Oh, The Irony — It Will Be Corrupt Conservatives Who Turn America Into A “Socialist Paradise”

The only thing that scares a conservative more than “socialism” (their idea of it anyway) is diversity. Oh, they’ll tolerate diversity in the business they own. At the end of the day, they’ll happily pay minimum wage to whomever. But will they tolerate diversity in their country club — or worse, their neighborhood?

Surely, you jest!

That Black family may be able to afford to live in the rich, white conservative’s gated community, but they were never supposed to be able to afford it. And that’s the point. Conservatism’s real mission is to keep everyone in their “proper” place in the pecking order — as it was in the 50’s — the 1850’s.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with capitalism — private ownership of the means of production — for profit. In theory, capitalism is color blind. The money doesn’t care who’s profiting from it. It turns toxic however when it becomes crony capitalism that excludes most everyone else from access to that money and the means of production. Crony capitalism is greed run amok. It moves capitalism from the “apolitical” pile to the “immoral” pile. Also — crony capitalists are distinctly political because politics are always required if the crony capitalists are going to hold onto the unchecked power that keeps crony capitalism afloat.

Slavery was the epitome of crony capitalism. It was immoral and highly political. Connect all the dots of conservatism and a picture of crony capitalism emerges. One hand needs to wash the other.

Donald Trump is the epitome of the crony capitalist. He epitomizes its deep down corruption. That’s conservatism’s real problem. We’ve now seen first hand what crony capitalism aspires to. It’s very, very good for a percentage of the 1%. It frankly sucks for pretty much everyone else.

The deep hole we’re in was dug by crony capitalists practicing crony capitalism. We can keep digging — that’s what crony capitalists would want us to do (instead of decking them and climbing out of that hole). It’s just a fact (we live inside the data set): no conservative solution to the mess conservatism caused exists. All conservatism can do now is make the hole bigger, deeper, danker.

America, we now realize, does not have a health CARE system, it has a health INSURANCE system — not the same thing. When people walk in our door, the first question we ask isn’t “How can we fix you?”, it’s “How’re you gonna pay for this?” No other industrialized, first world country has profit incentive at the heart of its health care system because health care and profit are mutually exclusive propositions.

A publicly traded company has a fiduciary responsibilities to its shareholders to maximize the returns they’ve made on their investment in said company. They care about profits not patients. Patients, remember, are cash out. The more an insurance company or for profit hospital spends on patient care, the less they’ll make in profits — and the less happy the board of directors and shareholders will be with them.

Any of us needing an expensive procedure to save our lives is going to have to be more worthwhile than the Maserati the insurance company’s chairman of the board has his jaundiced eye on. The coronavirus pandemic has made it crystal clear that we can only be as healthy as the least healthy among us. It only takes one person afraid to reveal their illness to set another pandemic off and running.

People unable to afford health care — unable to take the time off from work to seek the care — are perfectly primed to infect everyone and everyone they meet. And it’s not their fault. They’re being exploited. Universal single payer health CARE is coming to America.

There’s no stopping it now. There’ll be no stopping guaranteed public university education (or comparable technical training). Think of it as something we’d be doing for ourselves. I also believe public service is vital. Every high school graduate should owe a minimum of 18 months of public service. They can join the military, man polling stations, teach kids to read or get food to the hungry and homeless. They can use whatever their skill sets are to make their country a better place for all Americans.

We could even pay for medical school educations with one caveat. We The People will pay to make you a doctor — but you will have to invest some time in public health as the means to pay We The People back. You get, you give. Yeah — it’s socialized. But it’s still democratic.

Andrew Yang’s presidential run didn’t just put universal basic income on the table. The pandemic shutting down the world’s economies made UBI downright respectable. UBI became the only comprehensive way to keep the economy from completely tanking. All the data on UBI says the same thing — it improves peoples’ lives considerably. Rather than leaping at the first job offered because they’re desperate, people receiving UBI tend to wait for the right job to come along — the one that utilizes their skill sets best and makes them happiest. Being happy makes them more productive.

And the money people get via UBI? They don’t hoard it like a bank would. They spend it — on their rent, their utilities, their food and gym membership. They put that money right back into the economy. The taxes paid all down the line help cash flow the UBI all over again. The reason Republicans like Mitch McConnell despise UBI is because it proves them to be liars, pirates and thieves. It works while their policies don’t.

There will be no way out of this crashed economy except by progressive means. When we find ourselves eventually on the upside of this tragedy, progressive policies like universal single payer health care and UBI will have been mainstreamed. Not only will they NOT have brought down Western Civilization, they will have actually benefited more Americans.

I look forward to toasting all my conservative “friends” one day. As awful as many (not all) have been in this period, it will be conservatism as a whole that finally brought America to its senses — by making America a democratic socialist paradise. Let’s be real. Even if we never made it to “paradise”? Whatever progressives do will be a thousand times better and more popular than anything Donald Trump might ever do.

