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Dear Political Scientists:

I have been a frequent follower of the cable chat shows, and one word I hear bandied about fairly frequently is "socialism", i.e., that the President is a socialist mole implementing socialist policies and turning the nation into a socialist state. Furthermore, I hear that the government is filled with socialist agents to carry out these socialist plans. If there are any Marx scholars that frequent this sub-forum, can you please confirm/deny the validity of these statements. I ask here because it might be a topic to edgy for the subdued lounge. And you all study politics.



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As far as Marx goes- Obama has almost nothing remotely similar, he was just one of many socialist theorists.

With that being said, a fundamental tenet of socialist theory is the priority of the collective. You could say that socialist theory places the community over the individual. In its purest and most extreme form, that's socialism.

The ideology of those commentators places the individual over the community. This is the bootstraps mentality, the government needs to be small etc

Historically speaking neither of them is very accurate. Even before the Founding there were elements of the collective mixed in with the individual.

Are some of Obama's programs socialistic? Yes.

But so too are the postal service, free public education, social security, and bailouts to banks.

Is Obama plotting a socialist overthrow- no. Those are scare tactics by a beaten and battered Republican party to scare voters. In this country people are allergic to the S word, they equate it with communism which is completely innacurate.

Oh, and US news, particularly cable news is awful. I recommend..... http://news.bbc.co.uk or http://www.npr.org/

Hope this helps

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Anyone even slightly to the left of the far-right, troglodytes of talk radio and FOX news are denigrated as socialists. They say the same thing about Pelosi, Frank, Clinton, etc. It is just nonsensical propaganda. If he's a socialist then Sean Hannity is a Nazi.

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How Europeans laugh when we hear Obama called a 'socialist'! You should meet some of our ones! Socialism, in its traditional form, basically means the collective ownership of the means of production. Obama does not subscribe to this. It is best to distinguish between socialism and social liberalism. For that, wikipedia is your friend. The basic jist is realising that freedom, for an individual, is not just making choices, but having the ability to do so. This depends, rather, on having some money in your pocket to make choices. Roman Abramovich is more 'free' than the immigrant family.

So, it is a individually-based philosophy that distrusts the homogenising idea of a collective, but it realises that markets might be better at making wealth than distributing it and that the perils of ill-health, poor education and poverty attack freedom as surely as government can.

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