Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Editor of Socialist Magazine explains why Obama isn't one of them

I few weeks back I saw a bumper sticker that said "The Free Market is a Fraud. Socialism Now!" And on that same car was another sticker that had a picture of a red cross (a symbol for medicine) with the words "Socialize It!"

I was about to marvel at how gutsy they were driving around Arizona with pro-socialism stickers on their car, and then I noticed they had California plates. I didn't see any egg on it put there by angry tea partiers.

But, of course, the portrayal of Obama as a socialist hurt him in the mid-term elections. But, in the eyes of the editor of Socialist magazine, Obama just doesn't qualify.

38 comments:

steve said...

True. Obama's not a socialist–he's a Bolshevist.

Anonymous said...

Bob Prokop writing:

Well, as a genuine Socialist from way, way back, I can assure you that Obama is as Capitalist as they come. Vsya vlast' sovetam!

Commie Blaster said...

Obama isn't a Socialist. He's a Communist. Take a look at the facts here:

http://www.commieblaster.com/

Anonymous said...

Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Clayton said...

From Commie Blaster:
"Obama isn't a Socialist."

From commieblaster.com
"THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS NOW A SOCIALIST PARTY"

"PROGRESSIVES = SOCIALISTS = COMMUNISTS = LEFT-WING RADICALS = ANTI-CAPITALISTS = UNAMERICAN"

Is commie blaster a dialetheist, an idiot, or a liar?

Mike Darus said...

Labels seem so helpful until thier not.

Anonymous said...

Bob Prokop writing:

Anyone calling ME an "UnAmerican" will have a fight on his hands! I am a US Army veteran, and served proudly as a civilian in the Defense Department for 34 years, supporting US servicemen and women around the world.

I am also, and have been since the 1970s, a proud Socialist! (And more importantly, a Catholic.)

Mr Veale said...

Don't be silly.
Obama's Health care policies would make him a radical right winger in the context of UK politics.

I don't like his positions on abortion and marriage. Try living in the UK where every major political party endorses these positions.

Then try living in Ulster where you get to choose between former demagogues, and former terrorists. Not one of whom has apologised for their past behaviour.

I think y'all take your President far too seriously. You made the mistake of abolishing the monarchy, then treating an elected official like a Royal.

In the UK we'd never make a programme as syruppy as "The West Wing".

And we'd never, ever, ever make a film where our Prime Minister saves the Earth by flying a F-14 at an alien invasion.

Chill, guys. Go to Amazon. Buy "Yes, Prime Minister" Watch, enjoy, relax

(-;

Victor Reppert said...

A communist, or even a socialist, puts Larry Summers and Tim Geithner in the cabinet?

A commie socialist misses the opportunity to nationalize the banking industry?

A commie socialist doesn't even include a public option in his health care bill?

That makes about as much sense as saying that there are two things wrong with the Obama health care bill.

Obama is both a Muslim and a communist? Last I checked, the central tenet of Islam was a belief in Allah, a central teaching of Bolshevism is that there is no God.

1) It's socialist
2) It will undermine Medicare.

And apparently no one wants to respond directly to the article that I linked to explaining the great differences between Obama and a real socialist. We need hard evidence that Obama's policies are socialist, not just some guilt-by-association stuff from Obama's past.

There are reasonable criticisms you can make of Obama from the conservative side. Calling him a Red is not one of them.

Right-wingers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your brains.

Mr Veale said...

Hang on ---

some people REALLY think he's a communist/socialist?

these aren't just terms of abuse?

what am I missing?

anyway, suppose he was a socialist.

so what, exactly?

Victor Reppert said...

I reversed the fourth and fifth paragraphs of my last post.

steve said...

Victor Reppert said...

"A communist, or even a socialist, puts Larry Summers and Tim Geithner in the cabinet?"

That's a ruse to hoodwink gullible philosophy prof. who teach in Glendale, AZ. See how well it worked!