Damn Right There’s A “Rough Beast Slouching Towards Bethlehem To Be Born” — It’s Republicanism & Permanent Minority Rule!

Just like Trump’s election caused people to seek therapy in droves (that’s a fact — it really, really did!), it caused people trying to articulate what this experience is like to pick up William Butler Yeats’ “The Second Coming”. Bits and pieces of the poem are now part of the vernacular —

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

Or —

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

And then there’s the “icon” —

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Yeats was writing — in 1919 (when he published the poem) about Europe after World War I. “Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world” — which was the context for the best lacking all conviction while the worst, full of passionate intensity, won the day. What Yeats doesn’t answer — though he seems to have an inkling — what exactly IS that “rough beast”, its “hour come round at last”, slouching toward its second coming in a metaphorical Bethlehem?

The seeds of World War II were firmly planted in the result of World War I. And World War I was, in most every way, the death knell of Old Europe. Power was shifting from the hands of the continent’s royal families (they’re all related by blood one way or another) to more democratically-run governments that relied more on the people for their right to govern than because they king said they could. Political ideas like communism were morphing from the abstract into the real with violent consequences. Anarchism seemed a viable alternative to the supposed “order” since that “order” had led everyone into the most catastrophic war ever.

Yeats was writing about a world totally in transition from one thing into another. The problem — what will that “another” become?

We’re in transition too — the whole world. The social democratic order we all took for granted is under assault by backward-thinking greed monsters who can’t bear sharing any of the power or any of the money. If asked directly, the majority of Americans have no desire whatsoever to live in a fascist state. Given a choice between that and a “socialist state” where — while they may not get to be quite as rugged an individual (if your rugged individualism screws with other peoples’ right to live their lives to the fullest, your rugged individualism needs to be curtailed — sorry), most Americans would opt for a country where everyone got to vote, everyone got health CARE (not health INSURANCE) so that going broke cos you got sick was an impossibility, and where everyone got educated or trained to the best of their ability — for “free” (meaning our tax dollars pay for it) because the smarter and better trained our work force and innovators are, the better we’ll solve our collective problems and continue to thrive collectively.

Kinda the opposite of what we’re doing now — while insisting our way must be better, the data be damned.

I don’t know that Yeats anticipated fascism’s rise. Extreme right wing nationalism was very much in the mix in Europe. It was in Ireland. And England. He could have been referring to the Bolshevik Revolution that blew through Russia in 1917, two years before Yeats published his poem.

If ever a man fit the bill “rough beast”, it’s Donald Trump. And the thing causing all those desert birds to flap around so indignantly is the thing that will “be born” when the rough beast finally slouches all the way to Bethlehem — authoritarianism. Permanent minority rule.

Make no mistake. We are living through a coup d’etat. The Republican Party — recognizing their eventual demographic irrelevance — made an actual power grab. They didn’t see themselves working with Trump at first. That part looks like an “improv” born of changing circumstances and tons of Russian Kompromat. We still don’t know what’s contained in all the stolen RNC emails — yes, the DNC’s emails weren’t the only ones Russia stole.

We don’t know, for instance, what caused Lindsey Graham to go from the ultimate Never Trumper to a man who could tell us in great detail what Donald Trump’s ejaculate tastes like. That’s metaphorical, of course. I think…

I wonder — if William Butler Yeats could experience a “second coming” — if Yeats could look around at our world in the context of his poem — what would he say? What would he think?

What would he write?

I’m going to go out on a limb here. I bet Yeats would write: “Didn’t any of you idiots read my damned poem?”

Fear Of The Word “Socialist” Is Soooooo 1950

Conservatives want to live in the past. It says so — right in their name: they want to CONSERVE. Considering as you can’t “conserve” the future, all you can conserve is the present — which owes pretty much everything to the past.

Progressives — for comparison’s sake — want to PROGRESS — just like THEIR name says. Considering as one can’t “progress” into the past or the present, Progressives have no interest in conserving the past; they’re too busy dealing with the inevitability of the future and problem-solving accordingly.

Back in the 1950’s, communism and socialism were terrifying concepts. They were the villains to our shining white knight of Democracy (even though, ironically, at home, racism was still making a mockery of those democratic ideals). Unfortunately, we’ve been selling crony capitalism as capitalism — undermining the integrity of our own argument while getting fat off the graft. All those years, while we were painting socialism as the worst evil imaginable, we were turning capitalism into that very same thing.

Ask a real socialist if Bernie Sanders is a “socialist” and you’ll get a sorta-kinda nod. Bernie’s “socialist adjacent” at best. He’s a Democratic Socialist. Similar but very different in key ways — the ways that explain why “socialist” doesn’t carry the same terror it used to. Lots of Western Europe operates under Democratic Socialism. The government acts as not so much “safety net” as “leveler of the playing field”.

