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Back in the USSA (United Socialist States of America)

I don’t know whether to laugh, chuckle or scream whenever I hear some right-wing social democrat (a.k.a Republican) politician talk about how the United States is “sliding towards socialism” as South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint put it [1]in response to Obama’s stimulus package. In fact, if you Google the phrase “sliding towards socialism” you’ll find it being repeated a lot in letters to the edi [2]tor and online articles [3]. Apparently there are a lot of fearful people out there who believe that America stands just hairsbreadth away from socialism.

Didn’t they hear the word ? We live in a socialist country.

Have been since 1933.

United Socialist States of America.

The good old USSA.

In fact one can say we’ve been sliding towards socialism ever since the Progressive Era of Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and its been downhill ever since.  Neither Warren Harding nor Calvin Coolidge were socialists, but neither did they nor the Republican Congresses of the 1920s ever repeal the Sherman Anti-Trust Act or other Progressive Era legislation. And when Hoover came into power, well… Katie bar the door right there. Ever heard of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC)? Government gives money to banks and corporations to keep them afloat? How is that not socialistic?

Hoover’s RFC basically legitimized the New Deal, as Bush II’s TARP  now legitimizes anything the Obama Administration does to fully nationalize banks or bailout other industries. Whatever was left of the free-market argument made by the GOP went out the window when they decided it was okay for the American taxpayer to own 80 percent of AIG to spend on hunting retrea [4]ts. For them to pretend otherwise is silly. Hell, according to the Washington Monthly, [5]the social-democratic Right can only find about $18.7 billion within the stimulus package they agree is wasteful spending. That only leaves $884.5 billion of spending they’re AOK with!

What’s going on on the social-democratic Right is mere political posturing, trying to reclaim a brand label for themselves that was fraudulent to begin with so they can try to disguise themselves now that they don’t have to back up a Republican President with their votes anymore. What does that make them? Apparently less honest with themselves than President so-called “Compassionate Conservative” Bush II. At least we knew where Bush II stood. And Ron Paul is right too. The social-democratic Right simply believes in different spending priorities (like the trillion dollar War in Iraq) and wants to fund them with tax cuts which means more borrowing to cover the costs, all thanks to House GOP leader Rep. “Borrow-and-Spend” Boehner.

 So the Republicans are not proposing we go back to the America of 1870s because they accept socialist American as much as anyone. It doesn’t matter whether they like it or not. They accept the political reality of the USSA and they live with it. Only on two occasions (1981 and 1995) have they ever challenge the legitimacy of the USSA and both times they retreated with their tails between their legs. Every GOP President since Roosevelt has accepted the New Deal and has expanded upon it, whether it was the Interstate Highway system, the EPA, the SBA, OSHA, Homeland Security. No cabinet departments were ever eliminated under Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes, much less other “social programs.” They accept Social Security, which is socialist. They accept Medicare, which is also socialist. They accept Medicade, which is socialist too. And on top of their well known love of pork barrel projects, earmarks and subsidies for businesses and farms, which are all socialist and in their design and intent, to complain that America is on the way to becoming like France only shows social-democratic Right simply has no grasp of reality, only what they want to lie to themselves about.

Don’t believe me? Try this experiment. Write to every Republican Congressperson in Tennessee and Kentucky and ask them whether they support privatizing the socialistic Tennessee Valley Authority. [6]See what kind of responses you get. Needless to say the nascent “Republican Revolution” died because its members in South refused to part with the family jewels bequeathed to them by the New Deal Democrats they replaced in office. Well when that started taking place it became quite obvious that the “Revolution” was a fraud and it was every politician for themselves, all at the public trough. That kept the GOP in power in Congress for another 15 years before they lost it all when people saw through their charade, the one they apparently haven’t abandoned yet. [5]

In fact, name me a country in the world where government isn’t involved in the so-called free market in some way, shape or form or tries to control its citizens’ behavior. It simply varies by degree. There are light socialist states like, say, Switzerland or India. There’s moderate socialist states like the Western Europe. Israel was founded by socialists and still operates as a socialist nation and yet all us free marketeers we have no problem supporting it. There are crony capitalist states in Asia,  which is a form of socialism known as corporatism. In China, the government is the corporation but they figured out its still socialistic so the Communists can still maintain power with a straight face. There’s the time-warp socialism like that practiced in Cuba. There’s the oil-state socialism of Venezuela or the rest of OPEC. There’s cynical drunken socialism of the old Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. There’s the paranoid socialism of Robert Mugabe, the Burmese junta and Hoxha’s Albania and there’s hermetically sealed socialism of North Korea. Only in Somalia can one live without the heavy hand of government because there is no government. 

