What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
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Barack Obama is turning America into a socialist nation!!!!!!
So go most of the ignorant economic critiques made by your average Republican in response to the policies and programs being promoted by his highness, the great President-who-can-and-will-fix-everything. Aghast at what’s being pushed through a complicit, Democrat-dominated Congress, so-called conservatives are dusting off their free market principles and marching to the latest battle between capitalism and socialism.
These capitalist-come-latelies, though, are hurting their professed cause more than they aim to help it. By directing their ire solely at the undesirable and obviously socialist programs, they allow the vast majority of social programs which are more subtle and sympathetic to gain root and lay the foundation for an overall socialist state. Universal health care is a popular and easy target these days, and Republicans of all degrees of party faithfulness are sounding the war cry. But where are the principled capitalists speaking out with equal determination against medicare, medicaid, social security, SCHIP, food stamps, free school lunches, prescription assistance, unemployment, and all the other equally socialist programs that continue to be funded?
Here we witness Republican hypocrisy on display. It is easy to call the leaders of the opposing party socialist, but who in the Grand Ol’ Party dared to label their own President as such when he pushed hard for a Medicare drug benefit, for example? The “S word” gets brought out when a few banks stand to benefit, but when the recipients are old, young, disabled, etc., Republicans rival Democrats in their socialist support.
You can’t have it both ways, and yet Republicans continue to misapply their seemingly limited economic understanding. If universal health care is socialism, then so is medicare; if bank bailouts are, then so is unemployment insurance. But in the narrow and incorrect definition embraced by almost all Republicans, a program is only socialist if a Democrat proposed it, it will increase taxes dramatically, or it’s just something they don’t like. With ideas like these ingrained in their minds, it’s little wonder that the balance sheets of Republican-led federal government do not look much different than what Democrats produce.
Until Republicans—and Americans as a whole—begin to oppose all forms and levels of government-imposed wealth redistribution, any feigned disgust will rightly be seen as disingenuous. Advocates of capitalism must apply their principles to every economic exchange—including the feel-good type that falsely masquerade as charity. You cannot be selective with your objection to socialism and still call yourself a fan of free markets.