op-ed

A tale of American socialism

Lenny McAllister Contributor
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There have been many people that continue to support the government’s expanding influence in the lives of everyday Americans. Those that do, of course, believe that the folks that were involved in any of the tea party protests throughout the nation last week were misguided in their use of the word “socialism” and their theories that socialism is a governmental threat to citizens today.

One small group of Americans may disagree.

Let me explain while offering a cautionary tale for our nation.

One definition of socialism states that the term denotes “…a political theory advocating state ownership of industry…”While this might not sound bad to some, the implicit message within the definition is that it involves the public stability in the forum of industry. As we have found repeatedly with financial crises, stock market failures, and unemployment situations in recent American history, sometimes there is nothing very stable about industry.

So it would only make sense for those in leadership to avoid taking tax-payer money and investing it in private business as proprietors of non-vital businesses. Aside from the fact that government has no business buying and owning private businesses, it also stands to reason that if a government – like any other individual investor in business – has an opportunity to succeed with a “plan that just can’t fail,” it also has the same opportunity to lose its shirt just as the individual investor might as well.

The only difference when government plays Monopoly with taxpayer money? The government and the people it represents lose their collective shirt as well if things go poorly.

Recently, one set of Americans suffered this fate after taking on more public debt per household than has been incurred by American households on average for the Iraqi War, all for the purpose of buying a dying business because of the urging of special interests to grab a “can’t miss” deal. In this instance – as it is whenever government and business mix as one and the same – someone disturbingly played both sides of the fence as both public official and private business leader during the process. So after, a government deal that “can’t lose” – buying a failing business that provides a luxury service that is competing in an ever-changing marketplace in an area with a diversity-challenged small tax base – within a short period of time became an experiment with socialism that lost mightily for its citizens.

Namely, it risks losing to the tune of $100 million – enough to bankrupt a company…or a government and the community it represents as it braces for the “…serious financial problems…” that have led to subsidizing business at the peril of impacting government’s actual role: providing stability, safety, and the ability to “pursue happiness” for each citizen to its fullest.

Now, the socialism experience does not seem so rosy.

What is there to learn from this example of out-of-control government, especially when comparing it to what is happening at the larger scale of federal politics?

Those protecting the socialist movement of securing “rights” (i.e., services people do not find guaranteed in any founding document) for citizens will do whatever it takes to protect its expansion of government. Sometimes it involves hit pieces and slander on conservatives that oppose this role for government. Sometimes it involves expanding the definition of “God-given rights” or “fairness” to cover items not intended for government protection. Sometimes they will insist that others are inciting the masses with their opposition by using “archaic” words such as “socialism” or phrases such as “government oppression.” Either way, there will be a game plan that defends their use of socialist tendencies while making the other side look like outdated, conservative wing nuts wound up in a frenzy over nothing.

Sounds familiar?

Unfortunately, many of those in leadership today do not get why more Americans are enraged and engaged in protesting this new American direction of government. President Obama noted on April 15 that Tea Partiers should be saying “thank you” instead of protesting his policies with their gatherings around the nation. That statement – along with the continued actions of his party leaders throughout the nation and of those that share his political sentiment – shows that folks do not understand that the direction of government that Americans are protesting (roughly 80% of them not trusting “big government” at this rate, according to recent polls) is the driver of the protests, not merely tax-time bemoaning.

Some things have their place. Government leaders and public money in the boardrooms of America do not share a common place, particularly if politicians are playing the roles of big-risk rollers with the public trust. American socialism is a fear many extol during Tea Party protests with regularity over the past 2 years. American socialism is a reality that has been encroaching in the lives of more of us because of our previous political apathy and our leaders’ erosive effect on government restraint. For some, it has become a stark reality that promises millions of reasons to reconsider their choices for years to come.

Lenny McAllister is a syndicated political commentator, podcast co-host, and the author of the book, “Diary of a Mad Black PYC (Proud Young Conservative,)” purchased online at www.tinyurl.com/lennysdiary and www.amazon.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/lennyhhr and on Facebook at www.tinyurl.com/lennyfacebook .