Sunday, September 16, 2018

Wolves in Sheep's Clothing: Two New Polls and Name Calling


"Democrats Want Socialism!" Agh!! Run for the hills everyone! Well, perhaps not so much. While, that was the headline of the first story I saw this morning, I think it was more about shock value and provoking people to respond without exploring further. Yes, there has been a recent interest in socialism here in the US, most among Millennials thanks in large part to failed presidential candidate and self-proclaimed social democrat, Bernie Sanders.

Vermont Senator Sanders, an Independent who switched to Democrat, ran an unsuccessful campaign against Hillary Clinton in 2016 for the Democrat Party Nomination. Hillary Clinton and the key players in the DNC, were concerned enough to rig the Primary elections against and then worked to silence Sanders supporters at the Democrat Convention. Ultimately, Hillary won the nomination as planned while DNC Chairwomen Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was fired for her role in rigging the Primary (she was hired the next day by Hillary's campaign to be a "coordinator"), As a aside, the DNC later acknowledged the Primary had been fixed and simply blew it off.

Meanwhile, Hillary was never able to win over many of Bernie's supporters, and eventually lost to Donald Trump. Interestingly, many of those who bought into Bernie's message of democratic socialism never went away. Instead, they've been spreading the message among other Millennials. So is there any danger that the Millennials will eventually turn America into a "Socialist Paradise"? The short answer is "no". While the Millennials are the largest voting demographic, they aren't the sole demographic and their political clout, while powerful, is likely to be temporary. So, let's take a look at the numbers.

According to the CBS Poll, 57% of Democrats and those who lean Democrat have a favorable opinion of democratic socialism. Two years ago, in 2016, it was 58% and in 2010 and 2012 it was 53%, so obviously Trump obviously can't be blamed! However, when we break those numbers down, we find that 51% of those with a positive opinion of democratic socialism were between 18 and 29 years of age (ie: the Millennials). Only 28% of those 65 and older had a favorable opinion (60's era Babyboomers).

On the other side, those who identified a Republicans or leaned Conservative only 16% favored democratic socialism (I question why anyone who was Republican or leaned Conservative would favor socialism but it's not my poll). 71% favored Capitalism (or apparently some form of it). In 2016, it was 68%. Oddly, in 2012 while 72% of those who leaned Right supported Capitalism, 23% didn't. In 2010, the favorable percentage was the same while those who supported democratic socialism was 17%, which makes me wonder if Capitalism may have a "soft underbelly". I wouldn't expect those favoring democratic socialism from the Right to be that high, but so it is.

Before we go any further, I need to point out that "Socialism" is not the same as "democratic socialism", and neither are the same or even kissing cousins to Communism. While differences between socialism and democratic socialism are subtle, they are different. First off, "Socialism" remains a theory. Despite claims by various leaders and governments to be "socialist", the fact is that socialism have never actually been successfully applied. Socialism is rule by the people; committees or unions. Businesses are independent and run by employees. Each employee has an equal voice in how things are run (employees are the managers/owners). The employees elected someone as "management". They also elected a representative to work with other employee elected representatives on larger projects such as the state, which is committee based. However, everything works off of ad hoc committee.

On the other hand, democratic socialism has been tired, and rather successfully too. The governments of Scandinavia have been using it for decades. Historically, these nations are consistently ranked highest in terms of quality of education, happiness and quality of life, lowest in crime, healthcare (which is primarily preventative rather than reactive care). The biggest criticisms comes from Capitalist nations like the US over the high taxes, which are indeed high. However, it is the citizens who approve taxes (or not) based on what they get for their money. In America, representatives make that decision for the citizens. Even countries which haven't adopted democratic socialism, like the UK, France, and Germany, they still have aspects of it in place.

The biggest flaw with democratic socialism is that it requires everyone to participate equally in order for everyone to benefit equally. Recently these nations have been accepting immigrants from third world countries who lack the education , work skills, and most importantly, the work ethic which are essential for democratic socialism to properly work. They tend to simply set back and draw on the system without contributing anything to it. In addition, their moral values have proven to be entirely different, which has resulted in a dramatic increase in crime like rapes, murders, and robbery. They also lack the same respect for the environment that the Scandinavians and other Europeans have. The results is trash everywhere and public defecation and urination. Lastly, they have failed to integrate into the society's where they've settled; in many cases creating "no go zones" for the locals and police.

