Is it then any wonder that the Obama administration, which has been involved in (or accused of being involved in) bailouts, takeovers of the auto industry, takeovers of the banks, advocacy for laws restricting carbon emissions and the forced redistribution of wealth (cap and trade), scrutinizing CEO pay and employee bonuses (Ken Feinberg), statements praising Mao, Chavez, and Communism (Anita Dunn, Mark Lloyd, Van Jones), massive new spending (stimulus and jobs acts), and mandating that citizens purchase insurance, has been accused of being socialistic? If that isn’t interference in the free market (or the threat of it), nothing is.
This activity has now brought upon us wave after wave of angry, anti-socialist, “tea-partiers.” Whether these people are misinformed or underinformed is not the point of this blog. My goal here is to understand people. After what I have described here, it should be clear why it is they accuse Obama of being a socialist.
Now there are some who correctly point out that Obama has not moved us into a fully state-run economy, nor has he sided with the American Socialist Party on every issue. These same people also point out that not all government activity is bad. Having firefighters and police are not only good things to have, but good things to pay for through governments, whether federal, state, or municipal. These people call this form of activity “collectivism” and distinguish it from socialism. To them, railing against all forms of socialism is silly.
I have to admit, collectivism was a new term to me when I first heard it about a year ago, but there really are people who use it. These people are not totalitarians, authoritarians, or even just nanny-staters (necessarily). Some of them part with Obama over some of his more controversial policies. It’s just that they don’t see all government activity as bad, and when they hear calls to end all socialism coming from the same people that (in different context) define socialism as any government activity that may, directly or indirectly, interfere in the free market, they understandably become concerned.
It is these two groups, the anti-socialists and the collectivists, that now fail to understand each other. I hope this entry helps.