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.')