Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tea Baggers Calling Out "Collectivists"- Do They Even Know What the Word Means?

Yet another bunch of bull pockey parroted by the "constitution loving" Tea Party adherents is that those who disagree with them (they call them "anti-Constitutionalists" but are really anti-Tea Baggers) are "collectivists". Hence, again, they disclose their lack of education by confusing definitions - in this case of "collectivism" with socialism.

Collectivism, according to the definition given in the Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary, means "supporting or promoting the takeover of all means of production by the state". But no liberal I know supports any such thing, nor do the democratic socialist nations such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Barbados.  In fact, what these tea bagger zealots are really attacking is socialism - which means "the redistribution of resources from the well off to those who have less."  In our country this is usually done via taxation (for example, the FICA tax) which allocates money from current earners to beneficiaries in the Social Security system. While it is a form of redistribution, the most well off largely escape because the payroll tax threshold is at $118k - so the richest have to cough up only a tiny fraction of their total earnings each year. But to the hard core Randian Libertarian, or Fiscal conservative it still qualifies as "socialism", because the force of coercion (stiff prison sentence) is invoked if you fail to pay the taxes to support it.

Now, again, the tea bagger - given his lack of perception and insight - is likely to grab on to this and then carelessly declare all progressives, liberals, as "socialists".  However, if he receives ANY kind of government benefit - even VA disability - then HE is a socialist too, or at least supporter of socialism! As any true right winger, Tea Party advocate or Libertarian will attest- any unearned gov't benefit (which is to say not accrued via current paid employment) means you are reaping the rewards of others' earnings via the tax and benefits systems). Thus, all Social Security is included under this banner as well as Medicare, Tri-Care, Medicaid, Social Security disability and all VA benefits. (To the Libertarian and arch -conservative the response: "I earned those benefits serving in the Army, Air Force etc." doesn't count  - because you're still benefiting now from a gov't redistribution program based on tax coercion).

I actually winced four years ago, as I tuned into Rush Limbaugh's radio talk show just for the hell of it (I always like to keep up with the whack nut drivel from time to time).  At the time a nervous guy from Indiana had phoned in and asked El Rushbo if he could still be conservative if he took his Social Security disability as he "needed it". Rush lit into him like a Komodo dragon after a wayward rat,

"If you accept any government benefit" Rush blustered, "then NO, you are not a real conservative nor do you respect the Constitution. That applies to Social Security, Social Security disability and even VA benefits. Anything received which others have to currently pay for with current wages is SOCIALISM!"

Ouch! But it brings home the point.  That was also reinforced in a recent scurrilous attack (latest issue of Intertel INTEGRA) by Thomas Nelson on all forms of altruism (including "political"), where he actually invoked the ultra-Libertarian Ayn Rand. Recall Rand once compared receiving Medicare to bank robbing. Rand's actual words were (from her 'Virtue of Selfishness', pp. 82-83):

'Isn't it desirable the aged should have medical care in times of illness?' "Considered out of context, the answer would be 'yes' it is desirable. Who would have reason to say no? But the fog hides such facts as the enslavement and therefore the destruction of medical science, the regimentation and disintegration of all medical practice and the sacrifice of professional integrity...

"There would be no controversy about some young hoodlum who declared: 'Isn't it desirable to have a yacht, a penthouse, and to drink champagne?' And stubbornly refused to consider that he robbed a bank and killed two guards to achieve that desirable goal."

"There is no moral difference between these two examples: the number of the beneficiaries does not change the nature of the action, it merely increases the number of victims. In fact, the private hoodlum has a slight edge of moral superiority: he has no power to devastate an entire nation and his victims are not legally disarmed."

Rand isn't any easier on the military! On page 116 she asserts:

"Since the imposition of taxes does represent an initiation of force...in a fully free society, taxation, or payment for government services, would be voluntary. Since the proper services of government - the police, the army, the law courts - are demonstrably needed by individual citizens, and affect the individual's interests directly, they should be willing to pay for such services as they pay for insurance."

Thus, she dismissed the importance of the military as being either worthy of citizen taxation or support, but instead ought to be "done by insurance contract' (ibid.) That is, the government negotiates a private insurance contract to support its forces - which can then obviously be only limited. We would never get to the stage of 4,400 bases around the world.  Or nearly $4 trillion blown on useless, wasteful excursions. Rand's take on military benefits is the same and follows logically from her take on military insurance contracts. In other words, if military benefits or disability payments are advocated they also need to be done via insurance contract. You pay for the insurance at the outset, and if you suffer X, or Y injuries - say from Agent Orange or PTSD - you are compensated according to the payment provisions in the contract and no more. In effect, a private business or company is taking care of your needs, which you originally committed to via contract.

You aren't depending on the government's taxation of others to provide the benefits, never mind all the flag waving about "giving back for their service".  To Rand, that's basically a non sequitur. If a nation or a citizen is insecure (about mishaps or external threats) then it is obvious that insurance is the answer,  not government use of force by taxes to amass its armies or benefits.

Again, Rand is a self-proclaimed Über-defender of the "Constitution and Freedom" just like many self-proclaimed "constitutionalists".

This take is supported by Nelson in his Intertel Integra (July, p. 18) piece, wherein he states:

"Tax money is used for whatever the politicians decide to label as altruistic at the moment, This will be perverted into schemes to make an ever-increasing stratum dependent on government benefits for their daily needs."

Again, by Nelson's and Rand's take the stalwart defender of liberty and the Constitution takes no largesse from any government source, for ANY reason. If you do, then you are actively benefiting from redistribution of income and to all technical intents are a "socialist" or at least support socialism as defined earlier.

It would seem, again, the "constitutionalists" (aka Tea Baggers) are hoist on their own petards - in this case not being able to see that if they receive any benefits they are no different from progressives or liberals- at least from the POV of the most rigorous "freedom and constitution" lovers!

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