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I am a self proclaimed coffee addict and Executive Director of a non profit missions agency working primarily in the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Ensenada. I've been married for over 30 years to Chelle, and we have one grown son, Joseph, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Government Socialism... I'm shocked, shocked I tell ya...

When is Socialism bad?

Apparently when it’s the other guys Socialism.

Here’s what I mean.

Since the day he was elected, President Obama has been pilloried by center right partisans as hell-bent on making America a socialistic third world country, as opposed to the free market capitalistic juggernaut our founding fathers supposedly envisioned.

Obama the logic goes, wants to see everyone dependent on government so that the government can control them and save them from their inability to make good and right decisions.  It is his desire, unsaid, but certainly evident as some claim, to crush the rugged individualistic spirit that has defined America for many years and replace it with a governmental “nanny state.”

We have been told that if government gets too involved in the lives of the people, freedom will evaporate, we will cease to work hard and then we’ll just take up a chair on the front porch waiting for the next subsidy check to come via the US Mail.

When government intervenes fiscally on behalf of the people, instead of the people accepting responsibility for their own lives, this is socialism.  Or so we have been told by many on the conservative right.  We should, at every turn, reject this socialism, because it is bad.

But let me ask this… if government aid for the individual, who can just get a job and work hard is socialism, what is government aid to corporations that are reaping record profits at a time when America’s deficit is bursting?

If a government handout to an individual causes him or her to not accept the reality of bad decisions in life, don’t corporate subsidies shield businesses across America from the same responsibilities of bad decisions?

Why is it that when it comes to defining who is the evil socialist in the room, seemingly only President Barack Obama is guilty?

Is it because he, along with President George Bush ordered the US government to intervene on behalf of two corporations, Chrysler and GM, saving them from near certain bankruptcy?

Because if subsidizing poorly run corporations is evidence of evil socialism, then surely all of the politicians and Americans decrying the potential end of US Government subsidies for the dairy, farm and petroleum industries would qualify too, wouldn’t they?

You see, Americans love socialism, when it benefits them, or more accurately, us.

In the recently past Presidential elections, candidate Romney was partially derailed by his famous 47% comments that implied a high percentage of Americans had become takers.

My fear is that the percentage is closer to 100% than we care to admit. 

To demonize one politician or another, or one class of people over another with the charge of socialism, is just our discomfort with admitting that reality and blatant partisanship, devoid of an attitude that is truly seeking solutions.

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Comments on "Government Socialism... I'm shocked, shocked I tell ya..."


Blogger dmarks said ... (5:41 AM) : 

"When is Socialism bad?"

Most of the time. The ranks of most of the worst mass murdering leaders of all time are mostly socialists: Mao, Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein etc. Even far and away the most bloody resistance and oppression in regards to the Arab Spring has come from the region's two remaining (or formerly remaining) socialist dicators: Khadaffy and Assad.

Back to Obama, I am not quick to label him socialist unless there are policies by him to take control of sectors of the economy away from the people and put them under control of the Federal government. The one instance of this that I recall now was the seizure of the student loan program. Things like this do meet the definition.

"Obamacare" has so many bad things about it, such as the provision to encourage companies employing people full time to cut the hours back to 30 a week, but I just don't see how this meets the definition of socialism.

As for the "government aid to corporations" you refer to, most Republicans oppose this, and most Democrats support it. And yes, the gift of tens of billions to Chrysler and GM is indeed an example of what you are referring to.


Blogger BB-Idaho said ... (11:42 AM) : 

Folks can equate socialism with dictatorships, but we note that one is a type of economy, the other a type of government. Socialism in
democracies fares well. For example standard of living:
Norway, Australia, Sweden, Netherlands, etc seem quite content
with their efficient cost-effective
universal healthcare. Continuing on
down the standard of living list,
we come to the US in ninth place..


Blogger dmarks said ... (1:24 PM) : 

BB: This happens because the socialism in these democracies is rather limited. Even in Sweden, last time I checked, most of the economy remains in the hands of the people, not the rulers.

However, one must be careful when looking at European socialism. If you go back to before 1989, most of Europe (the eastern part) was very socialist, and directly related, it was very brutal and rather undemocratic. Go back about 70 years, and much of the rest of Europe was also a lot more socialist: and blood ran in the streets.

There are still echos of the brutality of the past remaining in the government-controlled (i.e. fascist-like) healthcare systems in these countries. Where the rulers control everything instea of the people, something which is fully socialist.

In the Netherlands, for example, the health "care" system forced on people by the rulers includes a feature where doctors are encouraged to kill so-called inferior people (involuntary child euthenasia) ... just as happened when socialism took hold in Germany in the 1930s. Yes, it saves the government money if it can kill undesirables against the will of the parents.

