adventures in dysthymia

Sunday, September 25, 2011

When the Right is Wrong

Those on the Right often rail against the 'socialism' of our government here in the United States. They've been doing it for a hundred years.

And they are wrong. Socialism means ownership by the state (or the 'people' if you will). What we have -- as do most nations in the world -- is a form of corporatism. State-directed capitalist economies.

Our corporatism is a rather 'lite' version and, of course, reasonably democratic. In some nations, the government's role is larger, in others, smaller. But almost everywhere there is a partnership between business and the state.

The welfare state is an integral part of this system. By providing basic security and support to the people, the state undercuts the demands of the socialists. It co-opts them.

This whole system goes back to such 19th Century leaders as Bismark. They came up with the approach, whether consciously or simply in reaction to events, to protect capitalism. The modern capitalist state truly could not survive otherwise; it would become unstable.

The Republicans have been dismantling the New Deal, our version of the corporate state, for the past 45 years or so. Then they blame our current economic woes on the Democrats and their policies. I think not.

They are the ones -- though certainly with Democratic collusion -- who destabilized the system via deregulation. In essence, they sent us back to 1929. The cost of unfettering the economy is its inevitable fall. Boom and bust.

But the Right was reacting, as do we all, to changing social and economic situations. We have a world economy now and all of the old solutions were formulated in answer to old problems. The whole world needs to recognize this, whether they be congressmen in the United States or terrorist leaders in the Third World. Things change.

I choose to support the Green Party over the two majors. The Greens, at least, have a somewhat coherent vision for the world -- even if they do attract Leftist crazies the way the Tea Party does on the Right.

Of course, I am not a crazy (yeah, really) nor even all that Leftist. Inside me dwells an old-fashioned Midwestern Progressive, pro-union, pro-family farm, maybe a little socially conservative. I don't think that guy has a home in either of the major parties these days.

Or maybe not even in our society.

Tomorrow may be different. Tomorrow WILL be different. That is inevitable. All we can do is try to shape that tomorrow, to help it grow in the proper direction. Not toward unbridled libertarian capitalism. Not toward a world economy dominated by international corporations or entrenched banks and trade organizations.

If that is our future, we'd best also have entrenched world labor unions to balance them out, as well as other groups that will be on 'our' side. Religious groups included. We can not trust the government to always act in our interests -- it will most likely continue to see what is good for 'big business' as being good for the country.

That's not necessarily a future I'd want to see but it may be the future we will see.

If I should write here on political matters, I do so largely from an analytical standpoint, an historical standpoint, not from any deep belief in liberalism, conservatism or any other social or political stance. Humanity will, as always, go where economic forces send it, and the state -- for better or worse -- will remain with us in some form.

And I remain, not a pessimist, not an optimist, but a realist.

Stephen Brooke ©2011

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