Tuesday, December 15, 2009
President Obama is pushing for bank regulation reform. Liberals will applaud this while calling for even stricter regulation, while folks identifying themselves as conservative will condemn it as Socialism.
But I've figured out how to translate GOPSpeak into actual English. "Socialism" once meant "government owning big business." That's how Marx/Lenin/Mao etc. defined it.
But in GOPSpeak "Socialism" now means “any regulation of business whatsoever.”
The rightists’ screeds will contrast evil "Democrat Party So-shul-ism" with the “Free Market.” This now means “Big business owning government.” Not explicitly of course. However, if government hops whenever the Masters of the Universe say "frog" that's what it means. That's what "too big to fail" means.
Which the big business owners and CEOs pulling the GOP’s strings think is just ducky—and the natural order of things. This is what Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston lays out in his book Free Lunch: How the wealthiest Americans enrich themselves at government expense (and stick you with the bill).
And the GOP will get the people most oppressed by big business—small business owners and rural Republican rank and file—to enthusiastically endorse these perversions of the language, because the GOP has learned how to get people to betray themselves and their loved ones and their future generations.
They accomplished this hat trick through three principles. They’ve discovered that even the most flat-out outrageous lies will be believed by half the people and than some, as long as you and your cohorts repeat them constantly, weave them into an emotionally satisfying narrative, and get the public to turn a deaf ear to the truth-tellers by invoking tribalism.
Tribalism is built into our DNA. It’s what gets us to excuse darn near anything someone we think is on our side does, and disbelieve everything someone we think is in the other tribe does. This is why the Republican attacks on the Democrats are so venomous and personal—they don’t attack the principles the Demos are espousing. They attack Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, saying their names with the same inflection you might use to describe dog droppings you just stepped in.
After all, you aren’t going to listen to someone you loathe—someone whose tribe is out to get yours.
And the tribe the GOP has built isn’t America. It’s just American self-identified conservatives. Well, in GOPSpeak “American” and “the American People” now means “people who vote Republican.” Democrats aren’t American. They’re enemies living here illegitimately. That’s why the nonsense about Obama not being a citizen has persisted so strongly. GOP rank and file FEEL that he isn’t American. They did the same thing to Kerry, and Gore, and Clinton, and Dukakis---just not quite so overtly.
Adam Smith, the bespoken deity of the Right, would have endorsed this NYTimes editorial, because he understood that the true enemy of Capitalism isn’t Socialism—it’s Monopoly. And that’s what banks too big to fail are homing in on.
But it’s fitting that the GOP has perverted its core beliefs so much that often not much more than the names are left. It has become, philosophically, a big hollow shell, whose only principle now is to obediently rage against anything that might even slightly constrain the richest 1/2 percent of Americans.
Look at the right wing rants about business regulation in the right wing blogosphere. Aren’t most of them consistent with what I’ve laid out here?