"We're All Socialists Now?" Like Heck We Are!!!

Newsweek's cover story from its February 16, 2009 issue declares smugly that "We Are All Socialists Now." I'm sure at some point along the way they also declared that a consensus exists that man is causing irreversible global warming.

The only people who are socialists now are (a) some of those who are in debt bondage and want an easy fix, (b) nearly all of those who want to control other people's lives, or (c) most of those who don't think clearly. Admittedly, that probably includes quite a few of us. But it's nowhere near all of us.

Besides, I can't be a socialist. According to the state of Missouri, I'm a Ron Paul-affiliated terrorist.

I'll be dead before I'm a socialist. And there are no socialists in heaven.

Several years ago, I made a derogatory

They can't afford for us all to become socialists anyway. They need at least a fair number of ants to support their grasshopper lifestyles.

comment about the spectacles that everyone seemed to be wearing those days. This was very off-putting to my then girlfriend (who, fortunately, never became my wife).

"You ALWAYS overgeneralize!!" she exclaimed, clearly exasperated and clearly unaware of her witty faux pas.

It is with much the same accuracy that Newsweek now claims that all Americans are socialist.

Sadly, though, the story lives up neither to the headline nor to Newsweek's wishful thinking. Newsweek's paean to world socialism tells us not much more than we already know, that some people really are--gasp socialist. Lamenting this fact would have been news. Reveling in it is not.

The Federal Government is socialist? Says Newsweek:
A decade ago U.S. government spending was 34.3 percent of GDP, compared with 48.2 percent in the euro zone—a roughly 14-point gap, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In 2010 U.S. spending is expected to be 39.9 percent of GDP, compared with 47.1 percent in the euro zone—a gap of less than 8 points.
Newsweek might like to think they got the best of us there, but us non-socialist hick types have known that our government has been socialist for more than 80

Does it make Utahns socialists just because our state legislators jumped off a bridge with a defective federal bungee cord tied to their ankles?

years.

Most State Governments are socialist? It's disturbing that this somehow seems like news to Newsweek. Yet the number-two Establishment propaganda rag seems proud of supposedly having uncovered a brand new fact, even though every state in the union eventually took handouts from the federal government during FDR's Newly Great Depressionary Deal.
it is unlikely that even the reddest of states will decline federal money for infrastructural improvements.
Does it make Utahns socialists because our state legislators jumped off a bridge with a defective federal bungee cord tied to their ankles?

George W. Bush is a socialist? Yes, says Newsweek, and a conservative to boot!! (I guess 50% accuracy or less is good enough for Establishment hack magazines.)
...under a conservative GOP administration that we enacted the largest expansion of the welfare state in 30 years: prescription drugs for the elderly.
The next thing Newsweek will be telling us is that

We have been so up to our ears in being sick of socialism that, unless martial law soon comes to town, your socialist nirvana gig is up. Even people who watch Survivor, 24, and the Simpsons all day can tell when an economy is tanking and who caused it.

they didn't see the economic collapse coming!

Socialism stinks. Those of us who have been on the receiving end of it oughta know. We have been so up to our ears in being sick of socialism that, unless martial law soon comes to town, your socialist nirvana gig is up. Even people who watch Survivor, 24, and the Simpsons all day can tell when an economy is tanking and who caused it.

Hardly anyone now living has ever lived in a free market economy. But that doesn't make us all socialists. To be socialists just because nitwits tell us it's a good idea would make us cowards, megalomaniac wannabes, or stupid.

The moon is NOT made of green cheese. Housing prices do NOT always go up. And we are NOT even close to all being socialists.

You can't afford for us all to become socialists anyway. You need at least a fair number of us ants to support your grasshopper lifestyles.




Comments

  1. Oh, heavens, yes. That article really set me off a little while ago, too... really, really rant-y; not so cohesive. (What's sad is that now I have even more links I could use to fill out the socialist/communist/collectivist agenda I was listing...)

    On the Missouri thing - you know, that State has always had trouble correctly identifying and working with "minority thought" groups; if anything, I'd count myself in good company & take it as a compliment (and stay out, of course). ;-)

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  2. No, most U.S. citizens aren't socialists. Neither is the federal government, the state governments, or the vast majority of liberals--except for the conservatives who completely distort the word so they can go on their regular Red Scare witch hunts to whip up fear and loathing.

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  3. Incidentally, I don't think the Newsweek blurb was seriously suggesting that the U.S. is socialist. It was a reference to the fact that conservatives typically respond to any talk of oversight, regulation, or welfare with accusations of socialism. While it is an exaggeration to claim we "all" believe in regulation, there seems to be a much greater consensus than we've had in decades--perhaps than ever--that we need some level of regulation and social safety net. Thus the implication of the blurb is that if restraining the more abusive and destructive tendencies of the market is socialism, as the conservatives say, then fine: we're "all" socialists. Don't make more of it than it really is.

