Saturday, October 18, 2008

Obama the socialist

Since the charge is now being thrown around, here's a bit of advice. The next time someone says "Obama is a socialist", ask them what they think "socialism" means. If they say that under socialism the means of production are owned by some collective, social entity you can give them a gold star and say that while they are not conceptually confused, they are factually ignorant. There's nothing that Obama is trying to do that McCain isn't trying to do that is the slightest bit socialist. If they say that under socialism, we return to Clinton's tax policies and every dollar you make over $250,000 will be taxed at 39% rather than 36% you can give them a slap to the face. That's the cure for conceptual confusion. You can say that a better example of recent socialist tendencies would be the bailout Bush proposed and McCain supported. From The Telegraph:
Conservative economist Alan Reynolds, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, ... [said]: "Public ownership of mortgage-backed bonds is merely an investment. Public ownership of equity is socialism."

Jonathan Hoenig, the chief executive of the Capitalist Pig hedge fund, added: "It's a major negative for the economy. It pushes this country further and further toward socialism.

"We now join the Soviet Union, North Korea and Cuba as countries in which the government owns, it doesn't just referee, but owns a major stake in the financial system. That's been a disaster for any economy that's ever tried it. It's not the government's role to own banks."

"Socialist" isn't one of my fighting words. If it is among someone's fighting words, she could at least use it correctly.

You might further point out that it's inconsistent with the free market ideology that was supposed to be the ideology of the Republican Party to propose ways of using tax policy to interfere with the mutually beneficial arrangements between employee and employer (e.g., the arrangement whereby employees are given health care by their employers as a kind of compensation) in order to produce socially attractive aims like handing out tax credits of $5000 to families. That's the kind of crap that has Nozick rolling over in his grave. Of course, if they don't know what "socialism" means, don't expect them to know who Nozick is.

Shorter post. Clinton = not socialist. Obama = not socialist. Bush = quasi-socialist. McCain = enabler of Bush's quasi-socialist policies in self-denial.

Slightly less shorter post. This is a lesson in how right wing anti-intellectualism can bite someone in the ass. Republicans can go to bed being all right wing and wake up all socialist inciting mobs of sometimes racist white folk to join them in some hair-brained scheme to use our tax dollars to seize the means of production.


Jeff Rubard said...

Clayton: coming at it from the other angle, consider Leon Trotsky's If America Should Go Communist. Consider how few changes Trotsky actually proposed and how little the Soviet Union is cited as an example for the United States to follow.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you didn’t say much in your post about it, but that video makes me physically ill. Why do people persist in believing malicious lies that have been discredited time and time again? Why do people persist in racial prejudice and bigotry? I know why. I took a class on why people believe the insane things they believe and continue to believe them long after they have been falsified. Still, it is surprising and frustrating even when I consider how many of my family members probably believe the same things.
I don’t think I can take another round of “drill, baby, drill”.