Red Alerts

Yesterday I described the partisans of the Right as being in a big potato sack race, hopping to crazyland. Well, this guy got there. He’s making a Big Bleeping Conspiracy Deal out of the fact that newspapers use press releases. I’m sure the same newspapers who are “complicit” in pushing the “radical” agenda of Families USA have also in the past published stories based on press releases from the “totally off the sanity charts” Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.

(Do these people live in caves? They’re so … innocent of how the world actually works, one wonders.)

Another news story that’s got rightie panties in a twist is from Rasmussen: “Just 53% Say Capitalism Better Than Socialism.” Younger people actually are evenly divided on the capitalism v. socialism question. The older the demographic, the higher the approval of capitalism over socialism. No big surprise.

I have words of comfort for those predicting the End of AmericaI doubt that most of the respondents know what “socialism” is any more than you do. I suspect only a very small portion of the respondents would say yes to the end of private ownership of property, for example.

But since the meatheads on the Right keep erroneously defining President Obama’s policy proposals as “socialism,” I can see how “socialism” might look good to a lot of people right now. It’s just that “socialism” isn’t really socialism. This country is no more going to embrace real, undiluted socialism than it’s going to fold itself up and fly to Jupiter. So chill.

Update: See also Chris Good and Melissa McEwan.

15 thoughts on “Red Alerts

  1. I’m afraid you are giving the remaining Conservatives way too much credit for having a shred of sense when you tell them to chill. After all, if they had any sense, they wouldn’t still be Conservatives, would they?

  2. “Socialism” is just this moment’s buzzword among the Right, a word stripped of its correct definition and used when pointing fingers and making horrible hissing sounds, like Donald Sutherland did to Veronica Cartwright at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Until Obama was elected, the Meaningless Rightwing Buzzword was “terrorist.” Before that, “commie.” And before that, “abolitionist.” In polite company, anyway. Every so often, one of the pod people slips up in public, and we hear what they really think. “N***** lover,” “bomb them back to the Stone Age,” “torture,” “armed revolution,” “re-education camps.”

    They aren’t defining socialism, or any other economic theory for that matter. But they are defining themselves.

  3. Is every person they polled a student at SUNY Purchase? I do no buy those results at all.

  4. Socialism is an economic theory, which, like political democracy which guarantees all citizens of the society equal access to power through the vote, socialism guarantees all citizens equal access to power in all things economic. Any time labor starts to clang its shackles, righties cry socialism.

    America falls far short when it comes to economic equality, judicial equality, and social equality and without them, when it comes to political democracy we’re mere bromide spitters.

  5. All this stuff the right is spewing out is racism dressed up in a fancier packages. Dressing up their racism, is the way they can say, “Oh, Obama’s race has nothing to do with why I don’t like him.” In reality, it is the ONLY reason why they don’t like him.

  6. Jesse has a theory:

    What element of modern primary and secondary pedagogy over the past, say, 20 years has led our youth to believe that socialism is awesome? Actually, nothing. The real secret is that the Berlin Wall fell, which paved the way for conservatives to call everything Democrats have proposed in the interim socialism (this isn’t to say that they weren’t doing that before, but it became much easier for them to say it without the Giant Socialist Enemy Beast forcing us to duck and cover under our desks every day). I came up in a world where “socialism” was defined in popular parlance as “liberalism”. Bill Clinton, effectively a liberal Republican, was a socialist. Barack Obama, a moderate Democrat, is a socialist. There’s an actual socialist in the Senate, and yet all the Democrats in the Senate (except Ben Nelson and Evan Bayh)? Socialists.

    The main people responsible for the embrace of “socialism” are the pro-capitalist conservatives who’ve so diluted its meaning that it’s okay to embrace socialism, because the majority party in the country and our tremendously popular president are socialists.

    Good job, suckers.

    I say keep hollering “socialism!” – whether they really know what it is or not – and maybe we’ll get some.

  7. I think it was William Blum who used the term “ruined word” in describing the effects of the culture wars on our discourse. Joanr16 lists several, but there seem to be hundreds. The meaning of a word is so distorted that the concept it describes is no longer accessible. Therefore, we are treated every day to people for whom a variety of concepts are perfectly interchangeable, particularly if they have a negative connotation. Unfortunately, there is a cohort of people intent upon maintaining this situation.

    I had often wondered if this could backfire in the sense you site where the reaction is “Free health care is ‘socialism’? Count me in!”

    It’s ironic that so many of the admirable features of American society and lifestyle might not have come about without the political muscle of the American left. (When we truly had a left) The forty hour work week, unemployment insurance, Child labor laws, work safety standards, the civil rights movement are but a few. But, somehow the left has been successfully smeared as unamerican.

    It’s a whackey old world.

  8. That seems to be the principle thing that drives most conservatives: fear. Of everything. Except greed.

    I’m thinking of wearing a tee shirt that says “I’m a gay socialist anti-materialistic pacifist and I’m packing a vagina.” I think most conservatives would die of fright.

  9. I think it was William Blum who used the term “ruined word” in describing the effects of the culture wars on our discourse. Joanr16 lists several, but there seem to be hundreds. The meaning of a word is so distorted that the concept it describes is no longer accessible.

    goatherd – Dave Niewert has written about this in his classic Rush, Newspeak and Fascism: An Exegesis. I call it the deliberate destruction of language. If certain elements of our language are destroyed, then we are isolated, and waste enormous amounts of energy trying to communicate, if it can be done at all. Given the right’s mastery of PR over the 20th century, I have no proof, but I’m inclined to believe that this is by design.

  10. Isn’t it odd that the moment a hardcore liberal group sends out a study to the media, 200 headlines blossom?

    I’m not sure that happens when Heritage or the AEI sends out a study.

    I sorta think it doesn’t.

  11. Moonbat, Might I commend a book that specifically addresses your comments above called:

    UNSPEAKâ„¢ unspeak1.n. mode of speech that persuades by stealth. E.g., climate change, war on terror, ethnic cleansing, road map.
    by Steven Poole (Little Brown) ISBN 0-316-73100-5

    This “essay” will provide reason for your perception of design; If not available at, the British should have it and they take credit cards as well. (the above is an attempt using tags to emulate the book’s cover, if it works)

  12. Slats —

    I’m not sure that happens when Heritage or the AEI sends out a study.

    I sorta think it doesn’t.

    Proof that you haven’t been paying attention.

  13. expat – thanks for the tip. I was able to order a used copy thru (US) Amazon. A bargain at $3.50. Thanks again.

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