I was listening to Dr. Ron Paul’s speech at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference that took place in New Orleans this weekend and believe that the doctor misses a very important point when it comes to the question of socialism in America. Specifically, Paul said that Obama is not a socialist but is, in fact, a “corporatist.” He is wrong. He is wrong for the same reason that liberals who defend Obama and who also believe he is not socialist are wrong. The argument goes that the president has actually not done anything truly socialist and that he has only helped corporations and defended the status quo. This argument is fatally flawed, not because those that believe it are ignorant or stupid, but rather because the socialism of the 19th and 20th century is radically different from the socialism of the 21st century.
Those who do not have firsthand experience with communist totalitarianism tend not to understand the inner workings of the communist and socialist movement (unless they study it thoroughly). Socialism is not an American idea, it comes from abroad, and to only focus on socialism in a national sense makes it impossible to see how the threat is evolving and what it has in store for us. While socialism did not begin with Marx and Engels, it is mainly because of them that socialism becomes a truly dangerous idea as seen from its implementation in the former USSR, China, North Korea, etc. To understand the current manifestation of socialism in the world, we need look no further than to Latin America where we have the old socialist model suspended in time in Cuba and the new socialist models rising in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Ultimately, China is the only communist country that has made the transition from old-style socialism to modern socialism, the other ones have either discarded socialism/communism or have become mired in poverty. The new expression of socialism is no longer as explicit in its forms of control as in the past, for example nationalization of private enterprise is done piecemeal, rollback of freedoms is done in the name of fighting the United States, dissidents and political opponents are now actually charged with (usually fake or unjustified) crimes, propaganda is more sophisticated, and the centralization of economic, political, and social power in the hands of the government is masked. This brings me to Paul’s comments and to a something that has been circulating for some time now, the anti-corporatist sentiment.
Often in this blog, I refer to Corporate Socialism, which I believe is the brand of socialism that has emerged in the United States, but it is a brand that is not uniquely American. In other countries, where capitalism has been less developed, it was always easier for the socialists to simply nationalize the few companies that operated in their countries and create a government monopoly. In industrialized nations such a practice would be suicide and so, the only way for the socialists to create a government-run economy is through corporations themselves. This is the way in which the neo-socialists can masquerade as people who care about freedom and people who believe in the free market while being full-blown socialists. This type of socialist is what we have in Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. These are the types of socialists that are enacting “free market reforms” in China. And this is the type of socialist that we see in Barack Obama. The end result of corporate socialism is not a society where corporations rule, it is a society where the few corporations that are allowed to exist will be run by government directly… a government oligopoly. So when Paul says that Obama is not technically a socialist, he is wrong. He is a modern socialist. Obama has an extensive record of advocating for government-mandated wealth redistribution and during his presidency he has done just that: repeatedly taxing the rich, regulating private enterprise, funneling taxpayer money into big corporations, overseeing and enabling huge bank mergers while thousands of private banks are nationalized, expanding entitlement spending, taking over the health care system, and the list goes on. To call Obama a “corporatist” feeds into that anti-corporate sentiment that exist in America, a sentiment that was created by the Left. There exist many corporations in America, most of them being small businesses that get incorporated. These small businesses are increasingly going extinct because of Obama’s agenda. The problem in America is not the private corporations, it is the government that intervenes in the economy. Paul-ites point to the Federal Reserve and say “look, it’s not a government entity, but a private one” while ignoring the most important part: the power it has over monetary policy was given by government and is regulated by government. Had government simply created a central government bank, it would act exactly the same as the Federal Reserve. The label “private corporation” means nothing, the fact that the government has given it official power is everything. Same goes for “big corporations” which tend to be favored by the state. What would happen if the government stopped sponsoring these corporations? They would end up competing in the market like everyone else, subject to being “beaten” by smaller companies that offer better products. It is this type of free market competition that is stifled by an increasingly socialist government.
The facts on the ground get muddled by the rhetoric that gets thrown around. It is not the nameless Wall Street executive or faceless corporate boards that take away our freedoms, it is an overly powerful federal government. When the government enters the marketplace and favors one company over another, it is easy to blame the company, but it is actually the fault of the government. Notice how every regulation imposed by the government hurts businesses disproportionately, with the small businesses getting hurt the most and the larger corporations surviving. I say that this is not a mistake on the part of government, it is by design. Nor is the government a faceless organism, we know who the socialists are. They’re the ones who propose big government programs for every minor and not-so-minor problem in America. Right now, Obama is the standard-bearer of the Corporate Socialist movement. To call the president a corporate tool or dismiss the claims that he is socialist only helps the Left assert more control. Ron Paul should take another look at history and realize that the socialism of the past is slightly different from modern socialism in that nowadays the socialists use big corporations to advance their aims. Corporate Socialism is like the black widow, it copulates with big business until it gets what it wants, total control, and then turns around and eats its mate.