I’m asked from time to time – usually by desperately confused Trump supporters – why I don’t spend more time arguing against socialism, rather than criticizing the “Party of Reagan” or, at least, what has become of it. It’s sadly not surprising that Trump supporters fail to see what should be obvious to anyone who actually understands what nationalist socialism actually is, because, by and large, they possess the political sophistication of 7 year old children, pigeonholing everything in terms of black and white partisan politics.
When Trump’s cohort and the bulk of his political base, the Baby Boomers, think of socialism, they uncontrollably relive the “Red Scare” of their Cold War era childhoods more than a century ago. In their increasingly creaky memories, “Socialism” is associated with nuclear Armageddon, Soviet expansionism, and just so much government propaganda. As a result, their rather tenuous understanding of capitalism and socialism have become hopelessly entangled into the broader international conflict of cultures, blurring the lines between real economic theory and half-remembered ignorant nationalistic jingoism.
Sadly, we’re already well past the point where the political layman Trumpist is capable of keeping up either rhetorically or intellectually. Unfortunately for both them (and for us), political philosophy can’t actually be parsed into small enough bites for them to swallow without becoming an unrecognizable slurry, further complicated as soon as politicians and the grifter classes go on to break large societal problems into individual issues for their voting blocks anyway. In the end, neither socialism or capitalism can be parsed one issue at a time without becoming lost behind politics.
Trump’s supporters lack the intellectual capacity to think about these issues without getting hysterically emotional, and they can never see that socialism and capitalism are both socioeconomic philosophies attempting to address the same problem: How does a just society distribute inherently limited resources among all stakeholders (consumers, producers, and bystanders) so as to maximize social well-being? Socialists answer this question by trying to “collectivize” property ownership and, by extension, the market. Capitalists answer this question by trying to “privatize” property ownership and, by extension, the market.
But, as I said, Trump supporters will have no idea what I’m talking about. The vast majority of them will never have bothered started reading this article in the first place, because it requires them to actually read above a middle school level (fat chance of that). The few that are actually reading this are absolutely convinced I’m somehow advocating for socialism, even if they can’t find any point I’ve actually advocated for socialism. Literally nothing I could write or say will ever convince them otherwise, because Trump supporters are unthinking fools with heads filled to the brim by decades of Republican reactionary propaganda.
Regardless, let’s deal with their question…
The reason I spend so much time attacking the party that advocates for state intervention in the marketplace in order to artificially advantage domestic producers over foreign competitors despite domestic producers being hysterically overpriced, too often inferior in quality, and spectacularly cost and resource inefficient, while the very same party continues to support (or refuses to address) state mandated wage rates, corporate welfare subsidies, collectivist labor unions that have spent the last 100 years undermining American competitiveness, bloated government old age and welfare programs that are bankrupting us, police state violence against their countrymen, and persistent racial injustice in their stronghold states is…
Well, it should be obvious at this point… shouldn’t it? The sad thing is that, for tens of millions of Trump supporters, at least, it isn’t and never will be.
There are two kinds of people. 1) Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
Liberty is For The Win!