Conservative Communism –is this what we have come to?
By Christa Lamb
Lately, in this country, I have been hearing a lot of side talk about how President Obama is going to destroy this great nation called the United States of America. We will abandon capitalism for socialist values that will leave us improvised and imprisoned by a government rabid with a hunger for growth and power. They will plunge us into a deficit unseen from the birth of this country until now and turn us into a second or even third world country. The fear of what will be under an Obama administration borders on paranoia from the extreme right-wing and their talking heads.
Today, I read through the transcripts of Rush Limbaugh’s speech at The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). He started off his speech with a joke, right away making the connection between liberals and Stalin; in essence, making a loose connection between liberals and socialist movement of the early 20th century. He said:
Now, I have someone in back taking phone numbers. In fact, I would like to introduce to you my security chief, a man who runs all of my security. His name is Joseph Stalin. Joseph, would you please — [Laughter] I am safe from any liberal attack, in public, because they would be afraid of offending Stalin.
The problem with the connection right-wing conservatives make is that communism is not socialism. Modern day socialism, though not perfect, does work and can only flourish within a truly democratic society. This is not to say that President Obama is trying to turn this nation into a socialist state. It is to say that the very principles of socialism operate on the fundamental idea that the majority of the people within a country have the say as to the policies created within its government. Ideally, if the people are unhappy, within a democratic socialist society, those people protest and the government listens. They have the say as to how their economy works; how it will function, so it functions for the whole. Within modern day socialism, the government should work for the people. It is not about big government, but a liberal one, where the people rule and the government listens.
Within our very own nation, we have socialism. For example, Social Security and Medicare are major socialist programs that exist within this country. The United States functions, not just on Capitalist principles, but Socialist principles as well. Both are integral to the success of this country.
In my opinion, Socialism in its purest form could never be, just as Capitalism, in its purest form could never be; greed (our desires for power) is too strong of a force. Many of the communist countries, such as Cuba, use Socialism in order to dictate, through meager hand outs, in order to gain power. The government is not of the people, nor for the people, but is only there to rule over the people. However, it is important to make a clear distinction between socialist principles and enacting a Communist type state. Stalin, following Lennon, instituted a Communist state and to make any connection between liberals and Stalin is like comparing Conservatives to Hitler. It is not funny, but an insult based on the fact the Stalin was a murderous dictator responsible for the death of millions and the enslavement of millions more.
However, if we are going to go there, then we need to take a closer look at Communism. Within the ideals of this theory, a communist society would have no governments, countries, or class divisions. Everything would be communal and everyone would share in ownership. Stalin implemented this ideology through the collectivization of agriculture: he was a Communist.
Granted Stalin may have spewed Socialist ideology, but history has showed him to be nothing more than a Communist Dictator, whose decisions were self seeking, self serving, unilateral, and destructive. The people under his rule had no say beyond what Stalin sought for himself and his image. Communism, as a government state, is conservative at its root: fewer and fewer people have a say in how the government is going to operate or function. As the government grows smaller, the leaders within this government become more powerful. Their need for power grows stronger with their grasp on the country gets tighter. As fewer people have a say in what will be, they become the dictators who control the country –and ultimately have the final say. It is never about what the people want, but what they want for the people. More often than not, what they want for the people is what is going to benefit them and not necessarily the people.
Conservative communism, as I would like to call it, is about one group of people having a say over the rest through a form of social dictatorship. They will tell you what will be without any compromise, or willingness to listen to the other groups who have a stake in what will be for the country. Conservative Communists are people who find it difficult to integrate their belief system, within a social community, without having to force it on everyone else. They cannot find the compromise between what is good for them and what is good for the rest of the people living within the shared country. They believe a personal independent conviction (whatever the belief) is a justified reason to force it on others: they are dependent on their convictions and without them, they lose their identity. Their identity only exists through the power of their beliefs. They find it hard to live in harmony with people who share different views or ideologies.
Now, if we are going to call President Obama, a liberal, with a socialist agenda. Then I am inclined to call former President Bush a Conservative Communist, who had his own personal agenda. The Bush administration took a unilateral approach to governing for the eight years he served in office. He went to war under one of the biggest world protest ever seen in history. He even went under false pretense in order to get his agenda through. A war, according to iraqbodycount.org, that has seen the death of 90,833 – 99,180 civilians: not combatant deaths, but civilian. On a personal level, he had conservative views on abortion, gay marriage, and global warming –and this is fine on an individual level. However, he spent his entire administration trying to push his views into law: views that impact the lives of others who do not share his personal vision. My point is where do we stop? When do we stop trying to make this country ‘my’ country –and start making it ‘our’ country?
The role of government is not to push personal agendas into law, but to represent the total population of that country, whatever the unique beliefs are of the individual citizens. Government is responsible for giving everyone a voice and making sure those voices are heard. If I believe in gay marriage, it is not the government’s responsibility to force heterosexual men and woman into gay marriage, but rather to ensure I have the same rights as heterosexual couples. Just because a conservative man has a different view on gay marriage does not give that man the right to stop me from getting married. This country is big enough for everyone and every view, if people are willing to accept those views that are not their own. We cannot have a successful country if we dictate to others what they should do based on our personal individual beliefs.
It takes a liberal approach for conservatism to work. Less government could be successful, if that government is working for all people. We cannot have a Capitalist society without socialist integrity. If we are the United States of America, if we truly are united, then we have to listen to those people who might not have the voice to be heard. We cannot just look at our individual needs and demand representation without looking at our neighbors needs and making sure they are getting the same representation. This country is not my country, but it is our country. It is a socialist country at its core, in our foundation; the Declaration of Independence shows this:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
This is our country, so where do we go from here? How do we undo all the hatred and divisive talk within this Nation? How do we stop hurting each other and pointing fingers? I think the only way is to fall to our knees or rise up together and demand from the government, demand from those who have a voice to speak, not for their own benefit (Rush Limbaugh), but for the benefit of this country. For the benefit for all the citizens that call the United States home –we must come together. We need to find a common ground, where equality is sought for all, because we either rise together or fall together. This country cannot stand if all people do not rise to their feet, and some of us need help getting there: again, it is not about me but it is about us.
All I ask is for respect. I love this country just as much as you. We can disagree on personal belief, or even policy –but we cannot fall apart at the seams while the country is hurting. We cannot let people like Rush Limbaugh continue with the same hateful talk that got us here in the first place. All I hear is talk. I do not hear solutions. To attack the President one month into office because he has a plan Limbaugh disagrees with; and to hope Obama’s plan fails is not the talk of someone who sees this country as our country, but his country. I do not live in the Unites States of Rush Limbaugh, but I live in a country that gives even a man like Rush a voice. Let him speak, but let us speak louder. Together lets lift this country up and let’s show people like Rush that this country thrives because we truly believe all people are created equal with unalienable rights. One of those rights is the right to love this country’s government because collectively it is our government; it is our country –not just his. And we choose to come together to make our government work for us, not just those like him.
Our country is not going to collapse because Obama is president, but it will fail if we don’t come together in times of distress. When 9-11 happened, we came together as a nation because we all love this country. Let’s not let people like Rush who make a living off of his ratings, by shock and dividing the right from the left, destroy this country. Let us truly become the United States of America through understanding and real compassion for each of us as individuals. Let’s succeed together.