The RNC has apparently reached an internal compromise on how much to call us socialists. Instead of “rebranding” us, they are going to claim we wish to pursue “socialist ideals.” The original resolution was sponsored by Washington state RNC member Jeff Kent.
The GOP’s willful ignorance and inability to distinguish between regulated capitalism and socialism must really make them proud. Let’s see if we can give a simple example in hopes they can finally understand the difference, with the caveat that there are all sorts of variations and degrees of capitalism and socialism. As many others have pointed out, most systems contain elements of each. But you have to write slowly for conservatives.
Let’s say you buy a clock. You have a reasonable expectation that the clock will work, but you generally get what you pay for. Caveat emptor and all that.
The free market has provided you with nearly limitless options for time pieces, so you generally don’t want the government making clocks or telling companies how many clocks to make each year. As long as the clock doesn’t catch on fire when you plug it in, and is otherwise safe, society has little justification to intensely regulate the production of ordinary consumer items.
Now let’s say you also wish to purchase electricity to run your new clock. You may live in an area with a public utility, or maybe it’s a private one, but you have a reasonable expectation of reasonably priced, reliable power.
Now let’s say the free market for electricity is being distorted by a corporation engaging in monopolistic and criminal practices. Let’s call the electric utility company “Enron.” Now imagine their traders are deliberately causing brownouts and blackouts in your area, so when the power is off your new clock doesn’t work. You don’t really have to imagine this, because it really happened under Republican rule, and the GOP response was basically to applaud it.
Is it “socialism” to regulate key industries to prevent monopolistic practices, and all industries for basic consumer safety? And please, when conservatives get all up in arms about the government taking over failed companies, they act like it was some long-term deal instead of what it actually is, a desperate attempt to clean up the gigantic economic mess created during Republican rule.
Now suppose you wanted to buy a mortgage, or some stock mutual funds for retirement…I think you get the point, if you’ve made it this far.
Democrats don’t want socialism, we want to prevent the criminal greed-heads from ripping everyone off and causing economic meltdowns. Because for people who claim to be such hard-headed realists about human nature, conservatives often seem to overlook the fact that some percentage of people will always be criminal greed-heads who would sell their own mothers to make a lousy buck. If you want a perfect free market, contemporary examples include Somalia and the trade in illegal opiates, both of which are completely unregulated in any meaningful sense.
This makes Democrats the party of law and order, and no matter how many silly little resolutions the RNC passes, everyone knows they’re the party of the criminal greed-heads who broke the economy.
It’s gonna be pretty hard to re-brand that. Neener neener neener.