foreign
investment from every quarter possible, with encouragements for
Russian companies and savers to keep their own money in Russia.
Russia, they say, is unique, with its own special problems, and its
own unique potential. We must respect Russia’s history, her
culture, and her aspirations.
But U.S. history, culture, and aspirations are meaningless dribble
and dangerous babble to the Third Way new world order. So Third
Way free trade means America must surrender her right to freely
choose that which will benefit her own unique interests, while
Russia and other communist states may do whatever they please in
pursuit of theirs.
Finally the Third Way’s belief in the right to property is in the right
to collective private property not individual private property. That
is, they vigorously support the establishment of co-ops, where
employees, not individuals own businesses. This should be
accomplished through employers selling shares in the company to all
employees, with the implementation of partnerships, workplace
representation, and economic democracy (redistribution of the
Company general meetings should include representatives of
employees and consumers. And especially, there should be a
government social audit to appraise how far companies meet their
stated social objective[s]. Traditional individual private property, on
the other hand, is debunked as the main factor leading to the
fragmentation of our society.
This, then, is but one more new and radical concept of the Third
Way, that a socialist might, for the first time, believe that property
good, just so long as its nature is changed. Radical yes, new no; for
again they are borrowing from Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto.
Said Marx: The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the
abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois
property. . . When, therefore, capital is converted into common
property. . . the social character of the property is changed. It loses
And if this change in the nature of property is the very heart of
communism, then how is it that the safe middle of the Third Way,
or any other Third Way, whether it be of Socialism, Fascism,
Corporatism, Keynesianism, State Monopoly Capitalism,
Democratic Socialism, or Social Democracy - which all challenge
and attack traditional private property - is anything less than
Four Big Lies
All these Third Way schemes have had their day in the sun,
because they perpetuate four big lies. That free enterprise endorses
lawlessness, that religion is not the necessary moral glue of a free
society, that communists havent always know that capitalism is
more economically effecient, and that communism is inherently
Lie 1. Was laissez-faire ever lawless or supposed to be lawless?
Tony Blair justifying the socialist framework wherein free enterprise
must work (Clinton makes an identical comment) reasons: We have
learnt (sic) that big government doesn’t work, but that no
government works even less. We suppose almost any kid who has
had a college course in Political Science or Economics could recite
the same, would probably believe it, and would thus find the Third
Way, or any derivation of that way, logical. It seems logical, that is,
when free enterprise is grossly misrepresented as something that
contends that business must operate in a morale-less, lawless
vacuum. It never did.
Free-economist Frederik Bastiat explained in his 1850 treatise The
Law, that a free market economy rejects only positive, not negative
law. Simply, the state has no right to dictate to anyone or any
business how to be good or moral, but it does have the right and
duty to punish those who violate the sacred rights of others.
This is fundamental. The proper role of government is to administer
justice, nothing more. Anything more or less than this is usurpation
and oppression. That means no socialist busy body regulatory state,
but a state, nonetheless, which protects rights and permits its
citizens to appeal to the common courts of justice when those rights
This is not anarchy and those who say it is are either miseducated
Lie 2. Religion has no role in a free society. It is really a
self-fulfilling prophecy to vilify capitalism as greedy and selfish,
while at the same time using the state to strip society of all vestiges
of traditional morality. Alexis de Tocqueville, wrote in Democracy
in America, The more the conditions of men are equalized and
assimilated to each other, the more important is it to have religion.
Democracy, with its freedom of movement tends to fragment
society and families, and create a general disrespect for authority
and law. Religion, therefore, is all the more necessary as mans
freedom enlarges, so that his self interest is purif[ied]. . .
regulate[d]. . . [and made] honest, and that he feels a tugging force
toward unity with his fellow man, and correcting reverence for
morality and law.
Herein is found the key to resolving the controversial Adam Smith
self interest theory of free enterprise: Self interest can be good.
Scholars ask, how can a system which pits one mans self interest
against another be inspired and right? But the doctors of economy
almost always ignore Smith’s reference to enlightened self interest.
That is, that self interest which is natural and good, which urges a
man to do better, to improve his surroundings, his education, and
that the lot of his family.
