Barack Obama the Socialist

Barack Obama the Socialist Barack Obama is a socialist.

We were pretty sure this was the case after he made his remarks about how bitter people in small towns cling to religion. As Bill Kristol points out, this is very similar to Karl Marx’ line about religion being the opiate of the masses, if not as eloquent as the original German “Die Religion … ist das Opium des Volkes.” Senator Joe Lieberman reinforced this, observing, “I’d hesitate to say he’s a Marxist, but he’s got some positions that are far to the left of me and I think mainstream America.”

Now, we learn that in 1965, when Obama was 4 years old, his dad, writing as “Barak H. Obama” (the Communist-preferred spelling) wrote an essay on “African Socialism and its Applicability to Planning in Kenya” that wasn’t particularly critical of socialism.

Q.E.D.

Now, it’s true that Obama has been quiet about his plans to nationalize all industry, removing it from the hands of the capitalists and moving it under the control of the proletariat. Also, if elected president, he’ll probably not be too eager to see the state wither away, at least for the next eight years. On the other hand, he does have a cult of personality, just like many famous Communists like Mao, Lenin, and Stalin. And some staffers in one of his Texas offices had Che Guevara flags hanging on their walls. It pretty much balances out.

In all seriousness, I think Lieberman’s on the right track, if rather disingenuous in his soft dismissal of the “Marxism” label. Obama’s a liberal Democrat who wants more government regulation of the economy, more redistribution of wealth, more deference to international institutions, more nationalization of medicine, and so forth and so on. Some of his policies — although probably none of his goals — are indeed “far to the left … of mainstream America.” He’s as close to a socialist as it gets in serious contenders for the presidency; but that’s not very close.

He’s part of a long movement that has adopted some of the tools of socialism in an effort to make society better, with decidedly mixed results. The state hasn’t taken over the means of production, but it has created layers of bureaucracy to oversee them. The tax code has more than a smattering of “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” And we’ve instituted speech codes and a thought police in our schools and institutions, ostracizing those who dare to speak other than the orthodox Truth.

Again, this is mostly, if not all, well-intentioned. These were all reactions against real injustices, if often over-reactions, that had negative unintended consequences. But Obama’s not talking about cleaning up these messes but rather moving further in that direction.

Ideally, we’d be discussing the policy preferences of the candidates and their likely consequences rather than bandying about silly labels. But that’s not how the game is played.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, General, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Obama was deemed a socialist back in April http://tinyurl.com/4umpqe




    0



    0
  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Of course he’s a socialist. Practically all of us are socialists these days. If you believe in anything but a head tax, you’re a socialist and a modern state can’t be sustained on the basis of a head tax.

    That’s why we amended the Constitution a century ago. It wasn’t some mad power grab on the part of the Congress. A modern state couldn’t be maintained under the status quo.




    0



    0
  3. duckspeaker says:

    The tax code has more than a smattering of “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” And we’ve instituted speech codes and a thought police in our schools and institutions, ostracizing those who dare to speak other than the orthodox Truth.

    You seem to be equating Socialism with Fascism here. I’m not sure this sleight of hand is intellectually sound. Speech codes and thought police can originate from any authoritarian orthodoxy, whether that orthodoxy is grounded in leftist principles or right-wing nationalism.




    0



    0
  4. James Joyner says:

    Speech codes and thought police can originate from any authoritarian orthodoxy

    True that. And we’re getting some of it from the Right these days. But the Left has codified formal speech codes at universities and workplaces that have actually gotten students expelled, people fired, and so forth.




    0



    0
  5. duckspeaker says:

    But the Left has codified…

    I mildly agree, but I would also argue that depending on what part of the country you’re in, you would be equally likely to be fired, harassed, or even arrested for saying or posting something anti-Bush or anti-war that could be discerned as “not supporting the troops,” which as we all know is tantamount to defeatism and/or treason.




    0



    0
  6. Hal says:

    But the Left has codified formal speech codes at universities and workplaces that have actually gotten students expelled, people fired, and so forth.

    ROFLMAO. Man, you’re living in the 70’s. This stuff hasn’t happened – i.e. codifying formal speech – since at least the mid 80’s.




