Recently I wrote about how conservatives in these troubled times are returning to their roots and re-reading Ayn Rand. In the interest of fairness, I'd like to also point out that liberals are showing a renewed interest in Karl Marx.
If you don't know, Marx was the evil genius behind communism and he was a real asshole. Despite his reputation as a humanitarian, the people who actually tried communism would tell you there wasn't much improvement between having the state own everything and the old system where the king owned everything.
Like Rand, Marx had no practical experience in any of the subjects he wrote about. He idolized Darwin but decided to forgo Darwin's extensive fieldwork and based his economic and political theories entirely on stuff he read in books.
It's not like people never gave Marxism a chance. Russia and China both tried Marxism, but the only way they could keep order was by killing tens of millions of people. Even hippies were barely able to eek out a medieval subsistence using Marxism, only made bearable by copious amounts of cannabis and lots of sex with hairy women. Marx called religion "the opiate of the people", never realizing how much actual narcotics his own system required.
Professional English asshole, Christopher Hitchens recently waxed nostalgic about Marx in his Atlantic Monthly article: The Revenge of Karl Marx. I could write a whole article on how Hitchens is an arrogant ass and pretty much wrong about everything.
To bring things full circle, I hear a lot of buzz among the republican zombies about how President Obama is trashing the constitution and ushering in an era of communism in America.
First off, Obama isn't trashing the constitution any more than any of his twenty predecessors. Compared to George W Bush, he's John Adams himself. The office of the president is far more powerful than the founding fathers ever intended, but that started some time before Lincoln and growing ever since.
Secondly, Obama isn't introducing communism. Communists take over successful, going companies to expand their power and install their social plans. Obama is taking over decidedly unsuccessful companies in what one could best describe as something of a super-power bankruptcy action for companies "too big to fail".
These companies could easily avoid any government aggression by simply getting their act together and not taking any government bailout money. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Obama's actions with these companies is an effort to calm people's concerns about the bailout process. People want to know this money is well spent so the government is getting involved to make sure these companies do fairly logical things like reducing salaries, which, by some twisted logic, they weren't doing on their own.
Most of these companies probably won't exist in ten years, no matter what the government does. The Obama administration is trying to engineer some sort of soft landing for the rest of the economy as these really big companies implode. Obama may be liberal, but he's no communist.
To be quite honest, incendiary political speech like this really chaps my ass. I realize it's people's preferred way to play the game these days, both on the left and the right, but it's simply not helpful in any way. You have to accurately describe what's going on before you can understand it and deal with it. Otherwise, you might as well just say George Bush is Godzilla and Obama is Gamera and cheer them on from the rubble like a Japanese school kid.