FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Real Socialist Threat is the Military

by CHRISTOPHER KETCHAM

I got into an e-mail conversation recently with a former CIA officer and ex-Marine, who, in horror at the Obama administration, went into a Tea Partyist fit denouncing the “communists, socialists, wealth redistribution folks, Democrats in Congress.”  This was not his usual lucid style (he has helped me as a source on several stories), and he seemed to have momentarily lost his mind in considering the matter, or, at least, that part of the mind wherein a cold assessment of facts might operate.  I wrote him back: “Where are these communist/socialist/wealth-redistribution folks?  I see none of their ilk anywhere in Congress.”  He never replied.

Perhaps that’s because the “right-wing” types such as my good pal refuse to recognize – or perhaps recognize all too well, and therefore don’t want to talk about it – that whenever wealth needs to be redistributed for the benefit of corporate personhood, our Congress goose-steps to the line.   It’s “socialism” for the rich, the powerful, the influential, those able to marshal cash incentives to get their cats’ paws to pass laws that favor their interests, for the doling out of public funds for private benefit.  It’s socialism for banks and automakers and big pharma and big agribusiness and the behemoths in energy and defense, and on and on.  So much for the glorious independence and striving of the perceived paragons of the free market.  The derangement of so many rightists in this country – viz. the dingbat Tea Partiers – is clear: They fail to understand that when large corporations hold sway over government there is no “capitalism” and no “free market,” certainly not as Adam Smith imagined it in The Wealth of Nations.   And as businesses grow bigger to capture government, so does government grow when captured – how else could it service big business?

Then again, my ex-CIA/ex-Marine source may be on to something about the socialist menace – as he would know all about it, having been trained, directed, housed and pensioned by a grossly expanding branch of government for most of his working life.  Consider the path to happiness paved by the bomb-makers and the aircraft and tank and battleship manufacturers and the makers of grenades and rifles and teargas and bullets, and all the ancillaries of the military industrial complex, the “counterterror” thinktanks and mercenary contractors and intelligence-surveillance-security firms.  These would not, could not, survive without government contracts, government intervention, government swaddling and succoring and snuggling, and, of course, the perpetual preparation for and making of government-run wars that feed their industries.  The imperial war-machine is the great socialist enterprise of our time.

Indeed, if we want real socialism for actual persons, we should all join the US military: Everything is socialized in the military, the personnel getting socialized medicine and socialized housing and socialized transport and much else (socialized bullets and bombs),  the ideal and modus operandi being one of purest collectivism, the training the kind that teaches recognition of hierarchies and obedience in that long chain of command – chain is the operative word – wherein you do what you’re told, you listen to the boss, you don’t question, you don’t fend for yourself, you don’t step out of line.   How totally un-American.  Thus does the military man, having given up the struggle for self-command and self-reliance, receive diapering and feeding and care, ideally from cradle to grave, never opting to grow up and survive in the rigors of the marketplace.  Those filthy pinko-commies in the US Army!  Who woulda thunk it!

It’s astonishing, though, that these same government-trained and -paid personnel so often are to be found griping about the shape and size of the tit that keeps them alive.   I have a close relative, for example, who talks the hard-core right-winger line, complaining endlessly about big government and “socialism” – yet he works for the ever-metastasizing State Department.  When he calls me a “leftist,” I like to tell him I have never worked for government, never gotten a government paycheck, nor any grant or subsidy from government, nor any loans, never profited from government personally (as opposed, say, to profiting from government roads), never gotten food stamps or welfare or Medicaid or workman’s compensation or unemployment insurance, nor cashed in my Social Security benefits (forced to pay for them in the first place), nor received any other scrap of so-called “wealth redistribution.”  What a leftist I must be.

CHRISTOPHER KETCHAM, a freelance writer in Brooklyn, NY, is working on a book about U.S. secession movements.  Find more of his work at www.christopherketcham.com or contact him at cketcham99@mindspring.com.

 

 

WORDS THAT STICK

Christopher Ketcham is a freelance writer.  You can write him at cketcham99@mindspring.com or see more of his work at christopherketcham.com.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 23, 2017
Dave Brotherton
Trump, Moral Panics and Resistance
Jonathan Cook
One State: Trump Has Reminded Palestinians What It Was Always About
Bill Quigley
Ten Examples of Direct Resistance to Stop Government Raids
Linn Washington Jr.
Bigot Boy Business: Trump Exposes His Ignorance and Intolerance, Again
John W. Whitehead
The Illusion of Freedom: the Police State Is Alive and Well
Ralph Nader
Restricting People’s Use of Their Courts
David Macaray
Women As Labor Union Organizers
Kathy Kelly
Friendship in Defiance of War
Doug Weir
Why Did the US Use Depleted Uranium Weapons in Syria?
Steve Horn
Former GOP Congressional Staffer Follows Revolving Door, Now Latest Keystone XL Lobbyist
Binoy Kampmark
From Rights to Repentance: Norma McCorvey and Roe v Wade
Thomas Knapp
The Target of the “Border Adjustment Tax” is You
Chris Zinda
Open Letter to Neoliberal Environmentalists
February 22, 2017
Mike Whitney
Liberals Beware: Lie Down With Dogs, Get Up With Fleas
John Grant
On Killers and Bullshitters*
Peter Linebaugh
Catherine Despard, Abolitionist
Patrick Cockburn
The Bitter Battle for Mosul
Ted Rall
Sue the Bastards? It’s Harder Than You Think
Yoav Litvin
The Emergence of the Just Jew
Kim Scipes
Strategic Thinking and Organizing Resistance
Norman Pollack
Mar-a-Lago, Ideological Refuge: Berchtesgaden, II
Fred Donner
Nixon and the Chennault Affair: From Vietnam to Watergate
Carl Kandutsch
Podesta vs. Trump
Ike Nahem
To the Memory of Malcolm X: Fifty Years After His Assassination
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Tough Talk Won’t Fix Chicago
Paul Donnelly
Betsy DeVos and the War on Public Education
Ebony Slaughter-Johnson
The End of an Alliance for Police Reform
Richard Lawless
Wall Street Demanded the Nuclear Option and the Congress Delivered
Liaquat Ali Khan
Yes, Real Donald Trump is a Muslim!
Ryan LaMothe
“Fire” and Free Speech
CounterPunch News Service
Bloody Buffalo Billboards
February 21, 2017
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Finance as Warfare: the IMF Lent to Greece Knowing It Could Never Pay Back Debt
CJ Hopkins
Goose-stepping Our Way Toward Pink Revolution
John Wight
Firestarter: the Unwelcome Return of Tony Blair
Roger Harris
Lenin Wins: Pink Tide Surges in Ecuador…For Now
Shepherd Bliss
Japanese American Internment Remembered, as Trump Rounds Up Immigrants
Boris Kagarlitsky
Trump and the Contradictions of Capitalism
Robert Fisk
The Perils of Trump Addiction
Deepak Tripathi
Theresa May: Walking the Kingdom Down a Dark Alley
Sarah Anderson
To Save Main Street, Tax Wall Street
Howard Lisnoff
Those Who Plan and Enjoy Murder
Franklin Lamb
The Life and Death Struggle of the Children of Syria
Binoy Kampmark
A Tale of Two Realities: Trump and Israel
Kim C. Domenico
Body and Soul: Becoming Men & Women in a Post-Gender Age
Mel Gurtov
Trump, Europe, and Chaos
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail