The Democrats and “Socialism”

Photo Source Neeta Lind | CC BY 2.0

One sign of the falling rate of intelligence in American public discourse is the wildly inaccurate use of political labels. Listening to the political noise, one might think the country is being overrun by a horde of “neo-fascists”, “fascists”, and bonafide “Nazis”.  In a world riddled with imagined threats to U.S. imperial power, new Hitlers (or aspiring Hitlers) abound, from Putin in Russia, Maduro in Venezuela, and whoever is ruling Iran.  President Trump himself has been characterized as the most recent reincarnation of Hitler.   That none of these images is even remotely connected to political reality hardly interrupts the continuing nonsense.

Fascistic tendencies are indeed visible at the summits of American power: unrestrained corporate interests, militarism, the surveillance state, imperialism, authoritarianism.  But that, on the whole, is not what politicians and media pundits have in mind when they attack people they hate – mostly ordinary right wingers – with overheated epithets drawn mindlessly from the past.  Nowadays the terms “fascism” and “Nazism” are lazily invoked simply as personal smears.

When it comes to socialism, matters are no better: references are typically detached from any recognizable historical meaning. Listening to FOX News and vocal Republicans, we learn that the Democratic party is being taken over by a wave of Marxists and socialists getting ready to overthrow…

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