Anti-Socialist Socialist Uprising

Buried in the (somewhat, considering the current circumstances) shocking Rasmussen poll that reports only 53% of Americans think capitalism better than socialism is something even more shocking: adults under 30 are almost evenly divided on the question, with 33% favoring socialism and 37% favoring capitalism (30% were undecided, a surprise in itself). The Daily Beast finds reason for this in the wind-storm of anti-socialist rhetoric blowing from the celebrity right:

“…it’s increasingly clear that socialism’s newfound popularity comes from the Mitch McConnells, John Boehners, Rush Limbaughs, Sean Hannitys, and Glenn Becks of the world, whose repeated invocations of the term have pushed a previously DOA political movement to new heights of popularity.”

Over at the Washington Post, the ever-astute Harold Meyerson (full disclosure: Meyerson was a colleague at the LA Weekly and I can remember having at least two friendly discussions with him) asks the obvious questions about the poll and makes some distinctions:

“The young may now disdain Wall Street — but what do they know of socialism, past and present? Who even speaks of socialism in America today? The answer, of course, is the demagogic right.”

Meyerson notes that the very idea of socialism held by most of us has changed. We contemporary socialists, for example, no longer support the “abolition of wage labor” as was called for 75 years ago. Instead, we’re looking for a sort of socialist/capitalist hybrid:

“Today, the world’s socialist and social democratic parties basically champion a more social form of capitalism, with tighter regulations on capital, more power for labor and an expanded public sector to do what the private sector cannot (such as providing universal access to health care).”

There’s no doubt that the right-wing media is keeping the term “socialist” in the public eye. But I would guess that the run-amok capitalism of the last decades and the social model of Western Europe (How long are their vacations?  They pay what for health care?) have done more to attract new, youthful adherents. Certainly the right’s blanket condemnation of socialism without really defining the word–or doing so in the broadest terms to include successful government programs already in place–doesn’t help their cause. But if Rush Limbaugh is fostering new interest in socialism, more power to him.–Cabbage Rabbit

1 thought on “Anti-Socialist Socialist Uprising”

  1. well said. my favorite new term is “fascism”. the real question, as you point out is how much we pay (2008 OECD report has US at 15% of GDP) versus our lifespan (less than Canada, Australia, and a host of others), and what we can count on for vacation and more.

    the right has yet to point to any countries that employ “conservative” principles in terms of taxes/services etc, that are successful.

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