Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Socialism vs. Freedom

8th Grade Civics

In case you've been under a rock for a couple of days, there's been a big brouhaha over Trump digging into his bag of evergreen racist tropes, and telling the 4 young freshmen congresswomen (all women of color) to "Go Back" to the countries they came from.  No matter that 3 of them are native-born citizens, and the other a naturalized citizen since 2000.  If you don't know Trump is a racist by now, go talk to someone else.  I'm not here to break the news on that story.

In one of those tortured explanations for why Trump is not a racist, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, told reporters today: "I believe this is about ideology. This is about socialism vs. freedom."  Fortunately, there was someone not asleep at the wheel to call him out on this worse-than-sophomoric statement.  Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) quickly shot back "That's baloney. It has nothing to do with socialism,"

At first, I just thought this was just another case of someone who didn't pay attention during 8th grade civics class.  We're all supposed to know that a term like Socialism belongs in the group of descriptions of economic systems, which are separate from governing systems which is where we talk about "freedom." Most of right-wing logic is usually that flawed and simplistic, but as I thought about it, it seemed like something more.   

In this age of Citizens United, where corporations have the same rights as people,  I think the "freedom" McCarthy may be thinking of is the freedom of capital, the freedom for money (or people with money) to do whatever it damn well pleases.  In that way, the "Socialism vs. Freedom" thing actually makes a certain perverse sense.  Trump and his class see democracy as a problem.  It allows ordinary people to get in the way of capital.  

If I had to bet a dollar, I'd say it's a pretty safe bet that Trump is indeed a racist, for real.  But, you could make a case that he's not, he's just so greedy and selfish, that he doesn't mind appealing to people's fears, and uses racism to achieve his goals.  I'll leave that to others to figure out! 

Oh, and one more thing, I think it's kind of ironic that the one congresswoman (Omar) who wasn't born in the US is from Somalia, often referred to as a "Libertarian Paradise!"