Saturday, February 6, 2010

Is President Obama Socialist, and Is That a Bad Thing?

Yesterday I was faced with a choice -- to sleep in and enjoy another hour or two of blissful slumber, cozying up in my flannel sheets and favorite down pillow, or to get up early and clean my apartment in preparation for a busy day.

One choice would give me instant gratification -- more sleep, even as the rest of the world is busy driving to work, grabbing a cup of coffee anywhere possible so as to shake off their fatigue and participate in the daily grind.

The other choice would give me the satisfaction that I had conquered the flesh, if only for a morning, and I would have a sparkling clean apartment to show for it!

We live in a world where each of us is constantly making similar choices -- choices between what we want now and what we ultimately want, between the pain of regret or the pain of discipline.

Should I go for a run today, or stay in and watch T.V.?  Shall I have a shake with that burger and fries, or would I be better off going home and making an organic smoothie?

Day to day, moment to moment, the truth is -- we cannot have it all!   If I have a low metabolism, I can't consistently choose that chocolate shake and expect to enjoy my optimal weight.  I can't both sleep in and have the clean apartment on any given morning, unless I find another solution such as cleaning my apartment the night before! 

Similarly, governments and societies grapple with the fundamental battle of freedom vs. rights.  Just as it is impossible for any individual to enjoy boundless success in any area of their life while concurrently practicing a limitless lack of restraint and discipline, the more that a government emphasizes rights for its populace, the more the peoples' freedom is curtailed. 

In other words, there is a limit to the rights that can be guaranteed to individuals if they wish to enjoy wide-ranging freedom.

On the other hand, it may be wise to limit some freedoms in the name of guaranteed rights in order for any given society to be successful.  For instance, I may decide that I want to exercise my freedom of choice to murder someone.

Thankfully, the Founding Fathers of the United States crafted a document -- the Constitution -- that limits certain freedoms to allow a set of rights to American citizens.  The accused murderer, though provided with the right to an attorney and a trial by jury, will suffer for his crime if found guilty.  He does not have the right to infringe on the life of another and get off scott-free.

American society was built on the ideals of providing all citizens with protection of a few, but precious inaliable rights and at the same time, providing an environment of freedom in which individuals could choose for themselves how to live their lives. Some would likely choose to make great sacrifices to be successful in business.  Others might choose to push their physical limits to become an elite athlete.  Some may choose to live a life of abject laziness, financial irresponsibility, or moral debauchery.  And as statistics go, the majority would likely fall somewhere in between these two extremes.

But whatever an individual's successes or failures, in such a society as our nation was intended to be, more so than in any other type of societal framework that I am aware of, individuals are held accountable for the choices they make by the types of results they get in return.  The natural law of "you reap what you sow" reigns superior.

I have recently come across a number of articles discussing President Obama -- is he a Socialist?  Is he a Communist?  And does it even matter??


There is no one definition for Socialism, but it is safe to say that Socialism favors rights more than Libertarianism, Conservatism, and even Liberalism does.  Socialism leans toward the guarantee of rights such as the following -- the right to have food to eat, the right to having a job, the right to affordable health care, the right to being provided for when you are retired, the right to have a roof over your head . . .

In the pursuit of providing rights to the people in its care, however, Socialism by its very nature must rob freedom.  Socialism says -- "I will guarantee you many or most of the things you need to live your life and be happy."  Understandably, this sounds like a great idea to many!  But what Socialism fails to be clear about is the downside -- "I have to create laws, regulations, and taxes that will limit your freedom in some ways in order to deliver what is promised."

Whether you like the idea of the government caring and providing for the people, or are disgusted by its implications, there is no getting around the fact that President Obama is clearly one of the most Socialist-leaning presidents this nation has ever seen.  

Those who favor the government caring for the masses should view President Obama being labeled a Socialist as a compliment! 

I should also mention that Obama would find good company in the presence of FDR, JFK, and virtually every modern U.S. President.  Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, welfare, food stamps, and countless other government programs are clearly more of a Socialist persuasion (even such things as public education and our modern tax system are Socialist-leaning).

Whether you like the idea of every man, woman, and child guaranteed all things for a reasonably comfortable existence, or you prefer that natural law determine who has the comforts of life; whether you are the type to get up early to clean your house or you are happier slurping on your chocolate shake, just remember that everything has a cost.

What does that have to do with my previous post about Vanity Fair's incessant publishing of pictures featuring skinny chics?  The implication that Vanity Fair should be compelled to publish photos that don't cater to its demographic just to make other people feel good about themselves, makes me raise my eyebrows about as much as guaranteeing every human being a right to an MRI.

Stay tuned for my next article -- Why I Believe Socialism and Christianity Are Wholly Incompatible . . .


  1. Ha ha, nice try. For starters, your understanding of socialism is wrong, and obviously taken from Fox News. Secondly, Obama is not a socialist. He has actually continued Bush-era policies of capitalism. Please get an education, or move out of my country.

  2. Julie - one point I'd make regarding your basic assumption. You say that "Socialism favors rights more than Libertarianism, Conservatism, and even Liberalism does." and then you go on to list the following "rights":
    the right to have food to eat
    the right to having a job
    the right to affordable health care
    the right to being provided for when you are retired
    the right to have a roof over your head

    Notice that each of these "rights" presume an *other* to provide them. These rights require that the universe provide someone, or some group, with the skills and wherewithal to make them available. In other words, each of these rights require positive action from another person, and implies that the other is *obligated* to provide them. This is a destruction of the language.

    Rights, as originally intended, are limits on the behavior of others - I have the right to believe as I choose means YOU may not dictate my beliefs. The right to the pursuit of happiness - YOU may not enslave me, and I may do what I wish to find happiness.

    A right is self-contained. I require no other person to have a right. I require no other entity to provide the means to enjoyment of the right. It is in my "nature". If the universe does not provide someone or something related to a right, I may still enjoy that right.

    Socialism's redefining of the word "right" to include the notion that others are my slaves, and that their purpose in life is provide me with a job, a roof, food, medical care, etc. is one of its biggest "achievements". We accept that premise every time we accept the definition of the word "right". They are not rights. They are the result of the hard work and skill of others. There is no right to medical care.

    With that - libertarianism is the philosophy most concerned with rights. And, there is no real conflict between rights and freedom, once the true nature of rights is acknowledged.

    Anonymous - you are somewhat correct, narrowly, when you say Obama isn't a Socialist. He's more a Fascist than a Socialist. However, you are wrong to call his, or Bush's policies "capitalism". Please get an education.