The cry of “socialism” has been thrown around like a pigskin for a while now, well before Joe the Plumber or the current health care debate. But, while the charges are thrown around easily, very little explanation of them has been offered.
As I’ve said before, socialism and communism are close relatives. If not brothers, they are at least cousins who grew up across the street from one another and probably wore each other’s clothes. So to understand one is, essentially, to understand much of the other.
Karl Marx, in The Communist Manifesto, wrote a ten-point plan for how communism should be enacted in the nations of the world. Here it is:
“1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of wastelands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c., &c.”
(All directly quoted from the English translation of The Communist Manifesto)
Now, I want to very briefly go through some of these points to address why so many are talking about the growing influence of socialism in American politics.
1-3. The current taxes imposed upon Americans makes it impossible to actually own property. If property taxes are not paid, land is taken, even if the price of the land itself has been paid for. If the government decides it has a compelling interest in the land, it can be taken. Obviously, income taxes are in place as well.
5. The huge bailout mess, particularly including banks, was a frightening example of this. The federal insuring of banks, the fact that the Treasury Department owns 34% of Citi Bank, etc. must be considered. Our government, under the current administration, has greatly expanded government restriction and control of banks. Granted, they do not have an official “monopoly” at this point, but they do have the authority to tell banks when to loan, who to loan to, and how much. They are expanding control on how much banks can make, how much their executives can make, etc.
6. The federal government does monitor and control what can go out (FCC, SEC, etc.) and there is clear bias in media outlets (on both sides, depending on the outlet). As for transport, is there any form of transportation that is not submitted to federal taxation and control? Even more specific, Obama and his men have made considerable attacks against Fox News and talk radio.
7-9. Every business and industry in America is accountable to some form of taxation and government agency that controls it product, sales, and employment practices. Agriculture is particularly restricted in regards to what can be grown, how much can be grown, and where it can be sold.
10. As I have written before, public education is not only offered, but paying for it is mandatory upon every tax-paying citizen, whether it is used or not. Education has become increasingly connected to industry, with the goal of education clearly being portrayed as “getting a job.” Children are seen as “future cogs” in the national economy.
In other words, there is real cause for alarm in American politics. Of course, we must keep in mind that these are not recent developments. It is not all Obama’s fault. It is not all Bush’s fault.
This problem goes way back to Lincoln, to Woodrow Wilson, to FDR, and others. But, regardless of where it started, it’s here and calling everyone who brings it up a “fear monger” or an extremist doesn’t change that reality.