Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I'd love to know Glenn Beck's definition of communism. I'd be most interested to understand how he can call the administration both fascist and communist (which, in case you didn't know, are as mutually exclusive as "Fox" and "fair"). I'd be pleased to hear from those commenters of mine who recoiled in horror about an Obama appointee who said he'd been a member of the Communist party at one time: what, exactly, is the threat?
First of all, as the Communist party of the US says, there's never been a communist society on this planet. Moreover, in this country, whatever else they might be, the Communist party has about as much influence as a crazy guy in the street. What they are is a bunch of idealistic dreamers, with a vision of humankind that is entirely unrealistic. For communism to work, we'd have to be.... Christlike. All of us. Ain't gonna happen. Least of all, among Christians. The ideal of communism is people working together for a common good; no one exploited; all people treating all others fairly and compassionately; helping one another; caring; the need for central government nearly non-existent. (How's that for a conservative ideal!) I'm not sure what's so awful about that other than the fact that it's one hundred percent impossible. Just look around. (In case it needs to be said, those American Communists who supported the Soviet Union back in the day were as wrong-headed then as Beck is now.)
Personally, I'm fine with capitalism. I still plan to buy an HD TV some day, and if I could afford another Beemer (I had one thirty years ago), I'd get one of those, too (if I didn't care about gas mileage). But I don't consider those who have a pie-in-the-sky governing model some sort of existential threat; especially when the model has zero chance of being realized.
I traveled in the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, on a Russian language study tour. (Time was, I was a pretty fair speaker of Russian: over there, people complimented me on my aksyent, when they weren't asking me about "Dev Brroobek" or trying to buy my Levi's.) No political scientist, I, it was nevertheless obvious to me that nothing about their society was communistic except the one collective farm at which I had the second greatest picnic of my life, and then proceeded to get drunk on the smoothest vodka I'd ever had -- to the consternation of the tour staff, based, as it was, in a "dry" campus back home. (As our large glasses were filled to the brim from pitchers of the stuff for a raucous toast, I was told to dump mine out and hide the fact with my hand. The "clink" gave it away, after which the glass was refilled, the staff lady gave up and drank happily along with the rest of us as songs were sung, accordions played, and people staggered off into the woods.)
What the Soviet government -- and the Chinese, and Cuban, all of them -- was, was totalitarian. They used the concept of communism ("Forward to the victory of communism," was plastered in signs everywhere), I guess, as a sort of ideal by which to get their workers to buy in. That, and the idea that they had a mortal enemy in the US, the defeat of which demanded the sort of sacrifices that their decaying society presented to them. Tiny apartments, crappy products, decaying buildings, while their leaders lived high on the свинья. They were a threat, all right, but it had nothing to do with communism, per se. They were, in fact, the opposite of communism: near complete exploitation of their citizenry for the aggrandizement of government power. The danger was their international aggression, not their not-believed, paper-thin look-the-other-way "communism." If you want to see the closest remaining thing to actual communism in existence, visit a kibbutz.
This is no polemic in favor of communism. True communists, in my view, are hopeless idealists, hippie squared, impossible dreamers. Theirs is a rosy view of humankind that is clearly counterfactual. In the political descent we are witnessing every day since President Obama's election, nothing could be more obvious.
My point is simply this: the cries of "communism" by Beck and his minions are but another example of the dishonesty of the leaders and the stupidity and gullibility of the followers of the right wing as currently constituted. Railing in the certainty that they know what they're talking about. They seen it on the teevee.
There is nothing "communist" about Obama or his policies, even if he appointed one to oversee green energy efforts.
We're more threatened by Tinkerbell.