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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/8/09

Republicans have no Clue what Socialism and Communism means

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I return periodically to the topic of how the right wing in America is murdering the English language, one word at a time. For instance, if you listen to them, you will find out that the words "appeasement" or "appeaser" are applied anytime a politician advocates any solution to an international disagreement other than a full military assault on the country with whom we have a disagreement. See an earlier article of mine on this here

The latest lexical victims are "Socialism" and "Communism". The Republican and Conservative right in America now liberally apply these words to anyone who is center and center left, including all Democrats and President Barack Obama. You can see/hear this happen with regularity on Rush Limbaugh's radio show, and on the website Free Republic . In fact, the owner of Free Republic recently issued a missive warning the site's members to stop writing posts threatening President Obama and said missive was laced with proclamations that Obama is a Communist or Communist sympathizer. See . Here are some prime excerpts from this gem:

Regarding salty talk aimed at the president (or other officials) vs visits from the SS
March 5, 2009 | Jim Robinson

Posted on Thursday, March 05, 2009 3:43:09 PM by Jim Robinson

Unfortunately, we are saddled with a communist sympathizer in the White House. I don't know whether or not he's an actual card carrying commie, but he's definitely an America-hating, anti-capitalist Marxist leftist who thinks communism is the way to go. Now I remember when America used to fight against communism. It wasn't that long ago. Many of us on FR are veterans of wars against communism and some of us believe that American citizens who are communists are the enemy within, ie, the domestic enemy we've sworn to defend against. American citizen? hmmmm... that may be a loophole for Obama.
So now comes the problem. If you feel it's your duty to call Obama a traitor and use salty language in your proposed resolution, ie, suggest the commie be keelhauled, walked off the plank, run up the yardarm, tarred and feathered and run out of Dodge, etc, etc, etc, you may be facing a visit from your friendly Secret Service. And even though your visiting agent may agree politically, and may take his oath to the constitution seriously, he's still sworn to protect the officeholder and it's his duty to take all threats seriously. And that may include serving me with a subpoena to turn over your IP address. Now I'm duty bound to protect your privacy to the best of my ability, but I cannot defend against stupidity.


Here is a generous hint to my feebleminded right wing friends. It is impossible to be a Socialist or a Communist if one is not calling for the nationalization of entire industries. Now, I used a lot of big words there that right wingers reading this may not understand, so I will make my hint even easier to comprehend (note: comprehend means "understand"). If a government or a leader of a government is not taking over complete ownership and control of every business that has a certain function (i.e. does similar things), then you do not have a government or government leader that is Socialist or Communist. There is a similar relationship with property rights. If a government or leader is not advocating or actively taking private property rights away from people, you don’t have a Socialist or Communist government or leader.

The closest we are coming to doing anything remotely like this right now is with banking. There are people out there who are advocating temporary Nationalization of the banking industry, including some Republicans. Obama is an opponent of this idea. (Note to right wingers, "opponent" means, he doesn't like the idea of doing this).

In fact, no Democrats are Socialists or Communists (at least none that understand what it means to be a Democrat). If any of us were, we would leave the Democratic Party and join one of the many Socialist or Communist parties that exist in the US. The fact that we are Democrats means that we believe in Capitalism albeit with appropriate oversight and rules.

An amusing discussion of this entire topic, "Who you calling Socialist" was penned by Harold Meyerson who is a self-proclaimed Socialist the entire article is a masterpiece, but I particularly like:

Take it from a democratic socialist: Laissez-faire American capitalism is about to be supplanted not by socialism but by a more regulated, viable capitalism. And the reason isn't that the woods are full of secret socialists who are only now outing themselves.

For more distinctions between what a Democrat like Obama is and a Socialist or Communist, I offer the writings of one of my fellow members of OpEdNews, Richard Mynick. His last article can be seen here . Richard is an avowed Socialist. The difference between what Richard advocates and what a Democrat advocates is stark.

I realize that most of this is going to be ignored by many of those at whom this is directed, but they should consider this. The irony of what the conservative right is doing with regard to terms like appeasement and Socialism and Communism is that they are using the words so often and so inappropriately that they are going to take any kind of stigma away from them. Obama is probably going to improve relations with Russia, China and Iran. People are probably going to like the effects of this. If Right wingers call this "appeasement" then calling anything in the future "appeasement" is going to stop having a negative connotation. Similarly, if Obama's economic policies work, and I think they are, if they are termed "Socialism" or "Communism" then the next time people call someone's policies Socialism or Communism, it wont cause such a stir. THAT could be extremely destructive if it turns out that someone is really appeasing another country or taking us down the road to collectivism.

Moreover, if Republicans ever again hope to become more than a marginalized and regional party, using this kind of rhetoric is exactly the opposite way to do it. Anyone who has had any college level political science class knows well the real definition of these terms and is going to be turned off by people misusing them so badly.

Here is one more freebee to JimRob and the other folk at Free Republic who entertain me so. After eight years of trying to tell me and every other Democrat that any attitude other than getting 100% behind the US President, no matter who he may be, means you are a traitor, your frenzied antipathy toward Obama makes you all seem like the most ridiculous of hypocrites on the American political scene. You might want to think about that some.

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A political blogger for the International Business Times, Steve Leser is a hot national political pundit. He has appeared on MSNBC's Coundown with Keith Olbermann, Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Russia Today's (RT) Crosstalk with (more...)
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