It is not, in that sense, far removed from the common religious
desire for the attainment of Heaven for self and family. We must
first love ourselves before we can help others, goes the
psychological jargon, and the Bible reads, ‘each man must work out
his own salvation,’ so how is the pursuit of self interest inherently
Lie 3. Communists have suddenly awakened to the superior
economic efficiency of capitalism.
Marx, writing in the Communist Manifesto of his plan to wrest, by
degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie and to centralize all
instruments of production in the hands of the state, admitted: This
cannot be effected except by means. . . which seem economically
insufficient and untenable.
Lenin likewise confessed in the Development of Capitalism in
Russia, “… we will have to admit that the development of social
economy under capitalism is very rapid, in contrast to all other
periods in Russian history.” And Stalin knew who paid the rent and
put missiles on the table when he bragged, “The Capitalist will sell
us the rope with which we will hang them!” This is why, from day
1, foreign aide, espionage, patent theft, and joint efforts with the
West have always been policy, and critical to communist survival.
Who’s fooling who?
Lie four. Communism is inherently inflexible. The old lie is that
Marx knew no other plan than the violent overthrow of the capitalist
order, and that socialism and all its varieties, because they seek
peaceful, gradual, middle ground methods of approach, are not
endorsed by Communists.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Again, in the Communist
Manifesto Marx wrote: Communists everywhere support every
revolutionary movement against the existing social and political
order of things.
Contrary to Lenin’s strategic criticism of spontaneous socialists,
already referred to, Marx wrote: The Communists fight for the
attainment of . . . immediate aims. Thus, in France the Communists
ally themselves with the Social-Democrats. . . In Switzerland they
support the Radicals. . . In Poland they support the party that insist
on agrarian revolution. . . In Germany they fight with the
bourgeoisie whenever it acts in a revolutionary way against the
absolute monarchy, the feudal squirearchy, and the petty bougeoise.
Lenin’s New Economic Plan (NEP) was in reality a call for a Third
Way economy of a mixture of state ownership, partnerships, and
limited free enterprise, and is all that Gorbachev ever promised to
return to under Perestroika - vowing loudly and clearly, that from
the Communist Revolution ‘we will never depart.’
To suppose that communism is inflexible is to ignore the dialectic
which Lenin explained was the only way to truly understand
communism. It is the ‘one step forward two steps back’ game.
Lenin said, “…without a knowledge of the dialectic, no one knows
anything about communism.” Fred Schwarz wrote forty years ago,
“If we judge where the Communists are going by the direction in
which they are moving, we will obviously be deceived.”
There is no Safe Middle Ground With Communism
The apostle John wrote in the Book of Revelations: ‘I know thy
works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or
hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neigher cold nor hot, I
will spew thee out of my mouth.’
Christian patriot and former Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft
Benson lamented on the same subject: ‘One of our most serious
problems is the inferiority complex which people feel when they are
not informed and organized. They dare not make a decision on. . .
vital issues. They let other people think for them. They stumble
around in the middle of the road to avoid being controversial, and
get hit by the traffic going both ways.’
This we cannot do.
Lenin admitted, there is no middle ground. And even Woodrow
Wilson, who unfortunately betrayed his own advice, wrote of even
the slightest compromise with socialism: “After you start a little way
on that road it is merely a question of time and choice as to how far
you will go upon it. You cannot, after you have got on that road,
arbitrarily call a halt at any one point upon it.”
On government guiding private industry he wrote: “You are saying:
Let the private individual have the burden and risk of the active
administration, but let the government say what the character of the
administration shall be. Let the individual take all the risks, let the
individual spend all the money, but let the government say how the
business should be conducted. Now in principle there is no
difference whatever between that and government ownership.”
Yes there is no difference. The Third Way is but one more attempt
to destroy the right to private property and forever subjugate man to
the state. We cannot afford to fall for its democratic, progressive
presentation. It is not democratic or progressive; it is not safe; it is
There is no room for compromise, but only a widespread
reeducation in the marvel of the American Free Enterprise system,
the most democratic, the most progressive, and the most socially
just system in the history of the world.