Statism ≠ Socialism

More often than I can even remember, I have heard Barack Obama and his policies referred to as socialist.  This demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of what we are up against in terms of attempting to reform our current government.  We do not live in a socialist country — we live in a statist one.  Obama is not pushing for equality across the board, he is pushing for centralization of power in the hands of the state, via large proxi corporations to maintain the guise of “free market capitalism.”  While this has some similarity with socialist ideals, they are not the same thing (not to mention that referring to Obama as a “socialist” is an ad hominem attack, and would be the equivalent of referring to a libertarian as an “anarchist” without putting forth an argument.)


Socialism – a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

Statism – the principle or policy of concentrating extensive economic, political, and related controls in the state at the cost of individual liberty.

Which one sounds more like our Barack Obama to you?  Kevin Carson takes up this idea in his most recent column.  He writes:

If Goldman-Sachs and the auto industry are the new hotbeds of socialism, it’s been a remarkably successful ideology.  It’s a success comparable to converting the largest cotton planters in South Carolina to abolitionism ca. 1850—while they continued to work their plantations with slave labor.

…Government interventionism does not equate to “socialism,” any more than being in favor of free markets implies a “pro-business” stance.  Business interests are some of the biggest supporters of state intervention in the economy, and some of its biggest beneficiaries.

Read more here.

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