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The Anti-Obama Mob and the Socialist Canard

Claims that Obama is overtly or secretly a socialist — a socialist canard — started in the long presidential campaign 2007-2008 and gained serious traction among the anti-Obama mob when McCain called him a socialist.  Later, in talking with Joe the Plumber in Summer 2008, the anti-Obama mob blatantly misconstrued and took out of context one sentence made by the Obama during the exchange, a quote you can see in the quote-loop here in The Waterglass 3.0.  The anti-Obama mob jumped on the sentence, seeing it as the smoking gun to Obama’s secret socialist agenda.

While the anti-Obama mob remembers only that sentence — sucking it in through their selectively-permeable brain-membranes like life-giving bacteria — the rest of America saw Obama explaining to Joe a system of tax-cuts that would apply for the majority of Americans.  Tax-cuts means taking money out of possible government control and keeping it in private bank-accounts of Joe and 95% of America.  That’s socialism?

If you think Obama is a socialist you are confused.  let’s define socialism as a way of organizing the economy in which the State, as representative of the citizenry, owns and controls all the things that makes economies run: all businesses of all kinds (whether industrial or service sector, including health), the system of labor contracts, employee benefits, educational institutions, tax and tariffs on imports and exports, and regulations on foreign direct investment, as the major things.  Let’s define extreme capitalism as a way of organizing the economy in which the State does not intervene at all in the economy.

Did you know that the governments of every single industrialized country in the world intervenes in their economies?  Did you know that the U.S. government’s huge system of regulations strongly intervenes in all aspects of the economy, and that this American capitalist system predates Obama by over a hundred years?

Let’s properly think about the relationships between governments and economies as a continuum from extreme captialism on one end to extreme socialism at the other.  Thus far, there has never been a case of extreme capitalism.  The USSR came close to extreme socialism, but never quite got there because they allowed for some small-scale ownership of land.  Poland during their socialist era allowed for private ownership of some businesses and most of agriculture.  Not all socialisms are alike. 

It appears that the anti-Obama mob wants to portray themselves as bulwarks against Obama’s socialist policies.  If so, the anti-Obama mob are little more than a cavalry of Don Quixotes, tilting their lances at initiatives for growing small businesses and Obama’s tax-cut-happy policies they see as Stalinist-dragons.  Did you know Obama wants to strengthen the school-voucher system, a policy right out of Milton Friedman’s playbook?  Did you know that the only thing that never changed from Obama’s health care reform ideas is that people must be allowed to keep their private health insurance?  Did you know that Obama’s Recovery Act is designed to boost not only the incomes of privately held real estate and construction companies but also their working and middle class employees?  Do you know how much mega-corporation money went into Obama’s coffers during his presidential run? 

Think of it this way, anti-Obamamites: do you really think that the big corporate capitalists are so stupid that they would give campaign donations to a socialist?  Do you not realize that they thoroughly background check these candidates to see if their views are compatible?  Do you really see CEOs who spent a lifetime as the real bulwarks of American capitalism as willfully blind to Obama’s so-called socialist wiles?

To me, the socialist canard reveals not only a deep misunderstanding of what socialism is, and how economies function, but an astoundingly naive worldview.  Obama is as much in bed with the capitalists’ captains of industry as any past American president.  Obama is so clearly not a socialist, and America is so clearly far from socialism, that the very idea is ridiculous.

8 comments to The Anti-Obama Mob and the Socialist Canard

  • I see a great deal of unsupported assertions here, none of which really mean a lot when weighed against what’s actually happening, like his plan to socialize medicine and the government takeover of private businesses.

    That’s happening right now. Just because you don’t understand what capitalism is, it doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t understand it.

    It’s okay. I know we’re not being taxed enough. I know that universal health care is exactly what Milton Friedman would do if he were in office. He’d also have the government buy up auto companies and banks and increase deficit spending into the trillions. Because raising taxes is just what capitalists do. There’s no slide toward socialism in this country, and all you right-wing Rethuglican dumbasses who don’t know what socialism is are naive.

    So rather than address the actual issues, like what the Obamessiah is doing, you assert facts without proof, completely ignore Obama’s history of legislation in favor of believing his campaign promises, attack strawmen, and call anyone who disagrees too stupid to know what socialism is. Because as you’ve defined socialism, Obama’s a raging, rapacious capitalist. And as for campaign contributions, I suppose you’ve never heard the names George Soros or Michael Moore before. They’re rich (extremely rich in Soros’ case), very far to the left, and work very hard to undermine the capitalist system. At least one of them made a movie about it.

    It’s pretty easy to just aver things with nothing to go on but promises made months ago and vague hints of what the Obamessiah said he plans to do, but actually doing the hard work of researching your position is far more difficult. It may be that everyone who isn’t in full support of the Obamessiah is stupid and wrong, but you actually have to prove it somehow.