    0



    0
  7. Dave Schuler says:

    duckspeaker, your link doesn’t demonstrate what you suggest it does. From a little farther on:

    But Lt. Phil Beck of the U.S. Park Police said the officers took action only after the demonstrators ignored a command to remove a table and stop posting the signs.

    The demonstrators, members of the antiwar Answer Coalition, have been in an ongoing dispute with the District and Park Service over their right to post signs in public places.

    The D.C. government has fined the coalition about $20,000 for posting signs, and the Park Service has asked the group to remove them.

    Without further proof I don’t see this as being arrested for being anti-Bush or anti-war. Do you have some actual examples of people being fired for being anti-Bush or anti-war?




    0



    0
  8. SeniorD says:

    This country has been moving towards Socialism since the days of Woodrow Wilson. Congressional usurpation of State Powers through the Commerce Clause has cemented the Centralization of Power in Washington DC. The re-design of the Public School System by John Dewey has led to decreased Individualism and increased Collectivism. These observations are well known and well documented. Even now, the difference between Socialism and National Socialism, incorrectly thought to be of the Right, is getting blurred.

    I would grieve for my grandchildren, but to them, Socialism will be the norm. Group Think, Group Identity and draconian Thought Based ‘Hate Crimes’ will be an everyday occurrence.

    That is, unless something drastic happens – such as dropping the charade of the leading Democrat candidates calling themselves by their real ideas – Socialists.




    0



    0
  9. John D. Prince says:

    Many Conservative who argue that social programs are some how an evil plague upon the nation. They call people who criticize Iraq policy anti American, unpatriotic subversives. This is very interesting considering Iraq has turned into the largest humanitarian social aid programs since the rebuilding of Europe after World War 2. The conservatives who complain about government handouts to the poor here in America fail to use the same unjust logic on Iraq. We are creating an entire nation based upon US taxpayer nation building welfare. This dwarfs the 2 or 3 percent of the budget we spend on domestic social programs for the poor. Iraq seems to be our little pet project in a sand box of sectarian violence and eternal insurgency. This experiment in democracy has resulted in an Islamic state where one did not exist before. You can give people a vote but they can always vote themselves back into tyranny. The vote slammed them backward into a theocracy. What a victory we have on our hands. We are building, securing, and funding Iraqi infrastructure, schools, hospitals, military bases, police, and on and on. We are spending tax dollars on many of the things that may conservative republicans despise here in the USA, Social Programs, and Social Infrastructure. This is the signature sign of a lack of logic and reasoning. When people act in a, do as I say not as I do dogma, or blatant ignorant blindness we all must step back and end the idiocracy, the hypocrisy, and the lack of rational political dogma that festers among us. I am for social programs that benefit both conservative and liberal. Programs that raise up domestic life and the positive relations with the rest of the world. We can help Iraq, but do not complain about helping the poor and disadvantaged at your own front door while giving welfare to a foreign entanglement you support




    0



    0
  10. sam says:

    Ideally, we’d be discussing the policy preferences of the candidates and their likely consequences rather than bandying about silly labels. But that’s not how the game is played.

    Ever was it thus in American politics. Maybe ever is it thus in democratic polities. See Aristophanes, passim.




    0



    0
  11. Mel says:

    Senator Barack Obama is neither a democratic socialist or a Marxist. William Kristol is peddling a profoundly simplistic view of the arguments Senator Obama tried to articulat, however badly. Whenever any tragedy hits us, including chronic loss of employment, stress, etc people turn to their family and faith (rather than alcohol or violence, for example, which social workers will tell readily affirm as one outcome of uncertainty and stressors such as job loss). To argue people “cling” or “turn to” religion in times of stress and duress is a truism. (Also, I would extend and say church attendance may increase for individuals and families during such stressors — when things are good this may go down. Thats a sociological explanation not just an economic — or god forbid Marxist — one.)

    Further, I am not sure why Americans are afraid to acknowledge that social stressors also lead to violence as Senator Obama said for *some* people (bullying in schools have led to atrocious school shootings; anger and resentment similarly as led to gun violence; and within the family, there can be spousal and child abuse). This is not Marxism, this is not socialism, this is common sense and a wise people recognize it and works hard to prevent. Senator Obama link guns to stressors and made no comment on legitimate ownership or use of guns — and only people of ill-will who have a vested interest in distorting his views would conflate his legitimate claims.

