Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
~ Pete Seeger

Friday, August 28, 2009

Political Science 101

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.


CrackerLilo said...

You know I have completely lost my appetite for political debate at the moment. Maybe it'll come back to me one day. But I'm glad you keep it up and plug away. Maybe someone who needs to listen, will, and everyone will be better off for it.

shallowfrozenwater said...

as a Canadian i don't get the American conservative position that leaning to the "left" makes you socialist. Canadian society might be characterized as a Social Democratic society but there are many parts of the world that have some social democratic policies but are far from socialist. universal healthcare is common in several European countries as well as in Canada and although we do have our "issues" we also do get care for people who need it.
i really enjoyed your post and it shed some light for me. thanks.

Seda said...

Yeah, I don't get it either. Seems to me the political discourse in this country has been so skewed to the right, that what we call the "right wing" is now what would have been extreme in the past; and what we call the "left" is slightly right of center; and genuine left doesn't even exist. It's rather pathetic.

Thanks for your feedback, and welcome to my blog!

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
~Helen Keller

Reading List for Information about Transpeople

  • Becoming a Visible Man, by Jamison Green
  • Conundrum, by Jan Morris
  • Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein
  • My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
  • Right Side Out, by Annah Moore
  • She's Not There, by Jennifer Boylan
  • The Riddle of Gender, by Deborah Rudacille
  • Trans Liberation, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transgender Emergence, by Arlene Istar Lev
  • Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transition and Beyond, by Reid Vanderburgh
  • True Selves, by Mildred Brown
  • What Becomes You, by Aaron Link Raz and Hilda Raz
  • Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our