Where does the U.S. fit on this scale? Oh, somewhere in between the Western Europe (Democrats) and Asia’s crony capitalism (Republicans), always sliding in between the two depending on which party is in power. But it’s socialism nonetheless and no amount talking about “sliding into socialism” is going to change that. Even a Ron Paul led government would be socialistic, just to lesser degree, a fact the Congressman, perhaps the last honest person in Washington, acknowledges. [7]

Acknowledging the reality of USSA would be a good first step for all those Republicans and wanna-be conservatives. Then perhaps they can make the progression to deal with America as it is and not as they want to think it is like.  There’s is no “sliding into socialism.”  We’ve slid right into it.

Right back into the USSA.

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#1 Comment By Etienne Gervaise On February 3, 2009 @ 6:31 pm

Socialist? Wrong! The USSA is in fact a fascist nation, but more probably a fascist empire. If you don’t believe me, then visit Washington DC and see all the eagles and faggots adorning government architecture. There is so muchfascist symbolism that I ought to make a slideshow and post it un YouTube.

Back in Italy under Mussolini, businesses could be privately owned, but were subject to so many government imposed rules, ownership became moot. For instance employees had specific outputs which were often geared to the productivity of the most inept worker. Wages were controlled as was price of goods sold. Paid vacations etc. made up the perks package dished out by the generous Duce. We are much more than halfway to Mussolini’s paradise where the trains at least ran on time.

#2 Comment By rawshark On February 3, 2009 @ 7:45 pm

Ever read the Declaration of Independence? Dripping with socialism. When you toss the nobles and declare that all men are equal in the eyes of the law regardless of wealth you can’t pretend to not be a socialist.
Remember how pissed the conservatives were about the whole revolution thing? The Tories wanted nothing to do with a government that wasn’t ruled by a noble who was chosen to lead by God.
Consent of the governed? Whatsat? How about bowing down to your betters you peasant dogs?!

#3 Comment By Sean Scallon On February 3, 2009 @ 9:20 pm

Do you not remember that Mussolini was once a member of the Italian Socialist Party and only left that party because it would not support Irtaly’s entry into World War I? Not because he disagreed with it ideologically.

Fascism is simply a socialist variant.

#4 Comment By josephdietrich On February 3, 2009 @ 11:45 pm

This is an interesting definition of socialism.

#5 Comment By Thomas O. Meehan On February 4, 2009 @ 12:22 am

Etienne, What you see on the outside of the buildings are Fasces, bundles of rods bound together with an ax. They symbolize the unity of the Senate and people of Rome as a republic. The Faggots on the other hand, are to be found inside the buildings or up on Dupont Circle walking hand in hand.

Anyone interested in understanding the deference between Socialism and Fascism should read Oswald Spengler’s “Socializmus unt Prussianismus.”

#6 Comment By TomB On February 4, 2009 @ 12:46 am

No no, the Republicans have not become full socialists, damnit! They’ve only become *half* socialist: Of *course* they still believe in privatizing gain! It’s just that they now believe in socializing *losses* you see….

Although, I suppose, to be fair maybe they are only one-*quarter* socialist since of course it’s not *everyone’s* losses they want to socialize, is it? Only those that would otherwise be suffered by deserving little people like those, say, who work at or own Citibank, or Bear Stearns, or Bank of America, or Morgan Stanley, or AIG….

What kills me with these bailouts is that for the last twenty or thirty years practically everyone of every political stripe has bemoaned the conglomeratization of the U.S. economy with all that has meant. No more nice little-town hardware stores, nor general stores, nor local banks anymore really; small town main streets devastated coast-to-coast in fact. And big cities emptied of middle-class folks too because the little enterprises of city neighborhoods have been destroyed as well and the malls are now out in the suburbs. And big brand-name logos hypnotizing kids into becoming frantic little robo-consumers….

But now, hallelujah some would say, the business model for so many of these conglomerates has proven hilariously stupid. No, it seems, they just can’t resist gorging themselves with debt to make stupid acquisitions and decisions. It’s into bankruptcy for them, where they’ll be sliced and diced into more reasonable sized units again, right? So that, among all the other happy effects of same, we back away from the monopolization that’s been going on too. Back to the comfort and wisdom of more human-sized and diversified enterprises. Praise be!

But … no! Not at all! It’s *precisely* the bloated pluto-corp’s that are the ones we gotta save! Not the mom and pop grocery stores that are going under, nor the nice little local banks or motels or insurance companies or etc. Those little guys are *still* the losers! They don’t get no stinking bailout monies! After all the wisdom of bailing out only the bloated is that you keep them around so that they *stay* bloated so that they can then blackmail you into bailing them out again all over later!

Incoherence on stilts.