"A commie socialist misses the opportunity to nationalize the banking industry? A commie socialist doesn't even include a public option in his health care bill?"

But be an effective radical, you have to appear moderate.

"That makes about as much sense as saying that there are two things wrong with the Obama health care bill."

Why limit the number to just two things wrong?

"Obama is both a Muslim and a communist? Last I checked, the central tenet of Islam was a belief in Allah, a central teaching of Bolshevism is that there is no God."

Simple: he's a Bolshevik pretending to be a Muslim pretending to be a Christian.

steve said...

Victor Reppert said...

"There are reasonable criticisms you can make of Obama from the conservative side. Calling him a Red is not one of them."

What about maroon?

Anonymous said...

Bob Prokop writing:

To Mr. Veale, You have no idea how ignorant (heck, STUPID) the vast majority of American political discourse is. People casually toss around terms like Nazi, Socialist, Bolshevist, Fascist, etc. without the slightest idea of what these words actually MEAN. The thoughtless (and I do mean THOUGHTLESS) equating of various politicians with Hitler, Stalin, or Mussolini simply highlights the sorry state of historical education in this country.

Even if one disagreed with Obama, comparing him to Stalin is like equating my bathtub to the Pacific Ocean.

steve said...

Bob Prokop writing:

"To Mr. Veale, You have no idea how ignorant (heck, STUPID) the vast majority of American political discourse is. People casually toss around terms like Nazi, Socialist, Bolshevist, Fascist, etc. without the slightest idea of what these words actually MEAN. The thoughtless (and I do mean THOUGHTLESS) equating of various politicians with Hitler, Stalin, or Mussolini simply highlights the sorry state of historical education in this country."

Not to mention the heckish stupidity of commenters who are too thick to detect the tongue-in-cheek intent of satirical remarks about Obama and Reppert. I guess we should chalk that up to the sorry state of Bob's education, as well as his knee-jerk stereotyping of conservatives.

Victor Reppert said...

Tongue in cheek? Could be in your case. But there are people (and that Commie Blaster website looked serious to me), who called Obama a Muslim and a communist. People do call Obama a communist or a socialist who have their tongues out of their cheeks. This reminds me a little of people in philosophy and theology who call everyone a "fundamentalist" who is at all to the right of them ideologically.

It doesn't help political discourse. My point was to show, as best I could, how from the standpoint of a real self-described socialist, how un-socialist Obama really is. Now, does he support government intrusions into our economic life that conservatives think ill-advised, and will do more harm than good in the long run, surely.

I would just argue that if public education, Social Security and Medicare didn't make us socialist, then the health bill won't make us socialist either.

Peter Pike said...

Victor Reppert said:
---
I would just argue that if public education, Social Security and Medicare didn't make us socialist, then the health bill won't make us socialist either.
---

Just because Obama isn't 100% socialist doesn't make his views any more palatable toward those who support something much closer to laissez faire capitalism.

I realize you grant this. But you have to admit that on the scale between Milton Freedman and John Maynard Keynes, Obama is off the charts to the Left.

That doesn't make him a Stalin. But how much of that is simply because he didn't get his own Politburo?

Victor Reppert said...

Neither party advocates laissez-faire capitalism or anything even close to it. Republicans pretend to, but actually, due to the influence of corporate money in the political system, they are actually corporatists, not conservatives. In other words, I don't think the right-left division of American politics is accurate. No one who really believes in laissez-faire capitalism would bail anyone out because they were too big to fail. That was done for the banks at the behest of a "conservative" Republican president, and it is the most socialistic thing anyone has ever done, Obama included.

The potential for business failure is the heart of capitalism. That's the ostensible reason for holding back from regulating businesses. It's not as if conservatives think that business people aren't greedy bastards. It's because even greedy bastards will do some things right if they realize they can't compete and may fail if they do things wrong. But, if you have a situation where you can get so big that the government will keep you from failing no matter how badly you screw up, then the capitalist system has broken down in a big way.

