To Reduce Them Under Absolute Despotism…
by L. Neil Smith
The smirky caller asked, “You really believe Barack Obama is a socialist?” He went on to assert that the President is pro-business, a capitalist.
The show’s host—amazingly, one of talk radio’s Big Three—stuttered and stammered inarticulately, never really answering the caller’s question, until he was finally rescued by the next commercial break. The fact is, even if he’d known exactly what socialism is, and how to spot it in the people all around you, he wouldn’t have dared to say so, because Republicans, conservatives, have a dirty little secret.
Just like Barack Obama, they are socialists, too.
I don’t know whether anybody tries, these days, to teach school kids about such things. I was in grade school at the beginning of the Cold War, and I was the son of an officer in Strategic Air Command. Herbert Philbrick (look him up) was very big back then, as was a little book called What We Must Know About Communism, by Harry A. Overstreet and Bonaro Wilkins Overstreet. You can still find it at Amazon.com.
Despite several years spent reading extensively about communism, for school and on my own, and studying the lives and works of self- described socialists like H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw, I remained as ignorant as that radio talk show host, and for a very good reason: not one of the “experts” I was reading had any clearer an idea what socialism is than I had. Most of them still don’t, to this very day.
Once you get past all the mystical gobbledegook of the Hegelian Dialectic—inserted as a smokescreen, to elevate common thievery, rape, and murder to a level of nobility—what you saw then, what you still see even now, is a boring and inaccurate economic definition, of socialism, all about who gets to own and control “the means of production”.
Economics is, at best, a secondary or tertiary concern to folks who think about such matters. It is necessarily a product, in the proper order of things, of a whole lot of thinking that has to come before it. You must begin with metaphysics—which tries to answer the question, “What is the nature of reality?”—or better yet, you can start with epistemology, which asks us, “How do I know what I know?”
Between epistemology and economics, there’s ethics, which asks the question, “What is the good?” or, more pertinently, “What should I do?” The order in which you approach this is critical. If you try to base your ethics on your economics, you’ll end up organizing Death Panels.