The boy who cried socialism

In Aesop's Fable The Boy Who Cried Wolf, we learn the moral "that when liars speak truth they are not believed".
I've found that this is not always true, especially where politics is concerned.
In politics, truth is a relative concept that lies can beat into submission by repetition.

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The Boy Who Cried Socialism has been accusing any action that the government takes that might help working class people of being "socialism" for years, decades, even generations.
[note: action that the government takes that hurts working class people are rarely socialism, and thus are usually good]

According to The Boy Who Cried Socialism, anything "socialism" is bad.
"Socialism" became a catch-all term. Communism, Fascism, Feminism, Atheism, the Boogeyman, it all got lumped together as socialism. The actual meaning of the word was irrelevant.
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But unlike The Boy Who Cried Wolf, people refused to stop believing The Boy Who Cried Socialism. The more he lied, the more firmly conservatives believed him.
Eventually people who weren't conservatives began doubting the meaning of the word socialism, and that's when two things happened - one awesome and one very disturbing.

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone. "It means just what I choose it to mean - neither more or less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master - that's all."

- Lewis Carroll

That video is a good example of what I mean.

Since The Boy Who Cried Socialism has accused virtually everyone of being a socialist, socialism had not only lost it's sting, it had lost its meaning.
So when people like Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez ran openly as "socialists", conservatives had to explain why people like Obama and Clinton should be scary (because everyone left of Reagan is equally guilty of socialism).
This has forced them to list actual issues that a majority of people like, and try to convince people that, for example, healthcare for your children is something to be afraid of.

It's an almost impossible task.
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It's proof that the Dems, and the left, have made a huge, half-century mistake in running away from the word.

However, there's a disturbing flip side to this story.

In the video Meghan McCain says the socialists Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez want to turn us into a socialist country like Venezuela.
The response is that the socialists Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez want to turn us into a socialist country like Sweden or Norway.

Here's the thing:

Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez aren't socialists.
Venezuela, Sweden and Norway aren't socialist countries.

The entire debate is framed around a lie.

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Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are New Deal Democrats. Their platform looks like Truman's 1948 platform.

Venezuela, Sweden and Norway are Social democracies. They are built upon the capitalist model. There is no revolutionary elements in them. Thus they are no real threat to the ruling elite.

The fact that Social Democracies are considered "socialism" shows that The Boy Who Cried Socialism has won.
The word "socialism" has been redefined in everyone's mind, eventhough anyone can open a dictionary and read it's real meaning.
Even after a radical shift to the left, political discourse would never even dream of debating actual socialism. The words don't exist to have that discussion.

George Orwell would understand.

"The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible.
- George Orwell, 1984

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ggersh's picture

of politics, unless of course "Socialism" wins

Neoliberalism believes that markets are self-sufficient unto themselves, that they do not need regulation, and that they are the best guarantors of human welfare. Everything that promotes the market, i.e., privatization, deregulation, mobility of finance and capital, abandonment of government-provided social welfare, and the reconception of human beings as human capital, needs to be encouraged, while everything that supposedly diminishes the market, i.e., government services, regulation, restrictions on finance and capital, and conceptualization of human beings in transcendent terms, is to be discouraged….One way to sum up neoliberalism is to say that everything—everything—is to be made over in the image of the market, including the state, civil society, and of course human beings. Democracy becomes reinterpreted as the market, and politics succumbs to neoliberal economic theory, so we are speaking of the end of democratic politics as we have known it for two and a half centuries.11

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/neoliberal-fascism-and-the-echoes-of-h...

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Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal....Robert A.Heinlein

"Unregulated Capitalism is a Suicide Pact"....Noam Chomsky

@ggersh
There is no power without politics.

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ggersh's picture

@gjohnsit @gjohnsit it becomes a facade.

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Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal....Robert A.Heinlein

"Unregulated Capitalism is a Suicide Pact"....Noam Chomsky

@ggersh @ggersh
It is obvious to any physicist or mathematician familiar with large systems that the markets are not self-regulating and in fact are chaotic systems similar to a positive feedback relaxation oscillator. EXTERNAL negative feedback (i.e. interest rate controls and blue sky laws and such) are required for orderly progress. Left to themselves corporations will embark on a feeding frenzy until only one shark exists.

EDIT: For one reference see "Chaos and Order in the Capital Markets" by Edgar Peters (c)1991

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

@The Voice In the Wilderness

mention, perhaps even to consider, how much laws and government in general have protected and subsidized "the markets."

Also, in his self-serving book about the 2008 economic collapse, even Alan Greenspan admitted that the markets are not too bright when it comes to regulating themselves. (Or maybe they are brighter than we can imagine, albeit perhaps also greedier than any of us can imagine.) Alan Greenspan, with the Clinton White House, shilled heavily for repeal of Glass Steagall (sometimes called Gramm, Leach, Bliley) and for the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000. The combination of those two pieces of legislation open the door for exactly what brought the economies of the US, Greece, Portugal, et al. to their respective knees.