As for countries like Venezuela, Cuba, and others who've claimed to be "Socialist", they obviously aren't. What they are is the same ole economic central planning Communist states which have failed worldwide under the veneer of a new and more popular name (by the way, while Venezuela's so-called "socialism" has failed, neighboring Brazil's is a rousing success, but you won't hear about that!). They differ only slightly from the Communism of Stalin and Mao. In no way can they be compared to countries like Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, or Norway by any measure. Now that we've gotten that cleared up, let's move on to another poll which I found to be equally worrisome.

According to a poll conducted by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, 58% of Millennials favored Socialism (the democratic kind), Communism, or Fascism over Capitalism. Yikes! In terms of percentage, 44% favored democratic socialism, while 7% each like Communism and Fascism which represent the Left/Right extremes. Democratic socialism is one thing, but Communism or Fascism are something quite different, but more of a possibility than they think (more on that in shortly). What perhaps is more disconcerting is that excluding Millennials, only 59% of the others polled favored Capitalism compared to 34% who preferred democratic socialism, with 4% wanting Fascism and 3% backing Communism.

With America being the bastion of Capitalism in the world, does this indicate a possible trend away from a Capitalist economic system? I have to wonder if these responses are the result of our failure to adequately teach history (without any political slant one way or the other). It could also be indicative of our failure to incorporate Civics, sociology, and political science in the school curriculum (a lack of resources is often cited as the reason, but there always seems to be enough resources available for non-essential activities likes sports). The same argument could apply to higher education, which offer all sorts of completely useless classes which, if anything, reinforces the political bubble they've become so comfortable with rather than to think critically and explore other Truths.

Proof of this, as revealed by the poll, was that only 33% of Millennials surveyed were able to correctly define democratic socialism, which sadly was about average with the rest of those surveyed. Millennials also had the least "unfavorable" opinion of Communism at just 36%. Meanwhile, only 51% could correctly define Capitalism, which was the lowest demographic surveyed (the average was 67%). Could this be the result of their honest preference for other systems like Communism, or is it the result of ignorance and their "bubble" mentality? Millennials define our present economic system as a "burden" on them (the only group to say so) and added that they felt the Capitalist system "worked against them" (again, the only group to make that claim).

In looking at other groups, 56% of those surveyed had an unfavorable view of Communism, and of those, 63% said they would be "insulted" if anyone associated them with Communism (only 44% of Millennials were). Generation Z, the group coming up behind the Millennials, had a different attitude. 43% of them were able to correctly define democratic socialism and 66% of Generation Z felt that the Capitalist system worked for them, although many were, as of yet, too young to be in the workforce full time.

As an aside (and I can't resist), there's an interesting comparison to be made here. The opinions of the Millennials seems to be a reflection of their grandparents, the Babyboomers. However, there are two distinct cohorts of Babyboomers which most people aren't aware of. The first cohort were born from 1946 to 1955. These were the "Flower Children" of the 1960's. They tended to be very liberal, experimental (like communes and drugs), individualistic, and supported social causes. They were also viewed as "anti-establishment" and supported Far Left politics.

The second cohort (the one I belong to) was born between 1956 and 1964. This group was pessimistic, distrustful of the government, individualistic, and more rebellious. These were the anti-war and Watergate protestors; those who lost faith in the political system. The former group remained Democratic leaning and liberal while the latter leaned Republican, conservative and nowadays, more Independent. It seems we have a parallel between the Millennials and Generation Z based on the influence of their grandparents the way the grandparents of the Boomers, products of the 1920's and 1930's, influenced them.

Amusingly, the poll also revealed that Millennials looked up to individuals like Karl Marx with 32%, Che Guevara getting 31%, Vladimir Lenin at 23%, and 19% for Mao Zedong. "Uncle Joe" Stalin received just 6%. Not so different from their Babyboomer grandparents! Ironically, none of those mentioned were fascist, although 7% favored Fascism as stated earlier. I also mentioned that I would discuss this later. Well, it's later. So let's delve in shall we?

