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View Full Version : Weekend Opinionator: A Different Sort of Red America,Tobin Harshaw



megimoo
04-11-2009, 09:28 AM
Tobin Harshaw "What A Fump This Guy Is !"

Perhaps the most telling line in the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of “socialism” is this one: “The range of application of the term is broad.” That’s something to bear in mind as we consider a much-discussed poll, released by Rasmussen on Thursday, that found that “Only 53% of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism.” For the record, here is the primary O.E.D. definition:

A theory or system of social organization based on state or collective ownership and regulation of the means of production, distribution, and exchange for the common benefit of all members of society; advocacy or practice of such a system, esp. as a political movement. Now also: any of various systems of liberal social democracy which retain a commitment to social justice and social reform, or feature some degree of state intervention in the running of the economy.

As for Rasmussen’s definition, well, there isn’t one: “The question posed by Rasmussen Reports did not define either capitalism or socialism.”

‘Socialism’ rises in the polls — but do Americans even know what it means?
But the pollsters did point out an anomaly: “It is interesting to compare the new results to an earlier survey in which 70% of Americans prefer a free-market economy. The fact that a ‘free-market economy’ attracts substantially more support than ‘capitalism’ may suggest some skepticism about whether capitalism in the United States today relies on free markets.”

So, has the nation really drifted that far to the left, or are we simply struggling with our semantics? Plenty of folks in the blogosphere were happy to answer that question.

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In terms of interpreting these results, the numbers certainly aren’t what I expected, and it’s hard to know why respondents answered as they did. Perhaps “capitalism” lost some of its appeal when our economy collapsed. Maybe a lot of people heard the media connect Obama and “socialism,” and since they like the president, they figure socialism can’t be that bad. In a similar vein, if right-wing blowhards like Limbaugh keep screaming that socialism is manifestly evil, there may be some who assume the economic model must have merit.

But I was especially intrigued by the 27% who weren’t sure which was better. Talk about a sign of the times — more than one in four aren’t quite sure whether capitalism or socialism is the superior system.

Mark Thompson at the League of Ordinary Gentlemen feels his fellow conservatives have nobody to blame but themselves. “When you falsely complain that every single thing your opponents try to do is socialism and absurdly hold your bloviating, unpopular selves up as bastions of capitalism, you probably shouldn’t be surprised when people start thinking socialism doesn’t look so bad, and capitalism doesn’t look so good,” he writes. “Let the record also reflect that I, personally, remain firmly with the 53 percent; I just don’t blame the other 47 percent for thinking otherwise.”

Matt Yglesias of Think Progress feels that times have changed enough that “socialism” is “good branding”:

The whole idea is that we should put society first rather than capital, or money. That sounds good! But in the United States we never had a Socialist Party so “socialism” was primarily associated with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics which was not at all good. But to people under 30, there’s less of that old resonance. And saying that Obama, who’s popular, is a “socialist” may simply tend to make people have warmer feelings toward the word “socialism.”

The New Republic’s John Judis seems to think the poll’s younger respondents have a better fix on things than the O.E.D.:

According to the poll, 53 percent of Americans think capitalism is preferable to socialism, while 20 percent say socialism is preferable. And among those trustworthy adults under thirty, 37 percent prefer capitalism, 33 percent socialism, and 30 percent are weighing the alternatives. What, you might ask, does this all mean? I don’t think it’s a vote for Soviet-style socialism. While Cold War conservatives did their best to identify socialism, and European social democracy, with Soviet or Cuban communism, the identification doesn’t seem to have survived the Cold War itself.

Instead, what those 30 percent of under-thirties probably mean by “socialism” is a much greater degree of government–and public–control of private corporations and of the market. That would put the United States closer, say, to Sweden, France, or Germany, but would not put it anywhere near the old Soviet Union, which tried to abolish the market itself. Most of all, I imagine, it’s an expression of extreme disillusionment with the magic of the market as preached by Republicans and some Democrats as well.

It’s also, I think, not an incorrect understanding of socialism. As a political philosophy, socialism predated Marx as any reader of “The Communist Manifesto” or of “Socialism: Utopian and Scientific” is aware. In America, too, there were Christian socialists like Walter Rauschenbusch, who was an important influence on Martin Luther King, and prairie socialists in Kansas or Oklahoma who never envisioned giving up their farms for socialism. The point that runs through all these many varieties was not collectivism, but instead the subjection of large banks and businesses to social priorities: “people before profits,” as Bill Clinton said in 1992. And that’s what those 20 percent of Americans in the Rasmussen Poll seem to be opting for.
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/10/weekend-opinionator-a-different-sort-of-red-america/

megimoo
04-11-2009, 09:36 AM
A Different Sort of Red America

Comments:
Perhaps the most telling line in the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of “socialism” is this one: “The range of application of the term is broad.” That’s something to bear in mind as we consider a much-discussed poll, released by Rasmussen on Thursday, that found that “Only 53% of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism.”

