9/13/18, by John Frary,
It seems reasonable to preface our discussion by defining socialism. Reasonable, perhaps, but not easy. It may, in fact, be impossible to arrive at a definition acceptable to all interested parties.
Bernie Sanders is no help. He describes himself as a Democratic Socialist. He was a founder of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He runs in the Democratic presidential primary. The Muddy Stream Media stumbles this way and that, calling him an Independent, a Democrat, and a Progressive without providing useful definition for any of these labels.
Called upon to explain himself, the Independent/Progressive/
“Let me define for you, simply and straightforwardly, what democratic socialism means to me,” Sanders told an enthusiastic crowd at Georgetown University. “It builds on what Franklin Delano Roosevelt said when he fought for guaranteed economic right for all Americans… Democratic socialism means that we must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy….Real freedom must include economic security.”
The essence of the flapdoodlious farrago? 1) An economy is something that simply happens without enterprise, competition, individual initiative, or profit and then nasty people come along and take more than their fair share. 2) Governments run by wise unselfish, people-loving idealists need unrestrained power to make things fair and rescue the middle class from poverty, 3) A dynamic economy is inherently unstable, so we need socialism to create stable stagnation. 4) Corollary: “freedom” is not the freedom to choose any old thing you like; we get freedom only when we are free to choose the economic security that only government can provide.
If you find this definition of ADS is unsatisfactory, don’t blame me. Blame Bernie Sanders. I’d call him a damned old fool — if I weren’t only a few months younger. So, I’ll call him a damned fool and commit myself to this prediction: In a few years “The Collected Speeches of Sanders the Savior” will have as much consumer appeal as non-alcoholic bourbon.
So let’s look for a definition to one of the many Internet sites dedicated to glorifying and promoting socialism. First, there’s the part which has been familiar for generations:
“Socialism as a political system is defined by democratic and social control of the means of production by the workers for the good of the community rather than capitalist profit, based fundamentally on the abolition of private property relations.”
Then the same definers grow progressively murkier and more ambitious. “Socialism is also a sociopolitical movement dedicated to the critique and dismantling of exploitative structures, including economic, gendered, ethnic oppression.”
“Socialism, as a movement, confronts these different systems of oppression as mutually conditioning, intersectional, and/or dialectically related within the current hegemonic order. It seeks to overcome oppression in a holistic manner without neglecting any particular axis so that it might be eliminated and genuine social emancipation may be realized. We recognize that Socialism cannot be achieved while structural oppression continues and workers are divided.”
Was I being unfair when I said “murky?’ I deny it. There is clarity about one thing only, advocates of this refined definition yearn for unlimited powers of destruction. They demand the power to “dismantle” and “overcome” and have nothing to say about creation.
There’s only one reasonable conclusion: It’s not impossible to defined socialism. It’s just useless. We can only adopt Benito Mussolini’s explanation of how to define his movement: “Fascism is defined by its actions.” The same applies to socialism in Maine and the world.
No, I’m not saying socialism is like fascism. I’m just quoting a famous Italian. Anyone who says differently is a xenophobe.
*Editors Note* This is part one of a three-part series Mr. Frary is writing on the devastation of socialism in Maine. Check back for the coming volumes 20 and 21 of the Maine Event for the remainder of the series.
John Frary is a retired college professor of 32 years, a well-known conservative columnist and activist, a former Maine congressional candidate and a contributor for Maine First Media.