Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Obama, Collectivist

They tried Muslim, terrorist, fellow traveler, socialist, communist, liberal but nothing struck the cord of fear Conservatives had hoped would send Americans rushing to the McCain camp.

This morning Rush Limbaugh admitted defeat in the label wars, and suggested the best way to combat “Obamaism” was to pit authentic Conservative Principles against actual Obama policies. For a moment I rejoiced. This is what we should be doing: debating ideas not defaming persons. For a moment I toyed with the idea of calling Rush’s show and congratulating him for rising above the Hannity/O’Reilly fear mongering. But the moment passed, and so did Rush’s commitment to four years of label-free debate.

No sooner did he say this that he tossed out his newest label: collectivist. President-elect Obama is a collectivist and his policies amount to collectivism. But what is collectivism?

According to an essay posted on Wikipedia “collectivism refers to any philosophy or system that sees any kind of group (such as a class, nation, race, society, state, etc) as more important than the individual”. Sounds like “country first” if you ask me.

The problem with collectivism is that the group that it is concerned with is always the group in power, not the people as a whole. Republicans were collectivists in that they put the needs of the rich above those of the poor. Liberals may be collectivist in the opposite direction. But the only bulwark against collectivism isn’t Republicanism but Libertarianism. Only the libertarian holds the individual sacred. Praise Ron Paul! Hail Ayn Rand!

But Rush isn’t a libertarian; he is a Republican Collectivist defending only those individuals in his group. Collectivism is just another buzzword designed to scare us into four more years of fear.

There is no hope for intelligent conversation in this country any more. We don’t have the education for it. All we want, and therefore all we get, are labels, half-truths, and angry spin and counter-spin designed to raise fears and thereby money for whatever exploitative group is scaring us the most.

I’m not going to agree with everything President Obama does. To be honest, I am not going to know enough about most of what he does to have an informed opinion. Should we bail out the American auto companies? I don’t know. Part of me says, “No! They brought on their own problems, why should I have to pay to fix them?” And part of me says, “Yes, they are too big to let fail.” So I compromise saying, “Yes, bail them out if they give me a check so I can afford to go out and buy a Toyota Prius.”

I understand that the right wing is scared. All they have left if Sarah Palin. But the real problem with America isn’t collectivism, but the lack of intelligent debate and dialogue.

1 comment:

AaronHerschel said...

Oh my goodness! The failure of intellectual dialogue! We're doomed! Unless I write a check to the university....