Cheers,

#7 Comment By nevrdull On February 4, 2009 @ 1:16 am

you’re not gonna trot out the goldberg theory of fascism, are you sean?

#8 Comment By Greg Panfile On February 4, 2009 @ 7:26 am

It is interesting how these historical analyses always pick a convenient temporal starting point. Capitalism as we know it was established in reaction to Napoleon, by providing the lower classes with some hope of working their way up the economic pyramid, such that gratified greed would reduce the probability of nobility getting their just desserts on the guillotine… rather than let them eat cake, let them earn it, so to speak, while we still control the government and industry. But those in power remained too greedy and mismanaged the continent of Europe into the ridiculous slaughter of WWI, leading to Bolshevism and the execution of nobility… hence, when pressure in that direction began to be a serious threat in this country, enough socialism was instituted to keep the peasantry again satisfied. Now that the government and business classes have again been so kleptocratic that the entire system is threatened, of course there will be an increase in ‘socialism’ if only to continue the pattern and avoid political violence. Conservatism has no answer to this because unfettered business has yet again overgrown in scale, with no effective counterweight and collapsed due to its own giantism. ‘Small government’ cannot match what bloated corporations can do… it is the equivalent of a mouse guarding a henhouse from a cat, hence the immense and near-total corruption of the past decade.

By the way, the Mussolini method of ‘making the trains run on time’ was to alter the schedules to reflect when the trains actually operated… there was absolutely no improvement in the efficiency of the rail system itself. You can look it up…

#9 Comment By WRW On February 4, 2009 @ 8:34 am

Goldberg’s theory of fascism is came from liberal progressivism, not that it is a socialist variant. I don’t think there’s any debate that fascism shared common elements with socialism; the ridicule of Goldberg is the notion that liberalism gave birth to fascism. And, even with common strains of fascism (and, it should be recognized, I think Sean is referring to Italian fascism, not German National Socialism) there are substantial differences that caused the fascists to break with socialists (nationalism v. internationalism, militarism v. pacifism–at least in the Norman Thomas brand of socialism.)

But Tom’s point about the failure of Wall Street exposing the bankruptcy of the conglomerate model illustrates that we are simply too frightened to endure the tumult associated with the failure of conglomerates.

I take Sean’s point to be that the GOPers are silly in ranting about “socialism” since, if you want to parse it, every country has policies that can be labeled “socialistic”, but are accept by the populace. It’s an irrelevant argument. There are plenty of substantive arguments to be made against the incestuous relationship of gov’t, corporate American and Wall Street. There are also plenty of arguments to be made against bailouts, loose money, debt-driven growth, etc. But “socialism” ain’t it, unless one takes a purist, libertarian approach. (From a practical viewpoint, undoing the popular socialistic policies we have, SSA, TVA, etc., is wholly unfeasible and a waste of effort.)

#10 Comment By Patrick Krey On February 4, 2009 @ 10:53 am

“unless one takes a purist, libertarian approach. (From a practical viewpoint, undoing the popular socialistic policies we have, SSA, TVA, etc., is wholly unfeasible and a waste of effort.)”

Unfeasible? Perhaps. Waste of effort? Definitely not!

#11 Comment By The Western Confucian On February 4, 2009 @ 1:43 pm

You might enjoy these new lyrics set to an old tune: [8]

#12 Comment By rawshark On February 4, 2009 @ 5:15 pm

‘Fascism is simply a socialist variant.’

Fascism and socialism are polar opposites. Anyone who says otherwise is a right winger unhappy with the fact that fascism is a property of the right. Goldberg.
Stop killing words.

#13 Comment By rawshark On February 4, 2009 @ 5:19 pm

‘Do you not remember that Mussolini was once a member of the Italian Socialist Party and only left that party because it would not support Irtaly’s entry into World War I? Not because he disagreed with it ideologically.’

Maybe he never agreed with it idealogically and simply ran with which ever crowd would give him power.
Power is not a means to an end it is an end.
And it’s a myth that the trains ran on time in Italy.

#14 Comment By TomB On February 5, 2009 @ 7:23 am

I think that if you guys took time to define your terms many if not most of your apparent disagreements would disappear.

#15 Comment By Peter On February 5, 2009 @ 9:40 am

Rawshark, where is your evidence that fascism is the polar opposite of socialism? I have only ever seen that idea promulgated by Leftists who are more interested in delegitimizing Conservatives than in observing the notable similarities between the two movements, such as the philosophical concept of the welfare/warfare State, opposition to religion, militaristic expansionism, class/ethnic superiority, a destiny of world domination, dissolution of traditional bonds of loyalty (such as to family or locality), and the radical elimination of individual and property rights. In fact, I would argue that they were so vehemently opposed to each other because they were philosophical brothers, not opposites. The worst conflicts always take place between relatives.

