Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Politics — Rick Moran @ 11:09 am

Oh my. My last post on definitions and meaning seems to have struck a discordant note with the barbarians of the right who, not surprisingly, proved my point deliciously with their responses.

Doug Ross complains that I am the “Ayatollah of diction (?)” for the right and that, au contraire, I just don’t understand what “socialism” is.


The path the modern, MoveOn-controlled Democrat Party is on today was presciently described by Stuart Chase in 1942. He wrote that the agenda of the Fabian Socialists — who had launched a counter-revolution against America’s founding — was to create an authoritarian and completely centralized government apparatus. The tenets of the Fabian Socialists were codified as follows:

• Strong, centralized government
• Government-controlled banking, credit and securities exchange (like Dodd-Frank, etc.)
• Government control over employment (like the “Employee Free Choice Act” and NLRB efforts to increase unionization of the workplace)
• Unemployment insurance, old age pensions (like 99-week unemployment benefits, Social Security, easy access to welfare)
• Universal medical care, food and housing programs (like Obamacare, food stamps, HUD)
• Access to unlimited government borrowing (like massive deficits)
• A managed monetary system (like an opaque Federal Reserve)
• Government control over foreign trade (like China tariffs)
• Government control over natural energy sources, transportation and agricultural production (like drilling moratoriums, the EPA’s regime of “Cap-and-Trade”)
• Government regulation of labor (like the Wagner Act, monopolistic power of trade unions, et. al.)
• and Heavy progressive taxation (like our current tax code, the most “progressive” of all Western countries).

Rick, the policies of the modern Democrat Party are absolutely synonymous with Marxism. And that’s not just my opinion, that’s the take of historians and Constitutional attorneys like David Limbaugh and Mark Levin.

First - and I don’t want to harp on trivialities - but for God’s sake if you are going to write about American politics could you please get the name of the political party right? It is not, nor has it ever been the “Democrat” party. It is the Democratic party and has been so since 1800. It does not matter that the epithet has been in general usage. Spreading ignorance is not an excuse for getting the name of one of the major political parties wrong.

To business: What alternate reality is inhabited by Ross and others on the right? In what universe does the government “control” banking, credit, and the stock markets? In which mythical realm does government “control” employment? Or foreign trade? And in what solar system do labor unions equate with “government” and regulating industries is a sign that we are living in Marxist society? Or socialist, for that matter since Ross appears to use the two terms interchangeably.

I suppose the sticking point between us is the word “control.” I asked the teller at the Streator National Bank yesterday which branch of the government the bank president reported to and which government manager hired her when she got her job 6 months ago. Her blank stare in response is all you need to know about the idea that the banks are “controlled” by the government.

Banks are heavily regulated - not nearly enough for some, too much for others. The recent FinReg bill passed by Congress is a horrible piece of legislation - overregulating smaller financial companies while cozying up with the big banks with the kind of crony capitalism the Obama administration has become famous for.

But does any of it give “control” to the government of banks, financial companies, and especially the stock and commodity markets? Citigroup doles out fabulous bonuses to some of its managers and Ross’s regulators don’t lift a finger to stop them. The government can’t tell any bank to whom they must or can loan money, nor can the government control stuff like initial offerings, venture capital, or even how hedge funds invest their money.

This is a strange way to control the financial industry, eh? Fact: Regulation is not control. Perhaps to the minds of Ross and his fellow Huns, there is no difference between the terms. Perhaps Ross and his fellows would prefer the kind of capitalism where Bernie Madoff could have made himself king. The problem, in some cases, is under regulation as proved by the dufuses on Wall Street who were too lazy to hop a plane to Atlantic City to gamble and decided to do it with trillions in mortgage securities.

The kind of government “control” that Ross is bitching about doesn’t depend on one party, nor one president. Conservatives as diverse as Kirk and Oakeshott have recognized that in order to maintain a well ordered society, government regulation of business is necessary. Yes there is too much regulation - only added to by the Democrats. But an increase in regulation does not mean that government “controls” anything.

