The Totalitarian Right: The Hypocrisy
Over and over again we hear the same old argument from the right. “The left just wants government control, to tell us what to do, and meddle in private affairs.” They have made arguments likening socialism to slavery, and putting all totalitarian dictators on the left, whether it was true or not. Today I speak out against this blatant lie, and show how the right is the politics of control, and of totalitarianism.
History is the story of the relentless march of progress. We start in the time of Plato, and his work “The Republic”. Plato is known as the father of political science, and the world he lived in made breakthroughs in ideas of governance. At this time in history most people were not connected to their government. Government was the province of kings, the aristocracy and the rich. The common people worked, and tried to survive in a brutal world. Democracy at the time was a radical idea. The idea that people could have a hand in deciding the governance. As history progressed, we can see a marked movement towards greater and greater involvement of the people in government.
But government wasn’t the only part of society that was changing. From the slave societies of ancient Rome and Greece, the Western world changed. The ownership of the means of production widened, and the system of governance changed once again. The system was feudalism. A greater number of people held the ownership of the means of production. However, like the Greeks and the Romans, a huge majority of the populations were still disenfranchised, virtual slaves. They worked land they did not own, and received little of the value that they produced.
Then came the age of enlightenment, and the birth of liberalism. As feudalism changed, a new class rose up and gained power. These people were the middle class of the time, the burghers, or in later parlance, the bourgeoisie. These were the business owners, the producers of manufacturing. The printers, and the blacksmiths etc. Capitalism emerged as the prevailing system, as economists like Adam Smith wrote books like “The Wealth of Nations.”
The evolution of society and economics is not over. Capitalism is not the pinnacle of human society and economy. While bourgeois democracy was certainly better than feudalism, it brought a whole new slew of problems. As nations industrialized, and economic infrastructure was formed, a class of people, the majority still, was still disenfranchised, excluded from the political process. At the beginning, only white males could vote. Millions of African slaves toiled for no pay, and the poor lived in horrible conditions.
Now today, we may think things are fine, that things are not like they were in the past, that we have freedom. Don’t be fooled. The capitalist class wants you to think you have freedom. They think that if they pump enough patriotic music, if they make enough patriotic speeches, that we won’t notice that our freedom is a farce.
Freedom doesn’t mean the liberty to do as you please with no consequences. It means that everyone has the maximum freedom in relation to the other people that inhabit their society or community. 99% of the US own almost none of what they produce. They sell their labor, because they do not own the means of production. The little bit of infrastructure that we have is now under attack from right wing extremists. They want to take away your post office, your education rights, your reproductive rights, your free speech, your freedom to assemble peacefully, your right to democracy.
Yes, that’s right your democracy is under attack. Time and time again in conversations with rightists they slam democracy as mob rule, the people as stupid and unable to rule, and tout the ideas of plutocracy. They claim to be for a meritocracy, that anyone who works hard can succeed. But those of us who live on the bottom rungs of society know better. We know a multitude of people who have worked hard their whole lives, only to see the stock market deplete their 401k, to see the GOP attack their social security, and inflation erase their college funds for their kids. They work 60 hours a week, sometimes two jobs to make ends meet and it just isn’t enough. The tea party even wants to eliminate the Department of Education.
How much freedom does a homeless man have? How much freedom does a single private citizen have against the monoliths of capitalist banks who raise their mortgage rates, take their houses and throws them on the street? When families have no money for clothes? When children go to bed hungry in a land of plenty? Is that freedom? Can you really say with a straight face that freedom is poverty, no education, no infrastructure, and all the profits to 1% of the population who hold all the power? If you are intellectually honest, the answer is a resounding no.
While the right wing loves to talk of freedom and liberty, the only liberty they like is the liberty for religion to dominate our government, for our military to make money for defense contractors by having imperialist wars overseas, by taking away the rights of workers to unionize against the tyranny of the capitalist ruling class.
The left fights for the freedom of the common man. Marxism is the ideology that holds that all people have equal worth, that a worker should receive the value he produces, instead of being a wage slave. The left fights for reproductive rights for women, and the freedom to practice your religion as you see fit, as long as it isn’t infringing on anyone else’s freedom. Freedom is ours for the taking, it lies within socialism, and real democracy, where ordinary people have a voice, instead of faceless corporations. Where our government is not a market place, but the voice of the people themselves.
Democracy is freedom. No wonder the right hates it.