IMO, Oliver Stone understood "the markets" better than Alan Greenspan claimed to in his self-serving book.

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detroitmechworks's picture

by randomly quoting monty python when people try to ask me what I think would work. It's patently ridiculous over-complicated jargon and manages to make the concept of worrying about labels seem funny. And It gives me an excuse to quote python.

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

@detroitmechworks

(Yes, I'm being silly. Worth it!)

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The Aspie Corner's picture

Funny how throughout the past 30 years these mother fuckers managed to out-right-wing the right with their policies. Destroying manufacturing, union busting, mass incarceration, getting rid of Glass Steagall, NAFTA, more Reaganomics, more war...yeah, real fuckin' "Socialist".

Personally, I wish the Democratic Party WOULD go full Socialist and hand the means of production to workers just to watch the Repigs and the cappies squirm. Sure, it'll never happen because the Dems are in the same cappie pockets as the Repigs, but a guy can dream, right?

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Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

Guerrilla Liberalism won't liberate the US or the world from the iron fist of capital.

thanatokephaloides's picture

"Socialism" is a BROAD term. (As in "wide".) It covers everything from the social democracies like Sweden, Norway, and Iceland to more formally socialist systems like that of Bolivia. In this sense, the New Deal platform can be considered socialistic, especially compared with anything the two major parties have served up since the Carter Administration.

In this regard, "the boy who cried Socialism" -- Bernie Sanders -- is spot-on the money. Besides, it's time we brought that word, "socialism", back into polite popular political parlance amongst our American People.

Totalitarian systems aren't socialist because no totalitarian system operates in the principal interest of its nation's society -- the "sane" definition of the term "socialism". Totalitarian systems operate only in the interests of the one(s) holding the power, whether we're talking about England's King Richard I (Coeur de Leon), England's Henry VIII, France's Louis XIV, Russia's Lenin and Stalin, or the rule of international capitalist corporations in the West (and especially the USA) after World War II. This applies to totalitarian systems that are socialist in name, but cannot be in fact as no totalitarian system can be.

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides

"Socialism" is a BROAD term. (As in "wide".) It covers everything from the social democracies like Sweden, Norway, and Iceland to more formally socialist systems like that of Bolivia.

Socialism is very broad, but it ain't that broad.
This is from wikipedia.

Social democracy thus aims to create the conditions for capitalism to lead to greater democratic, egalitarian and solidaristic outcomes...

In this period, social democrats embraced a mixed economy based on the predominance of private property, with only a minority of essential utilities and public services under public ownership. As a result, social democracy became associated with Keynesian economics, state interventionism and the welfare state, while abandoning the prior goal of replacing the capitalist system (factor markets, private property and wage labor)[4] with a qualitatively different socialist economic system.

Making the capitalist system more humane is nice, but it ain't socialism.

As for Bolivia, they are no more a socialist state then Venezuela.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@gjohnsit

Making the capitalist system more humane is nice, but it ain't socialism.

As for Bolivia, they are no more a socialist state then Venezuela.

So, given that Stalinism doesn't qualify either (totalitarian), who does qualify as socialist in your mind, gjohnsit?

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides
I'm of the opinion that Stalinism is socialism, but of a twisted form of socialism. Like fascism is a twisted form of capitalism.
Cuba is socialist as well. Cuba has some capitalism on top of a socialist base.
Scandinavian countries are a bit of socialism on top of a capitalist base.

As for socialism that I prefer, think Catalonia in the mid-30's.
There are other examples, but they all got quickly crushed by fascist (and communist) armies.

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@thanatokephaloides

When people say to Sanders that he is a socialist, he has corrected them by saying "I'm a Democratic Socialist."

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Big Al's picture

@HenryAWallace @HenryAWallace a socialist, it's fucking impossible. Imperialism is the highest most dangerous form of capitalism. Democratic socialism is a farce because it has a foundation of imperialism.

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@Big Al

neither agree nor disagree. As I have posted here any number of times, including in a few essays, I simply don't know what to make of Sanders anymore.

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@Big Al

the main point was that Democratic Socialism is distinguishable from socialism.

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Big Al's picture

@HenryAWallace identified progressives as socialists does it a disservice. Relative to Sanders, heh, I remember when he first got in the game for prez, did as much research as I could on him and immediately started calling him an imperialist on this site. Got a lot of flak for it too which caused me to take an extended break. So imo the evidence has always been there and always been clear. Not to mention his running with the democratic party, an imperialist political party that supports Wall Street. For those still undecided, I would think his adherence to the company line regarding Russia, not just adherence but exuberant participation, should be enough to close the debate. But it hasn't which is amazing to me. Railing against Russiagate while supporting an adherent to it, or adherents to it (Ocasio_Cortez), seems hypocritical to me. But that's how it works with this fucked up political system for those who continue to play in it.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@HenryAWallace

When people say to Sanders that he is a socialist, he has corrected them by saying "I'm a Democratic Socialist."