Definitions are important. Meaning is important. If it makes me the Ayatollah of diction (?) to point out that you can’t willy nilly make up your own definitions of words to satisfy a political objective, then I suppose you better give me a Koran and put a funny-looking hat on my head.

A few other observations…with inappropriate digressions and stray thoughts included.

Is giving easy access to “welfare” - food stamps, housing assistance, etc. a sign that we live in a socialist country? Again, I really, really, want to visit this planet on which Ross and his cohorts live. No poverty on Terra Ross and if you happen to hit a stretch of bad luck, well, tough. Go to your local church and get help there. Or knock on a rich guy’s door and beg for crumbs. Or ask one of your equally poor relations if you and your kids can bunk with them.

Of course, there are conservative principles that can be applied to the management of social welfare programs - that should have been applied since their beginnings - that would have prevented a permanent underclass, a culture of dependency, and even vastly reduced waste and abuse. But to finger welfare as a harbinger or poster boy for socialism? Why, then, blame Democrats exclusively? Why not point out the “coup d’etat’ that took over the GOP too? Those programs have run and been augmented by both parties and by all presidents since the 1960’s.

And Fabian society or not, the idea that a modern industrialized society should get rid of old age pensions in the form of Social Security and Medicare is daffy. Of course they are set up to bankrupt us eventually - especially Medicare - but reforming them so that old people literally aren’t shivering in the streets or eating dog food is what is needed, not repeal.That is, unless you want a law that makes it mandatory that mom and dad move in with you when they reach the age of 65.  If that were proposed, I daresay that agitation for repeal of Social Security and Medicare would taper off substantially.

Somebody has got to take care of them. If not you, then who?  There are a thousand ideas on how to reform these programs for seniors but few that advocate deep sixing them altogether.

Does having these government programs mean we are a socialist country? Earth to the Visigoths: the calendar has flipped a few pages since you last looked. We don’t live in an 18th century pastoral, coastal society of 7 million people anymore as much as you would wish to go back to the pre-constitutional days of the Articles of Confederation. We live in a 21st century urban, industrial republic with 30 million people who cannot go out and gather berries, hunt their own meat, build their own log cabin, or turn their rye into whiskey and float it down the river to market. The liberals (and George Bush) call social welfare programs “compassionate” government. They are wrong. It is common sense government to care for those who, for whatever reason or excuse, can’t do for themselves. That there is waste, fraud, and abuse goes without saying. That the programs are vital to the survival of millions is equally indisputable.

Does government tell Shell or any other oil company where to drill, how much to spend on developing fields, who should run the company? No, not now and not anytime soon. “Cap and Trade” is an insidious piece of legislation that couldn’t even reach the floor of either chamber when the Democrats had a supermajority, so it is hardly a threat to anybody or anything. The Obama administration is taking the term “control” to the outer limits with its ban on offshore drilling and CO2 regs by the EPA. But will the companies themselves be run by Washington? Of course not. They will be heavily regulated, not controlled.

The difference is meaning. The difference is intent and usage as far as Ross is concerned. I don’t care what some neo-socialist thought in 1942 about how to “socialize” America. It is irrelevant when talking about “control” of businesses and industries.

There is a difference between the Democratic party and socialists. There is a chasm-like difference between the Democratic party and Marxism. “Socialism” and “Marxism” are not interchangeable terms despite Ross’s attempt to make it so. There is a difference between “regulating” and “control.”

And there is a difference between manufacturing definitions and using the correct lexicon to criticize your opponents.

1 Comment

  1. [...] — the kind of thing, say, JFK might do, and we needn’t carry on sounding so desperately incorrect in our very (conveniently) narrowly construed and historically fixed definitions lest the very very well-read and highly educated salon crowd on the left laugh at [...]

    Pingback by “The New NLRB: Boeing Is Just the Beginning” — 5/17/2011 @ 9:03 am

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