#16 Comment By rawshark On February 5, 2009 @ 2:29 pm

One wants a world with no government, the other does not want that at all. Just because they both appeal to populist ideals doesn’t mean they are fundamentally the same. Only one of them is actually populist. Check out the Nazis. They started off appearing to be populist, they even used the word socialist in their party name, but perverted socialism isn’t socialism at all.
Nationalism and patriotism also seem similar but they sure ain’t.

#17 Comment By Thomas O. Meehan On February 5, 2009 @ 3:11 pm

The nexus between Fascism and Socialism is long established. Two examples suffice to make this clear.

1. The National Socialist German Workers Party is the actual title of the “Nazi’s.”
2. The official position of the Soviet Union at certain points in the 1930’s was that Nazism was a illegitimate, Socialist halfway-point between Capitalism and the true Marxist Leninist stage of development. This only changed when Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941.

It’s a curious thing however that Hitler, Mussolini and Franco took real steps to prevent actual participation by Fascist ideology in setting policy. For instance, Hitler purged the far left elements of the Nazi party such as Otto and Gregor Strasser. Franco’s long control of Spain saw the actual power of the Falangist (sp?) party diminish year by year. Mussolini appointed a chief of secret police who was not even a member of the Fascist Party. There are many such examples. Unlike the Communists, Fascists of all stripes had a cavalier attitude toward doctrinal consistency. They spoke the language of Socialism and organized themselves along those lines. But they were more opportunistic than Marxist Socialists and were far more willing to retain competitive legacy institutions and personnel.

Spengler noted that whereas Marxist Socialist systems destroy all the traditional elements of society only to substitute elements based on mere materialism, “Prussianism” ( Nazism), using a military model, called upon all the power of, ethnic, linguistic, and even religious traditional devotion to powerfully direct society on a deeper level.

It seems to me that Fascism as a political philosophy never matured into a coherent system. Fascist countries never completely adopted Fascism as say, Cambodia adopted and imposed Maoist-Communist principles. And, as Martha Stewart says, “That’s a good thing.”

#18 Comment By Sean Scallon On February 5, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

To sum it up, my point is politicans and the voters who support them that benefit from socialism like the TVA, should run crying in the streets “The county is sliding towards socialism.”

Just imagine what their cries would be if the TVA was privitized.

#19 Comment By Sean Scallon On February 7, 2009 @ 8:47 am

Ooops, this SHOULD read “shouldn’t run cyring in the streets.” My mistake.

#20 Comment By Phyllis On September 18, 2009 @ 11:05 am

I once thought I was the only one that had a fear of waking up to Martial Law, But come to find out I’m not the only one.
From what I’ve read about and heard about history,This is sorta the way Natzi Germany began. Hitler said I will give you this and I will give you that and everything will be good. Then it became not so good. It became some of the worst History in the world and people have not forgotten this History. It feels like that is what is happening now.You would not believe
how many people feel that way and fear this..History has a strange way of repeating it’s self before you know it!
Little by little our freedoms are slowly being taken away, in un-noticeable ways. Things that we take for granted are slowly disapearing and when they aren’t there any more we say what happened. This all started along time ago,not just on Obamas Watch…But Obamas watch has brought it to a head. He has come at us fast and ferious. This has to be passed,that has to be passed and NOW!!!! NOW!!! NOW!!!!!
Installing fear in people which is very understandable. On something of importance you should take your time,check it out,even research it. But the things that have been passed haven’t been so good or smart to do,How much do we owe China now.How much of America are they going to own when they decide to call in the debt…We don’t want to live in China do we? If we did, would we move there? I think most of us live here for the most part because we like it.. Americans don’t want to be like Europe,Italy,Germany, or any other Country.There are things in other countries we like but we don’t want to be them…That’s why we visit them or some even move to them and that fine.You have that right…That’s part of what America is about,is to have the right to do what you want. America is about Freedom,Working hard and aquiring the things you want and need.
Hopefully it’s not too late to go back to where Americans care about each other and we want to help each other and take care of each other…And our Polititians need to do what is right
instead of what they want…Doing what is right is hard sometimes ,but is nesessary. Americans are a inventive people, kind people and we need to stay that way. That’s part of what makes America, America.
People have views and just because they don’t agree with our
President and his administration it doesn’t mean they are racist. Many people in America are made up of RED,
YELLOW,BLACK,BROWN and WHITE,people of all different shades and colors,which is nice.It would be kind of boring if we were all the same.That’s another good thing about America.
Alot of white people voted for our President. And as far as
Joe Wilson goes we all have had things slip out before we knew it. He’s no different than anyone else.
Thank you!

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