In the closing days of the campaign I heard a phrase being thrown around with a fervor not seen since Joseph McCarthy was providing his valuable service to the nation. The word? SOCIALISM. Kind of has an evil ring to it. Almost like racism or sexism, only much worse.
Clearly socialism is terrible. Everyone says so. So I decided to take a look at some of the sinister strategies of the demagogues over at the Socialist Party USA headquarter’s:
The Socialist Party is committed to full freedom of speech, assembly, press, and religion, and to a multi-party system. We are dedicated to the abolition of male supremacy and class society, and to the elimination of all forms of oppression, including those based on race, national origin, age, sexual preferences, and disabling conditions.
Very clever. Clearly this is only true in certain situations. Let’s read on:
Bigotry and discrimination help the ruling class divide, exploit, and abuse workers here and in the Third World. The Socialist Party works to eliminate prejudice and discrimination in all its forms.
Okay, well moving on from this silly rhetoric let’s talk about foreign policy. Maybe the socialists are nice to each other, but surely not to their neighbors.
The Socialist Party calls for ending of the war and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan and bringing all the troops home now!
Whatever, lots of people want to get out of those countries. What do the socialists REALLY think about war?
The U.S. government uses its overwhelming military power to consolidate its strategic hold over the entire world and to defend and advance the interests of U.S. owned corporations as they exploit the working people and natural resources of the entire planet. We stand in total opposition to U.S. imperialism and the current “war on terror” which is just another subterfuge for U.S. imperialism.
People around the world have more in common with each other than with their rulers. We condemn war, preparation for war, and the militaristic culture because they play havoc with people’s lives and divert resources from constructive social projects. Militarism also concentrates even greater power in the hands of the few, the powerful and the violent.
Heh, heh. Ahem. Okay, so maybe they got us on that one. But what about MONEY? Isn’t that what its all about? The government pillaging Joe the Plumber?
We call for a minimum wage of $15 per hour, indexed to the cost of living.
Those damn guys have an answer for everything. How about this: What if Joe the Plumber happens to be really, really, really rich? Like what if he is a CEO making 400 times what the average line worker makes? What then smarty pants?
We call for a steeply graduated income tax and a steeply graduated estate tax, and a maximum income of no more than ten times the minimum.
Well that just takes the cake. How is 1% of the United States population supposed to maintain 47% of the nation’s wealth under a silly policy like that? Whatever, moving along. How about health care? That’s probably one of the greatest sins of socialism…
We support a national health program with full standard and alternative medical, dental, vision, and mental health coverage for all, publicly funded through progressive taxation and controlled by democratically elected assemblies of health care workers and patients. The National Health Program should extend, and replace, Medicare and Medicaid. We call for a health care system that emphasizes preventative care, respects patient’s privacy, gives special attention to the needs of the physically and mentally disabled, and conducts treatment and research unimpared by sexism, racism, and homophobia.
Unbelievable. These people support gays? Bet they are tree hugers too.
The U.S. must immediately return to participation in international agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol, limiting carbon emissions, and accept a major role in worldwide efforts to control global warming.
Great idea geniuses. That will cost us. At least we can still lean on developing nations for cash… right?
We demand cancellation of Third World debt. We call for the United States to pay off its debt to the United Nations.
Damn. Well, if we can’t trample on other nations can we at least Drill Baby Drill !?
We call for the development of alternative energy sources includign solar, geothermal, wind, hydropower, and biomass to end dependence on fossil fuels.
Okay I’m done. These folks are ridiculous. Now I understand why socialism is evil, and sinister and stuff. The crazy kooks are all about “justice“, and “equality“, and namby pamby things like “eliminating oppression” and “equal rights“. Oooh they’re so progressive. If they’re so great, why don’t they make a song about themselves?
Okay, now this is just getting out of hand. Before we know it we are going to be swimming in a socialist sea of swine! We must band together comrades, err, I meant friends, and fight off this evil menace!
Let us stand up and make sure that socialist theories are never incorporated into American politics!
NO UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE!!!! (like in every other industrialized nation in the world who all happen to suck. Even if the World Health Organization ranks us 37th in the world in terms of meeting the health needs of our people)
MAINTAIN CORPORATE POWER!!!! (Lehman, Enron & Exon care about the little guy. Corporations are inherently benevolent)
DOWN WITH “WEALTH REDISTRIBUTION!!! (taxes bad. taxes are like murder. cold blooded murder. they’re almost as bad as that one time when they killed that Jesus guy)
Okay, so here’s the deal. I just made a case for socialism. I painted it as all nice & fluffy & conveniently culled quotes from their web page to make it look good. I even ignored some not-so convenient historic examples. In short- I only presented one side of the argument. Awful of me eh?
I would suggest that the real question at the end of the day is not whether a tremendous smear job has been done against socialist ideas, or whether I put lipstick on a pig called socialist sally. The question is whether Americans can bring themselves to consider ideas that are, *gasp* foreign.
Can we embrace the reality that we are imperfect and we can learn from the rest of the world?
Is socialism perfect? Far from it. Has evil come from it? Surely. Are the answers any different for capitalism?
The truth of the matter is we have already adopted socialist ideologies throughout our lives and just don’t realize it. Who pays to support the local library? Everybody. Who gets to use it? Everybody. Who pays to support the police and fire departments? Everybody. Who gets to use it? Everybody.
So the reality is, we have accepted the notion that sometimes its okay for everyone to pay for something, and then everyone to benefit. The trouble begins, when someone suggests that we take something for profit (say health care) and then suggest that everybody pays for it, and everybody benefits. Middlemen don’t like this very much, so neither should you. After all, Ronald Regan said so.