As readers of Another Opinion know, I often write about the ruling Oligarchy; the plutocracy which now controls the government (I won't use the word "our" because the government is clearly not the American People's any longer). First, we need to remind ourselves what Fascism is. Modern Fascism, as created by Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, is the merger or partnership of big business and government for the mutual benefit of both. He said that Fascism would have been more aptly named "Corporatism" since that's how it's organized and functions (it's really feudalism brought current).

Unlike Communism, the state didn't own all the businesses and there was no capitalism. Everyone worked for the state, regardless of where they were actually employed. Under Fascism, capitalism was alive and very well. Unlike democratic socialism, the employees and workers had little or no say much of anything---union or not. Under Nazism, a form of Fascism, the state was the senior partner and everyone was answerable to the party, which answered to a supreme leader while capitalism still flourished. Fascism operates more like a corporate board of directors. The leader can be hired and fired like anyone else and the state wasn't always or necessarily the "senior" partner.

The Oligarchy, if it operates similar to any political or economic system, comes the closest to operating like a fascist or even neo-feudal like system. Big business and the government operate hand in glove. It controls the press, business, the military, the police, and national security apparatus. You can't argue that there isn't a revolving door between Big business and the government, or that lobbyists, working on behalf of the corporate elite, influence (to be polite) government, up to and including writing legislation.

Corporations finance campaigns and the politicians themselves. Or that we have a two tier legal system; one set of laws for the elites and another set for the rest of us. You can't argue that the media isn't solely controlled by a small clique (six to be exact) which dictates what we see, hear, how we're entertained, and what we're suppose to think about any given issue. We're also told what to like, what to buy, and even when. We live and die economically by our credit rating. It essentially determines our value to the system. It's our digital leach.

It dictates wars and conflicts. Anytime a country rejects its overtures, be a refusal to adopt the petrodollar, access to resources, assets, or potential consumers, the government and media mount to a saber rattling campaign to whip up the public and manufacture some justification for a bombing campaign or even an invasion. Usually the unfortunate target backs downs and suddenly we're all best buddies again. Then too, sometimes it manufactures enemies. Why? Conflict is good for business. It stimulates the economy, reduces unemployment, and best of all, it's highly profitable.

Fascism is Big Business and Big Government run amuck. Historically, Fascism borrows from the Left and the Right. It tends to advance slowly but not always. It's opportunistic if nothing else. It uses the history and traditions of its host country as its cover like the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing. Which is why the Fascism of Italy differed from that of Hungary or Spain, which was different from that of Romania, Bulgaria, or Germany. It's adaptive, but like any beast, it's always hungry and if it's to survive, it must forever be devouring.

So, whether they know it or not, the Millennials, and perhaps even Generation Z, may be getting what they want without understanding it. However, it won't be the Constitutional Republic which we were bequeath by our Founding Fathers and so foolishly lost. In addition to what I've already mentioned, we've witnessed the increased militarization of the police, an ever growing surveillance system with the equally growing cooperation of Big Business, increased censorship, increased restrictions on various rights, and a nefarious attempt to divide us in as many ways as possible, like the article I mentioned at the beginning; the Left calling the Right "Nazis" or "Fascist" and the Right calling the Left "socialist" and "Communist" as well as pits races or other groups against each other on the basis of nothing.

As long as we fight each other, we can't focus our attention and efforts on the real enemy---the Oligarchy itself. Sadly, the public as a whole has the attention span of a two year old. Collectively, we seem to be society with ADHD! The Oligarchy know this and they use it. We have to snap out of it. We have to find ways to come together; to prevent ourselves from being divided. This isn't a Republican or Democrat thing. It isn't a white or black or Native American, Hispanic, or Asian issue. It's not gay or straight, nor is it Atheist, pagan, Protestant, Jewish, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu, or any other religious group matter.

It's a American problem, and it's about whether we want our country back or not. The choice is yours. I should point out that while we're facing a consolidation of power by the Oligarchs, it's not limited to the US. Their reach is everywhere, Asia, Africa, Europe, and it's attempting to expand into Russia. That's why Putin is often portrayed as the villain and there's a lot of effort being made to rekindle the Cold War with Russia. So, in truth, it's a Humanity thing. The only question is what are we going to do about it?



Millennials would rather live in a socialist, communist, fascist nation than under capitalism


Millennials aren't satisfied with capitalism--might prefer a socialist country study finds


Millennials prefer socialism to capitalism


What is the difference between Communism and Socialism?