Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hertzberg On Socialism

The New Yorker has an interesting analysis of the unreasonable, typically American furor over the socialism in this campaign.

I will quote some notable passages from Hertzberg's article.

First, he points out the absurd formulation of McCain's argument against his "socialist opponent":
"At least in Europe, the socialist leaders who so admire my opponent are upfront about their objectives," McCain said the other day—thereby suggesting that the dystopia he abhors is not some North Korean-style totalitarian ant heap but, rather, the gentle social democracies across the Atlantic, where, in return for higher taxes and without any diminution of civil liberty, people buy themselves excellent public education, anxiety-free health care, and decent public transportation.

Indeed, as Hertzeberg points out, McCain's suicidal argument is that socialism leads to horror such as efficient public transportation and health care for all.

Then, with characteristic wit, Hertzberg sums up the hypocrisy of the Republican argument against Obama's alleges socialism in one sentence:
The Republican argument of the moment seems to be that the difference between capitalism and socialism corresponds to the difference between a top marginal income-tax rate of 35 per cent and a top marginal income-tax rate of 39.6 per cent.

That, in fact, is the moronic depth to which Republican arguments are reduced in the final days of the McCain/Palin campaign: a difference in the top marginal rate of 4.6%. The frightening thing is, it may sway some dullards who would otherwise be inclined to vote for Obama (no, I am not talking about "Joe Of All Trades", he's beyond dullard.)

The real absurdity of the whole non-controversy is that the self-inflicted wound machine, Gov. Palin, said this--in her characteristic "I don't know what I am talking about" folksy style--about her own state of Alaska:
we're set up, unlike other states in the union, where it's collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs.

Hertzberg's pithy response suffices:
Perhaps there is some meaningful distinction between spreading the wealth and sharing it ("collectively," no less), but finding it would require the analytic skills of Karl the Marxist.

Case closed.

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