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Once again: What is socialism?

By Thomas E. Brewton
web posted April 5, 2010

The commonly used definition is wrong.

News reporters, editorialists, academics, and liberal-progressive politicians generally deny that the Obama administration is socialistic.  Socialism, they say, is a political state in which the government owns the means of production and distribution of goods and services.  Because some businesses still are privately owned, ipso facto, ours is not a socialistic government.

That definition is confuted by the earliest theoretical writings on socialism.  In France, Henri de Saint-Simon, in the first decades of the 1800s, and his pupil and colleague Auguste Comte, in the 1820s and 30s, along with Robert Owen contemporaneously in England, stated that the essential feature of what Owen called socialism is government regulation of the means of production and distribution. 

Equally important is regulation of banking and education.  When the government controls the volume of money and its economic applications, it has the economy in a stranglehold.  When government controls education so that nothing other than secular socialism may be taught, as Saint-Simon advocated, it controls the future destiny of a nation.

Not until the advent of the Soviet Union after the 1917 Communist Revolution did the idea become general that socialism meant government seizing ownership of the economy.  Experience in 19th and 20th century France, England, and Germany, however, made it clear that regulatory control by government bureaucrats is sufficient to implement socialism.

In addition to the Obama administration's nationalizing General Motors, Chrysler, and major banks, it's abundantly clear that the president strives to bring ever greater parts of the economy under stringent, socialistic regulatory control. 

Obamacare is exhibit A.  Another example is Obama's January 17, 2008, interview with the San Francisco Chronicle:

Let me sort of describe my overall policy.

What I've said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else's out there.

I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted.

Plans are now afoot to do just that, as Congress returns to cap-and-trade legislation.

Why this urge by liberal-progressive-socialists to impose regulatory control of the economy as widely as possible?

We can find the root of it in Karl Marx's Das Kapital.  Marx taught that the only source of real value is physical labor, which means that only the workers are entitled to share in the proceeds from sale of goods and services.  Entrepreneurs, inventors, business managers, individual savers, and wealthy capitalists who finance innovation and expansion of production are therefore parasites who feed upon what is, under liberal-progressive social justice, income that belongs to the workers.  Hence the IRS's definition of interest and dividends as unearned income.

Profit thus is a dirty word, a reflection of savage competition and personal greed.  One can hear this dogmatic view in President Obama's repeated attacks upon businessmen and bankers, whose greed, he says, caused the collapse of housing and the credit markets, as well as the highest rates of unemployment since the 1930s Depression.

Vitriol of the liberal-progressive attack upon supporters of the original Constitution's checks and balances reflects its religious nature: secular materialism vs the founding Judeo-Christian individuality.

It must be understood that liberal-progressivism is the principal American sect of the international, secular, and materialist religion of socialism, which by the way, has encompassed in recent decades the pagan worship of irrational environmentalism.  Any rationalization for more stifling regulation is embraced by liberal-progressives and the Democrat/Socialist Party leadership.

Thinking of socialism as a religion may surprise you.  Generations of American students since the end of World War II have been deliberately deluded by liberal-progressive educators to believe that socialism is simply an economic doctrine calling for government ownership of business.  Socialism is in fact more than an economic doctrine, and instituting it does not require government ownership of business.  New Deal-style regulation is more than sufficient.

The late Bertrand Russell, one of the world’s most prominent spokesmen for socialism, said of it:

For Social Democracy is not a mere political party, nor even a mere economic theory; it is a complete self-contained philosophy of the world and of human development; it is, in a word, a religion and an ethic.  To judge the work of Marx, or the aims and beliefs of his followers, from a narrow economic standpoint, is to overlook the whole body and spirit of their greatness.  (from Lecture One, German Social Democracy).

Liberal-progressive-socialism is a religion that believes a political society, and ultimately all of humanity under a one-world government, can be made perfect by liberal-progressive intellectuals here on earth.  Socialism preaches that there is no higher law of morality rooted in spiritual religion.  For socialists, there is no higher power than the minds of intellectuals, who can create conditions of benevolent equality for all of us, if we just grant them the power to regulate our lives. 

This implies that limitations on government power in our Bill of Rights are no longer effective.  Because they alone understand the abstraction of social justice, intellectuals are free to do anything that they believe is in the best interests of society. 

This attitude was demonstrated in the recent passage of Obamacare in the face of majority opposition.  The president, in effect, said that individual citizens don't know their own minds, that they are incapable of making rational decisions for themselves.  Liberal-progressives must force them to do what is in their best interests, which, of course, is defined as economic equality at any cost.

Socialism, the religious faith of liberal-progressives, preaches that human nature can be perfected here on earth by academics in the ill-named social sciences.  You don’t have to obey your conscience, trained by Judeo-Christian moral precepts.  Government supervision will make you a good citizen.

Equality of income and wealth, the holy grail of liberal-progressive-socialism, theoretically will eliminate aggressiveness, crime, and war.  Everyone will live together in perfect harmony, so long as we are all equally poor.

Unfortunately for our economic and political liberties under the original 1787 Constitution, implementing the Democrat/Socialist party's economic equality requires surrendering increasing measures of authoritarian power to the Federal government. ESR

Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. His weblog is The View from 1776Z. Email comments to viewfrom1776@thomasbrewton.com.






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