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Healthcare and Communism…

Living in the “Live Free or Die” state, I have a lot of friends who aren’t exactly “liberal”. In fact some of them actually make Sean Hannity look “fair and balanced”. Still, your friends are your friends and you love them regardless of their obvious pathological tendencies.

However, I swear, if another of my friends equates health care reform with “communism” I’m going to puke. Frankly straight on them and aiming for the mouth if I can.

First of all, they’ve got it wrong on two counts right out of the box. “communism” (with a small “c”) ain’t anything like what they’re talking about. The original definition of “communism” is everyone sharing everything – no one owns anything themselves, but as a “collective” they do. Or asĀ says:

a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.

If I own a car, you own a car. If I own a TV, you own a TV. Or more likely as it was envisioned then, if I own a plowshare, you own a plowshare. Everyone can share everything. A nice little idea if the small problem of human nature didn’t intervene, but still at its basis a warm and fuzzy egalitarian ideal. One I may note, “communism” didn’t specify the ultimate form of governance. In fact given all the sharing, one might think sharing power as we know it (ie: democracy) would fit right in.

In any case, last time I checked Obama wasn’t suggesting that healthcare reform mandate your neighbor Bob being able to borrow your car on the weekend.

The second definition of “Communism” with a capital “C”, is the one we all came to know and love during the Cold War – the Soviet Union and aligned states. Yes, this claimed to be “communism” (small “c”) and implemented some reforms that might be “communistic” (again small “c”), but for the most part was a complete bastardization of the original idea. It wasn’t real “communism” but rather something else completely different – a nasty, brutish, “totalitarian state”. The “communism” (if any) just went along for the ride (or was taken for one – perhaps a better analogy).

Now, totalitarianism is hardly limited to the domain of communist/Communist states. Chile for instance was a democratic state with communist (small “c”) leanings until overthrown by the charming dictator “Augusto Pinochet” with the help of our illustrious CIA (not to mention, Kissinger, who should be a war criminal if you ask me). Pinochet’s totalitarian government, on top of trashing the Chilean economy with Chicago School economics (much as it has since laid ruin to ours), made a whole lot of people disappear. Something to this day that has not been entirely reconciled, along with our role in it.

So getting back to the point, healthcare reform is also not “Communism” with a capital “C” either given that as far as I know there isn’t any fine print to the legislation suggesting that Gulags be opened (outside of course of Bagram Air Force Base) nor that all children be sent to reeducation camps and democracy be abolished.

No, if anything what we’re talking here is “socialism”, and socialism (even though it is one of the words in “USSR”) is a far different thing, one that is not at all an anathema to democracy, though yes it might bring a resurgence of ABBA.

Now if you want to argue socialism versus capitalism, that’s an argument we can have. Similar to real “communism” it doesn’t specify the form of government and thus is not an anathema to democracy (if you don’t believe me, ask a few Scandinavians). Nor does it mean everything has to be socialized, or even all that much has to be socialized. Capitalism and socialism can exist together, as can be plainly seen by all the socialism going to Goldman Sachs, AIG, Citigroup, etc.

So, next time you’re thinking of bringing up communism in retort to one of my liberal beliefs, at least know your facts. Otherwise I will be happy to see you sent to Bagram Air Force Base for a little “reeducation”.

PS: If you really want to worry about Communism (capital C), then why don’t you go after one of our preferential trading partners, China? Oh wait, they opened up to our multi-nationals so now they’re our best friends!

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