Raise the red flags on socialism in the United States — warn about the rising youthful acceptance of socialism as based on polls and surveys — and soon enough, on some news channel or other, a media pundit or scholarly spokesperson will point out to a worried American public that this is not a real socialism we’re talking about here. That it’s a softer socialism, a nothing-to-see, nothing-to-fear, everybody-just-go-home type of socialism.
They back those arguments by giving historical analysis and textbook definitions of what socialism really is, versus what it’s not.
It’s all stuff and nonsense.
Patriotic Americans should scorn those lines of logic. They’re folly and dangerous to America.
Intellectuals arguing the fine points of socialism will drive socialism deep into America, if we let them.
“Don’t Let the Alarmists Fool You,” ran one Forbes headline in September of 2018, above a piece that mentions a survey showing America’s growing acceptance of socialism. “Millennials Don’t Think Socialism is ‘Cool.’ ”
Or, like this, from Vice in October 2018: “Socialism Is Incredibly Popular but Does Anyone Know What ‘Socialism’ Is?” That piece went on to run down the differences between progressivism and socialism, as explained by “actual socialists” — which, in the end, isn’t all that different anyway.
Even the World Population Review finds it challenging to nail down “Socialism” versus socialist-like, writing in its “Socialist Countries 2019” report: “It is difficult to accurately define a socialist country because the term has come to have many meanings and interpretations. In broad terms, socialism is a political and economic theory that advocates the community as a whole overseeing production, distribution and exchange. The easiest way to define socialism is that it seeks to redistribute the wealth of a nation, closing the gap between the rich and the poor.”
And thus, the takeaway.
Whether we’re talking about quasi-socialism, European socialism, Marxist-Lenin socialism or some mix thereof — it doesn’t matter.
None of it belongs in America.
“Socialism” with a capital “S” may have a dictionary and textbook definition that differs from socialism with a European softness. But in the end, in America, it doesn’t matter.
Socialism is Big Government is the squelching of the individual is the loss of God-given rights. That’s all that counts.
That’s all that’s concerning.
Losing that clarity is to dig in the weeds. And digging in the weeds over what constitutes socialism versus democratic-socialism versus European socialism versus mixed economic socialism is a losing, needless argument that only aids those with socialism intents.
It allows those with socialist designs to sneak in their socialist ways under umbrellas of different names.
“I am not a democratic socialist,” says Sen. Kamala Harris, on route to a White House run in 2020.
Who cares: Her policies are socialist enough to cause concern. Her platforms and visions are anti-American enough to raise red flags.
Let’s not dither over definitions so much as direction — as in holding political leaders to account for where they’re policies are leading America, either toward founding principles or away from founding principles.
Let’s keep it simple.
The Constitution should be our guide. The Founding Fathers should be our compass. America’s DNA — the notion that rights come from God, not government — should pave the path. And all ideologies and platforms and policies and political ideas should be put to these lights for testing, ultimately to be labeled either American or anti-American.
Whether that “anti-American” comes by way of a card-carrying “Socialist” with a capital “S,” or by way of a smiling self-declared Democrat with a social justice message of socialist-style thinking really, in the end, doesn’t matter.
Big Government, overreaching government — it’s all rot. It may not all be textbook “Socialism,” but it, sure enough, is socialist-like. And calling out the socialist-like as socialism helps keep the battle lines clear.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley.
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