by William Teach | January 23, 2016 8:10 am
When I first saw the headline to this Time piece by Joe Klein (The Democrats Stumble Toward 50 Shades of Socialism), I figured I was going to be leading with “au, contraire, Joe, they are moving towards Progressivism, also known as “nice fascism”, but, he somewhat mentions this
A specter is haunting the Democratic Party–the specter of socialism. A question is being asked, mostly by Republicans, but also by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: What is the difference between a Democrat and a Socialist? Debbie Wasserman Schultz got it last July and, ever the robotic partisan, answered by saying the more important difference was between Democrats and Republicans. Senator Chuck Schumer said it depended on how you define the two, and then refused to define the two. And, most significantly, Hillary Clinton said, “Well, I can tell you what I am … I’m a progressive Democrat.”
Now this is not a difficult question to answer. Webster’s says socialism is “a social system or theory in which the government owns and controls the means of production.” Democrats tend to believe in free enterprise. They think government should regulate the means of production, not own it. They have taken great pains to separate themselves from socialism, which has always been a poison word in American politics. And yet, according to a recent Des Moines Register poll, 43% of Iowa Democrats describe themselves as socialists. What gives?
What gives is that, first, it’s interesting that Joe refers to “free enterprise”, rather than Capitalism. Because, more and more, Democrats are looking for more and more governmental control of the economic system, along with quiet calls for replacing the capitalist system. Second, the means of production thing covers just one of the 3 cores of Democratic political theory, which determines whether it is a Socialist, Liberal, or Conservative type system. American conservatives are more akin to Classic Liberalism, not true conservatism. For socialism, the moral core has the government staying the heck out of our private lives even more than Classic Liberalism. Does anyone see that happening? Democrats want government involved in all facets of our lives. Then there’s the political core, where virtually everything is up for a vote and almost no one is excluded. They do like this, except when they lose.
Klein goes on to note that they are not really Socialists, but more “European-style social democrats, who believe in a robust redistribution of wealth and government control of some of the means of production–like the health care system.” He goes on to describe what Hillary and Sanders are pushing, finally noting that
But each of those ideas is more “progressive” than “socialist.”
In that, he’s correct. Democrats really shouldn’t be put on the political scale to the Left: they are actually way to the Right, close to Fascism. It is an Authoritarian political system, which also deals with Absolutism, meaning the government, particularly the central government, is in charge of everything. Everything is dominated by the central government. It believes in the use of force and coercion to keep the citizenry in line. It requires Belief in the primacy of Government, replacing religion as the measure of faith and worship. It’s descended from Fascism, but, doesn’t share all traits. Basically, modern Progressives mix and match their beliefs, all for the good of the Government. While they yammer about being against “oppression”, they like to oppress those who do not hold the correct thoughts, and they want Government to force compliance, for instance.
Indeed, the Democrats should worry about their attachment to big government, which, in America, has come to mean more unaccountable bureaucracy, like the Department of Veterans Affairs; more inefficiency, like the weird tangle of federal job-training programs, each more irrelevant than the last; and more perverse incentives, like welfare programs that ask for nothing–no personal responsibility–in return from their recipients.
But, that is exactly what the Progressives want, at least in terms of a very strong central government. They don’t seem to notice, or, at times, even care, about the problems that come with Big Government, nor that this same BG can reach out and make their lives miserable.
If it was just the political theory of Socialism that we were facing, that could be beaten back, because at least it would include unfettered access to the ballot box and government staying out of our lives. Progressives refuse to accept when they lose at the ballot box, and, again, want heavy control of our lives by Government. Their control of so many facets of American life, particularly the education system, ensures that more and more believe in the primacy of government.
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.
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