That’s really the point of Democratic Socialism — to give as many people as possible the greatest possible chance to thrive and give back to the system that nurtured them. Would our taxes be higher to pay for all the “giveaways” We The People would receive? Yes, of course. But the caveat is — you’d be getting something palpable that you already pay for — out of pocket. If you compare what you’re spending now (between premiums, co-pays, deductibles & other uncovered expenses) to have medical CARE (not medical INSURANCE — those are NOT the same things) vs what you’d spend out of pocket from a system that took a piece of your tax dollars and gave you full medical CARE that didn’t cost you another penny — you might not feel so resentful about paying the taxes. You’re getting something.

And — when you compare apples to apples — you’re getting it for less money and — this is key — without the possibility that getting sick could bankrupt your family for a generation. Nobody in any of those “socialist” European countries ever loses everything because they got cancer. Is socialized, single-payer medicine perfect? NOTHING is perfect. Stop asking for something you don’t ask our current system to be.

As Bernie went into the Nevada Caucuses, the “conventional wisdom” being burped out by the TV punditry insisted that the powerful Culinary Union — having fought long and hard for its very good health care PLAN (that’s insurance, not actual care, mind you — it’s ACCESS to care) — would never vote for Bernie Sanders and his Medicare For All with no private insurance allowed. Well, that’s not what happened. Plenty of those union members voted FOR Bernie — despite the fact that “socialism” would mean they’d lose their very good health PLAN in favor of health CARE that would duplicate what THEY have and give that same level of care to EVERYONE.

So — all those union members — people who think COLLECTIVELY (like Socialists) appreciated that thinking collectively means Medicare For All is better for more people and should therefore be what we do. It’s the “un-greedy” choice. Those union members didn’t fear the word “socialist” or the idea that they were voting for “socialism”. Neither do all the young voters coming into the system.

Young voters have been notoriously unreliable. They’ve never been taught any sort of civic pride. Hell — we don’t even celebrate voting. Instead of making Election Day the National Holiday it should be, we make it “Tuesday” — another working day. Can’t get to the polls? So what.

I don’t care, frankly, why we did that in the past. We don’t live by an agricultural schedule anymore. That’s why daylight savings time is now absurd. But, hey — conservatism, amiright? It clutches onto the past with bizarre dedication.

Young voters are pissed off. They’re cynical and that’s all our fault. They can’t afford to live in the world we made for them. But Democratic Socialism levels the playing field — for them and for the rest of us, too. It levels the playing field for women and people of color. It levels the playing field for Latinos — which is why, as a group, they seem to be taking Bernie’s message — and Democratic Socialism — to their hearts.

Moderate Democrats — and cable news punditry — are determined that a Democratic Socialist could not possibly beat Donald Trump because Trump will hurl the word “socialist” at them. If this was 1950 and Joe McCarthy was on the come, yeah — they’d be absolutely right: be afraid, be VERY afraid. But it’s not.

Western Europe is not communist or socialist per se. By virtually every metric, Northern Europeans (the most Democratically Socialist) are far happier than Americans, living happier, healthier, LONGER lives. They don’t fear bankruptcy because they got sick. They know their children will be educated through college. They know, come retirement, they won’t end up on the street or struggling to get by. Yes, they may not get to be quite as rugged an individual as a libertarian, but then the libertarian isn’t actually a rugged individual to begin with. He’s a little boy with no taste in literature who wants to believe that “he alone can fix it”.

And, why does an authoritarian traitor falsely screaming the word “socialist” have any more heft than a Democratic Socialist calling an authoritarian an authoritarian? If our MSM truly reported a level playing field FROM a level playing field, they’d be shouting from the rooftops that fascists & monarchists & authoritarian bullies have taken over the Republican Party and are trying to force their horrible version of permanent minority rule down the majority’s unwilling throat. By any measure, what the GOP is doing is corrupt and a thousand times more dangerous than anything any Democratic Socialist could imagine.

Democrats — even the Democratic Socialists — do not march in lock step. It’s just not something Democrats do or even think of. If we did, we’d be Republicans. We are still exactly as Will Rogers described us in the early 20th century — “I’m not a member of any organized political party, I’m a Democrat”.

We rely on our reach across the breadth of Americans. Diversity is the key to our success. Hell, diversity is American Exceptionalism. And Bernie Sanders’ growing popularity — across the breadth of “Americans” drives home another point the pundits have forgotten: how advertising works.

The people terrified of the word “socialist” think Trump advertising fear of socialism can’t possibly compete with Democratic Socialists “advertising” what “socialism” really is. It’s a lot like “ACA vs ObamaCare”. If you ask Trumpanistas if they like O-care — of course they don’t. But don’t you dare take their ACA away from them.

Ummmmm… okay. Democratic socialism by any other name is still wanted by a lot more Americans want than conservatives, moderate dems — and our MSM — realize.

Will Bernie Sanders be the Democratic nominee? Who the hell knows. This story still has a kajillion twists and turns to it. But, could that Democratic nominee be a Democratic Socialist? Yeah. They could. And they can win in November — in sufficient numbers and with sufficient enthusiasm — to overcome all the myriad ways the Republicans are already cheating.