Such brutality and lack of concern of basic human rights is more and more common the more socialist a place is... and is entirely off the radar in places like the US, where a lot more of the healthcare system is controlled by the people and the ruling elites have a lot less say.

Things will only get a lot worse here if we move toward a one-size-fits-few top-down healthcare monopoly (usually dubbed single-payer), along with the necessary inhuman/inhumane practices such as forced "euthenasia", promotion of suicide, rationing, and death panels.

I have friends who live in Canada, which has more government control and thus a lot less human dignity, and sees first hand how harshly the rulers treat the "undesirable" people there.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (1:52 PM) : 

Dmarks... really?

Name me one GOP Senator who is willing to vote against subsidies to the oil, gas & farm industries.

How about the military?

Our government is clearly controlling these industries through our tax and subsidy policies.

Think milk, corn, wheat, sugar to name a few items.

Most Republicans do not, as you stated, oppose this, otherwise when Obama tried to end oil subsidies last year, it would have happened.

You are not going to see the Socialism of Marx and Lenin here and if you think we are, you're ready for the funny farm.

Our military, made up overwhelmingly of people from the conservative side of the aisle, would never go that route and turn on the citizenry. They would rather aim their sites at the clowns in DC.


Blogger BB-Idaho said ... (3:25 PM) : 

I'm pretty sure the CEO at my healthcare insurance company is a
ruling elite...


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (4:33 PM) : 

Probably so BB...

And I'll bet they are subsidized at some level with Gov't funds... But it's not socialism in that case because the ones tossing around that label like those companies...


Blogger dmarks said ... (5:39 PM) : 

Also, what Obama tried to end last year was not an oil subsidy. The matter at controvery then involved a $0 subsidy dollars.


Blogger BB-Idaho said ... (5:53 AM) : 

So, the US is the sole civilized nation without 'fascist' healthcare. No wonder it costs twice as much and is woefully inefficient. No use plowing all
that cash back into services when
it can suck right up to the CEOs
and shareholders. Lucky us...
damn the 'fascists'.


Blogger dmarks said ... (11:51 AM) : 

"... No wonder it costs twice as much ..."

In prison, healthcare is free too.

As for inefficiency, I am glad we lack the efficiency of the system like Holland which is getting so good at killing the unwanted.

No quotes needed around fascist, BB. Central control by the ruling elites is a big step in that direction. We need less centralization, more diversification in health care. Not the doomsday "single payer" scenario: all control taken from the people and handed over to an unaccountable monopoly, which happens to be the only on authorized to kill you if you don't give it money.


Blogger BB-Idaho said ... (4:39 PM) : 

I remember Fascism, so when it is thrown around loosely, I use quotes. In terms of efficiency, let us examine the Holland model:
"Euthanasia is usually carried out by administering a strong sedative to put the patient in a coma, followed by a drug to stop breathing and cause death. To qualify patients must be in unbearable pain and their doctor convinced they are making an informed choice. The opinion of a second doctor is also required."
..we can draw our own moral conlcusions. Now..
let us examine the US model:
Within the last two years, an elderly neighbor and an elderly friend became terminal with cancer. They both blew their brains out with deer rifles, robbing long term end of life care profits from their free market providers.
..we can draw our own moral conclusions.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (10:38 PM) : 

carry on boys...


Blogger dmarks said ... (6:08 AM) : 

BB: the incidents I am referring to in Holland involved government "doctors" killing people without the victims making this choice whatsoever. Something done to people in Holland who don't "qualify" according to what you quoted. And yes I have no problem at all with what you quote. But in the Netherlands they don't even hold to that.

In the American example you name, the suicide profited the ruling elites who got to keep more social security and medicare money.

I am not using the term "fascism" loosely at all. The Nazis started out eliminating such "defectives" deemed a burden to the State long before they moved on to Jews. The executioners in Holland who have acted on behalf of the government and who have killed children without a trial and against the wishes of the parents are indeed rather close to this very brutal aspect of Nazism. And that is no exaggeration.


Blogger BB-Idaho said ... (7:47 AM) : 

Dmarks, I'm not familiar with 'doctors killing people', their victims having no choice.
A link or two would be helpful.
My concerns with equating things with fascism is the vagueness, almost frivolous relation. As
George Orwell noted as early as
"...the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else ... Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathisers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come." If, as you note, people have been put to death by doctors against their will, that would be murder..unless
it was a US death penalty. Personally, I am one of those whose
living will provides not being kept alive by artifical means should I lapse into an end of life
irreversible coma. Not sure how that relates to the 'death panel' debate, but probably does for some.


Blogger dmarks said ... (10:00 AM) : 


one link

and another

...and the historic precedent

BB: I'm always careful to consider the meanings of fascism and socialism, and how comparisons work out in regards to major groups that historically bear this label.

