So ‘we are all socialist now’ but what does that mean?
Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013 7:00 pm
“We Are All Socialists Now” said the front cover of Newsweek, Feb. 16, 2009, exactly four years ago. Editors Jon Meacham and Evan Thomas wrote, “Whether we want to admit it or not, the America of 2009 is moving toward a modern European state,” toward socialism, they observed, “even before Barack Obama’s largest fiscal bill in our history.” The magazine had a red hand (Republican) shaking a blue hand (Democrat) in favor of socialism. Both parties accepted the “growing role of government in the economy,” they observed. “The U.S. government has already—under a conservative Republican administration—effectively nationalized the banking and mortgage industries.” Moreover, “it was, again, under a conservative GOP administration that we enacted the largest expansion of the welfare state in 30 years: prescription drugs for the elderly.” The “sooner we understand where we truly stand, the sooner we can think more clearly about how to use government in today’s world,” they noted.
If the “growing role in government” is how Newsweek measures socialism, four years later we are even more socialist than they supposed. In this time period the federal government obtained a controlling interest in General Motors, absorbed 1/7th of the economy under Obamacare, and expanded the power of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to oversee most homes in America. This land expansion was in addition to their ownership of a third of all the landmass in the United States known as federal land. This does not count the controlling influence over all businesses by the eighty thousand new pages of bureaucratic rules and regulations descending upon businesses annually that effectively manage most everything else.
Clearly we are replacing our Constitutional Republic, which emphasizes limited government and individual freedom, and Newsweek tells us that we are just beginning. In light of their honesty it might behoove us to understand where socialist might be taking us by noting where socialism has gone before.
In 1975 the book “From Under The Rubble,” authored by a variety of Soviet dissidents, all but one of whom were still living in the USSR, was published in the West. The participants were fully aware that their commentary on the socialist system smuggled to the “Free World” would undoubtedly unleash the wrath of the Soviet Bear and result in imprisonment, torture, and possibly death for them. Nonetheless, they felt that the West could avoid the loss of freedom they experienced if only it were warned.
Igor Shafarevich, a corresponding member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences and former Laureate of the Lenin Prize, attempted, in his chapter “Socialism in Our Past and Future,” to tell the West what socialism eventually worked out to be in practice. This is, of course, after any significant means of resistance had been moved by gun control. That is the first thing that goes in any tyrannical government. He found the economic definition of socialism incomplete.
In practice socialism results in the meaningful governmental control of the means of production and distribution. In the U.S. this is done through thousands of rules and regulations on virtually every activity.
Socialism results in complete control of private property. Property is defined as anything that exists including one’s own family and person. This includes subordination of the individual to the power of the bureaucracy and state control of everyday life. Try doing anything in our society today without first asking permission of the government. Sexual promiscuity is first tolerated, even encourage, but ultimately procreation on a selective and supervised basis follows. So far we have not lost the right of partner choice, nor did they in China, another socialist paradise, but their birth number is regulated to but one child.
For the USSR socialism meant the destruction of the family as the basic institution of society and the rearing of children away from their parents in state schools or daycare centers. Marriage as an acceptable practice was also minimized.
One of the most defining characteristics of all profoundly socialist countries is the government’s extreme hatred of religion and their commitment to its ultimate destruction. Today’s Progressives in the U.S. have a distance to go to accomplish this, but the value or necessity of organized religion is undermined.
The destruction of the hierarchy into which society has arranged itself is yet another characteristic under which Shafarevich lived. The idea of equality to a socialist has a special character. It means the negation of the existence of any genuine differences between individuals: “equality” is turned into “equivalence.” Socialism aims to establish equality by the opposite means of destroying all the higher aspects of the personality. Turning “equality” into “equivalence” is progressing nicely in this country as well.
Newsweek’s invitation to “think more clearly about how to use government in today’s world” should dissuade us from going there at all. Why would anyone want to embrace a system that ended all semblances of freedom and which, for them, self destructed in 1989? At least in the USSR they would have been happy to trade their socialism for our freedom. Are we smart enough to listen to them?
Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College.
Published in The WCP 2.14.13
So ‘we are all socialist now’ but what does that mean?