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Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Virginian Pilot Discovers Civility

The editors of the Virginian Pilot are leaping to the defense of the government … now that it’s in the hands of their party.

Unfortunately for reasoned discourse, their editors went to Journalism School, probably because they failed to pass a history course.

They leap to the defense of George Bush, denying he established a Fascist dictatorship when he put terrorists in Guantanamo, tried to stabilize the banks, and signed a new prescription drug benefit bill.

But that’s a throw away. Bush is back in Texas and in no position to threaten anyone or anything.

The whole exercise is designed to leap to the defense of Obama, who has taken control of General Motors, demanded the sale of Chrysler to the French and is temporarily stymied by Ford in his clean sweep of the US auto industry. The nation’s banks are already subservient to Team Obama. Part of the Obama plan is to nationalize health care, to control energy production and development and to take over the nation’s schools, perhaps using his associate in Chicago school reform, Bill Ayers, as the model for America's schools in the future.

To the casual observer it would seem that well over half of the nation’s economy would be run out of Washington, never mind whose name is found on the door of the doctors’ office, the school, the utility company or the auto manufacturer.

So what would be the name of this type of command and control economy where the government calls the tune?

The Pilot’s editors don’t say, they just don’t want it labeled with terms they don’t like, like Fascism, Socialism or Communism. To them these terms mean millions of dead bodies under Hitler and Stalin.

For the historically impaired, that may very well be what comes to mind. But for people whose minds were not molded by schools that no longer teach history, these terms can and do apply.

One term that comes close is Fascism, which was not a German phenomenon, but Italian. Jonah Goldberg wrote an excellent book about it called Liberal Fascism which pointed out that during the 1930s the “progressives” in the US were perfectly fine with the Fascist programs in Europe. In fact, they wished to emulate the command and control aspects of state control of vital industries, believing that they could do a better job than the private sector.

If the Virginian Pilot wishes to shy away from terms that have become tainted by being associated with the Holocaust, the Gulag and World War 2 I can appreciate their squeamishness. But then I would suggest they try to create a new term for a country in which the central government makes the vital decision about our medical care, our cars, our fuel, our electricity, our schools, and the ever increasing amount of our work year we are working not for ourselves but for the government. The last number is about 103 days a year for the average citizen. For the statistically impaired, that’s about one-third of our lives that are no our own. And if you don’t think that number is about to grow, you may also believe in the tooth fairy … or be an editorial writer for the Virginian Pilot.

A growing number of people have a vision of the state where individuals and institutions alike must march in step and take orders from the government. There is nothing like a war or a financial crisis for people who believe in group solidarity to support a government takeover of national functions that in a free system would be left to individuals.

So in a genuine attempt to help the editors of the Virginian Pilot, I'll make a suggestion for a term that can be applied to the American economy as it is evolving: Obamaism.

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