Over the weekend I finished reading “Imagine Living in a Socialist USA,” a collection of essays and a handful of poems that explore what life would be like in the United States after a workers revolution. Its contributors are a who’s-who of left-wing activists, including Frances Fox Piven, Michael Moore, and Mumia Abu-Jamal, among others with varying notoriety. They’re the folks so far out there they perceive President Obama as a friend of the corporate world. In reading it, I wanted an intellectual challenge, to have to critically analyze my world view in the context of the diametrically opposite.
After reading each word across its 304 pages, there was no such struggle. Debunking leftist thinking is easy work for anyone paying attention who accepts the constance of human nature. The arguments start to blend together in tone and outcome, at least when they’re not inherently contradictory. In one essay, there is talk of taxing millionaires while in another a different writer extolls how there will be no millionaires. Ultimately, I come away thinking socialists are just too lazy to work hard at a job.
Two fallacious themes emerge:
First, the American economy is always substituted to mean capitalist. They often defend the efforts made in the Soviet Union and China in the twentieth century and claim that things went wrong because true socialism wasn’t achieved. I’d argue true or pure capitalism isn’t the name of the game in American business, either, on either side of the regulatory coin. For one, the buffet of rules and barriers to entry certainly hinder an unfettered market. On another note, a government overseeing a capitalist economy certainly would not have thrown billions of dollars at failing car companies — nor would it have produced something like the Affordable Care Act, whose influence on the market has been obvious.
Second, the writers are all of the belief that a socialist revolution would bring about a fundamental change in human nature. In place of capital production and the exchange of goods and services for money, individuals would be part of a market of services through which they would trade for whatever they need to be just happy enough — not too much, and not too little. Surpluses produced in factories and plants would be shared in a way decided by committee. In a horrifying and farcical fantasy, one author posits what a Thanksgiving meal would be like in this workers paradise, and it’s a doozey: everyone on a commune calls each other “cousin,” health clinics are called “canadas,” cigars are called “fidels,” but smoking in the house is illegal, and everyone graciously moves outside to smoke tobacco. What isn’t seen, obviously, is the state police kicking down the door and issuing a citation (or arrest warrant?) when someone does light up indoors.
The underlying belief is that the state is just as responsible for the individual as both the individual and his community are. It’s the same thinking coming out of the Burke for Wisconsin campaign, and it’s something to watch carefully.
Certainly Ms. Burke would not want to see her millions disappear for the community’s benefit, doled out by committee or by the government. I’ve applauded before her admirable philanthropy, and at the same time noted how phony her politics seem in light of her history of giving. Yesterday Wisconsin Election Watch reported that she’s still pulling income from Trek, though she doesn’t maintain a day-to-day role there. Getting paid for not doing any work certainly reeks of Democrats’ tired rich-getting-richer platitude. Will she have to apologize for her wealth as Hillary Clinton has since her disastrous book tour launched? And is there a double standard for women of wealth in politics?
It would seem that, as a philanthropist and business woman, Mary Burke makes for the perfect Democrat gubernatorial candidate who can placate the liberal base on social issues and swing fiscal conservatives who, as the loudest liberal voices and media declare, couldn’t give two hoots about gay marriage or abortion anymore. This is theater and a lie. Indeed, this may have been the case had she not been so closely held to typical Democrat standards. The doublespeak and inconsistency has been well-documented here, on issues like minimum wage, charitable giving, the role of government, and unions.
Placation and compromise are not in the Democrat handbook. Their game is one of lies and coercion. If Ms. Burke is little more than a DPW pawn, trotted out because her record looks good on paper and stands the best chance of toppling boogeyman Governor Walker, she will always be subject to the greater mission of Democrats and leftist acolytes, her record be damned. That mission is the elimination of dissent and the conscious establishment of the state as god in personal, cultural, and economic matters.
To paraphrase Leona Lansing, the fictional media executive in The Newsroom, Mary Burke is a hairdo.
Her campaign must lose because in the last three years Scott Walker has proven that conservative reforms work — it’s literally brought unionists to tears. But Burke for Wisconsin must fail because Wisconsin can’t afford economic and social regression or a return to the kind of governance that forces one to shoulder the burden of others. There are roles for charity and kindness and giving, but they’re not ones to be assumed by the state, and nor are they roles that must be fulfilled by law. This state and this country are full of truly good people with concern for others who have no interest in the fake high-mindedness and audacious moral superiority relentlessly preached by each and every liberal. It is this belief that makes me conservative.
I want the poor to succeed and for small businesses to thrive. I want freedom to worship and I want freedom of speech, even when it makes others uncomfortable. Comfort comes from healthy human relationships and personal fulfillment which, as hard as the government tries, are qualities it will never — ever! — be able to fill.
I want Mary Burke to lose and Scott Walker to win because I believe in God, the future of this state, and the power of the individual.