Many of us still have some memory of the childhood defensive tactic of a sing-song response to derogatory attribution: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” This popular childhood strategem, generally proved to be adequate to preserve the dignity and public standing of the offended. In adult society, wrongful and intentional false accusations, or the imposition of false, hurtful attribution to another person, is an established, precedentially recognized act of wrongdoing, and is dealt with formally. For centuries, the willful employment of false and defamatory words and accusations, injurious to the name and reputation of another person, has been legally redressable under established Tort law; written defamation, classed as “libel”, “oral” as “slander.”
Recent events, have made necessary this third post, regarding the wrongful, misleading and bogus use of the word, “socialist” or “socialism” in critical public discourse. [see past posts :American Socialism” and “Compassionate Capitalism”] . The word “socialist” has recently been intentionally highjacked and misappropriated, for tactical employment as an epithet; resulting in a reflexive (negative) reaction, most especially, by the ignorant and reductionist members of our American population. We have been energetically attempting, for a considerable period of time, to make clear the wide, distinctive contrast, between the federal government’s responsible, programmic exercise of empathic morality, as authorized by the representative Congress, and the misused and tactical attribution of the newly created bogey-man, “socialism.”
The word “socialist,” in actuality, applies to political-economic systems in which the government is the sole owner and manager of all industry and business; as distinct from private entrepreneurship. It can, confidently and emphatically be declared, that there are absolutely no contenders for political office in this country, who would champion such an unworkable and un-American theory of governance, as socialism. Yet cynical, right-wing political operatives have now created the ersatz epithet, to brand all opposition, with the tactical intent that it especially appeal to that insular cohort of the reductionist ignorant, who helped install the iconic Mr. D.J. Trump in the Oval Office.
That the arrogant and cynically intended target of this false propaganda, is irrefutably, the low information base, is evidenced by print advertisements, shown on television, bearing the publicly recognizable image of Karl Marx. As is generally known among the better informed, Marx was the founder of Communism, not Socialism. Significantly, Marx sought the elimination of government, altogether, in favor of a theoretical (mythical) “dictatorship of the prolitariat,” This is markedly in opposition to Socialism, which espouses the ownership and operation of industry and business by an existing central government. Any casual student of political theory and general history might tell you that these two widely divergent and competing movements, were mortal enemies. As observed, however, it is the same base that supported Trump,who constitute the targeted audience for such manifestations of intentional falsity and arrogantly practiced cynicism; unquestionably not, the informed citizen.
Instances of compassionate capitalism are readily discernable in such long-standing and traditional government programs, as social security, disability, retirement, federal loans and mortgages, flood relief, FEMA, environment cleanup, flood control programs, food and tuition assistance, regulations and protection of the health of the consumer-citizen and a great many additional instances of Congressionally authorized involvement with the quality of life and the safety of all American citizens. The “socialist-phobes” should recognize that they are in truth, fortunate recipients of numerous, vital and beneficial government programs, which, incidentally, and practically, makes any socialist type program from having any appeal or necessity.
The prospect of a Socialist state is rationally and empirically, non-existent; one would hope that the cynically, self-interested and tactical perverters of our system of governance, be recognized, and justly sanctioned as the real danger to our democracy.