I don't actually think capitalist theory can be implemented any more than communist theory can be, which means that we are left with a bunch of retail decisions about which parts of our economic life should be in the hands of government, and which should be controlled by markets.

Even if you think the bank bailouts were just necessary, you have to admit that under Republican leadership, we don't have laissez-faire capitalism, we have government at the beck and call of big business and their lobbyists.

Obama is in some ways further to the left than what we are accustomed to, but if he is closer to socialism in some ways, I think Republicans practice a form of socialism on behalf of big companies. I think they exploit genuinely conservative viewpoints just as they exploit the moral concerns of conservatives over things like abortion, but they will go any direction that supports the corporate bottom line, and will sacrifice conservative principles as quickly as liberal principles to reach that end.

Even the Tea Party movement started out with an anti-corporatist flavor to it, but then the corporations pumped a bunch of cash into it, and now its anti-corporatist roots are now largely forgotten.

With the exception of people like Ron Paul, Republicans don't believe in laissez-faire capitalism, and should stop pretending to.

Victor Reppert said...

And because of the influence of corporate money and lobbying in the political process, the Republican will never find the political will to disassociate themselves from corporate socialism. So if I ever left the Democratic party, I would skip right over the Republicans and join the Libertarians.

steve said...

Victor Reppert said...

"Obama is in some ways further to the left than what we are accustomed to, but if he is closer to socialism in some ways, I think Republicans practice a form of socialism on behalf of big companies."

That's a standard liberal trope. But cutting the corporate tax rate isn't corporate welfare. That isn't taking money from wage-earners and giving it to corporations. Rather, that's letting corporations keep more of their profits.

And, frankly, I don't see the point of corporate/business taxes anyway: that's a disguised sales tax, since the company simply passes the cost along to the consumer.

Victor Reppert said...

Do you think there is no corporate welfare, and that all corporations get is tax breaks?

This site suggests otherwise.

http://www.progress.org/banneker/cw.html

See especially the welfare given to Wal-Mart.

Mr Veale said...

OK, first of all - Obama isn't a socialist, or anything like a socialist. We've had socialist political parties in Britain, and in Ulster. Obama's Democratic Party would be too right wing for them all.

Second - if you want to understand who destroyed conservative Politics in Britain, start with Thatcher. Then Blair, then Cameron.

Thatcher had some incoherent ideas about Victorian Britain. She then systematically destroyed the civil society needed to support that sort of moral culture. (Look at what happened to public libraries, leisure centres, school playing fields and universities under Thatcher.)

When I use conservative, I mean in the sense described by Roger Scruton, or something approximating to paleo-conservatism. And Scruton argues that market driven politics destroys this kind of conservatism.

steve said...

Victor Reppert said...

"Do you think there is no corporate welfare, and that all corporations get is tax breaks?"

Politicians give "breaks" to corporations like Wal-Mart because it's good for the local economy. Wal-Mart employs local citizens. Plus support service industries. Wal-Mart pays corporate taxes, and its employees pay income tax.

For more on Wal-Mart:

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Business/story?id=1303587

Mr Veale said...

Again - given that I live in a province that has had a Social Democratic, and then Socialist, Deputy First Minister, and in a country that has had Socialist Prime Ministers....

say (against the evidence) Obama is a Socialist. What, of moral significance, follows? I'm lost...what's the worry?

Mr Veale said...

I'll put my cards on the table, if anyone cares.
Instinctively, I'm left of centre on issues like taxation. I'm also pro-life and very conservative on sexual morality and freedom of expression.

I *think* I'm what Americans would call a "Blue Dog"

Victor Reppert said...

Steve: Politicians give "breaks" to corporations like Wal-Mart because it's good for the local economy. Wal-Mart employs local citizens. Plus support service industries. Wal-Mart pays corporate taxes, and its employees pay income tax.

VR: Which is fine, unless you are claiming to believe in laissez-faire capitalism. And similar remarks could be made on behalf of government largesse directed toward individuals.

