A brief guide to avoiding socialism

Sam Smith
2009

Last May, the Republican National Committee condemned Obama and the Democratic Congress for leading America towards socialism. Since then the line has been picked up by numerous others on the right including the tea baggers, a group that believes it is standing for true American rights by invoking memories of a fight that was actually about merely getting Americans some representation in the British Parliament and not about full independence.

That’s not the only mistake made by those complaining about the threat of socialism. If Obama is leading America anywhere, it is – like his immediate predecessors – towards fascism. Socialism is about the state running things on behalf of the public; fascism is about the state running things on behalf of corporations. Adrian Lyttelton in his book on Mussolini wrote that “fascism can be viewed as a product of the transition from the market capitalism of the independent producer to the organized capitalism of the oligopoly.” It was a point that Orwell noted when he described fascism as being but an extension of capitalism. Lyttelton quoted Italian Nationalist theorist Affredo Rocco: “The Fascist economy is. . . an organized economy. It is organized by the producers themselves, under the supreme direction and control of the State.”

This is the way we have been heading for some time and Obama has merely joined the club.

Still, all the talk got me thinking about what avoiding socialism in America would truly be about. What if we set out to rid ourselves of all intrusions of this purported political curse? Here are a few things we might do:

– Return to the old system of fire fighting in which blazes were handled by private fire brigades hired by private insurance companies. Brooke Harrington described the practice in Economic Sociology: “If you wanted a fire brigade to come to your aid in . . . emergencies, you had to join a kind of club with private membership fees. It worked like this: you ponied up the fees, the club gave you a plaque to put over your front door, and then if fire swept through the neighborhood, the club dispatched help, but they only assisted paying members. So if you didn’t have that plaque over your door, the fire rescue teams would pass you right on by. It would not be uncommon to find that your house burned down while the one next door would be saved.” Sounds a little like our health insurance system.

– End public education. Public schools – which strongly aided the growth of America – are about as socialistic as you can get. Obama, it should be noted, is trying to help reduce this deleterious influence by converting public schools into profit-making charter operations.

– Close down all federal highways or sell them off to the highest bidder so they can turn them into profit-making roads using tolls.

– Abolish Social Security, Medicare, food stamps and all other such welfare programs.

– End all government interference with the banking and financial industries. This would have recently saved us hundred of billions in bailout funds.

– End all veterans programs including closing veterans’ hospitals.

– Sell off all public transportation to unregulated private interests.

– Close all public hospitals, end public subsidies to other hospitals and privatize all ambulance service.

– End all government regulation of food or health products.

– End the practice of government plowing streets after a snow storm. As Boston mayor James Curly put it, “The Lord brought it; let the Lord take it away.”

There.

Feeling better yet?

Bet you never realized what a bunch of closet socialists we are.

We got there, though, because – instead of hurling theories and cliches at each other – we decided on a case by case basis who could do a particular job best. And the funny thing is, it’s worked pretty well.

People who complain about the threat of socialism remind me of the man from Virginia who went to college on the GI Bill and bought his first house with a VA loan. When a hurricane struck he got federal disaster aid. When he got sick he was treated at a veteran’s hospital. When he was laid off he received unemployment insurance and then got a SBA loan to start his own business. His bank funds were protected under federal deposit insurance laws. When he retired he went on Social Security and Medicare. The other day he got into his car, drove the federal interstate to the railroad station, parked in the public lot, took Amtrak to Washington and went to Capitol Hill to ask his congressman to get the government off his back.

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