Why Would a University of Chicago Professor Call Obama a Marxist?

Maybe he knows something we don’t. Or maybe he knows something we secretly suspect. A lunch companion of Barack Obama’s reportedly claims that Obama is a Marxist.

Here’s what James Pethokoukis writes today for U.S. News & World Report:

A while back I chatted with a University of Chicago professor who was a frequent lunch companion of Obama’s. This professor said that Obama was as close to a full-out Marxist as anyone who has ever run for president of the United States. Now, I tend to quickly dismiss that kind of talk as way over the top. My working assumption is that Obama is firmly within the mainstream of Democratic politics. But if he is as free with that sort of redistributive philosophy in private as he was on the campaign trail this week, I have no doubt that U of C professor really does figure him as a radical.

Believe it or not, there are people in America who would dearly love to have a Marxist in the White House. Bill Ayres may be one of those people. Almost certainly the Reverend Jeremiah Wright would be delighted, since he is himself an advocate of liberation theology. I’m not a lunch companion of Barack Obama, but I do know something about liberation theology. It is a fundamentally Marxist ideology with a religious veneer. A major goal of leaders in the liberation theology movement is to radicalize people on the lower end of the economic spectrum by causing them to believe that they are oppressed and entitled to redistributed wealth.

Now we can hear in Obama’s own words that he is a redistributivist. He told a now-famous plumber named Joe that he wants to “spread the wealth around.” His plan for doing this is to penalize the success of some people to provide handouts to the less successful, without regard for the work ethic of the parties involved.

I can’t shake the suspicion that Barack Obama’s students days and his years as a budding politician were framed by a radical ideology. This would explain many of the few things we actually know about Obama.

About Doug Geivett
University Professor; PhD in philosophy; author; conference speaker. Hobbies include motorcycling, travel, kayaking, sailing.

8 Responses to Why Would a University of Chicago Professor Call Obama a Marxist?

  1. Doug Geivett says:


    Here’s a deep irony about socialism. You say what you’d rather see happen. But in a socialist society, your preferences, regardless of what they are, wouldn’t matter. Expressing them would have no influence. And changing your mind would have no potential for reversing its effects.

    It’s easy to talk up socialism as if it’s a choice we should make. That pretense is buttressed by the experience of living in a free society, where choice is a concrete reality. Are you sure you want to give that up?


  2. spearman says:

    I would rather that the government tax me to support essential services than have the 5%, the capitalist ownership class that owns 60% of the wealth, prevent essential services from being available to all by preventing the organization of a just socialist society.


  3. Doug Geivett says:


    A better description would be that government officials take money from people and these officials subsidize those who have less. Individuals have no choice about how much is taken from them or how it is “distributed.”

    Individuals will have less incentive to grow their own assets, since the more they make of them the more will be taken. Ultimately, we’ll have some who work and some who do not, both having about as much to live on.


  4. spearman says:

    If education, transportation, entertainment, health care, housing, etc. is equally available to all because everyone subsidizes these services through their labor then aren’t these people real, living, breathing stewards of the so-called abstract society’s resources?


  5. Doug Geivett says:

    Hi Spearman,

    What kind of ownership is it when you have no opportunity to be a responsible steward of what you own? And what does it really mean to say that in a socialist society “everyone owns everything”? I think it’s supposed to mean that “society” owns everything. But society is an abstraction, not a concrete or human entity. Society can no more own property or assets than my desk can make a back deposit.


  6. spearman says:

    I should have used the term “own” instead of control. In a socialist country, since everything is nationalized, everyone owns everything.


  7. Doug Geivett says:

    With Marxism, less than 1% would control everything.


  8. spearman says:

    What this country needs is a good Marxist President!.. Enough of 5% controlling 60% of the wealth.


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