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

April 27, 2017
Darlene Dubuisson – Mark Schuller
“You Live Under Fear”: 50,000 Haitian People at Risk of Deportation
Karl Grossman
The Crash of Cassini and the Nuclearization of Space
Robert Hunziker
Venezuela Ablaze
John W. Whitehead
Trump’s America is a Constitution-Free Zone
Ron Jacobs
One Hundred Years That Shook the World
Judith Deutsch
Convenient Untruths About “Human Nature:” Can People Deal with Climate Change and Nuclear Weapons?
Don Fitz
Is Pope Francis the World’s Most Powerful Advocate for Climate Stability?
Thomas Mountain
Africa’s War Lord Queen: The Bloodstained Career of Liberia’s Eleanor Sirleaf Johnson
Binoy Kampmark
Short Choices: the French Presidential Elections
Paul C. Bermanzohn
Monetizing My Mouth
Michael Barker
Of Union Dreams and Nightmares: Cesar Chavez and Why Funding Matters
Elier Ramirez Cañedo
“Let Venezuela give me a way of serving her, she has in me a son.”
Paul Mobbs
Cellphones, WIFI and Cancer: Will Trump’s Budget Cuts Kill ‘Electrosmog’ Research?
Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee
The Closing of Rikers: a Survival Strategy of the Carceral State
April 26, 2017
Richard Moser
Empire Abroad, Empire At Home
Stan Cox
For Climate Justice, It’s the 33 Percent Who’ll Have to Pick Up the Tab
Paul Craig Roberts
The Looting Machine Called Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
The Dilemma for Intelligence Agencies
Christy Rodgers
Remaining Animal
Joseph Natoli
Facts, Opinions, Tweets, Words
Mel Gurtov
No Exit? The NY Times and North Korea
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Women on the Move: Can Three Women and a Truck Quell the Tide of Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse?
Michael J. Sainato
Trump’s Wikileaks Flip-Flop
Manuel E. Yepe
North Korea’s Antidote to the US
Kim C. Domenico
‘Courting Failure:’ the Key to Resistance is Ending Animacide
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Legacy of Lynne Stewart, the People’s Lawyer
Andrew Stewart
The People vs. Bernie Sanders
Daniel Warner
“Vive La France, Vive La République” vs. “God Bless America”
April 25, 2017
Russell Mokhiber
It’s Impossible to Support Single-Payer and Defend Obamacare
Nozomi Hayase
Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech
Robert Fisk
The Madder Trump Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him
Giles Longley-Cook
Trump the Gardener
Bill Quigley
Major Challenges of New Orleans Charter Schools Exposed at NAACP Hearing
Jack Random
Little Fingers and Big Egos
Stanley L. Cohen
Dissent on the Lower East Side: the Post-Political Condition
Stephen Cooper
Conscientious Justice-Loving Alabamians, Speak Up!
Michael J. Sainato
Did the NRA Play a Role in the Forcing the Resignation of Surgeon General?
David Swanson
The F-35 and the Incinerating Ski Slope
Binoy Kampmark
Mike Pence in Oz
Peter Paul Catterall
Green Nationalism? How the Far Right Could Learn to Love the Environment
George Wuerthner
Range Riders: Making Tom Sawyer Proud
Clancy Sigal
It’s the Pits: the Miner’s Blues
Robert K. Tan
Abe is Taking Japan Back to the Bad Old Fascism
April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail