Just saw a Facebook group called "Why the HELL should I have to press 1 for English". I wanted to reply to the person who became a fan of this but I didn't want to insult the individual, who wouldn't have understood anyway, so I'm writing my response here.
Why? Because 1 represents the grand total of languages you can understand! You xenophobic cretin.
I don't mind stupid. I can hang with stupid all day. What I cannot abide is stupid and arrogant.
Has the government gone too far? It appears so: they've socialized war.
It's true. The basterds have taken away the conduct of war from private business, which clearly could do a better job, and have given it to the government. Those bloated, overpaid fools now have complete control of tanks, airplanes, guns, you name it. It's the government--the Feds, for pity's sake!--who try to organize the complex system that is modern warfare.
Clearly this is a job for the free market. Do you really think the same jokers who run our freeways or who give a free pass to atheists and welfare cheats are going to be able to manage to run an army? Of course not! Armies are too complicated. We need a free market here, with each military unit free to form according to its own natural desire to fight and win. I mean, do you really want an army that is "too big to fail"? Do you really want your tax dollars to bail out troops?
Let each brigade fail on its own merits. Let only the strongest survive, and if that means foreign troops are better than ours, well so be it! Nothing, and by "nothing" I mean nothing, is more important than the free market. Let war mean capitalism and let capitalism mean war!
Amen, brothers and sisters, and go in peace. When you're told to.
First they hijacked town hall meetings. Now they've had their March on Washington.. Reactions vary from mystified to irritated. (That's pretty much the entire emotional spectrum for the Left, nowadays, which lost its sense of outrage and fury in the 70s, so much so that they viewed the election of Clinton as a victory.)
Keep an eye on the extreme Right. They wear plaid shirts instead of brown ones, cowboy boots instead of jackboots, but their mentality is virtually the same and their methods are restrained only by an effective police force. The current atmosphere is reminiscent of pre-Nazi Germany, as noted in a previous post.
For the suburban Nazi the greatest danger facing America is socialism. It used to be communism but it can't be any more because communism collapsed and the great Bogeyman was dead. This was a terrible blow to the Right, but it gradually discovered that socialism was an even better Bogeyman because it was everywhere and nowhere. Socialism can't fall, so it can always be a danger. This danger is so grave that it justifies any act, any lie; indeed, to refuse to consider the extreme act is to show a lack of patriotism.
Many folks say this is laughable and maybe a little unsettling, but no more. That was the reaction of liberals in Germany. The things said by the Right were so obviously false, so melodramatically hysterical that one felt like a fool taking it seriously. In fact, the only ones who did take it serously were the Communists, who were likewise anathema to the political majority. No one in power took them seriously until they were the ones in power.
It can happen here, as Sinclair Lewis pointed out years ago. And as he noted then, there are three key ingredients to a takeover by the Right. They need a crisis. They need a leader. And they need a failure of will by the majority.
We've had a crisis, and I fear we have the failure of will, though that will has not yet been truly tested. The Right has yet to produce a real leader. They thought they had one in George Bush but he let them down; he was merely a fool, it turns out, and they cannot forgive him for that.
So I say it again. Watch out for these people. They are dangerous, because they are self-righteous. Like the suicide bomber, they have in their own minds justified every act they will ever commit. They repeat their political creed like mantras and they work their radios and remote controls like working a rosary, never straying outside the prescribed boundaries, for outside lies perdition. This is, in fact, precisely the mob that the Founding Fathers sought to protect our government against.
I've been watching these people all my life. They spat on us when we wore long hair and they kicked at us when we protested the Viet Nam War. They supported government spying, war without declaration of war, and flaunting of law national and international. They don't want the government telling them what to do because they're too busy telling everyone else what to do. They have that poisonous hatred that is born of a life lived in fear. They have always been here. And they've always been dangerous.
If this is life under socialism, it feels more like Germany in about 1932. The left still appears confused, uncertain, hesitant while the right is increasingly shrill and strident.
One comes to the point where one understands the limits of reform are determined by the limits of will. The right in America is willing to go further, to perpetrate violence, to flaunt the law, to throw out any and every principle in order to win even a tactical victory against its declared enemy, while the left forswears violence, reveres the law, and clings to its principles even at the cost of defeat.
Those old enough will understand this. It's why the civil rights movement became the black power movement. It's why the SDS split. It's why people took to the streets. Not because of the nobility of the cause but because of the utter hopelessness of the path of moderate reform.
The trouble with the radical solution is that is splits. It splits the nation, it splits communities, and in the end it splits even its own members into increasingly marginal factions. It's like a great wave that begins with seeming overwhelming power as it crashes into the shore, but ends in a hundred rivulets and tiny pools, isolated and evaporating. But while mighty, it can sweep away much.
It has been a very long time since those who genuinely want reform have held real power in this country. They don't seem to know quite how to handle it. I wish them well. In the wake of three decades of bonehead politics, this country can benefit from even the most modest tune-up.
I wonder how socialist a country has to be in order to be socialist. I mean, maybe we already are, and all this kerfluffle is wasted breath. What a relief that would be! We could all just acknowledge we're socialists, or else go underground and start to work on the great capitalist revolution. Now that's a delicious thought, isn't it? Capitalist revolutionaries? Stock brokers at the barricades, overturning file cabinets and setting them on fire! Throwing safe deposit boxes at the tanks!
Where was I?
Oh yes, the tipping point. Assuming we're still capitalist, will it be health insurance? Is that the deciding factor? How many corporations does the government have to bail out? Or is it total money spent versus number of corporate entities? I'm not sure. I've looked around at the conservative blogs, but can find nothing. You'd think they'd have a list. A guidebook.
Maybe even a threat level with its own color spectrum.
Part of the problem here, of course, is that socialism is just a word. It's never been clearly defined. Same as capitalism. It's more a matter of self-definition: we is this; they is that. As long as we are we and they are they, then this ain't that. And there can be no tipping point, but only the eternal threat of tipping.
We're really proud of this. We don't seem to be very clear about the specifics (just try searching on 'american "know-how" ' and see what you get), but we're very clear that we have it and that it's American. A couple of points occur to me.
First, it's curious that people implicitly assume that American know-how magically evaporates in the halls of government. Indeed, "American know-how" (often presented as "good old American know-how") is set as the counterpoint to American government. American know-how exists in the individual, in the family, in the independent business, in corporate business -- everywhere, in fact, except in government. No one seems willing to explain this strange sociological phenomenon.
Second, I deeply object to the notion that "know-how" is American. This is an especially bizarre notion given that America is a nation of people from almost everywhere except America. So "know-how" cannot possibly be American, either in character or in location. Are we to believe that no one else on the planet is clever? Persistent? Resilient? Inventive?
I wonder if Russians speak of good old Russian know-how. Or if there's a similar phrase in Sri Lanka or Senegal or Luxembourg. (I actually would relish speaking of Luxembourgeois know-how). This is another instance of where nationalism is just plain wrong. Not just factually wrong but inimical to the human condition. Think how much better, how much healthier it would be to speak of human know-how. To do so would be to confer confidence upon all our brothers and sisters, not merely to those who happen to serve under the same flag.
It's been tough keeping up with the blogs, but I had to put this one out.
I've discovered a secret Socialist wedge into American free enterprise. It's completely government run -- paid for by your hard-earned taxes, and totally under government supervision. Competition isn't even allowed, and literally millions of Americans are subjugated to it without any voice in the matter.
What is this pernicious cancer eating at our free world?
It's the school nurse. Ah yep.
We need to dismantle this hateful aberration. Let the market determine which children get what sort of care. Clearly the government can't possibly do as good a job of taking care of the health of the Future of America as can locally-owned doctors' consortia under the direction of a business manager.
End the school nurse and think of all the tax money we will save, especially those of us who have no school-aged children. As for the others, you'll only pay for the care your child receives. No more will Big Government reach into your pocket and fling millions of dollars at ne'er-do-well kids who have a "headache." Hey, you wanna stop bleeding kid? Hand over your lunch money.
I'm telling you, it's high time we gave Government Nurse the boot. End socialized medicine in our public schools!
In the Idaho Statesman today came the proof, in black-and-white and it must be true-cuz-I-read-it-in-the-papers. What proof? Why, of the burden imposed on us all by socialism.
It was right there on the front page. How much our taxes have gone up. We knew it was going to happen. Those tax-and-spend socialists would dip their filthy fingers into our wallets and it only took them a few days to get to it.
In a bravura performance of reportage, the Statesman gives us the bill: sixty-one cents per Idahoan.
Nick Cavuto is stupid. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,511655,00.html
I'm not talking ordinary stupid here. I'm talking what'd he just say? stupid. He is honey-bar-the-door-I-think-they're-getting-in stupid. I'm talking stunning stupid. He is stupid enough to make stupid look smart. I'm talking somebody actually pays him for this? stupid. He is it-cannot-be-said-in-too-many-ways stupid. I'm talking ... and here I am not exaggerating ... he is ... well, George Bush stupid.
I'm getting heartily tired of listening to Those People talk about the "free market". Tired of them talking about it as if it exists or ever did exist, and tired of them talking about it as if it were manifestly a Good Thing.
First, dearest Virginia, there's no such thing as Santa Claus and there's no such thing as a Free Market. Go ahead, have a look around. Tell me when you find one.
Do they mean free as in "unregulated"? A market with not a single regulation? Of course not! Very well, we are not talking about differences in quality but differences in quantity. Some regulations are good, more regulations are bad. The line being exactly wherever the Republicans decide to draw it this week.
Do they mean free as in "..." well, I can't come up with any other meaning. So there's no such thing as a free market; there are only markets regulated to one degree or another.
