It is becoming increasingly obvious that the liberal/socialist wing of the Democratic Party for which President Obama is the spokesperson, is taking America into the European Democratic Socialist camp. To make this fact more palatable to the American people, the emerging message of Democrats is (1) Obama’s policies are not socialist, and (2) European style socialism is not really all that bad anyway.
Saul Friedman, a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, writing for the “Times Goes By” blog attempts to both defend socialism as desirable and downplay its reality in American politics. He first attempts to deny that Obama’s policies are socialist by appealing to the classical definition of “socialism” as, “a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating public or state ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods…” He then goes on to point out the mixed nature of such programs as Social Security, Medicare, and The Tennessee Valley Authority, using the acceptance by the beneficiaries of these programs as proof that what we have in America is not socialism.
Another favorite canard of the liberal/socialist is to point out the similarities of policies of former President Bush and the policies now being proposed and implemented by President Obama and Congress. I have been a consistent supporter and defender of the presidency of George W. Bush. At the same time, I have consistently criticized him when he strays from the Constitution, including giving him proper credit, or in this case, blame, for ushering in the era of socialism through his unconstitutional and ill advised TARP program at the end of his presidency as well as the earlier $160 billion stimulus package. Socialism is socialism whether it is promoted by Democrats or Republicans.
“Socialism”, like “Democracy”, “Republic” and other political words have been misused so often that their meanings become blurred and difficult to define precisely. Politicians trained in law are expert at nuances in language and the shading of words so that their meanings fit their own agenda. In order to hide their real intentions from the American public as long as possible, the American socialists use more upbeat words like “liberal”, “progressive”, “democratic“, and “fair”, words that disguise the hard-core nature of their socialist doctrines.
To accurately define what is meant by conservatives and others who label left wing democratic policies as “socialist” it is only necessary to look at the 150 years of history surrounding the rise of socialism. Among all socialist nations throughout the past century two characteristics stand out. First of all is the confiscation of wealth from the rightful owners who earned it and redistributing it to those who did not. In agrarian states where the primary source of wealth is in land, it is relatively easy to confiscate property from the land owners and redistribute to the peasants who work the land. This change has frequently been brought about through armed revolution.
In modern industrialized nations the task is more difficult. Both in America and Western Europe, socialism has taken hold through the democratic process. It makes little difference who owns the means of production. Who controls it, sets policies for its management and takes home the lion’s share of its profits is what is important. As a percentage of revenue, the major part of profits in most businesses goes to the government through direct or indirect taxation. The modern enlightened socialist seeks control of the economy through government regulations and confiscatory taxation. Profits are then redistributed via social programs to the less productive members of society, keeping the larger share for itself to use in the expansion and strengthening of its power.
As the progress toward socialism moves forward, central planning is introduced into the mix, as it has been in the automotive industry and will be in the healthcare and energy industries. The fact that centralized economic planning does not work and has never worked, is completely ignored.
Mr. Friedman then attempts to present European socialism as something to be desired not condemned. “I do not understand why we should fear the social democracy of Europe. Many Americans, including members of Congress, enjoy traveling to Europe and taking advantage of their social democracies – cheap and fast transportation, universal health care and a healthy opposition to war. There is no such thing as an uninsured person in the European Union, and the Euro has become as strong as the dollar”, he writes. What he does not mention is the cost in liberty and the lack of opportunity for upward mobility among the poor and working classes.
Obama and his liberal/socialist supporters are master politicians but as economic managers they are total incompetents. That fact is becoming more obvious and undisputable every day, just as is the fact that his agenda is to turn America into an European style Democratic Socialist country. It still remains to be seen, whether the American people will permit him to succeed or not.