I have a bad habit of going onto conservative blogs and starting conversations. It's my means of breaking out of my own liberal echo chamber and attempting to expand my understanding and horizons, while also pushing others to break out of theirs. Something I've noticed repeatedly on these forays is that conservatives (at least the ones on the blogs I visit) really don't understand political/economic systems very well. Typically they look at the current health care "reform" bill being proposed, and call it "Marxist" or "socialist." So, if any of you conservatives ever come visit me here, here's a short lesson to clarify the issue for you.
Socialism, especially as Marx espoused, is the when the state owns and operates the means of production and distribution. A completely socialist approach to the health care system would be as follows: 1) Nationalize the hospitals; eliminate private ownership of hospitals and clinics. 2) Make all health care providers employees of the state. 3) Nationalize pharmaceutical companies – the folks who research and make drugs. 4) That pretty much eliminates the need for health insurance. Everything's paid for by the state, anyway.
Fascism, on the other hand, allows for private ownership – but ensures that that ownership belongs to a certain class. As Benito Mussolini puts it, "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power."
So when Obama and other government officials meet with pharmaceutical and insurance lobbyists behind closed doors to negotiate how "health care reform" will not only be acceptable to them, but will make them primary beneficiaries, that's fascism. When the government requires citizens to purchase private insurance, that's fascism.
In fact, we've been seeing a lot of fascism in this country over the last 30 years or so. Now, it's SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) in Washington for lobbyists to write the majority of legislation, which our congresspeople then sponsor. That's why these bills are so long and complicated – they are designed by and for the wealthiest corporations in the world. And it's completely bipartisan. This is what Reagan did, in things like quietly privatizing the military. (Currently a large percentage of the American military system is composed of corporate mercenaries.) Clinton had NAFTA, GATT, and Hillarycare. Bush had the PATRIOT Act, no-bid contracts, the Iraq invasion and occupation, and so on. Now Obama's signed on with this very fascist health care plan.
Of course, we don't call it fascism. That wouldn't be PC at all. Instead, the conservative media lapdogs (Rush, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, et al) slam "the liberals" and call it "socialism" when liberals do it, and "conservatism" or "common sense" when Republicans do it – as if the problem were this large liberal section of the American people. And liberal voices retaliate, and a vicious and divisive political discourse cripples any resistance possible from a united grassroots movement of citizens who have a common interest in tearing down fascism in this country.
The irony is that people on both sides think their leaders have their own best interests at heart, and care about liberty for the masses. Not so. The leaders care about maintaining their positions, and because We the People are ignorant, angry, and misinformed, and don't recognize our common interests and humanity, we let them.
I feel sad when I see the vicious rhetoric so common on various blogs, because it ensures that we won't listen to each other or find common ground. Instead, it aids the very people who are bleeding our freedom away. It is deeply self-destructive.
Bernays, Edward: Propaganda
Johnson, Chalmers: Blowback – the costs and consequences of American Empire
Gatto, John Taylor: The Underground History of American Education
Briody, Dan: The Iron Triangle: Inside the Carlyle Group
Marx, Karl: The Communist Manifesto
Rand, Ayn: Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
Hartmann, Thom: Unequal Protection and What Would Jefferson Do?: A return to democracy
Omerud, Paul: Butterfly Economics
Singer, P.W.: Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry
Mill, John Stuart: On Liberty
Palast, Greg: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy
Hayek, F. A.: The Road To Serfdom
plus a whole bunch of books on WWII that I read before I started keeping records, and so can't cite individually.