Posted by Curt on 25 February, 2019 at 11:36 am. 6 comments already!


A recent New York Times headline warned readers that “Republicans Already Are Demonizing Democrats as Socialists and Baby Killers.” The article pivots on President Donald Trump’s strategy of portraying Democratic Party leaders as a gaggle of radicalized socialists.

Now, Republicans have correctly accused Democrats of taking a hard-left turn when supporting legalization of third-trimester abortions for virtually any reason until the moment of birth (and sometimes after). And if you can be demonized for supporting such a position—as almost every Democrat presidential hopeful, all of whom oppose the Pass Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, does—it’s only because you have fully earned it.

But judging from the media’s reaction, Democrats are most apprehensive about being portrayed as “socialists,” which one expects isn’t as popular, even theoretically speaking, in suburban areas or Middle America as it is among the blue-check Twitterati and journalists in urban newsrooms.

New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait, one of the few left-of-center pundits willing to occasionally criticize Democrats for their collectivist tendencies, recently penned an article headlined, “Trump Calls the Democratic Party Socialist. He’s Lying,” in which he contends that both the leftward lurch of Democrats and the popularity of Sen. Bernie Sanders have been overstated for political reasons. A number of Democrat candidates, he says, have already rejected the word “socialist.”

Rebuffing the “s” word doesn’t make you any less socialist than embracing the word “capitalist” makes you a champion of free markets. No, these presidential candidates aren’t latter-day Trotskys, but contemporary Democrats, who have long favored tighter controls and bigger government, are now far more inclined to embrace proto-socialistic policies than they are liberal (in the genuine sense of the word) ones. By any fair reading, their agendas can be described as socialistic.

For starters, nearly every Democrat candidate now frames his or her political case within the context of a class struggle. Every one proposes fixing the scourge of “inequality,” not by loosening regulatory controls or finding ways to create a more meritocratic society, but by confiscating wealth and redistributing it to the alleged victims of capitalism. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s confiscatory “wealth tax,” although ostensibly about funding her pet projects, is sold as a way of instituting state-induced societal fairness.

She’s not alone. These days, the left’s big argument is one giant zero-sum economic fallacy—the idea, for example, that successful Americans are “taking” bigger pieces of the pie than they deserve, to the detriment of society. The argument, the spirit, the aim, and the execution have far more in common with Karl Marx than with Adam Smith.

The fact that Democrats propose using our vast capitalistic success to create this hybrid system doesn’t change the tenor or dogmatic nature of their agenda. Nor does sticking the word “democratic” in front of “socialist” make them any less dangerous. For one thing, socialists who operate in “democratic” nations do so because they have no choice. For another, democratically instituting redistributive policies doesn’t make those policies any less authoritarian, even if they are adopted incrementally.

When President Trump promised in his latest State of the Union that “America will never be a socialist country,” it surprised a lot of Democrats, who didn’t seem to fully comprehend their own ideological position. I’m not sure why. You might have socialistic tendencies, for instance, if you propose a federally run health-care system that bans consumers from purchasing private medical insurance, as leading presidential candidate Kamala Harris has done. This isn’t just another tax increase or new regulation. While you’re not technically suggesting that the Politburo run the means of production, you’re certainly headed in that direction.

You might also be a socialist if you propose a government takeover of the energy sector, which is what every politician who supports the Green New Deal is doing. Even if we stretch the imagination and concede, for the sake of argument, that these Democrats didn’t endorse the car-banning, cow fart-eliminating proposal offered by socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, ridding America of 90 percent of its most affordable, most efficient, and predominant energy sources in 10— or 20, or 40—years would necessitate a giant, coercive government project that would bring unprecedented intrusions into American life.

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