One of the most invidious ways to mute people’s opposition to a bad idea is to somehow convince them they’re actually for it. Not only that, but that they really love it!
Today we have a major political party openly proposing to spend as much as half the nation’s GDP on government initiatives that would take complete control over every building in America while imposing such stringent rules on industry that there would essentially be no such thing as a private sector anymore.
This is socialism. It’s dressed up as environmentalism and “fairness,” but socialism is always dressed up as things like that. And plenty of people have noticed.
The party that won’t condemn the failures in Havana, Caracas and Managua are convinced they can make socialism work in the United States if they’re only given the power to do so.
And that has given rise to a clever rejoinder from left-wingers who want socialism very badly, but know that most rational people want no part of it:
Why, you already love socialism!
They try to make this case by claiming that any number of things we accept as givens in American society is either a) are socialism; or b) were once called socialism.
High on the list are Social Security and Medicare. They point out that when Franklin Delano Roosevelt first proposed Social Security, there were Republicans who said it was socialism. They then point out that Republicans said the same thing about Medicare and Medicaid when they were introduced in the 1960s.
We can debate whether these things really are socialism – they certainly suck up a massive percentage of the federal budget – although one might conclude that there is a difference between socialism and mere big government.
But the left doesn’t stop there. They then proceed to claim that just about everything government does at any level is already socialism. Your local police and fire departments? Socialist programs! The department of public works that picks up your trash and maintains the parks? Socialism!
Public schools? The regional mass transit system? Why, they may as well have been established by Karl Marx himself! See? You just think you don’t like socialism, when in fact all these wonderful public services you enjoy every day are actually socialism in action.
Socialism is a system of governing in which the government seizes control of the means of production, which makes it possible for politicians to directly determine what is made, how it can be bought and sold, what can be paid for it and what people will be paid to make it.
Socialist thinking informs statements like the one for Bernie Sanders that considers it “waste” that we have 27 different brands of deodorant when one would be perfectly sufficient. Socialism eschews private competition and market economics in favor of a centrally controlled system ruled by government.
Few Democrats will expressly advocate this system, although a few (Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) will. Most claim that they are trying to save capitalism from its own worst elements while advocating every federal control on markets they can possibly achieve.
They want to control wages. They want to control prices. They want to control labor contracts. They want to control the siting of factories. They want to control work rules. They want to mandate union membership. They want to impose crushing taxes on corporate profits so they can redistribute the money to their favored constituencies.
Don’t believe this? Look up Operation Choke Point, which was an attempt by the Obama-Biden Administration to eliminate industries Democrats don’t like (gun manufacturers, payday lenders, private colleges, etc.) by pressuring banks to deny them basic financial services.
You don’t have to own the banks if you can use regulatory pressure to do what you want them to do. This is de facto socialism no matter what you call it.
But they don’t want you to worry. None of that is what socialism really is. It’s merely the shiny park down the street where your children play, and the smiling public servant who picks up litter from the city sidewalks. These are the friendly faces of socialism, so don’t worry.
Until you find out what it really is. And by that time, it will be too late.
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