Words, words, words…
Can’t people get their terminology straight? This is driving me nuts. Seems whenever someone in the government does something goofy, they’re immediately labelled “Socialist,” “Nazi” or “Hitler.”
I shall address the last item first. Hitler killed 6 million Jewish people. There is NOTHING our government is doing that is even remotely akin to that atrocity. When President G. Walker Bush started wiretapping American citizens in a frenzy of paranoia, that did remind one a bit of Hitler’s maniacal obsession with control, but President Bush’s actions were nowhere near the killing of 6 million citizens. Calling President Bush or President Barack Obama “Hitler,” or painting mustaches on posters, is just plain absurd, and in the long run minimizes and marginalizes the pain and atrocity the Jewish people suffered. Please stop.
Socialism: This is not a dirty word. Many countries use aspects of a socialistic government to good effect, especially socialized medicine. Basically, socialism is the theory that big businesses should be owned and operated either by the workers or by the government rather than by a small elite group of people who control a nation’s capital (money or resources). Would a completely socialistic society work? Probably not (the Soviet Union was communist, not socialist — there ARE differences), but some aspects of a socialistic worldview can be advantageous in certain circumstances. Welfare, food stamps, Title 19, VA hospitals, Social Security, the GI Bill — these are all aspects of our government that have socialistic roots, and these are all (despite their flaws) GOOD programs that have helped millions of U.S. citizens through rough times.
Is the United States becoming a socialistic society? Not even close. Is President Obama advocating socialism? Not even close. Are we considering socialized health care? No, not even close. In order to have socialized medicine, the government would need to control all aspects of health care. In other words, the government would own all the hospitals, would pay all the doctors, would handle all the billing. This is NOT going to happen — what the current government is proposing is health care reform, not socialized medicine. The government wants to limit some of the control insurance companies have over our health care, and offer a cheap alternative to those who need it. This is capitalism (economic competition) at it’s finest, NOT socialism.
I saw an e-mail this morning that complained of “Comrade” Obama raising the deductible of military veterans’ insurance from $100 to $500. I don’t agree with that move, and while I’ve not researched the proposal, I have a feeling someone got their facts wrong. But in any case, I thought it was funny that the person who wrote the e-mail complained bitterly of “Comrade Obama and his socialistic buddies” taking away their freedom to enjoy cheap, government-provided (socialistic) insurance. Again, I’m not advocating we raise the rates on veterans’ insurance — I’m just saying that the author of that particular e-mail was obviously trying to use the word “socialism” as a trigger, not aware of it’s true meaning, or that the program he was defending from the evil socialists was actually socialist itself.
My grandfather fought against the Nazis… It’s sad that in the two generations since World War II we’ve forgotten what “Nazism” truly is. I hear people from the political right call liberals “Nazis.” That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me… Nazism, while containing philosophies from both liberal and conservative ideologies, was undeniably a right-wing, conservative political movement (using modern terminology).
Nazism was very statist and authoritarian. A Nazi believed in ultrapatriotism and unquestioning and unwavering support of their leader. The Nazi leadership believed that they were above the law and could act independently of consequences. Nazis were anti-Semitic and were responsible for killing 6 million Jews, as well as millions of Gypsies, homosexuals, and mentally ill.
There is NOTHING the current or past administrations have done that has any likeness to the evils of the Nazi regime. Not even close. It bothers me that some people toss the “Nazi” term at the Obama administration, which consistently pushes for open democracy and an open government. It made a bit more sense to throw that word at the Bush/Cheney administration — they were very anti-gay, authoritarian, and enjoyed controlling all aspects of government (you could be jailed for wearing an anti-Bush T-shirt to a Bush rally, while Obama allows people their second amendment right to bring weapons to rallies if they so choose) but the Bush/Cheney administration was still nowhere near the evilness of Nazism.
So please, if you’re wanting to call a government official names, don’t go with “Nazi” or “Hitler.” It just makes you sound like you don’t know what you’re talking about, and it belittles those who truly suffered under the Nazi regime, and those who fought to remove it. If you use socialism in an argument, please be aware that it’s not necessarily a bad thing — you probably have enjoyed socialistic programs yourself. (Am I a socialist? No. But neither do I fear limited socialistic applications to some of our current problems.)
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Well done Chris, great post.
Very well said. It hurts me whenever I hear the word “Nazi” applied to any group or people besides Hitler and his regime. My grandfathers, too, fought the Nazis, my maternal grandfather – God bless him, is still kicking around and has always suffered a limp from his plane being shot down somewhere over Europe (to this day he cannot talk about it.)
If people want to discuss these issues, let’s discuss, but let’s put aside terms that are obviously being used to provoke a certain reaction. It’s childish and stupid and worst of all it’s offensive to the people who know what real Nazi’s were.
Chris – Amen to the whole post. I agree with you on all of this. I haven’t tried, but I couldn’t have said it any better. Excellently written -thanks man.
Regarding the Bush administration being nowhere near as bad as the Nazis, I think that’s debatable.
Bush and Co. were just more insidious. The scope of their influence hasn’t been fully realized yet either, the shit they’ve pulled will likely affect nations for centuries, not just decades like the Nazis.