And, at least from the viewpoint of what he advocated for, he was correct.

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

Wink's picture

viewers favor MFA, medicare for all.
Which Fox bellers to anyone that will listen, "Socialism!!"
More and more people on FB are less afraid of it. Dunno if they're coming out of the closet or truly more accepting, but there's no doubt that Socialism is emerging on FB at least as less evil than it's been since Reagan. Don't know if that means anything, or is just a blip, but if they're not so sure about Socialism they sure as fuck favor MFA!
Screenshot 2018-08-02_14-36-41.png

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the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-2.1) All about building progressive media.

Wink's picture

as Jimmy Dore mentions,
@Wink
when wingers (and some effing progressives) beller, "well, how are you Librul fucks going to pay for it??" our answer is, "well, we're paying THAT much for it now! So, it's no different than what we're paying now - we even Save 5 or 6%! All we're doing is taking money from the 'System' we're paying into now and, Instead, paying it to MFA (via taxes, Payroll deduction)... No big deal. Not costing us a nickel more, while getting a bigger bang for our buck! Isn't that what conservatism is all about?!"
Well, they'll argue no, it isn't - it's about smaller gov't, yada yada yada, and creating MFA is just creating more gov't... so, fine, whatevs... But, 'we' (or the KochBros) have Eliminated the "how you going to pay for it" argument - and I really don't think many of the 73% in that Fox poll give a flying fuck if it's yet another Librul gov't program or not. So... onward!
MFA is a winning issue for the blue team!

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the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-2.1) All about building progressive media.

@Wink

$32 Trillion is more than twice GDP. Obviously the current system is

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

Wink's picture

$3.26 Trillion /yr.
@The Voice In the Wilderness

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the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-2.1) All about building progressive media.

@Wink
So 3.2 per year out of 16 per year total wages.
10% each of workers and employers from workers salaries. Workers no longer pay for insurance. employers no longer pay for insurance.

Sounds high, but 20% of my old postal salary would be around $1000 per month. Right now USPS pays $1100 per month and the worker pays $550 per month. Splitting the cost like SS, the worker gets a 10% reduction and the employer gets an over 50% cut. And everyone is covered, working or not. A good deal.

Fly in the ointment is CEO pays $10,000,000 a year and the company pays another $10,000,000. Hell, they can give him a $10,000,000 raise!

(Yes, his pay is way excessive, but that's a different battle).

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

Wink's picture

that doesn't cost
@The Voice In the Wilderness
a nickel more than we're paying right now.
And That's covering an extry 30 million not covered (and not counted in the current system) - And covers Dental and Eye health too!
A bargain! womb to the tomb, baby!

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the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-2.1) All about building progressive media.

@Wink
An even better bargain than I thought. My income being pretty near the family median that means that more families than not will benefit.

I like the everybody pays the same percentage method because it gives a break to the poor and unemployed plus gives the lie who say we are moochers who want someone else to pay. I keep reading that 47% don't pay income taxes so they are just takers. (And what about the rich like Warren Buffet who pays less than their secretaries?)

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

@Wink

government's functioning as a health insurer would render Medicare for All a socialist-type program. That would not make the US a socialist nation, though, any more than public education made it a socialist nation.

As far as the Scandinavian countries Sanders loved to cite during the primaries:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/duncanmadden/2018/03/27/ranked-the-10-happi...

However, as American Exceptionalist Hillary retorted once, "This is America." Alas and alack, though, America did not make the list of the ten happiest nations in the world.

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Wink's picture

the easiest and
@HenryAWallace
Cheapest way to provide health care for All U.S. Citizens, no ifs, ands or buts.
The system is already in place, has been running for 50 years.
There's nothing to create.
Is simply a matter of adding more names to the list. Both new users and new providers.
Pretty simple.
It won't happen until we flip Congress to blue - and even then Fancy Nancy would say, "we can't afford it" - but it's going to happen sooner rather than later.
el Rushbo's head is going to explode when we get M4A and legal cannabis signed.
"the dirty Libruls did it again!!"

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the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-2.1) All about building progressive media.

Deja's picture

@Wink @Wink
For a while I thought the only major obstacle would be the for-profit prison monster, but I forgot about the Big Pharma megaladon. No way, no how will that monster allow it. It will, however, allow us to buy a pill that costs $1 to make for $1000, though.

People on Team Blue and Team Red want it -- especially medicinal -- but Big Pharma owns the law makers, so it won't happen unless and until that beast gets fed, and it has an insatiable appetite.

