Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Discussion on Labels

So, checking out Gadfly's site and I came across some interesting ideas from Conservative Wahoo about coining "neo-socialism" as a term to describe the Obama administration's leanings.

I think the main problem I have with the phrase is that it's suggesting that A) Obama has really thought out his positions in a meaningful way, and B) this administrations ideas ARE new which is something of a fallacy.

Addressing point A, the impression that I've gotten from Obama, from the very beginning was that he was a political opportunist, above all else. This is perhaps why Edward Kennedy (black spot on the Kennedy name as he is/was) endorsed him, maybe sensing a kinship in the lack of a real philosophical foundation upon which to base his politics. The kind of people he associates/d himself with are not just left-leaning radicals, they are also corrupt in every sense of the word (Blago, Rezko, even the scams that went on where Michelle O worked. I'm not saying he's not pursuing socialist-style philosophies, but rather, it's not clear that he's philosophically motivated in the first place. It is therefore a case of jumping the gun to coin a term to define the philosophy backing his policies.

To address point B, I'll go back to the fallacy we were indoctrinated into believing in high school economics and US history, as well as what I've seen in college economics classes. That is, that Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes presented ideas which were new and untried. If we go back to the "age of enlightenment" in 1700s France we find the same basic ideas from the likes of Rousseau and before that, back to the Greek philosophers you have some branches of stoicism relating much the same ideas. As far as policies based on political philosophies, a lot of the considerations about a federally controlled national bank issuing money and purposefully inflating it have been tried throughout history; by the Khans during their control of China; by the French (again under absolutism in the 1700s) and even a bit of the same under the era of Mercantilism by the British and the Dutch. I could go on but I think you get my drift: Obama's ideas, much the same as Marx's, are not in any sense new. They've been tried by many people in many places in many eras, and have never worked. Period. Constantly trying to reinvent the wheel is not going to lead to major progress (another word relating back to another group of people who tried and failed at centrally planned economies).

To add even more confusion to the mix, the term "liberal" which is now used to generally reference a person with the same ideas as all the bozos I just mentioned, actually used to refer to us; that is, conservatism today is/was also referred to as liberalism at least up until the 1930s or so. In fact, the "movement" of "neoliberalism" is in fact a move towards freeing markets from overactive government regulators. I just wish there was some easy way to wipe all these ideas and policies that have essentially been proven wrong, time and time again, to be thrown off the political map; they don't belong.

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