Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police.

4/23/2005

My name is Dada Head, and I am a socialist

From MyDD, via Daou:

I Am A Socialist---And So Are You, And Bob Dole, Too!

Bob Dole has the use of his arms and legs today because of socialized medicine. Newt Gingrich once called him "tax collector for the welfare state." In 1996, he even said that broadcast industry ought to pay--something on the order of %70 billion was the estimated value--for the public spectrum that they ended up getting for free in the Telecommunications Act that Clinton signed. In short, Bob Dole is, like almost all Americans, a socialist in part, whether he knows it or not.

Technically, socialism means a system in which the basic means of production are owned in common. Not everything. Just the basic sources of economic wealth--such as the oil wealth in Iraq. But more loosely, socialism refers to social ownership in general.

Equating the two senses is a major source of confusion and foundation of demogogery. America has plenty of socialism in the second sense that is not leading to socialism in the first sense--though some might wish it were. Prominent examples include local fire and police departments, libraries, public education, Social Security, Medicare, and the National Park System.

If it were up to capitalism and the free market to provide, there would be no police departments, only private security firms and groups of vigilantes. Fire departments would be like private insurance companies--as, indeed, they once were in much of America--responding only to those who had paid for them in advance. Libraries would be relatively small affairs, of several hundred, perhaps as many as several thousand books, found in the houses of a few of the wealthiest 5 or 10%. Education would be similarly limited to the children of this same demographic. Social Security would not exist. Poverty and old age would be virtually synonomous. Medicare? Forget it! The elderly would simply die from relatively minor illnesses. And national parks? That's why we have Disneyland!

Guess what? Nobody wants to live in that world. People voted to create a dramatically different one. Not just once, but over and over and over again. They did so because they are socialists--at least in the second sense--whether they know it or not.

If the word "socialism" had not been so successfully demonized, it would be a lot more easy to talk about solving some of our most pressing problems. Such as our health care system, which leaves 40-some million people uninsured, and spends more money on paperwork than Washington ever dreamed of.

We need to keep this fundamental reality in mind when ProudUnionDem posts a diary saying:

Bernie Sanders isn't one of these politicians that the wingnuts of the Rep party call a socialist. He calls himself a socialist! He claims to be a "proud" socialist. The last thing we need is to be associated with this nut even though he does often vote correctly.

He is saying that we ought to buy into the hysterical demonization of socialism. That we ought to help spread it ourselves. That we should become part of the very problem that is destoying informed rational self-government in our nation. He is saying we should be part of that problem, rather than fighting those responsible for it. Rather than letting Bernie Sanders perform a valuable public service--not just the ordinary service of public office, which he has performed excellently--but the further service of helping to detoxify the label of "socialism" so that we can think and talk about our political problems and possible solutions in a much more sane and balanced way.

Socialism is a fact of life. It's a pragmatic necessity we all recognize. Only some of us layer over that recognition with a massive dose of denial. That doesn't make it go away. It just makes us more crazy.

It's time to get sane.


Remember this next time a right-winger thinks he has won an argument because he's called you a socialist.


... speaking of socialists, I've just heard (also via MyDD) that Bernie Sanders is running for the Senate seat that Jim Jeffords is vacating. Read his statement at www.bernie.org

Democrats: run a candidate against Sanders and I will never support your party again. DLC Democrats have been blasting Ralph Nader since 2000 for being a spoiler; here's your chance to put your money where your mouth is.

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