Socialism, even though it has yet to become a major political force in America, has manged in the last two years to dominate the political dialog. This is very ironic and surprising considering there is only one federal elected official who actually is a Socialist. In spite of that the backbone of the opposition to health care reform, a plan very similar to one proposed by no less than Richard Nixon, was cries of government takeover and socialism. Recently the Senate Minority Leader decried the recent health care reform, highly inadequate Net Neutrality rules, and financial reform as a government takeover of the economy. Some of the opposition to the First Lady's nutrition bill was on the grounds that it was government interference in private lives. We have seen elected officials go so far as to block a bill to provide for the health care of 9/11 first responders because the bill would be funded by closing a tax loophole exploited by outsourcing companies.
All of these actions show a much larger and far more worrying pattern. Consistently the cry of socialism has been taken up against any form of government action that does not favor entrenched interests. The message from these declarations has gone beyond opposing a specific political philosophy to railing against public or community action of any kind. In the minds of the proponents of this extreme philosophy action for the public good is an inherent threat to civil liberties regardless of what the action actually is or why. In this Ayn Randite worldview life is everyone for themselves and greed is enshrined as inherently virtuous. It is this philosophy that has shoved the political spectrum in Washington DC so far out of whack that Richard Nixon, the original Red fighter, would be an unrepentant big government liberal.
This entire line of thinking is fundamentally inhumane and immoral.
It says you should take the check from BP and waive right to suit because justice hurts profits.
It says enforcing fairness in the marketplace for all players, large and small, will wreck our economy.
It says heroes, in spite of great courage, do not deserve anything from the society they gave everything for.
It says good health is a commodity one must purchase even if the cost runs you out of house and home.
It says look out for number one and anything you step on while climbing the ladder of success deserved it.
It asks us, in exchange for promises of wealth, power, and security to cast aside obsolete ideas like honor, family, public good, and community.
This is not, by a long shot, principled opposition to communism and socialism. These people are not the glorious watchmen on the battlements of democracy. This is naked contempt for any act or idea that asks us to give of ourselves for the sake of others.
This philosophy is nothing less than the sanctification of antisocial behavior as virtuous.
Also published at Pagans+Politics