If you have grown up Boomer, you have heard or read the following phrase countless times since your earliest, literate days:
“Socialism leads to Communism”
If you are an American—regardless of your generation—and have your TV tuned to Fox News every waking minute of the day, you have heard “Socialism leads to Communism” so often that it has become an integral part of the soundtrack of your politically conservative life.
Unfortunately for consumers of conservative media, World History has shown that this assertion—that Socialism leads to Communism—is false.
According to reality and not economic theory, revolution against Soul-less Capitalism—not evolution from Socialism—leads not to Communism but to a historically brief period of anarchy and/or civil war before a government usually settles into a form of authoritarianism, which is “a political system characterized by the rejection of political plurality, the use of strong central power to preserve the political status quo, and reductions in the rule of law, separation of powers, and democratic voting” [Wikipedia]. Sound familiar? It should because the words and actions of MAGA-affiliated, GOP leaders suggest that the creation of a single party, authoritarian country is their shadow platform.
Authoritarianism comes in many versions of autocracies, including totalitarian single-party systems, which often identify with a named ideology that merely provides a false cover for the true ideology. For example, Communism is the theoretical ideology that was used by Stalin, Kim Jong Un, and Mao Zedong et al as the false cover for what appears to be autocrats’/kleptocrats’ typical, shared, and true ideology:
The acquisition of power, and therefore wealth, by an egomaniacal and narcissistic leader who is driven by pathological greed.
During the past election cycle, conservative politicians have trumpeted “Socialism leads to Communism” in an attempt to frighten millions of Americans into whose ears Mother Culture has been whispering for a century, “Communism is an ideology that will take away your freedoms and rights,” but it is not the theoretical ideology of Communism that will do this. What will take away our freedoms and rights are authoritarian/totalitarian governments regardless of their professed ideologies.
American Democracy was born as a system designed to protect the freedoms and rights of white citizens, but it has been modified over the past two centuries into a system that is designed to protect all Americans from the pathological greed of autocratic-leaning, egomaniacal narcissists (some of whom believe they were chosen by God). American Democracy’s umbrella of freedom has proven to be a welcoming incubator for Capitalism by providing the freedom to accumulate wealth through individual initiative; however …
The freedom of a tiny percentage of citizens in a Democracy to accumulate a disproportionate amount of a nation’s wealth by using the power of personal advantage granted by great wealth, often abetted by political sycophants, is Soul-less Capitalism.
Such is the case in America today where 1 percent of its citizens hold a record 32 percent of the nation’s wealth and where the wealth gap between the richest and poorest Americans has, historically, never been wider.
Democratic Socialism has been America’s reaction to Soul-less Capitalism, the greatest manifestation and abomination of which (since the Depression of 1920-21) was The Great Depression, which began twelve years after the Russian October Revolution, which led to the Russian Civil War and to Stalin’s totalitarian—not Communist—regime.
In 1935, 12 years after one of the most powerful countries in the world (Russia) had finalized the change from an authoritarian monarchy to a totalitarian dictatorship, and in the midst of one the worst economic downturns in American History, FDR signed the Social Security Act, and with a sweep of his pen, he made the United States a Democratic Socialist country. Yep, America has been a Socialist country for almost 90 years, but amazingly, there isn’t a Communist regime anywhere in sight; however, as I’ve alluded to, right-wing authoritarianism is on the near horizon.
Democratic Socialism is not an ideology that is fast-tracked to autocracy; rather, it is a system that leans more toward Equality than it does toward Liberty, the two diametrically opposed concepts upon which American Democracy is Based. And for almost 40 years, Democratic Socialism did serve to level the playing field between America’s Haves and Have-nots; unfortunately, the Soul-less Capitalism that contributed to the Great Depression began roaring back on September 13, 1970, when the New York Times published an op-ed entitled The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits by Milton Friedman.
Made acceptable to many because of Friedman’s massive reputation as an economist, in the years following publication of his op-ed MBA programs changed their programs to focus on proselytizing Soul-less Capitalism, and capitalists’ behaviors were so committed to Friedman’s welcomed op-ed that their collective behaviors inspired one of Hollywood’s greatest characters: Gordon Gekko. And as I write this, a tiny percentage of Americans, ultra billionaire oligarchs, are established on one side of a Wealth Gap that rivals that of the Gilded Age.
In a “free” society such as ours, in the absence of government controls on business and government assistance for the disadvantaged, it is not long before our lives begin to be submerged by Soul-less Capitalism. It has happened before, and it will happen again, but there is no guarantee that the average American will not be drowned by the tsunami being created by American oligarchs whose pathological, narcissistic greed is equal to, if not more than, anything America has seen before.*
To my way of thinking, it is imperative that Americans who want to continue to experience the freedoms guaranteed (at present) by the Constitution must work even harder to ensure, by our votes and support of like minded leaders who believe in the principals of American Democracy and who believe that a viable two-party system committed to finding a balance between Equality and Liberty is essential.
The operative warning is not …
Socialism leads to Communism
Rather, the operative warning is …
Soul-less Capitalism leads to Autocracy
* Making the situation even more dire are the years-long and continuing efforts of many American oligarchs, their political sycophants, and international oligarchs aligned with organized crime who are actively resisting implementation of regulations designed to slow climate change. (See Dr. Sara Kendzior’s Hiding in Plain Sight and They Knew)
One of the reasons why the average American may be clueless about Socialism is because of the number of applications and modifications of the basic concepts associated with the term. Click on the following link to begin an exploration as to what the hell is Socialism.
The featured images are being used for educational purposes only, as are all images used in all posts in Growing Up Boomer.