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  4. You go, Frank! Better dead than Red!

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  5. derekstaff - I gather from how you mention "conservatives" in your comments that you do not consider yourself "a conservative."

    Lumping people into one big "them" group does indeed make them easier to criticize and slander, doesn't it?

    But applying the adjective "socialist" to a plan that puts social engineering into legislation at the expense of individuals rights, and indeed makes that social engineering the standard; or applying that to the favorable view of such acts, is spot-on.

    I'm free to disagree with that prioritization and engineering, and others are free to endorse it; but let's not muddy the definition.

    Also, "incidentally," I believe Newsweek was mostly serious, amped up by concern with grabbing a headline. Most people I meet/hear DO believe that "the government" owes us certain things and is primarily responsible for our welfare - our society's well-being, if you will. They expect "the government" to act as an instrument of social justice. As you state, "there seems to be a greater consensus...that we need some level of regulation and social safety net."

    In a political or ideological sense, that's socialism.

    In an economic sense, here's Webster's first definition: "any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods." We have, through the last 100 years, collectivized a lot of things; and with the Bailouts and subsequent actions, further done so.

    Can you honestly say that the production of goods is not governed by federal controls? (Regulations, licensing, etc.)

    As for the distribution of those goods, that control is generally seen in the *redistribution* of taxes into social programs.

    ...anyway, that's a long enough comment for now; hope that helps!

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  6. Kannie, no, I do not consider myself a conservative. And given that your whole post is about slandering Obama and most liberals as "socialist" and "communists," I'm reminded of a saying about pots and kettles. This is exactly the sort of thing I'm talking about.

    The argument about social engineering is pretty week. Laws to enforce traditional social conventions at the expense of individual rights (such as marriage legislation) is also social engineering.

    What you consider collectivization I might consider preventing people from harming the public commons or taking advantage of the disadvantaged in society.

    I am no fan of bailouts, but we should recognize that for the ill that it is: corporatism, not socialism.

    Are you suggesting that the means of production should not be subject to federal regulation, and that such regulation constitutes socialism? Then you are exactly making my point.

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  7. derekstaff -

    *sigh* "given that your whole post is about slandering Obama and most liberals as "socialist" and "communists," I'm reminded of a saying about pots and kettles."

    Wow. You read that as slandering Obama? Wow. Then I guess I can't help you - it requires a basic level of reading comprehension to engage in debate, and if you refuse to read, I'm done.

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  8. Kannie, your post said:

    "How DARE you, CONGRESS?!?!

    How DARE YOU, PRESIDENT OBAMA?!?!

    HOW DARE YOU, FELLOW CITIZENS?!?!?!?!

    You would STEAL my CHILD'S FREEDOM and economic future for your own comfort and political aggrandizement?!?!

    You COWARDS!

    You use my tax dollars? You function the way you're supposed to.

    You expect my support? You learn to READ THE CONSTITUTION.

    You want my cooperation? You DON'T talk down to me like the threat you pose is some antiquated conspiracy theory, and I'm just too STOOOPID to understand reality.

    But you want "socialism?" You take your evil, simultaneously namby-pamby and oppressive ideas somewhere else, and stay away from me."

    Please help me understand how my inept comprehension misinterpreted this as an accusation of Obama as socialist.

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  9. Correction: please help me understand how this was not a slander of Obama, and an implication that he was socialist.

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  10. derekstaff -

    "please help me understand how this was not a slander of Obama, and an implication that he was socialist."

    First, I don't think I *implied* anything. I think I called it out - in three different mentions - by its definition.

    And second, some people think it's a great idea. How is a description of what I see slander? Do you have a different definition of socialism that would render mine false?

    Additionally, (since I don't want to threadjack any more than has already happened), if you're commenting about my post instead of my comments on Frank's post, I believe the comment section on that (as I said, "really, really rant-y; not so cohesive") post - which link I provided only to illustrate that I felt largely the same way on learning of the article but was less composed - is still open... not that I believe either of us will change our minds, and I really don't enjoy fighting, but you're welcome to speak your mind and contradict my *post* there.

    My apologies, Frank - I hadn't intended all this...

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  11. Okay, so you specifically called Obama a socialist--again, proving my initial point.

    It is slander because you were using misleading and derogatory language, at least as much as I was. To claim that any sort of recognition of the government's role in moderating resource use ("collectivization") is socialism is dubious at best.

    Yes, I was speaking about your post, not your comment. That is why I referred to it as your post. Despite my poor reading comprehension, I know the difference. I alluded to it here because you referred to it in the context of this thread, and it is relevant to the topic of our conversation.

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  12. And there are no socialists in heaven.

    That's pretty absurd Frank, I mean God.

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  13. Ok then, Derek, if kannie's definition of socialism and yours are not the same, and if Obama is really not a socialist, tell me a few things:

    Are you a socialist? Is socialism bad altogether, or can it be a good thing to a certain degree? Is Obama's agenda completely non-socialist, or is it partly socialist?

