Friday, December 18, 2009

Socialist Revolt on Health Care Stings White House

I'll tell you. One of the things that bugs me about current political discourse is the super-extended half-life of the word "liberal." American leftists aren't "liberals." And I'm not even talking about "classical liberal" ideology, which is essenally the natural rights "Lockean" liberalism of limited government constitutionalism. I just mean left-liberals as those who have long been associated with the left of the political spectrum. Normally, we'd think supporters of the Democratic Party. The usage of "liberal" and "conservative" is so institutionalized in American politics that of course we won't see changes any time soon. But those of the Democratic Party-left today are not liberals in any sense, if we take the party back to its post-WWII Truman-Kennedy roots. The point is not new, but it needs to be restated amid this long healthcare debate we're having.

I'm looking at the New York Times' piece this morning, with the headline, "
Liberal Revolt on Health Care Stings White House." (Via Memeorandum.) Again, what liberals? We've got radical leftists, communists, socialists ... shoot, we'd probably find a couple anarcho-syndicalists if we rummaged through the inner recesses of the White House a bit.

Anyway, it's this whole healthcare debate that's driving everyone to teh stupid, even the Times. Sure, they get some of the particulars right, for example, in identifying Senator Bernie Sanders (below at the video) as a "self-avowed democratic socialist," but why stop there? For some reason, with the exeption of Sanders, the remainder of the "Democratic left" that's revolting against the administration, is described as liberal.

All one has to do is just troll around the netroots blogosphere enough to hear folks talking way more radically than Senator Sanders.

Note this e-mail from
one of "Hammering" Jane Hamsher's readers at Firedoglake:

As Dave Johnson writes (via email):
Most other countries provide health care as a right – a core function of government. But here privateers have seized it for themselves for profit. So to maintain this, to keep taxes low for the rich and keep the profits privatized we are ordered to buy it from companies instead of having it provided as a government service. This is the battle between democracy and corporatization.
Notice that? "Privateers" and that battle between "democracy and corporatization"? This tension is also on display at Booman Tribune, "One Reason Why Democracies Fail."

Nothing in democratic theory requires economic equality. Indeed, Robert Dahl, who is perhaps the most widely cited contemporary political scientist on the foundations of democratic societies, omits socialist conceptions of equality as a key criterion for a democraty society. (See, Robert A. Dahl, Democracy and Its Critics , and especially, On Democracy). This is not to say that political power in unaffected by the distribution of economic resources. It is to argue that the solution offered by radical leftists -- state socialization of the economy -- has nothing to do with increasing democratic participation. And in fact, taken to its extreme, we'd see the opposite effect: The increasing concentration of power, first in the revolutionary vanguard, and then in the communist state itself, where bureaucratic apparatchiks would concentrate power and economic resources in their hands.
This will happen if folks the "Hammering Jance" and Senator Bernie Sanders get their way. And that's why conservatives oppose the monstrosity of "democratic" healthcare reform.


The Griper said...

i agree wholeheartedly, professor but one problem. it can't just be one program that the people must fight against. it has to spread out to each and every program that is socialistic. social security programs, the public school system, the welfare programs, etc. these are all part of the system of decay in this nation.

as long as even one of these programs exists the socialist has his foot in the door.