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Wink's picture

in NY state.
@Deja
M4A too. Not waiting for Washington to d!ck around.
gawd I love reelection campaigns! The Only time progressives get tossed a bone!
"See, I'm progressive too!!"
Thanks for the bone, Andrew (Cuomo), but I'm voting for Nixon.
Never ever thought I'd hear myself say that.

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the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-2.1) All about building progressive media.

Lenzabi's picture

Yep, Orwell would hate that he had been so prophetic and his book used as a manual, and not a warning to us all. Most high school kids found it boring, I wondered what shape the world would take, I was a Roosevelt Republican until my 20's, as time progressed and I saw the bull inherent in our system, I grew further left.

I am also pretty much socialistic to the point I would dare tax the rich a larger portion as a "fair share" since %-ages do impact different money levels, 20% impacts a poor man's check more readily than a wealthy mans' So, 70-80% or so for the wealthy could and would help them put back intro the system instead of parasitize it as they do now under the years of tax cuts they have received.

Cut the Military spending back and redirect it back into infrastructure and other programs so that we defend ourselves instead of burglarize the world under the false pretext of "liberation" we use. All we are doing is liberating other people's resources to use for our nations oligarchy, democracy sounds good, but we ain't really spreading it.

They also say higher wages would be "socialism", but look at the way they have over-payed CEO's and gave tax cuts to them as well. so we do have "socialism" it is meant for the wealthy to suck us dry, and not help the working classes or the poor.

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So long, and thanks for all the fish

Wink's picture

The first $400 Million
@Lenzabi
(or whatever we determine) is theirs, taxed at the standard rate for 0.1%ers, 29% or whatever.
All dollars "earned" AFTER that first $400 Million are taxed at 80%.
NOT becuz The Gov't needs it - becuz The Gov't doesn't spend tax dollars anyway.
"Federal Taxes DO NOT Fund Federal Spending." (first rule of MMT).
But becuz it takes money out of the pockets of The Rich, holding the Gap between The Haves and Have Nots at a more reasonable level. So, such a tax (as most are) is punitive, but whatevs... whatever works. The Rich will whine that such a tax is unfair (for which there's an argument), but let them whine. 20% of $10 Million is still $2 Million, so shut up.
So, on a $550 Million tax return, the first $400 Million is taxed at 29% (or whatever) = $116 Million; the $150 Million (beyond the $400 Million) is taxed at 80% = $120 Million, for a total tax of $236 Million (or 42.9% of all earnings - which is what it Should be anyway).
That's the way to tax the rich. They keep most of their first $400 Million, 'we' shred most of their "eanings" beyond $400 Million (literally). The Inequality gap less so.

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the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-2.1) All about building progressive media.

@Lenzabi

about Communist Russia. Who knew in 1948 that the NSA, Homeland Security, "security" cameras, etc. would "watch" us more than Orwell's Big Brother could ever have dreamed of doing?

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is a sure way to wound it. Hilbot/Bernibro. If you can twitterfy it you can kill it. I think mainly it's the ability of whoever uses the word defines it, and it becomes enslaved to ideology. The republicans and democrats both like it that way, and we get roped into their game.

I was reading a column by Thomas Edsall and was surprised by the content. Even the comments were eye opening, mainly by the lack of labeling and short handed both siderism. It also gave me hope we're not just howling at the moon here.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/02/opinion/democrats-midterm-identity-cr...

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doubleplusgood as they say in Nineteen Eighty Four.

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Beware the bullshit factories.

Unabashed Liberal's picture

unless Bernie has changed his proposal, figuring per 'individual' (workers) costs as some folks are doing, seems irrelevant. His proposal is based on the ACA-model--or, a 'household' financing formula.

From what I've read, there will be a cost shift to childless seniors, since they are currently billed 'individually.' (At least, those who do not pay a Medicare surcharge.) Obviously, it is relatively rare at age 65+ to have 'dependent children' at home. Actually, my own parents fell into that category, since they were in their forties when I was born. Both my older brother (born in 1947) and I were still college students (age 26 or under) at the time that my Father qualified and enrolled in Traditional Medicare and Plan F Medigap insurance, which was just several years after Medicare was signed into law. (1965)

Bottom line, if the parameters for the ACA--as it exists today--is the framework for the MFA 'household' formula, folks like my parents would clearly pay less (per person) than a senior 'couple' with no dependent children. That's the reason, I suspect, that the example of 'family savings' is the one quoted by Sanders. I know of no other way to get around this, except to continue the calculation of Medicare monthly premiums on an 'individual' basis. (Of course, that could price out some families, unless there is an ample/increased premium subsidy, which I doubt will be in the cards.)

Mollie/Blue Onyx (Reverting to my original handle)


“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”~~Martin Luther King Jr.

"Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong."~~W. R. Purche

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Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.