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A Libertarian\'s View of Socialism

Nov 9, 2008
Michael Hogan

The professor is a local Libertarian. The man advocates zero government. After that things became complicated as the professor laid out his political thinking on the restaurant table. Quite naturally, his Libertarian ideal is the centerpiece of the table. I immediately agreed a system of no government would be best.

Then our professor began a critique of Socialists. Our man views Socialists as Fascists or latent Fascists. He offered two examples. The professor asserts the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, is a Fascist because President Chavez now rules by unilateral decree. As luck would have it, later that day I saw the Venezuela ambassador to the United States on James Zogby\'s TV show. The ambassador explained that President Chavez received about 65% of the recent election. He went on the explain that the Venezuelan parliament or congress voted overwhelmingly to give President Chavez the power to rule by decree. The power to rule by decree has always been a part of the Venezuelan constitution. Decrees cannot affect certain areas of the law such as property rights or human rights.

Furthermore, the ambassador noted that the people can hold a referendum any time to change the decree or the president. Those organizing such a referendum would need 5% of voters to sign a petition. In addition, there is the Venezuelan Supreme Court to appeal to about any aspect of the decree or laws devolving from the decree.

Although the professor is concerned about what he perceives as Fascist tendencies in President Chavez, he does admire Chavez\'s bold attempt to redistribute income and wealth in Venezuela.

Then our conversation turned to the Nazis in 1930\'s Germany. Our professor claims that the Nazis were Socialist Fascists. In this, the professor is either misguided or disingenuous. Let\'s see if we can deconstruct the professor\'s assertion. The post WWI period in Germany (1920\'s) was one of extreme poverty and hyperinflation. A novel entitled: "Berlin Alexanderplatz," by Alfred Doblin, describes the time very well. There is no doubt a mass movement of millions of starving unemployed workers did support the Nazi Party in increasing numbers until Hitler came to power without a majority in 1933.

While this is true, it simply means workers led by the middle class will become Fascists. In fact, historians tell us that three middle class professions led the number of folks who joined the Nazi Party - teachers, doctors and policemen. I know of no Socialist Party in Germany to join with the Nazi Party. In fact, a primary target of the Nazi death camps were Socialists - many of whom were Jews.

However, I have not had time to read about Gregor Strasser. The professor assures me that Strasser was a Socialist who joined the Nazi Party. This does not surprise me, as the Nazi propaganda operation was at least as good as Karl Rove\'s sad imitation of Joseph Goebbels. Workers in America were made into neo-Fascists in the Reagan era.

In the end, while I view the Libertarian ideal as a worthy one, government is needed to achieve Egalite\'. As it is, government has been doing what Jean Jacques Rousseau said government does routinely. Rousseau said the rich form governments to steal from the poor. This redistribution of income and wealth from the poor to the rich is accomplished in many ways - primarily through the tax system. Therefore, government will be needed to redistribute income and wealth from the rich to the poor.

The only folks committed to a redistribution of income and wealth from rich to poor are the Socialists. America needs it\'s own Hugo Chavez.

Libertarians might be able to redistribute income and wealth without government, if Americans were inherently decent people. However, there is not the sense of Solidarity among Americans needed to achieve basic fairness or what the French call Egalite\'. In fact, it has been my experience Americans enjoy attacking the poor. The post Katrina postings on were full of hatred for the poor among us.

There is no doubt in my mind that poor and working class Americans sorely need a super successful Socialist Party. Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders can be our first Socialist President.
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