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  14. D: no, I am not a socialist. I believe that the application of government restriction/regulation of economic activity to prevent externalization and harm to the public commons (environmental regulation, financial market regulation, labor regulation) as well as the government control of allocation of resources (defense, law enforcement and other emergency services, public education and ancillary resources like public libraries, some social safety nets) in order to further enable equality of opportunity and a healthy society, all within a larger market context. I certainly do not agree with all of Obama's agenda, and remain rather skeptical about a great deal of the stimulus programs, but his agenda is no more in essence socialist than mine.

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  15. Frank, I don't mean to hijack your discussion, but this post I just posted (at KVNU FTP, not The SideTrack) is somewhat related, and also something I'd love hear your thoughts on.

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  16. derek -

    First, my apologies for misinterpreting your comment on my post as being about my comment; given the context, I figured it was a typo. Also, my apologies for my ungenerous reaction to that misinterpreted comment.

    Second, I don't understand what your definition of socialism would be, if not the dictionary definition. Objecting to - yes, a label - that you don't want applied to you (or someone or something else) does not change its definition.

    FWIW, I feel the same way about being labeled "a conservative" - it's a broad term that encompasses a lot more than I'm comfortable with (especially now), but I do acknowledge that I have a lot of views that could be called "conservative."

    What I'm trying to do is defend what my research shows is the moral and principled basis of the Constitution. I believe our founders had a lot of help setting it up, and as we depart from those principles and values, it's not good.

    The problem that I have with any socialist tendencies is that those who advocate them by definition put themselves as wiser keepers of others, who become pawns to be used in the building of their grand vision. "People just can't be trusted to do the right thing, but they can be trusted to vote for the right vision" and all. Make sense?

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  17. Kannie, thanks for being civil. I understand and appreciate the need to support the principles and values of the Constitution. I am a strong advocate of being better informed about the history of the Constitution and its principles (I not long ago wrote the first of what I intend to be several posts on the Founders and the separation of Church and State).

    My objection is that I believe that this post and those similar are taking the most extreme possible definition of Socialism. If people are going to try to paint any level of government regulation or allocation of resources (or at least any allocation beyond property law enforcement and civil defense) as socialist, or if they are going to raise the specters of Stalin and Mao anytime such things are discussed, they are being inaccurate (whether you disagree with his plan or not, he wants those safeguards and allocations to be done within the framework of a market system) simply prevents constructive debate.

    I would point out, like I did with the social engineering comment, that liberals and "socialists" are hardly the only ones who believe there must be some top-down control. And I believe that, if we are all being honest, there is a need on some levels for top-down authority. We may want that authority minimized whenever possible, but no one here, I suspect, is an anarchist. The disagreement is not on whether there needs to be some level of authority, but in which areas.

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  18. Derek,

    I am yet baffled by your apparent definition of socialism. I hope that you are reacting the way you are to this article because you think that I, as you say "[am] taking the most extreme possible definition of Socialism" and "[am] rais[ing] the specters of Stalin and Mao", which I'm not.

    I think Socialism is the public or state ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods. Please let me know if this definition is incorrect.

    Because if it is, Obama (as well as Bush before him) is clearly using socialist tactics by directing the activities of and owning stock in such companies as GM and AIG.

    In Utah, two days ago, West Valley City took over 40% ownership of A HOCKEY TEAM!!! If these aren't socialist activities, then please define what kind of activities they are for me, so I can learn something.

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  19. Frank, you don't think that this simplified definition is rather extreme in its simplicity? I think its fair to say that most of us in the U.S. (though not all) believe in retaining national parks and lands, in providing public education and various civic resources, in overseeing public utilities, in maintaining infrastructure, in regulating various aspects of production. Those all involve the state ownership and administration of production or distribution of goods. If those are socialism, then the Newsweek article is largely right.

    In classifying the actions of the last couple of years as Socialism, you seem to be suggesting that there is no difference between the state seizure of industry by various socialist regimes, and state aid for businesses which have come to government begging for aid. You may believe that the latter is highly unethical and economically and financially disastrous (and I would strongly lean towards agreeing), but there is a material difference between the two situations.

    By "directing the activities of," are you referring to such actions as the challenging of the AIG bonuses by Obama?

    I hadn't heard about WV and the hockey team. What a joke.

    (Of course, I think the entire professional sports business model, which seems to entail individual franchises blackmailing government into financing hugely expensive facilities about every twenty years, is inherently ludicrous and immoral.)

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  20. From http://www.merriam-webster.com
    I bring you this:
    so·cial·ism
    1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods2 a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state3: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.

    From what I can see we are heading down that road--and I definitely don't think it is extreme to say so. The definition is simple, the road we are taking toward socialism (and eventually communism if you agree with Marx) is quite easy simple to see. Judging by history and not just my opinion (although my opinion would agree), that is not a road we want to take.

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