I can't see how the definition of socialism (involving government running industry/commerce/etc) is met one whit by what Dave describes. No, I don't count welfare for the poor as socialism, nor do I count the Obama administration needlessly throwing tens of billions in mad money at the auto industry as socialism... though the government interfering in GM to force them to make cars that people don't need DOES indeed smack of socialism.

While "Obamacare" is real bad for forcing companies to cut full time employee (and thus, their pay) by 1/4 and imposing a massive tax on to punish them for making informed choices relative to health insurance, college, food, and other expenses... I don't consider it socialism, as such. The way it is now, it does not involved the country's rulers annexing and controlling the entire health care industry.


Blogger BB-Idaho said ... (2:18 PM) : 

Thanks for the links. Certainly implicates a gov't/physician line of thinking that might lead to something like the Nazi programs of the 30s. I've heard of instances
in the US of pediatricians doing the same..some infant born with no
brain, six legs etc..then informing the parents it was born
dead. Hearsay of course, but somewnat credible. The article by
Wesley J. Smith reminds of the flurry of e-mails I exchanged with his colleagues at the Discovery Institute during the Dover I.D.
trials..you know, ax-to-grind POV.
As for the monseignor at the Potifical Academy for Life, those
folks are struggling a bit with their own moral judgements .
Dutch physicians were becoming concerned as early as the previous
last decade , but they still have
their enthusiastic Kervorkians . Suicides recently passed automobile accidents in the US as the number
one injury-related cause of death,
and we had 15,000 murdered. Our
murder rate is five times higher
than Holland...so, as I mention,
we each have to draw our moral
conclusions. ..thanks Dave for
the space..over & out!


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (3:08 PM) : 

DMarks, I probably agree with you on socialism, but if course I am referring to the current usage of the term by a majority of folks in the GOP... To them it is socialism when the gov gets involved in "picking winners" and subsidizing industries to keep them solvent. But as I pointed out, that only counts for them when Obama does it.

Years ago Karl Barth gave a speech on the socialism of Jesus... but he started by defining his terms because as he said, the word socialism had been hijacked by extremists who knew nothing...

Almost a hundred years ago...

My how times change... Hahahaha


Blogger dmarks said ... (5:16 AM) : 

Socialism will always be hijacked by extremists. The centralization and concentration and absolutism of power which results under socialism is to much for megalomaniacs to resist.

Aside from that, socialism is a great regression: a reveral of hundreds of years of human progress enlightenment from the Magna Carta on. It msrely replaces God with science (or pseudo-science, anyway) as the justification for the power and control by those at the top.


Blogger BB-Idaho said ... (7:41 AM) : 

Originally, socialism was a bottom
up concept:
"Socialism was an economic theory that sprang almost directly from the Industrial Revolution. Largely a reaction against the unregulated capitalism of the time, socialism proposed that society as a whole should control the means of production, and that the government exists only to oversee its initial phases and then to become nonexistent, leaving the people to govern themselves cooperatively. This contradicted the tenets of laissez-faire capitalism, which stated that the best total result for society was achieved if competition took its natural course.

This movement was inspired by the problems that the Industrial Revolution presented for the common worker. Working conditions, long hours, and low pay made many workers want to band together and achieve a socialist system at least partially. Robert Owen, an employer who founded an idealized community for his own workers, first coined the term. Later, many social and political movements would attempt to adapt socialist ideals to their own purposes; the most notable of these was communism, which stated that the socialist state arose after the working class defeated its exploiters in a class struggle. Other variations, such as anarchist and Maoist socialism would be proposed. However, as the Industrial Revolution went on, many industrialised nations realized the social damages done by deregulated competition, and incorporated policies theretofore thought socialist – a minimum wage, welfare, and government subsidization of work programs."
Certainly it, like any othe economic system, can be hijacked by extremists..and we will find
our 'ruling elite' from ancient
Egypt to current elected officials. Economic theory-wise, the reaction is perhaps exemplified by Winston Churchill,
who introduced social security early this century..not out of
empathy, but to ward off the
incipient socialist tendencies of the British folk. He won...they


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (9:09 AM) : 

Dmarks... what do we do with passages in the bible that seem to call us to a form of at least collectivism, if not socialism?

Is it unreasonable to expect a country formed on Christian principles, as many propose, to follow the ideas put forth in scripture that argue in favor of the community?


Blogger dmarks said ... (6:31 AM) : 

Dave: I don't recall anything in the Bible about socialism (submission to government control and ownership in order to serve the needs of those in power), other than 'render unto Ceasar). What passages am I missing?

" in favor of the community?"

Socialism is about the ruling class, not the community. If you had talked instead of sharing and cooperation, that's something entirely different.


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