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The next time that I hear a Republican call Obama a socialist, I would like to follow up with the question: "Well, which type is he?"

Is he a scientific socialist, adhering to an orthodox Marxist doctrine of dialectical materialism, the labor theory of value, the immiseration thesis, etc.?

Is he a revisionist (or evolutionary) socialist along the lines of Eduard Bernstein, eschewing the materialistic determinism of orthodoxy in favor of a neo-Kantian ethic of universalism and respect for persons--and emphasizing the movement (whether in trade unions or in parliaments) over the telos?

Is he an ethical socialist like Keir Hardie and many of the founders of the British Labour Party, believing that socialism (collective governance/ownership) is the logical outpouring of the Judeo-Christian conscience?

Is he a gradualist or Fabian socialist, believing that socialism will come through the efforts of socially responsible government experts expanding their control over the economy bit by bit, learning how to administer each sector as it reaches a state of natural monopoly?

Is he a guild socialist like G. D. H. Cole, eschewing the centralized control of the bureaucrat in favor of the internal democratization of industry itself?

Is he a revolutionary syndicalist, viewing participation in bourgeois governments as futile and preferring instead to launch a general strike to use the force of the mass to bring the capitalist economy to a halt?

Please, my Republican friend, do let me know which type you think he is.  I'd love to discuss it.  (My answer, of course, is resolute 'none of the above.')

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ask them an even more fundamental question. (11+ / 0-)

    Ask them, "What is a Socialist?"

    Guaranteed crickets. I find the ones who bandy about that term the most know the least about it.

    •  Hear! Hear! (4+ / 0-)

      I've stopped more than a few country-club Republicans in their tracks with that question.

      Crickets indeed.

      "Let us not look back to the past with anger, nor towards the future with fear, but look around with awareness." James Thurber

      by annan on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 07:21:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sit back and watch the heads explode (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rudewarrior, annan, Rogneid, Nattiq

      most of these people don't even know what a damned socialist is. They only know their Hate Guy (or Gal) on the Radio said he is. And they're not allowed to LIE, so it must be true. (<---snark)

      I had nothing better to do yesterday, so I was jerking one around on facebook. The more I pushed, the longer and more convoluted and senseless his word-salad-y responses got. The time he clearly spent trying to justify his incorrect definitions and beliefs around actual facts was unbelievable.

      There is probably an argument to be made that the propagandists  in our midst are starting to have a serious medical impact on some of our people. Some Americans today cannot--cannot--handle facing the fact that they're WRONG about this stuff and have been wrong all along because they have been lied to. That's surely some kind of semi-serious named issue on the mental health side of the human spectrum. I find it a tad scary.

      It is time to #Occupy Media.

      by lunachickie on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 07:31:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Authoritarians (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nattiq
        There is probably an argument to be made that the propagandists in our midst are starting to have a serious medical impact on some of our people. Some Americans today cannot--cannot--handle facing the fact that they're WRONG about this stuff and have been wrong all along because they have been lied to. That's surely some kind of semi-serious named issue on the mental health side of the human spectrum.

        No, some conservative Americans can't face being wrong, or being lied to by their leaders, so they have raised denial to an art form. And they will not accept that they are being lied to by their own (self) chosen leaders. Fox NC knows this, why don't we?

        This does come up often here at DKos, so I wonder how many Kossacks have actually internalized the existence of, and operating reality of, authoritarians?

        Bob Altemeyer, in The Authoritarians, indicates that these traits can begin to form, through parental influence, at four years of age. I feel that anyone discussing conservative "base" politics is way over their head without this knowledge. (Alternative book: Conservatives Without Conscience by John Dean.

        Unfortunately, being conservative to the point of becoming reactionary doesn't find a niche as a "condition" in the psychiatric field. The paranoia isn't deep enough yet, apparently.

        Ranting about authoritarians and their intractability isn't going to change anything, and could be somewhat of a distraction from the issues at hand.

        You meet them halfway with love, peace and persuasion, and expect them to rise for the occasion ~ Van Morrison

        by paz3 on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 09:56:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This goes deeper than that (0+ / 0-)

          it's not even paranoia. It is denialism bred by our exceptionalism-based culture. Plenty of these people are NOT authoritarian.

          The sooner we realize that the propaganda they've been fed for the last several decades is dangerous,  the better off we'll all be.

          It is time to #Occupy Media.

          by lunachickie on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 11:04:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Republican definition of socialism (10+ / 0-)

      A socialist is a politician who uses government resources to achieve Democratic party goals.

      A politician who uses government resources to achieve Republican party goals is known as a "patriot."  

    •  As evidenced (4+ / 0-)

      by the one that call him a socialist AND a facsist in the same sentence.

      Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power -- Benito Mussolini

      by drcraigphd on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 09:50:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  GARY COOPER TOLD CONGRESS (8+ / 0-)

    "I don't really know what a Communist is, but I don't much like 'em."

  •  I would actually like to know more about (0+ / 0-)

    several of those, particularly the ethical, gradualist or Fabian socialists.

    I agree that government should have a role in breaking up monopolies ... just look at the mess we're in with internet access being controlled by a few corporate interests. Or health care being controlled by insurance companies.

    The idea that government would gradually learn to administer various sectors over time sounds very reasonable.

    What's not to like about that? Unless you've been brainwashed, of course.

    "Let us not look back to the past with anger, nor towards the future with fear, but look around with awareness." James Thurber

    by annan on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 07:26:33 AM PDT

  •  Do the Teahadi even know any of the socialists (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annan, Rogneid, Nattiq

    you mentioned? Doubtful. They just think Obama is an amalgamation of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao.

  •  I was trying to explain to someone recently (2+ / 0-)

    that socialism does not necessarily equal Marxism, and that  (just for instance) it was perfectly possible to have a socialist system that was not anti-religion.

    They refused to agree even after I pointed out that there have been religious kibbutzim.  Marx invented socialism; Marx was against religion; therefore socialism is against religion.

    HOW DO I LOGIC

    •  It does seem most people think Marx invented (2+ / 0-)

      socialism, despite the fact that the concept precedes Marx.

      In fact, there have been socialistic societies as long as there have been humans.

      And as to socialist theorists, Marx certainly wasn't the first, and there are significant differences between the various forms of socialism.

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 09:55:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If Obama's a "Socialist," Then What Type Is He? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alain2112, MKHector, Nattiq

    Black.

  •  Well, GOP/TPers never got beyond the "t"... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nattiq

    in "Socialist", so they don't know, do they? :D

    As a Progressive Democrat, me that is, and as a scientist very concerned about overpopulation, much less global warming (if we don't reduce population, concerns over global warming aren't going to work), I think that socialism or as Thom Hartmann often says "communitarianism" is the only way forward.

    Competition to see who gets the most stuff before kicking off will only make the world poorer.

    But yeah, GOP/TPers may not be able to define socialism except as an old mantra of an outdated Joe-McCarthyite...

    Oh wait, then there's Crazy Cruz. Dang.

    Ugh. --UB.

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

    by unclebucky on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 09:08:48 AM PDT

  •  If only Obama were a socialist... (3+ / 0-)

    Alas, he's a free-market, corporate supporting, 1 percenter capitalist to the core.

    TransPacific Partnership Agreement, anyone?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

    by ZhenRen on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 09:44:38 AM PDT

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