    Frankly, I dispair at the shallowness of discourse in the public sphere, which permits the pandering of folks like Senators Clinton and McCain rather than Senator Obama’s attempts to have an adult conversation on the challenges that face us all.

    – Lets have a mutually respectful adult conversation that eschews naming calling and unhelpful labelling like conservative, liberal and Marxists aimed at discrediting rather than informing or illuminating the issues.

    – Mel




    0



    0
  12. Bithead says:

    Many Conservative who argue that social programs are some how an evil plague upon the nation. They call people who criticize Iraq policy anti American, unpatriotic subversives. This is very interesting considering Iraq has turned into the largest humanitarian social aid programs since the rebuilding of Europe after World War 2.

    Gee, and here I thought Bosnia held that title.
    So if they’re both Humanitarian in nature, how is it that the left objects so to iraq and not to our continued boots in the ground in Bisnia?




    0



    0
  13. glasnost says:

    The state hasn’t taken over the means of production, but it has created layers of bureaucracy to oversee them.

    You shouldn’t have even gone there, James. I know you tried to be subtle and make distinctions here, but you failed. It’s just plain to silly to equate “layers of bureaucracy to oversee production” with “socialism”. European states were “regulating” production two hundred years before Karl Marx was born. Hell, tribal chiefs probably intervened in the production of wooden spears they did not make themselves at a time when Rome was nothing but a flat spot in Italy.

    So to take regulation and make it “socialist” because Ayn Rand decided it was, is absurd. By these definitions, Adam Smith is a socialist. Regulation has nothing to do with socialism. I know you put in there that they’re not the same, but that’s still not accurate. They’re not of the same category. They’re not of the same species. They have nothing to do with each other.

    Dave Schuler’s argument points out the bankruptcy of the concept, but he’s still wildly understated. We’ve been “overseeing” production by the “state” since before there was even a word for production, or for state.




    0



    0
  14. anjin-san says:

    Guess Bush is a socialist because he is moving to increase oversight of the banking and lending industries.

    Oh, and if Democrats start producing graphics of McCain is a little Mussolini hat, is that cool?




    0



    0
  15. Mos says:

    The article doesn’t make sense.

    How can you can call Obama socialist, yet at the same time elist and anti-bourgeois?

    Give me a break.




    0



    0
  16. James Joyner says:

    ROFLMAO. Man, you’re living in the 70’s. This stuff hasn’t happened – i.e. codifying formal speech – since at least the mid 80’s.

    Schools lost a series of lawsuits in the 1990s and scaled back. That doesn’t mean speech codes have gone away.

    Indeed, San Francisco State University just settled a lawsuit last month.




    0



    0
  17. Hal says:

    How can you can call Obama socialist, yet at the same time elist and anti-bourgeois?

    Cognitive dissonance has never bothered anyone on the right, as far as I can tell…




    0



    0
  18. Hal says:

    That doesn’t mean speech codes have gone away.

    My point wasn’t that they had gone away, rather than this stuff happened in the 70’s and hasn’t been a part of the “Left” in any meaningful way since the mid 80’s. I could be wrong, of course, and if you have instances where this has been actively pursued, rather than issues regarding laws/codes passed decades ago, I will of course stand corrected.




    0



    0
  19. Dave Schuler says:

    Guess Bush is a socialist

    Again, of course he’s a socialist. If you support a graduated income tax or even a “flat rate” (in quotes because “flat” is misleading in this context), you believe in redistribution and are, consequently, a socialist. I see no evidence to the contrary in the case of President Bush so it’s reasonable to conclude he’s a socialist.

    Words aren’t just brickbats. They have useful meanings and if we drain the connotations from the word “socialist” it’s a heckuva lot easier to discuss the matter.




    0



    0
  20. Dave Schuler says:

    Rome was nothing but a flat spot in Italy

    Hasn’t Rome always been a hilly spot? 😉




    0



    0
  21. James Joyner says:

    How can you can call Obama socialist, yet at the same time elist and anti-bourgeois?

