21st Century Democracy and the Third Way

21st Century Democracy and the Third Way

                     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
                 more ominous.

                 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 is
                 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
                 its class-character.

                 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
                 are violated.

                 This is not anarchy and those who say it is are either miseducated
                 or dishonest.

                 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
                 closet communism.

                 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.