Monday, February 27, 2006

Socialism Is Not Dead

Reposted as history. Originally posted in February of 2005.

This may be a first, my commenting on an article in the New York Times! The Times does not usually contribute meaningfully to the public dialog. I am actually commenting on two articles about disparate subjects that have a common philosophical thread today. The first is the article in the Times.

Winston Churchill, Neocon?
By Jacob Heilbrunn - Published: February 27, 2005 - The New York Times

Just as Churchill began the fight against Bolshevism, his admirers contend, so Reagan prosecuted the war to its finish with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Like Churchill, Reagan, the argument goes, was dismissed as a crackpot by the regnant liberal establishment, but proved a prophet.
Heilbrunn uses an interview with Douglas Feith (member of the Defense Department under Rumsfeld, and one of the foremost advocates of the neocon philosophy) to tie together the liberals disdain for Churchill and their disdain for neocons. Churchill and the neocons are linked ultimately by a common opposition to fascism, communism and socialism.

What Heilbrunn (an advocate of the socialist position) only alludes to in the end of the article is his belief that the neocons are misguided and that their allegiance to Churchill falls apart on other issues. The irony is the difference between the left and the right in today's world. As Reagan repeatedly argued, if you agree with someone 80%, why is that person not your friend? The politically correct ideology of the left requires complete agreement. Heilbrunn esentially measures the dissimilarities of Churchill and the neocons and decides they don't agree enough. Doesn't it seem ironic he would find insufficient similarities since he is opposed to both?

The second article on essentially the same subject is about American public-nonprofit unions. The two articles are related because the major opposition to the neocons comes from these unions as advocates of the socialist position.

The Real Engine of Blue America
Steven Malanga - Winter 2005 (essentially undated) - City Journal (Manhattan Institute)
There’s really no such thing as a Blue state—only Blue metropolitan regions. Indeed, the electoral maps of some states that went for John Kerry in 2004 consist mostly of Red suburban and rural counties surrounding deep Blue cities. What makes these cities so Blue is a multifaceted liberal coalition that ranges from old-style industrial unionists and culturally liberal intellectuals, journalists, and entertainers to tort lawyers, feminists, and even politically correct financiers.

Malanga makes a powerful case for his premise that public-nonprofit unions are the "engine" of the left's opposition to restrictions on socialism in America. In the process he gives new urgency to the need to resist their growing encroachment on local political power, and subsequent imposition of socialism, outside of their current urban base.

What I do not support is Malanga's apparent attempt to disassociate these unions from the socialist beliefs of others. I cannot agree that raw growth of the public-nonprofit unions is divorced from socialism in any meaningful way.


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