    Cognitive dissonance has never bothered anyone on the right, as far as I can tell…

    While I don’t actually call Obama a socialist, except with tongue-in-cheek, I’m struggling to think of an actual socialist who wasn’t an elitist. I’ve never said that Obama was anti-bourgeouis in any sense that’s not covered by “elitist.”




    0



    0
  22. James Joyner says:

    I could be wrong, of course, and if you have instances where this has been actively pursued, rather than issues regarding laws/codes passed decades ago, I will of course stand corrected.

    I’ve cited a university getting sued for something and settling as recently as last month. Whether there have been new codes passed, I couldn’t say. Nor does it matter. These codes remain in effect in universities across the country and they were put in place by those on the Left using Leftist justifications.




    0



    0
  23. Michael says:

    If you support a graduated income tax or even a “flat rate” (in quotes because “flat” is misleading in this context), you believe in redistribution and are, consequently, a socialist.

    I don’t think that a “flat tax”, one where everybody is taxed at the same percentage of earnings, is in any way socialist. It’s just a tax on dollars consumed, instead of goods consumed. It would seem more representational of an individual’s value of the government than a simple head count.

    I think it’s perfect fair and capitalist to say that your share of the tax burden should be proportional to how much value you get from the government’s services. If you have twice as much to lose from a house fire, then you value the fire department twice as much, and therefore should have no issue paying twice as much to support it.




    0



    0
  24. M. Simon says:

    Obama’s upbringing was in a Marxist household. One of his mentors was Frank Marshall Davis, a member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA).

    Black Liberation Theology at the core of TUCC/Wright is politically Marxist.

    Obama’s analysis of flyover country makes more sense if you think the Big O looks at the world through the eyes of a Marxist. Given his upbringing and his mentors and then his work as a “community organizer” (organize for what? – what part of the political domain uses that term?) he could very well be a Marxist at heart.




    0



    0
  25. Michael says:

    his work as a “community organizer” (organize for what? – what part of the political domain uses that term?)

    You’ve seriously never heard that term before?




    0



    0
  26. mishu says:

    We’ve been “overseeing” production by the “state” since before there was even a word for production, or for state.

    Devil’s in the details there guy. It depends on the degree of oversight. If the state has tied the hands of management to such a degree where the state oversight is effectively making the decision for him, then its de facto socialism. Thanks for the academic muddying of the conversation.




    0



    0
  27. M. Simon says:

    How can you can call Obama socialist, yet at the same time elist and anti-bourgeois?

    Cognitive dissonance has never bothered anyone on the right, as far as I can tell…

    There are the proles and then there are the commissars. What is it you don’t understand comrade?




    0



    0
  28. mishu says:

    One of his mentors was Frank Marshall Davis, a member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA).

    Black Liberation Theology at the core of TUCC/Wright is politically Marxist.

    Don’t forget the weather underground.




    0



    0
  29. M. Simon says:

    his work as a “community organizer” (organize for what? – what part of the political domain uses that term?)

    You’ve seriously never heard that term before?

    I heard it a lot when I was a communist. Since becoming a Libertarian/Republican not at all.




    0



    0
  30. Tim McDonald says:

    He may not be very close to a socialist from where you stand, but from my vantage point he looks dangerously close.

    His position on health care alone will keep me working to keep him out of office (not merely voting against him, but actively campaigning against him to everyone I know).

    I do not impugn his motives, but the fact that he really does think he knows what is best for all us rubes scares me. There is nothing more dangerous than an idealist.




    0



    0
  31. fred lapides says:

    I am a socialist! I had the G.I. Bill–govt money; have Medicare–govt money; have bank deposit insured by govt; got unemployment twice–govt money; bought war bonds years ago–govt money and did all but get farm subsidies causer IO am not a farmer..IO love socialism!!!




    0



    0
  32. Esher Fern Gamble says:

    When 95% of the voting public believes that there is no moral issue with voting to use other people’s money for things that benefit them, then it is true that “socialist” loses its differentiating power. You may need to add descriptive terms, such as “war socialist” for those who believe the US should have bases in almost every country on Earth, “social socialist” for those who believe plundering should be limited at home, “eco-socialist” for those who think government can change the planet’s climate, etc.