Second, let's look at degrees of regulation. The first great wave of regulation came during the Progressive Era, in direct response to the crash of 1894-95 and to the excesses of the robber barons. There was a comparatively unregulated business environment, and what happened? Well, for one thing, a helluva lot got done. Railroad boom, oil boom, massive real estate development, and industrialization pretty generally. But what also happened was many small businesses were driven out of business as corporate giants gobbled them up, then the giants conspired to keep power in their hands and cut off startups. Until they got so big and centralized that when an economic crisis hit, the consequences were exacerbated. And the working man took it in the chops.
After the Progressive Era, we had another round of Republicans (and let us be fair: the behavior was international, with free marketeers infected most advanced countries). We had the boom of the 1920s, and once again much got done, but with a terrible price: the Great Depression. Once again, the working man took it in the chops.
And again in the 1980s and again now. *Every* time regulations were rolled back, ordinary folks got hurt. There are no exceptions.
I'm less afraid of the government than I am of a corporation. I have a voice in my government, however tiny. I have no voice in corporate America. When was the last time you saw a wave of populist reform driven by moral considerations inside a multi-national? It literally cannot happen.
So screw the free market. It's a myth and it's a golden calf. Regulate the corporations. Hell, we keep our *dogs* on a leash with less good reason than for keeping the corporations leashed.
That's the sentiment out there all right. Socialism is just bustin' out all over. I'm still having trouble spotting it.
Oh, the *threat* is there. Good gosh golly, the threats are just positively everywhere, ain't they? I mean, just look at all the money they're spending. Spending lots of money is socialist. Innit?
Wait, wait, I got a better one. Nationalizing the banks. Now that's socialism, yessir, no doubtaboudit. Yet now we're hearing Republicans suggest we nationalize some banks. Nationalize the "right way" they say. If a Republican says it, is it still socialism?
"This is the first salvo in the establishment of a Marxist state, and anybody that doesn't think so had better get out there, had better open up their eyes and better see what these people are doing. Nobody out there knows exactly what this guy is going to do, but they love him. That's basically how the Bolsheviks did it. "
Huh! The Bolsheviks got elected? Or is it the reverse? Did Obama storm the Winter Palace and I missed it?
Well, I took this Brave American's advice. I got out there. I opened up my eyes. My neighbors probably wondered why I was standing in my front yard in the dead of winter with my laptop in hand, but there ... they are probably all Bolsheviks too. Mensheviks, at the very least. (hm, the spell check is fine with Bolshevik but not Menshevik -- that's what happens when you lose!).
Anyway, I was unclear as to which people I was supposed to see doing. I forebore to peer into my neighbors' windows. Maybe the Brave American was referring to something he saw on TV, although in that case getting "out there" presents something of an existential quandary. After some minutes, I went back inside.
See, I just needed inspiration from the right source.
Given the frantic predictions of the election season, I confess I'm disappointed in the pace of Socialism in America to date. Perhaps I'm expecting too much from our new president. Rome was neither built nor destroyed in a day, although Nero had a good run at it.
Still, you'd think we'd be seeing something by now. Some loss of freedom, some heartless federal takeover, some random bit of oppression.
I blame the economic crisis. It's taken everyone's eye off the target. Even the socialists.
There are any number of sites calling Obama the Antichrist. Since Obama is a socialist, this means the Antichrist is a socialist.
Hm. I would have thought he'd be a communist. Or maybe just a totalitarian dictator. Socialism seems awfully ... well ... pink.
But Obama is in fine company. He joins a long line of antichrists, including: Emperor Constantine I Pope Gregory IX Emperor Frederick II Pope Innocent III (the 13thc was positively poppin' with antichrists) Pope Leo X (a very popular choice) Tsar Peter the Great Every and all popes King George III Abraham Lincoln Napoleon Bonaparte Mussolini Hitler Stalin King Juan Carlos of Spain Franklin D. Roosevelt anyone from the tribe of Dan Prince Charles of England anyone who doesn't confess Jesus as the Christ And, as the line goes, many more.
Barak has a lot to live up to. Uh-huh. But ... a socialist antichrist? Puleeze.
I need some help here. I'm all set to write about the socialist life in America, but I want to tread carefully. I want to be accurate. I don't want to cry Socialism! when there is none, and I have realized that I'm not entirely sure how I will know that America has gone socialist.
Help me out here: how will I know?
"When they kick in your door and drag you away."
Okay, fair enough. That one's pretty clear. When it happens, I'll try to snag my notebook and hope for a gulag with wifi, but I'm guessing they'll be subtler than that.
Are there other signs? Will it be some economic marker? Some political line that gets crossed? Near as I can tell, none of his cabinet nominees are formal socialists. If they're crypto, then we're back in the same dilemma: how will I know?
I try consulting the standard sources. Pat Buchanan says we may soon have over 40% of our national economy run by the government (federal and local). Is 40% the line? Or is it 45%? Is 50% communism? I'm confused.
So, seriously. How can I tell? What's the marker? Yesterday we had democracy, but today we have socialism? Does the mere election of Obama do the trick? Give me a clue here, folks; throw me a bone. If America as I know it is about to vanish, I'd like to be able to recognize the stunt.