The right-wing's pearl-clutching, hair-on-fire, freakout over the word "socialism"
It's become increasingly obvious that the right-wing has absolutely no clue what socialism actually is.
Most of the new DSA comrades genuinely believe they are working for a better America. These indoctrinated souls have no idea that by joining DSA, they have become part of the international communist movement.
...Academia has been overrun with Marxist professors, who are grooming the next generation of radicals.
Now to be fair, the writer doesn't mention the commies hiding under your bed and in your closet, but he does imply it.
It's clear that the right-wing news media has spent far too many years dumbing down both their content and their audience.
They are out of practice when it comes to making an argument with adults, and it shows.
Well, apparently faux news has one requirement.. You don't need any education to work for them.
Hey, Trish watch this.. maybe you'll actually learn something!pic.twitter.com/gcmuXkNh1N
— Molly (@Molly3186) August 16, 2018
More than a few pearls have been clutched as a result. Former FBI director James Comey warns Democrats not to “lose your minds and rush to the socialist left.” A recent story at Vox argues Americans aren’t “ready for the bill” posed by democratic socialist policies. At the New York Times, Bret Stephens says embracing democratic socialism is “Dem Doom.” And at the Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf says it actually “threatens minorities.”
This hysteria reveals a fundamental misunderstanding among media pundits and political elites about why the DSA is experiencing such explosive growth. Whether suggesting democratic socialism is just for white men, that its policies are too radical for most Americans, that it will bankrupt the country, that it’s a dangerous foreign concept, or that it will spell disaster for the Democratic Party, these critics consistently seem to miss the mark. In reality, such claims often betray the fact that the rise of socialism materially endangers their current positions of both wealth and power.
Now you may laugh at how Fox Business anchor Trish Regan recently likened Denmark to Venezuela, but she is not alone.
And in a new column on the scourge of democratic socialism, Commentary’s Noah Rothman casts all proponents of single-payer health care as proto-Stalinists.
...Call it Medicare-for-all or single-payer; the new affinity among Democrats for the functional nationalization of the health insurance industry speaks to a paradigm shift on the left. Likewise, establishing as a right the ability to access tuition-free education at public universities and a federal jobs guarantee—all planks of the Democratic Socialist agenda with increasingly broad appeal—are pillars of the Soviet Constitution.
Because that's how Stalin took over...with universal health care.
Remember when Fox attacked Pope Francis for being socialist?
All of these examples are so ridiculous that they are fun, but my absolute favorite is this one from The Federalist.
How Support For Socialism Arises From Ingratitude
If, as a sophisticated modern person, you are not interested in thinking about Providence, and especially if you are no friend of the free market, please for a moment at least entertain the possibility that a deep truth about human nature is here revealed. There is a direct connection between shallow thinking, ingratitude, and recourse to blame.
The coffee drinker neglects to thank those who bless his table with coffee. Instead, when the government intervenes he blames the coordinated effort of the people who bring his coffee to him — for that is all the free market is — instead of blaming the government. If, on the other hand, you are a believer, you may want to consider how the free market is a gift of our human nature, and therefore ultimately a part of the Creator’s design.
There is a lot to unpack here. First of all, the idea that anyone needs to be grateful to the capitalist system shows that they don't understand capitalism, nor does he know of its history.
Secondly, capitalism is only about 500 years ago, so how can it be part of human nature?
Finally, I missed the part of Jesus' teachings where he praised profiting from self-interest.
— Marcus Strom (@strom_m) 28 June 2018
One reason that right-wingers are all over the place on socialism is because they are belatedly realizing that they've abused the word until it is meaningless and ceases to be scary.
Commentary’s Noah Rothman, besides calling anyone who want universal health care a Stalinist, also acknowledged that Barack Obama’s policies weren’t socialist, but merely “culturally progressive”.
He wasn't alone.
Fox Washington managing editor Bill Sammon was caught on tape admitting that the “socialist” accusations of President Barack Obama on Fox News that he spouted were “mischievous speculation” and “far-fetched.”
Right-wingers are actually trying to move the Overton Window slightly to the left because they've realized that it is so far to the right that Obama and an actual socialist are indistinguishable to the average Fox News viewer, and that's a problem.
Their past success is now a liability, which is an interesting historical point. Maybe at one time these mea culpa's would have meant something, but now nobody cares.
Hell, some right-wingers still refuse to give up the "Obama and Clinton are socialists" meme. They can't see how the world has moved on. They can't see that a good lie requires at least a kernel of truth.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: "We will not rest until every person in this country is paid a living wage to lead a dignified life." pic.twitter.com/6u73x2kyVI
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) 23 July 2018
Notice that the right wing first tried to smear AOC with her policies.
They've completely stopped trying to do that because 1) AOC isn't running away from any of it, like Democrats did with the word "liberal", and 2) those policies are popular.
So they've switched to calling her stupid. Once again, it shows just how dumbed down the average Republican has become, that they've resorted to playground insults.
look at this pic.twitter.com/ePDHhAQpf4
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) 28 June 2018
It's worth understanding why socialism has lost it's ability to smear.
The first reason is, the Cold War ended more than a generation ago.
"Without the Cold War and without the Soviet Union, it becomes possible to talk about socialism in a away that isn't with reference to what is understood as a dictatorial society or political system," Mudge told me. "In other words, when there's no living example of a really socialist country, then people are free to imagine different kinds of socialist institutions without having to defend themselves as somehow being pro-Soviet or pro-Stalin or something like that."
"Young people—millennials and younger—who didn't grow up in the Cold War, just as a general trend or rule, socialism is not the pejorative for them that it once was," agreed Andrew Hartman, a history professor at Illinois State University and author of Education and the Cold War: The Battle for the American School.
The second reason is the failures of capitalism and our neoliberal political system.
This exceptional half-century with very little reform explains a lot about our current politics. It helps make sense of the populist rage that led to Donald Trump’s election; millions of people are angry because the political and economic system is not working for them, and they have given up on establishment politicians.
It also explains why the word socialism has reappeared not as a demonic other feared by conservatives, but as an agenda for reform. Conservatives are reaping the consequences of their redefinition of capitalism. In a moment when many Americans feel that the system isn’t working for them, a system defined as immutable naturally leaves some thinking that we need an alternative system that is not rigged to benefit the millionaires and billionaires.
These two conditions are not going to go away.
You can't restart the Cold War without the Soviet Union, and you can't expect capitalism to function any better without structural reforms that our political system appears incapable of enacting. This is by design. The wealthy elites have calcified the system and made it incapable of fixing itself.
Our political and economic leaders and the MSM are firmly stuck in the past. They have no idea that the ground has shifted, and have no intention of acknowledging it. Just because they refuse to see it, won't stop the world from turning.