    0



    0
  33. Billy Beck says:

    I have a question, Joyner. In the final paragraph of the article, are you actually apologizing for identifying what this man is?

    If not, then what’s that “silly labels” bit all about?




    0



    0
  34. fred lapides says:

    Why not reject any and all money that comes from the govt and remain pure?




    0



    0
  35. mike says:

    “I think it’s perfect fair and capitalist to say that your share of the tax burden should be proportional to how much value you get from the government’s services.”

    Michael – if you believe this then do you agree that those without children should not have to pay to support schools/education? My wife and I don’t have kids, fall into the highest tax bracket and pay a higher percentage of taxes (even more b/c we don’t have a tax deductible child) – then on top of this we have to pay property tax to support schools in our state.




    0



    0
  36. Michael says:

    Michael – if you believe this then do you agree that those without children should not have to pay to support schools/education?

    Of course they should, because the education of children benefits our society as a whole, and therefore benefits you in direct proportion to your investment in our society.

    Ask yourself this: would you want to invest your livelihood in a society where the next generation would not be educated?




    0



    0
  37. mike says:

    Michael – have you seen the idiots graduating from school today – if that is an investment in the future then I would rather switch my investment plan to lottery tickets where I have at least a 1 in 250 million chance. Seriously though, I understand the “logic” behind public schools and all contributing since it takes a village but why not tax those with children in public schools (as opposed to no kids or kids in private school) at a slightly higher rate – it makes people (at least most people) think about the true cost of having children a little more. Don’t parents have the biggest incentive to ensuring their kids are well educated?




    0



    0
  38. Ottodi says:

    “Ask yourself this: would you want to invest your livelihood in a society where the next generation would not be educated?”

    Living in Los Angeles with its +%50 high school dropout rate, I can’t help but look at that statement as wonderfully dark humor.




    0



    0
  39. DWPittelli says:

    Some people have absurdly narrow definitions of “Socialist” that would include almost no one in the US. And others have absurdly broad definitions which would include almost everyone.

    If everyone who accepts the graduated income tax is a Socialist, then the word has little meaning since almost everyone would be one. At any rate, political ideologies are rarely defined by the “one drop” rule, and I think people insisting on this definition need to explain why it is useful or correct to define it thus.

    On the other hand, limiting the term “Socialist” to those who cannot allow any enterprise outside of the state is to make “Socialist” not just a synonym for “Marxist” or “Communist,” but an even narrower conception, since even many officially Communist countries have allowed some private businesses such as food stalls, farm-based restaurants, hair-stylists, etc.

    I’d say reasonable definitions of “Socialist” would include:

    1) Anyone who wants the government to directly control most of the economy, (or perhaps some other breakpoint than most/50%, which seems the least arbitrary figure).

    2) Anyone who wants the government to directly control significantly more of the economy than it currently does.

    3) Anyone who is about as far to the left, or further, than Bernie Sanders (who has called himself a Socialist), or some other representative person or party platform. (Note that almost all of the platform positions of the Socialists of 80 years ago have since been enacted in the US.)

    Currently, in the United States, where the government directly controls about 40% of the economy, the first two definitions are not in conflict.

    People who want to socialize medicine, as they would bring the 40% figure up to about 55%, would thus count as “Socialists” under either definition (unless they were seriously in favor of privatizing some big program, like Social Security).

    I understand also that about a third of Congressional Democrats would fit the 3rd definition.

    So at least the liberal third or maybe the liberal two-thirds of the Democrats (and a few Republicans) can reasonably be called Socialists. This would include Obama, but also of course Ms. Clinton, and so should have little bearing on one’s primary vote.




    0



    0
  40. James Joyner says:

    are you actually apologizing for identifying what this man is? If not, then what’s that “silly labels” bit all about?

    Because it’s all a matter of degrees. Obama is the biggest socialist of the three candidates running but 1) they’re ALL socialists by a 1920s understanding of what the federal government should be doing and 2) none of them are socialists as compared to the average Swedish conservative, let alone Lenin, Stalin, and the gang.

