Diana West

Just look at FDR's so-called New Deal, the brilliantly folksy name for the Depression-era, collectivist revolution in spending, taxation, regimentation and centralization that reorganized the U.S. government along socialist lines in the 1930s. And no wonder: FDR also presided over a massive influx of leftists, Marxists, socialists, "pinkos," -- as well as hundreds of bona fide Soviet agents -- into the U.S. government, a shocking development in our history that I examine in my new book, "American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character." Scary fact: Roosevelt administration official Lauchlin Currie, a confirmed Soviet agent, was the original booster of the first U.S. government "stimulus" spending. Didn't work then; doesn't work now -- if, that is, "work" means to improve the economy. It works great if the point is to make Americans more dependent on government largesse.

If it's unlikely that Obamacare will spontaneously "implode," can it be "rolled back"? History suggests timing might be a factor. New Deal and Fair Deal (President Truman's programs) bureaucracies were about 10 or 15 years old when Republicans really tried to roll back at least some of them as the post-World War II economy roared. They were not successful. In fact, the U.S. government only continued expanding.

As noted in "American Betrayal," Norman Thomas, the six-time Socialist candidate for president, wrote the following in 1953: "Here in America more measures once praised or denounced as socialist have been adopted than once I should have thought possible short of a Socialist victory at the polls." By 1958, well into President Eisenhower's second term, Thomas was still enthused: "The United States is making greater strides toward socialism under Eisenhower than even under Roosevelt." In 1962, he explained, "The difference between Democrats and Republicans is: Democrats have accepted some ideas of socialism cheerfully, while Republicans have accepted them reluctantly."

Just not by name -- never by name. As Upton Sinclair, the muckraking author and one-time Socialist candidate for Congress once wrote to Thomas, "The American people will take Socialism, but they won't take the label."

A century of unimpeded progress of the so-called progressives -- Marxists, statists, socialists, collectivists, leftists, communists, Alinskyites -- tells us this is true.

That tells me it's high time to affix the label, the S-word, to educate voters that this socialist trend -- this increasing government control and intervention and supervision and knowledge of every aspect of our lives -- diminishes our liberties and strips away freedom. In other words, the Obamacare debate, including the government shutdown, is about much, much more than government inefficiency or rising costs and unemployment. It's about our destiny as a free nation and our Constitutional right to live our lives as free individuals.

If we are to reclaim that destiny and those rights, it will only be because these 16 days in October were the beginning of something, and not the end.

Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).