Clayton said...

"I realize you grant this. But you have to admit that on the scale between Milton Freedman and John Maynard Keynes, Obama is off the charts to the Left."

My initial reaction is that this is pure bull cuss. Milton Friedman is in favor of a tax hike and Obama continued a bailout plan that was Bush's creation. If we're talking economics, how is Obama off the charts to the Left?

Victor Reppert said...

What is, or is not, off the charts depends in large part of the size of your chart.

Anonymous said...

Isn't classical liberalism the dominant ideology in both the major parties of America?

Clayton said...

Hey Vic,

I suppose that if the left margin is Milton Friedman... [insert winky emoticon]

Peter Pike said...

Victor said:
---
Neither party advocates laissez-faire capitalism or anything even close to it.
---

Yes, but I wasn't talking about the parties.

You said:
---
No one who really believes in laissez-faire capitalism would bail anyone out because they were too big to fail.
---

I agree. And I opposed Bush when he started TARP and all that nonsense too.

Again, I haven't argued anywhere here *FOR* the Republican party. I'm not a Republican.

You said:
---
But, if you have a situation where you can get so big that the government will keep you from failing no matter how badly you screw up, then the capitalist system has broken down in a big way.
---

That implies that it was the Capitalistic system that let the company get too big to fail in the first place. It wasn't. We haven't been in a Capitalistic society in America ever. We've been in a system that is *MORE* Capitalistic before; and we're heading toward *MORE* Socialism now; but we've never been either one.

I would argue that if we did go laissez-faire then we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now. Companies never would have gotten too big to fail, and there wouldn't be any monopolies in control over giant sectors of America.

But since that didn't happen...

In any case, I maintain that we are better off the less government there is, at least up to the threshold of anarchy. If there were no evil people in the world, anarchy would be just fine too; but since there are evil people, there will always be a need for government.

Nevertheless, our societies now are structured in such a way now that more government is ALWAYS a bad thing. We are not in danger of anarchy anywhere; we are constantly in danger of oppressive regimes.

So I say, err on the side of too little government, since the worst case scenario (anarchy) must remain a temporary thing by virtue of its own nature. Oppressive regimes, on the other hand, can last several generations.

Put it this way: far more people have actually been killed by organized governments than were ever dreamed of being killed by anarchists. So which one is more dangerous? :-)

Clayton said...

"I would argue that if we did go laissez-faire then we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now. Companies never would have gotten too big to fail, and there wouldn't be any monopolies in control over giant sectors of America."

You would? How would that argument go? If there were no government regulations, these companies would be smaller? If there were no government regulations, these companies would be larger but their failure would have less impact?

I'm genuinely curious, how would your argument work?

GREV said...

Mr. Veale -- you intrique me more and more.

I AM CANADIAN.

Mr Veale said...

I'm an enigma

Peter Pike said...

Clayton asked:
---
there were no government regulations, these companies would be smaller?
---

1) Companies would never get larger than market demand wanted them to be. If demand increases, companies increase; demand decreases, companies decrease. They'd be tied directly to it.

2) Companies would not be kept artificially alive despite the market demand, propped up by government regulation. If a company isn't needed, it changes goods/services or it goes out of business. If the market cannot support that large of a company, it *NEEDS* to fail.

3) Consumers would not be hurt, because anyone could start a new, smaller company, should the market demand it, and should they wish to do so.

Not that this could be implemented given our current deficiency in education and such, but that's how the "ideal" would work.

Anonymous said...

Bob Prokop writing:

Is that like how "ideal" communism would work, if only we didn't have real people?

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't we have a period of laissez faire policy in the US? Or, at least, a period of much less regulation? I believe it was called the Robber Baron period. And it was called that for a reason.

Mr Veale said...

For the sanest comments that I've read on Christianity and Politics:

http://paulhelmsdeep.blogspot.com/2010/10/on-getting-involved-in-politics_15.html