    So, we’re better off talking about the actual proposals rather than trying to label one a “socialist” and pretend the alternative is free market capitalism.




    0



    0
  41. fred lapides says:

    John Kenneth Galbraith: In America we have socialism for the large corporations and capitalism for the middle class




    0



    0
  42. Chris says:

    Is there an official definition of socialism written down somewhere? Maybe we could look in some musty old 19th century dictionary in the Library of Congress. If so, does it really matter? Socialism is (in the US), what it means to the vast majority US citizens which is this:

    Socialism: Something between where we are right now in the United States (Capitalism) and where Russia was before the Berlin Wall went down. Something like where France is right now.

    So if you look at France and say, “Hey, that’s how we should do things here!” your socialist according to the popular frame of reference. If you say, “Hell with that, France’s problems are worse then our’s, we shouldn’t even go there,” your probably not socialist.

    I don’t care if this definition seems stupid, plebian, un-academic, or imprecise. It’s a common frame of reference that describes the direction a particular political candidate wants to push our country in.




    0



    0
  43. Hal says:

    Actually, Chris, there’s a big difference between socialism and communism. The UK, for example, was socialist for quite some time until government control over industries started to get broken up. Don’t know anyone who confused the UK with communists. Rather, they’ve all been considered capitalists. Quite amusing your definition.

    It really is quite startling to read this thread, all things considered. It kind of puts Jonah Goldberg in perspective, given the way things are redefined on the right.

    Socialism is (in the US), what it means to the vast majority US citizens

    I doubt it very much. When one speaks from ignorance, I’m fairly sure that only ignorance will follow.




    0



    0
  44. Billy Beck says:

    “Actually, Chris, there’s a big difference between socialism and communism.”

    Not when it comes to principles.

    I understand that that very concept is anathema, now, but that makes no difference to the facts.




    0



    0
  45. Hal says:

    I understand that that very concept is anathema, now, but that makes no difference to the facts.

    <sigh> Yes, the greatest empire the world has ever seen, an empire built on the most virulent form of rapacious capitalism ever witnessed. Just a bunch of communist pussies.

    I guess what they say about the American education system is true. Was about to comment on that when I realized where the comment came from.

    Geebus. It’s like living in a zombie movie.




    0



    0
  46. Billy Beck says:

    “Geebus. It’s like living in a zombie movie.”

    >nod




    0



    0

  47. Billy Beck says:

    When the ability and motive to produce are equated with armed force, then all bets are off.

    Onward. Through the Endarkenment.




    0



    0
  48. The US is not a socialist country; neither is it fascist. It, in common with most other large economies, is corporatist. That definition snuggles up a little bit closer to fascism (in which the means of production are privately held but their activities are directed by the state) than it does to socialism. But fascism is also an emanation of the Left. Every plausible candidate for office believes in dirigisme and the State having a claim on a hefty chunk of the country’s production. They can be differentiated solely by how fervently they believe in it. In the case of John McCain: he really believes in it. Hillary: oh boy, does she believe in it. And Obama: quick Ma, hide the silver.

    As a libertarian minarchocapitalist, this makes me very sad.




    0



    0
  49. fred lapides says:

    ask not what you can do for your country but what they can do for ME…
    We have an industrial/military/academic empire, And we are spread throughout the world > Guess how many bases we have worldwide–those that are known! How many military do we have spread throughout the world? Why?




    0



    0
  50. mike says:

    “Guess how many bases we have worldwide–those that are known! How many military do we have spread throughout the world? Why?”

    To always ensure that other countries listen to us – look what happen when the last round of BRAC came out – at first Germans wanted us out and then they realized what would happen to all those employed directly and indirectly by the DOD and are now upset. NATO and non-NATO members love doing exercises whenever they can with us. Money talks. whether this is sound fiscally is another matter but having military throughout the world ensures the spread of US interests in those countries whether those countries want to admit it or not.




    0



    0
  51. Chris says:

    Hal wrote:

    Actually, Chris, there’s a big difference between socialism and communism

    I’m not sure what your point is. I never equated socialism with communism. I characterized it, somewhat loosely, as something between US style capitalism and Russian style communism. I also qualified the statement by saying that this wasn’t a textbook definition, but rather the common perception, and that its the common perception that matters. You can argue that my definition is not the ‘common’ perception, but I challenge you to go out into the street and randomly ask people to define socialism and see what you get.

