09 September 2009

Name-calling descends into idiocy

Socialist. Communist. Marxist. These words are being thrown around a lot lately, as epithets hurled at the Democrats' efforts to reform health care or, well, to do just about anything, in practice. The words are used like amulets, like a cross brandished to ward off Dracula, with no apparent sense of what they actually mean.

First, socialism is not the same thing as Marxism or Communism. Socialism is what France and Britain and Germany have. Socialism is stuff like Social Security and Medicare. People recoil from the word, but once they have the substance of it, they like it enough to raise pluperfect Hell if anyone tries to take it away.

The definitive characteristic of Communism in the Soviet sense is state ownership of the means of production. If the Democratic party supported nationalizing every factory and farm in the US and converting all the workers in them to government employees, it would be accurate to call it Communist or Marxist. Needless to say, it does not advocate anything resembling actual Communism.

As for the occasional Nazi comparisons, they mostly rely on a different form of intellectual dishonesty, exemplified by the quote here that Obama's idea for a civilian disaster-relief corps (also previously suggested by Bush) is "exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany". For all I know, Nazi Germany may indeed have had such an organization, but to make an analogy on this basis is deceitful. I assume that schools in Nazi Germany taught that the Earth is round, and so in a certain sense (Flat-Earth Society please note) it would be technically true to say that any country where the schools teach that the Earth is round is doing the same thing that Nazi Germany did. But everybody knows that Nazi Germany's status as the epitome of evil has nothing to do with that; it stems from the Holocaust, murderously-brutal military occupation policies, large-scale use of slave labor in the twentieth century, and so on. This is what an accusation that one's opposition is "like Nazi Germany" evokes. Silly analogies based on things that normal governments could and do do are a fraudulent abuse of history.

5 Comments:

Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Well...I think we all got a pretty good idea by now who has been inspiring alot of this stuff.... folk's like Beck,Limbaugh,Savage,and friend's. I been listening to these guy's for several year's myself...but I also listen to other's like Maher, I love listening to them all, I've worked alone mostly for many year's and spent alot of time driving...so these folk's have kept me company.But also...folk's should do some homework before they start marchin into town hall meeting with pictures of the President with a Hitler mustache...that was probably printed in large quantity,and handed out to these folk's,with flag button's or some other crap, maybe buck off coupon's for a BigMac or whatever else they been giving some of these knucklehead's. It is almost unbelievable what I been seeing guy... I didnt really think, despite living in Texas...that so many people would actually think like this.

Funny thing when you talk about socialism...because for instance...I can show you rural Texan's...that rant about not wanting our country to become socialist...but tell them you're gonna take away their social security check or decrease the amount...of jack with their medicare or whatever...they'll grab their gun and yell at you and call you a socialist or a commi! :) In a way it's... hilarious. They havent a bloody idea of what any of it is actually ... heh,heh,heh.

The part you say about Nazi's teaching the earth is round is funny as hell.And show's you... any of these political talk show folk's can find and use a thousand different thing's to point out that it's nazi-like...and as long as folk's suck it up,I reckon they'll just keep putting it out. It may not seem like alot to some folk's...about the audience some of these folk's have...but if you got someone with a little show like that on AM radio or whatever, and just 2 or 3 million tune in ... that's alot of folk's and a handsome rating and paycheck for the host ... at least by their standard's.

Heh,heh,heh ... did you get to hear Obama's indoctrination speech yesterday to the school kid's? Scared the Devil out of me!! :)
(just kiddin)

Later Guy ... nice posting BTW

09 September, 2009 05:45  
Anonymous rita said...

I refuse to even enter into discussion with most of these people.
They come into the office with their letters & their rants, I just concentrate on my work & try to ignore them & let the editor deal with it. Some of it is so incredibly ignorant & insane sounding. You should see us after they leave the office! :)My editor usually throws up her hands & says, "Oh My God!" & then we all burst out laughing. I'm not kidding, it's that crazy. The scary thing is these people are dead serious.

BTW, I wish you'd write a letter or two to the editor. We could sure use a voice of reason down here. Did you see the last one, where the lady defends the guy who got all squirrelly about people questioning the revival tent on the school parking lot?
Funny thing the guy who wrote the long letter the week before defending the church accidentally had his name left off the bottom. He is the pastor of my Mom's church. He know's I wrote the article & I'm an atheist.
Later, My religious Mother came into the office to commend the editor on her editorial about his ranting letter, she said he was ignorant & not being very Christian, all the while not knowing it was her own Pastor's letter. :)

09 September, 2009 08:24  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

RC -- I can show you rural Texan's...that rant about not wanting our country to become socialist...but tell them you're gonna take away their social security check or decrease the amount...of jack with their medicare or whatever...they'll grab their gun and yell at you and call you a socialist or a commi! :) In a way it's... hilarious. They havent a bloody idea of what any of it is actually...

This is exactly what I'm talking about. Their lives are only tolerable because of socialism, but they denounce it without making the connection (just as most of them are only still alive because of modern technology, but they condemn science because it says that the Earth is more than six thousand years old).

Rita -- Did you see the last one, where the lady defends the guy who got all squirrelly about people questioning the revival tent on the school parking lot?

Yes, I saw that. It's striking to see such sustained indignation over a total misconception of the issues. I have thought about writing letters several times actually, based on various things I saw, but I didn't want to give the impression of being an arrogant big-city person trying to tell people their business.

09 September, 2009 08:57  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Infidel, I agree with Rita that you should send a letter (or a bunch) to the editors, everywhere. There is nothing presumptuous about debunking lies and misconceptions.

09 September, 2009 12:35  
Anonymous rita said...

Please do. You can email letters to one of the addresses on the front of the paper or to me & I'll foreword them.

I mentioned it to my editor & she really likes the idea.

10 September, 2009 14:31  

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