Socialism is a dirty word in America. It is an epithet and it deserves to be. The core of the philosophy – that you are owned by the State – is inherently immoral and completely contradictory to the principles on which the American system is based. Additionally, the idea that our entire system should be reoriented to be most conducive to the needs of the least ambitious and least successful among us is intellectually bankrupt and destructive to the amazingly prosperous society that we and our predecessors have built. While expecting different results from doing the same thing over and over again may not be the “definition of insanity” as the oft-repeated quote says, it is asinine to continue retrying socialism in hopes that this time it will work.
I have noticed a trend in America since the last election cycle. It started on that morning when then-candidate Obama uncharacteristically dropped his guard and let his inner Marxist slip out in that famous exchange with Joe “the plumber” Wurzelbacher. Obama made the mistake of admitting that he wanted to “spread the wealth around.” Hearing that sort of clear collectivist-speak immediately evokes images of a damp, gray, Orwellian society to me: part Animal Farm, part 1984. Whether Obama is Orwell’s Big Brother or just a member of the politburo of elite pigs is irrelevant because the eventual miserable outcome is the same. What I have noticed since the Joe the Plumber moment, however, involves the oddly consistent reactions of many people to any accusations of socialistic programs and philosophy. I was reminded of this by a ridiculous article at CBSNews.Com penned by self-labeled socialist Frank Llewellyn, who played the typical hard-left games with the language to run interference for his allies in collectivism.
From the CBSNews article, titled Socialism And The Politics Of Fear:
“Socialism” is now an active part of the Republican lexicon, among the litany of routine charges to be trotted out whenever they cannot come up with a substantive critique of policy initiatives they oppose.”
“Republicans and their media allies never really define what they mean by socialism. To some, it is an expansion in government spending (although many capitalist nations funnel more of their GDP through the public sector than the U.S. does). This past February, Fox TV host Glen Beck informed me on the air that Canada must be a socialist country because it had a universal health care system. That would be news to Canada’s socialist New Democratic Party, which has occasionally held power at the provincial level but has never won a federal election.”
That is shallow talking point nonsense intended only to obfuscate and distract from the real issue. Let me provide my definition, though in conversation I typically prefer to use the umbrella term of collectivism because it covers all of the slavery-isms that statists like Llewellyn worship: Marxism, socialism, communism, Maoism, fascism, etc. Socialism has become an epithet for a good reason: simply put, socialism is slavery. It is not different from slavery in kind but only differs in degree: in both cases someone claims ownership of you and will decide how that resource will be utilized. Contrary to the disingenuous claim quoted above that to “Republicans” socialism is just “an expansion in government spending”, there is an obvious distinction. When people acting with the alleged authority of government take property from the people who own it and redistribute it to those who did not own it we rightly call that socialism, at least those of us who do not play manipulative games with the language. It does not matter that it does not completely follow the pure socialist rhetoric of Obama’s mentors or the class warfare rants of some unhappy French guys in the 19th century. I do not give a rodent’s posterior whether a statist agrees that it fits his definition of socialism. People who approve of such soft-slavery do not even accept that socialism is immoral. Why should we care about their strict definition of the word? Shouldn’t we wisely assume that someone who follows that egregiously anti-freedom ideology would be willing to lie and cheat to obtain desired goals? Why would a socialist ever admit that a system was socialist while it was still only 50 or 75 percent socialist, before it has hit its utopian critical mass? Let’s not be naïve about our ideological opponents.
Whenever anyone claims that a government program or a particular ideological position is “socialism” there is an immediate chorus of condescension from people who are suddenly highly concerned with a strict definition of the word. I have noticed that socialists of all degrees, from the hardcore Marxist down to the local Obama supporter who greedily wants something for nothing, have been increasingly running interference for the Left on the use of the S-word. A good look at it shows that there are two basic groups of people who will reliably mock accusations of socialism, one side pathetic and the other sinister.
Clearly some people, particularly the myrmidons still sporting Yes We Can t-shirts, have convinced themselves that redistribution of wealth is not socialism, partly because of their class-warfare stoked greed and partly because they know implicitly that there is something anti-American about it. They cannot accept that they are a part of the looter/moocher class so well defined by Rand in Atlas Shrugged. These non-thinkers metaphorically put their fingers in their ears and chant la-la-la rather than accept that they are in fact societal parasites, ticks on the neck of productive America. They have become comfortable with the idea of living off of others – as long they can be in outward denial of that fact – but remain mostly unwilling to call it socialism, perhaps showing a remaining microscopic sense of shame. Incidentally, these people positively love the idea of socialist medicine in America. Let’s call them the loser-socialists.
The other group mocking every claim of socialism has an agenda and should never be trusted for one moment. This group, the benefactor-socialists, is larger than you might want to think because it includes all degrees of socialists, from admitted socialists like Llewellyn down to charlatan statists like Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama. Though these people are a diverse group, from limousine liberals who all attended the same elite schools to their empty headed Hollywood allies to even the tenured college professor who could never make it in the private sector, they all share a lack of common sense and a tendency to deny any history that does not support their ideology. If you read the article linked above you may have noticed that the author’s main thrust is against Republicans and in defense of Democrats for the obvious reason that socialists and the Democrat party are on the same side of the collectivist ideological divide in America. The Democrat party in America does not differ in ideological substance from hard-core socialists, they simply offer a more watered down version for palatability purposes. In effect they know that they cannot put too much poison in the water or their victims might taste it too soon. But just watch them when they get too much control and get drunk on their power, as is happening now, and see how far they attempt to take us all down the road toward their socialist utopia.
Socialists have to be able to own the word in terms of its definition so that they can dishonestly arbitrate claims of socialism made by their ideological opponents. As stated above, the loser-socialist will reject the label while implicitly accepting the system that it describes because deep inside (if only unconsciously) they know that socialism simply isn’t right. The benefactor-socialist however, a modern day slave master harnessing the productivity of the people less likely to support him in order to subsidize the loser-socialists who will, has far more sinister motives that are more about power and control than any sense of fairness or compassion. Because of their need to obfuscate their real motives and the historically-proven results of their theoretical system they must strenuously reject that S-word whenever it is uttered. Just like NAMBLA members strive to redefine pedophilia into a “May-December romance”, socialists will continually attempt to redefine their slavery into “fairness and compassion.” Don’t buy it in either case.