  • Joshua

    What I find amazing is the complete inability to grasp that Obama is only 10 months in office and that it would take more than just Obama to, how you say, “slide” America into socialism. I defined socialism, a definition most of Obama’s detractors are apparently ignorant of, mostly because their only real exposure to socialism is Red Dawn and some 1980′s Soviet-spy movies or that awful Robin Williams movie where he tries to escape Russia (Moscow on the Hudson, I think it was) or that untalented/unfunny comedian Yakoff Smirnoff. The evidence? How about that almost every pro-capitalist economist agrees with the necessity of a GOVERNMENT stimulus plan. Perhaps you would have preferred GM to go under and let thousands (more) autoworkers out-of-work? Perhaps you like the idea that over 40 million Americans are without health insurance, that America is one of the few countries in the Western industrialized world where it is possible to go bankrupt over medical bills? Do you really think that because America lets millions of its citizens go without medical insurance that we are the last bastions of free markey capitalism? Do you think the UK and Switzerland with their government health care systems are socialist paradises? I have yet to see evidence of a “slide” into socialism. You ask me to produce evidence against something that doesn’t exist. No thanks.

  • The UK and Switzerland are socialist countries. Their economies aren’t doing so hot right now.

    I’d have preferred that GM go under, yes. Better that than the slow slide toward SOCIALISM in this country. Artificially propping up bad businesses just to keep them in business isn’t good economic policy, and like it or not, GM and the automaker’s union had it way too good for way too long. $37.00 an hour to tighten bolts on a hubcap may be considered a fair wage in the Socialist Obama Utopia you’ve got planned, but I don’t agree. And I know I’m not the only one.

    You’ve obviously not done a great deal of research about how fucked up the UK’s healthcare system is. If people in the US are going bankrupt because of healthcare costs, at least they’re not fucking DYING because they’re waiting for cancer treatments like they are in the UK. Nobody here is being turned down for treatment, and they’re not waiting in line. You do understand the difference between bankruptcy and death, right?

    In addition, you’ve added a gigantic bullshit unsourced number here: 40 million. PROVE IT. Prove that 40 million Americans are not getting health insurance in this country because they cannot afford it. You can’t. I honestly don’t understand how anyone could just parrot the administration’s line like that; you didn’t believe anything Bush said. Is it because Obama said it? Does that make it more believable?

    And, finally, we’re back to the same argument I’ve made before, and I suppose I’ll have to say again, loud enough to reach the cheap seats: OBAMACARE IS NOT THE BE-ALL AND END-ALL TO THE HEALTHCARE DEBATE. Just because I don’t like your Messiah’s socialized medical plan, it doesn’t mean I don’t support healthcare reform.

    You can just assert things all day long, but without facts and research, you’re just making the same “mmm mmm mmm” sounds.

  • Von

    You guys are awesome. David, if I have cancer and no health insurance where will I get medical help? Probably through the help of a charity? Is that what you mean when you say people aren’t being denied medical help like they are in the UK?

    God, I just can’t argue a side anymore. It feels like everythign is so different now than it was a year ago when I was actively reading all the blogs. LGF hates rush limbaugh and glenn beck now…I’m not sure where I fit in anymore.

  • Joshua

    You belong here in The Waterglass, Von.

  • Joshua

    By the way, the 40 million comes from the most recent U.S. Census report: http://www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p60-236.pdf

    Their number is 46.3 million. Do you really believe that 46.3 million people are without health insurance because they don’t want health insurance? It’s hard to believe that so many millions of people would rather not have health insurance.

    I think the UK and Switzerland would love your definition of socialism. I’m sure they don’t think they are socialist countries, especially when they lived so close to the real ones before 1989. Also, the anti-UK health system crap comes stright from the toilets of the far right conservatives. You somehow missed the not-filtered evidence:

    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/336/7659/1469

    “People seem happy with their NHS care, with more than 90% consistently rating their inpatient care as good, very good, or excellent. In a 2006 survey for the Department of Health, 74% of those who attended a general practice or local healthcare centre were completely satisfied that their main reason for attending had been dealt with. Of the others, 22% were satisfied “to some extent” and only 4% were not satisfied at all.”

  • mike

    My friend, I must tell you that you have no idea of what you are talking about. Your definition above is not socialism, but rather communism, which is the next step left after socialism.
    Do some reading/research on exactly whats what and then come back and read your post here and I assusre you, you will wish to God you could retract this so very inaccurate posting or at least remove your name from it. Good luck my friend, you much to learn.
    Mike

  • Joshua

    Dear Mike,

    I am interested in defining socialism as it was practiced in the real world. It is not clear what your definition of socialism is. The way I’ve defined it is exactly the way in which (1) it was practiced in socialist countries of the USSR and Eastern Europe (broadly construed) (2) it was understood by the communist party leadership in those countries. (Note that Venezuela is inching toward the former USSR and EE models). I am well aware of the socialism/communism distinction, and that for Marxists and Leninists, communism was considered to be the “highest stage” of economic development systems. The communist party leadership, those stewards of the centralized command economy, said publicly that communism as Marx and Lenin understood it was the ultimate goal. Capitalism and socialism must be understood as a continuum, rather than two fixed points: it is not an either/or distinction. Communism, then, is the extreme end of the continuum; it has never been achieved and, in my mind, it is impossible (nor desirable) to achieve.

    I hope you do more research, read my post more carefully, an come back to The Waterglass and re-read your post, and mine. At that point you’ll wish you hadn’t made such inane comments and be better prepared to write more thoughtful ones in the future.

    Joshua