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I thought we decided to call it Obama's Chicago brand of Fascism ?
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I've always believed in my cynical heart that the Average Joe believes in neither capitalism nor socialism nor fascism, but only in what works...for him personally.
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Around 30% of the poll was undecided which shows the pollster called a lot of really stupid people.Only 20% actually said socialism was better. This is just another case of the LSM cherry picking poll results to push their agenda.Anyone with half a brain should realize you need capitalism to have the money to run government.Socialism has a class of super rich elitests, a unionized middle class and government bureaucracy and a low standard of living for everyone else.There's virtually no incentive to put your best foot forward. It kills the human spirit to achieve.Alcoholism drug addiction and crime is rampant is a socialist model because people have nothing to do with their lives or no way to make a living.Upward mobility is bestowed on you by the good graces of the government if you happen to be connected.
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I believe that the eventual goal is "collectivism".
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#1...Let's assume for a moment that the poll was conducted with a truly random sample of our citizenry. Is it really so hard to believe -- in our current economic crisis -- that 30% of Americans can't quite decide if capitalism is the best way to go?
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Remember, back in the depths of the Great Depression, there was a sizable chunk of our population, including some Hollywood celebrities, who genuinely believed that Communism was the only viable escape route for our country. Such was the severity of our economic state.

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We live in a world filled with welfare of some kind. Why would these people want to change things. Obama has sold Socialism as the way to go. When the American people realize that we have been sold Communism in the guise of Socialism, they really will be shocked. By then, Obama will be a dictator and polls will be against the law.
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If average Joes don't understand socialism and need an example of an unsustainable Worker's Paradise, they need look no further than Detroit.
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The psychotic Pinchy Sulzberger changed the the NY Times from the Old Gray Lady of journalism to the Old Gay Prostitute of Journalism!
NOTHING PRINTED IN THAT FILTHY RAG IS CREDIBLE!
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The US has had a quasi-capitalist, quasi- socialist economy for 80 years. With the exception of a few hiccups (Reagan), its been sliding to socialist
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"The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism ..." by George Bernard Shaw should be required reading in high school (assuming they read..)
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Call it any -ism you want, but when you take the rewards away from the individual that success has yielded because that individual exercised his freedoms and liberties to achieve his excellence you extinguish his spirit. Furthermore restrict his endeavors with oppressive regulations, requirements and payments to a collective legislation that offers nothing in return but more of the same and you eliminate incentive. Now that you have eliminated small business, which is the catalyst for strong economic growth of society and you are left with just another underachieving lethargic populace waiting for their government allowance to sit around and be like everyone else.

Wow. There's a vision for the future. How inspiring.

And why is this? Because educators have not taught the last four generations about the misery socialism inflicts on everyone but the elite few.
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Call it any -ism you want, but when you take the rewards away from the individual that success has yielded because that individual exercised his freedoms and liberties to achieve his excellence you extinguish his spirit. Furthermore restrict his endeavors with oppressive regulations, requirements and payments to a collective legislation that offers nothing in return but more of the same and you eliminate incentive. Now that you have eliminated small business, which is the catalyst for strong economic growth of society and you are left with just another underachieving lethargic populace waiting for their government allowance to sit around and be like everyone else.
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We wouldn't be having this discussion if we could find and elect government leaders who can actually lead. Some of these people don't have any control over their own lives let alone trying to control ours.
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I don't believe anything in the NY Times, and neither should you. Time after time, incident after incident, issue after issue we have all seen that the Times is clearly pushing an abominable agenda, right along with the other leading "news" sources here and abroad. Yet many of us continue to look to the Times, or to Time magazine, Newsweek, and all the rest of them for trustworthy information. Why? Why do that? Why look there?
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I stopped financing Hollywood celebutards years ago by not going to the movies anymore and by keeping the idiot box in my living room turned off. Since deciding to do those two things, my life has improved. I can think better and I have rediscovered my own thoughts and beliefs.

The sensualists who are pushing this socialist agenda upon our nation are not kidding around. They are deadly serious. They are brazen, they are bold, and they are not going to stop of their own volition.

Oh! Say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave over the land of the free and the home of the brave? That's a question. What's your answer?