As I document in “How Evil Works,” bad guys of all varieties get what they want by two basic techniques:

    1. Seduction: getting what you want by being nice while lying through your teeth; and

    2. Intimidation: getting what you want through cruelty, bullying and force.

One or the other (or both) of these modes are responsible for most of the predatory and abusive relationships we encounter not only in our personal lives, but also on the national and world stage.

Today, decent Americans everywhere are scratching their heads, trying to make sense of the madness they see unfolding in Washington. Think about it:

Barack Obama is elected, and his administration immediately muscles control of large sectors of the economy – auto companies, banks, insurance companies – insisting much more is on the way, including health care and energy. Everywhere, talk of “socialism” and “Marxism” is in the air – even establishment Newsweek, less than three weeks after Inauguration Day, runs as its cover story “We Are All Socialists Now”.

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Meanwhile, back at the White House, a self-proclaimed communist is appointed “czar” and another close Obama adviser publicly brags one of her “favorite political philosophers” is Mao Zedong, the notorious communist mass murderer historians hold responsible for 70 million deaths.

While the nation swirls ever deeper into financial chaos, with millions losing their jobs, homes and hope, the president ignores the economy and instead spends a year forcing socialized medicine on an unwilling nation, using the most corrupt, thuggish and unconstitutional means imaginable. Then in response, as the nation’s streets and parks fill to overflowing with tea-partying grandmothers, doctors, janitors and soccer moms protesting the financial enslavement of their children, a seemingly oblivious Obama mocks them, saying their demonstrations merely “amused” him, and wondering aloud why they weren’t instead “saying ‘thank you'” to him.

This supremely bizarre spectacle just doesn’t add up for millions of Americans, because they remember that a whole lot of us fought, and many bled and died, to stop the “socialist” and “Marxist” infection in far-off lands like Korea, and later in Vietnam, and then throughout the Cold War with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. We remember Ronald Reagan as president just over two decades ago, the Berlin Wall jubilantly being torn down and the free world cheering the dissolution of the U.S.S.R.

And then, we went to sleep, thinking “the threat is over – we won!”

But as I explain in “How Evil Works”:

Although Ronald Reagan admirably presided over the dismantling of the “evil empire” of the Soviet Union, freeing its many “satellite” slave states, one cannot destroy evil itself. The temptation of socialism continues to corrupt whole societies, including America.

Even the encouragement of immorality – sexual promiscuity, abortion, easy divorce – is all part and parcel of the socialist modus operandi, because dissolute, dysfunctional people who have crossed the moral line and thus become estranged from the laws of God now need the “god” of socialist government.

Do you wonder why, when we gaze up at the pinnacle of power in Washington today, we behold much of the same philosophy and worldview we fought and died to contain far from home?

It’s because while we were understandably preoccupied with Soviet expansionism and the Cuban missile crisis and deterrence and the threat of nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles being launched at our cities, there was a second front in this same war being waged against us – quietly, seductively, and largely out of view.

The truth is that the same “ism” we fought to contain overseas – call it what you want, Marxism, socialism or the much nicer sounding “progressivism” – has been slowly and inexorably infiltrating and subverting America for decades. Virtually all of our major institutions, from our public-school system – which was taken over by progressives over 100 years ago – to our universities, to our news media, entertainment industry, most major foundations, even many of our churches, have largely been subverted by forces of the political and moral Left.

And as a direct result of the leftist-progressive control of our schools, universities, news media and culture, we have gradually forgotten who and what we are as Americans. We’ve lost sight of core principles of personal responsibility, morality and true freedom, and thus we’ve stopped teaching them to our children. In a word, we’ve lost our way.

Were we not dumbed down, confused and demoralized as a nation, there’s no way 69 million Americans would have voted for such an astonishingly unsuitable and unqualified candidate for president as Barack Obama. Which brings us to the final institution the Left has lusted after for decades: government. That’s what it captured in November 2008.

We’re looking at the same pernicious ideology being exalted and implemented in Washington today that we once taught our children was evil. Based on seduction (Churchill called socialism “the gospel of envy”) and intimidation (Mao famously said “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”), the means may change from time to time and place to place, but the end desired by the radical leftist is always the same: radical redistribution of wealth and power.

So this is how evil works. While our attention is engaged in fighting one battle, we’re distracted from dealing with the subtler, more seductive, but ultimately more dangerous threat.

We’re seeing the same thing happening, by the way, with radical Islam, which is engaged in a similar two-front war against the West. While we are focused on the very real threat of terrorism and jihadist violence (making airline passengers take off their shoes and toss out their toothpaste, nail clippers and water bottles), another stealthier and far less dramatic campaign in the same long-term war for Shariah dominance is being carried out right under our noses. The infiltration and subversion of our society, law, culture and government by Islamists and their organizations, many masquerading as charitable, religious, cultural and civil-rights groups, but secretly dedicated to overthrowing the Constitution and replacing it with the Quran, is widespread.

But most of us are oblivious – just as we have been with the gradual takeover of our nation’s key institutions by the Left.

If there’s anything good about the abomination taking place in our country right now, it is that the extreme pain is causing us to finally wake up. Now that we are awake, if we are very careful not to falter, if we work incredibly hard, if we avoid being overconfident, if we ask for guidance from above, and if, as God told Joshua, we remain “strong and of a good courage” – we may just have one last chance this November to redeem ourselves and our nation.

That will not be the end, mind you. It will be the beginning, because after that we will have the long, difficult but glorious task of taking back not only our government, but each and every one of our priceless institutions that was stolen from us while we slept.

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