Saturday, October 24, 2009

America’s Confluent Socialism-Capitalism


Politically, the hot button issue in America today is socialism.

From Limbaugh to Beck, conservative, republican, libertarian, and every other opponent of President Obama it seems posit President Obama as either a Marxist, socialist, communist, or Nazi.

The conservative media makes these accusations because they know how it riles up their listening audience. It incites them to listen and participate. Politicians use these incendiary words to denigrate President Obama and the democrats, again for the same reason, it riles up their base. Some Americans just simply parrot what they hear, and really don’t know what they are saying; they simply have been imbued with that it’s un-American. Therefore, the extraordinary usages of these expressions are not meant to describe any sincere political or economic position.

Beyond the disingenuous use of these designations is the tendency by many to group Nazism, Marxism, and communism all under the same umbrella as socialism.

The Britannica Concise Encyclopedia defines socialism as a System of social organization in which private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control; also, the political movements aimed at putting that system into practice. Because "social control" may be interpreted in widely diverging ways, socialism ranges from statist to libertarian, from Marxist to liberal.

From we have the definition: Socialism, like libertarianism, is an exceedingly vague ideology. The definition of socialism is founded on two fundamental maxims: Thomas Jefferson's, ‘All men are created equal," and Karl Marx's’ From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs." Problematically, socialists offer few practical details about how these two principles are to be realized.

Then there is Rush Limbaugh’s definition of socialism, which he defines well, but goes off message when he goes ballistic on his radio talk show. Rush is a commentator who knows the meaning of socialism, how it has been experienced and exists today in America, but uses it to rile up his listening audience.

All of these folks, in the talk and visual media, politicians and their interlocutors, are informed individuals who pray on the ignorance of Americans. They know that America is uniquely socialistic and capitalistic, and that there must be controls through regulation placed on the free-market.

Conservatives instill the belief in those who are vulnerable that President Obama is a radical, that he at heart is a Marxist, a communist, and do their best to tie those beliefs to socialism, even taking a step further by saying President Obama is a fascist, while those who are listening to this nonsense don’t understand that we already are a nation embedded with socialism. It may not be pure classical socialism, but it is socialism, never-the-less. It is socialism, but also capitalism and free market, the American way. It is 100% American, and there is no way in our democracy that it will lead to Marxism, communism, or fascism. Those who believe otherwise reveal their lack of confidence in America, our democracy, and in themselves as Americans.

We have had a long history of Socialism in America. Our brand of socialism has evolved since the founding of our nation. It is uniquely American. For example, as Terence Ball, professor of political science at Arizona State University explains: The ‘Pledge to the Flag,’ as it was originally called, was not descriptive of then current conditions, but it was aspirational: ‘One nation, indivisible’ invoked a nation undivided by differences of race, class and gender. And ‘with liberty and justice for all’ it envisioned a nation in which women could vote and African Americans need not fear rope-wielding ‘night riders’ of the KKK. The Pledge of Allegiance was written by C. Francis Bellamy, American Baptist minister; author of the original Pledge of Allegiance; brother of Socialist author Edward Bellamy, whose Socialist convictions Francis shared, costing him his pastorate in Boston in 1891 for refusing to hide his socialist convictions during the course of his sermons.

In America it has never been one size fits all. Libertarianism, conservatism, and liberalism have contributed to the America of today. Democracy needs a healthy balance between liberty, equality, and justice for all, and a dynamic tension between them in order for America to grow, to evolve into a better place and therefore to survive, paraphrasing Charles W. Dunn, dean of the School of Government at Regent University.

America calls itself The Melting Pot. A metaphor that symbolizes diverse cultures, religions, and races that form America’s integrated society. So, too, why shouldn’t it be with everything and anything American, including our politics, economics, and the way we govern ourselves. The Melting Pot includes the blending-in of radicalism, diverse as well as congruent views, and even the wild, sometimes off-the-wall rhetoric of talk show host, and that of Limbaugh and Beck. This all inclusive freedom of speech and democratic, cultural, religious, racial, political, social, and economic diversity is what makes America American. A very special and unique confluence of socialism and capitalism is part of what makes America viable. This convergence Americans should welcome and embrace. The inputs and infusions of ideas will always contribute to new ways of thinking and will make America progressively stronger, more knowledgeable, vibrant, and always challenging.

Americans are all on the same page when we challenge things; Americans are not on the same page when we accept the status quo, no matter how oxymoronic that may sound.