Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ask A Veteran What REAL Fascists Are Like

My grandfather fought real fascists.

Well, okay, he was a cook in the navy.


There was a letter in the paper extolling capitalism as opposed to the "socialism" I keep hearing is on the march. (That's news to the real socialists, by the way. Here is an excellent op-ed by an actual socialist explaining why ObamaNomics ain't socialism. He also thanks the right wing for promoting the Socialist Party - nice touch.)

The letter writer was basically confused, and wrote as if the United States has a pure free-market system that is under attack by neo-socialists. Fact is, we have a system that is on a spectrum of free-marketism, with some social controls and other government intervention. We have had progressive taxation, consumer protection laws, laws guaranteeing labor a right to organize, tax credits for investors and business owners, large federal procurements to buoy contractors, and other interventions such as the GIGA-NORMOUS CASH BAILOUT of financial institutions such as AIG! Government is actively involved in our economic system and has been for at least a century.

What killed me about the letter, though, was that the guy suggested that the very idea of an economic system mingling free-market apparati with socialist controls was the equivalent of Mussolini's "Third Way," and he went on to invoke Hitler. (Godwin alert.)

Such rhetoric! Americans calling each other "communist," "socialist," "fascist," as if these terms were interchangeable and did not mean very specific things. Not only the people who write letters to newspapers, but elected officials also behave this way.

What I wondered after reading this letter is what veterans of World War II or Viet Nam think of such loose invective. I mean men who actually fought fascists on a battlefield, who actually risked their lives on military missions against communists. Do any of them feel as though their service has been trivialized, when some smarmy politician in an expensive suit equates his own flabby argument against a moderate Democrat with a struggle against socialism?

I really wonder about that. My grampa, he was a cook in the navy, and pretty cool about politics in his later life. He would probably laugh it off. But I wonder how other veterans feel about it...

1 comment:

Kelly said...

I'm married to a Vietnam vet. Perhaps I should ask him...