    Any why does the common perception of what socialism means, matters? I admit, in the circle of those commenting on this article, we should be familiar with the definition of socialism, so maybe my original comment was out of place.

    However, when pundits, demagogues and politicians are accusing Barrack Obama of being socialist, they are not talking to you, they are communicating with people that associate socialism with something closer to communism than we are right now. An effective counter argument is, “Obama is not anti-business and not anti-individual and this is why . . .” An ineffective counter argument (when dealing with the average person) is to raise your nose, print off your wikipedia entry, read the TRUE definition of socialism.




    0



    0
  52. Chris says:

    Here is how Hal should respond to my last comment:

    So, Chris, which group are you in, the ‘common, ignorant group’, or the ‘educated’ group. If you were in the educated group, then my comment was appropriate. If you are in the common, ignorant group, then you just admited you are ignorant.

    My response would be: Touche. I am a little bit in the ‘common/ignorant’ group in the sense that before today, my definition of socialism was a little soft, though in principle it leaned in the right direction. I’m glad to have been better educated in the last couple of hours.

    Still, there is still a good argument that Obama embraces certian principles that have been associated, historically with communist institutions: More governemnt run social services, more income re-distribution, and more government control of industry. These principles may not define socialism or communism, but the association it too strong to ignore based on a simple academic definition.




    0



    0
  53. Hal says:

    Well, thanks for the schooling, Chris. I tell ya, I never would have figured out that the common meaning of Socialism is shorthand for Communism on my own. I mean, shucks.

    And, thanks for the insight that people who use this shorthand aren’t talking to people like me. I mean, my lord. That’s insight that’s hard to come by.




    0



    0
  54. Michael says:

    Michael – have you seen the idiots graduating from school today

    Yes, and I’ve also seen the brilliant students who are graduating from public schools today. The system is broken, but that just means it should be fixed, not junked.

    I understand the “logic” behind public schools and all contributing since it takes a village but why not tax those with children in public schools (as opposed to no kids or kids in private school) at a slightly higher rate – it makes people (at least most people) think about the true cost of having children a little more.

    Believe me, parent’s don’t need any more help realizing the cost of having children.

    Don’t parents have the biggest incentive to ensuring their kids are well educated?

    I don’t see how, other than a parent’s desire to do what is best for their children.




    0



    0
  55. Sun Tzu says:

    Barack Obama Is An Honest Man

    If there is one positive thing I can say about Barack Obama is that he is an honest man. He wants to change the game in Washington and want change in America. He means it. Here’s some of the changes I think we will see if Obama becomes President:

    Take Home Pay

    If you are a hard-working, responsible American, especially if you have a family and both parents work, Obama will change your take-home pay, by raising the taxes on your income, your capital and your retirement.
    If you are un-employed, irresponsible, lazy and have a general entitlement mentality, Obama will promise to raise your take-home pay by taxing the rich and funneling millions into failed social programs.

    The Price of Gasoline

    Actually change here is likely to stop. Obama is very likely to freeze gasoline and other energy prices in an effort to attack the profits of energy providers and placate those who feel big oil is an enemy of the state. Unfortunately what will change, is that the supply will dwindle, and although you may be able to buy a gallon of gas for $3, there won’t be much of it around to buy.

    The Environment

    Obama is going to be an environmental crusader. No doubt about it. His global warming policies are going to change life in America. Most of us who run profitable small businesses today, (because we currently operate under reasonably responsible, economically viable environmental policies), will probably go out of business. Food prices will skyrocket and supply will dwindle, because the economic ecosystems that support our food supply will crash, and it will be Obama’s Carbon Footprint policies that do the crushing.

    Obama is a SOCIALIST. Socialism feels like a good thing, but it has failed miserably whenever it has be tried and ruined many a society and country. The only ones that benefit from Socialism are the elites who cling to power at the expense of the people and the misfits who feed at the government trough without adding anything to the economy. Obama is an honest man. He will bring change. Unfortunately, it will be change for the worst.




    0



    0