It is a bit surprising to see this in Esquire Magazine, a publication known for plenty of Obama love notes masquerading as news and interviews, but Stephen Marche’s article, “What’s So Bad About Socialism Anyway?“ is a definite must-read — especially for the celebs and college students who run around sporting “Che” T-shirts and other communist kitsch. Below are a few excerpts:
…though Obama spent the month of October denying that he is a socialist, his inauguration is upon us and the point is moot. Socialism, real, perceived, or simply misunderstood, has shit-blossomed to new prominence, and Americans are scrambling to make sense of it in this new age of Obama.
Since the ’60s, the Hollywood Left has preferred its socialism vague and mushy — a feel-good unattainable ideal, preferably starring Warren Beatty — rather than a system of government that can actually be put into practice (as it is in Europe). And though Soderbergh has made a movie that even Castro likes… Che will hopefully cause people to ask themselves whose face they’re wearing. If you believe in the freedom of the press, the right to belong to a political party of your choice, the due process of law, and/or private property, then Che Guevara was a monster, plain and simple. But even with that knowledge, it’s unlikely that Johnny Depp will get rid of his Che medallion. And it’s unlikely that all the pseudo-hipsters who buy their Che T-shirts at Urban Outfitters will stop wearing them. No. These T-shirts send a message, which effectively boils down to this: I have vague left-wing sympathies but don’t read history. I am educated enough to want nonconformity but not intelligent enough to avoid conformity. I believe in supporting the wretched of the earth but happily purchase products from multinational corporations.
It’s all part of a long history of reducing the genuine struggles of peoples around the world for social justice to pretty baubles, from Jane Fonda’s Radio Hanoi broadcasts to Madonna mugging in guerrilla gear to TV personality Tim Vincent wearing a hammer-and-sickle shirt on Access Hollywood. In 2007, Cameron Diaz carried a Maoist messenger bag while sightseeing in Peru and was forced to apologize — 70,000 Peruvians were murdered by the Maoist Shining Path in the ’80s and ’90s. At least with Che chic, the idiocy is dreamy and romantic and you can pretend that wearing his face is all about being young, riding motorcycles, and having South American-level sex; Mao was responsible for the death of 60 million people — he makes Hitler look like an amateur.
Cameron Diaz is not, of course, a communist. She’s a ditz — that’s her ideology. Her Mao bag was tasteless, not evil. And she’s far from alone in her tastelessness.
Obama has promised fresh politics, new in substance, new in style. We’ll see. Like FDR and LBJ before him, he has had to reject the title of “socialist.” But let’s face it: McCain was on to something back in October when he croaked in a radio address, “At least in Europe, the socialist leaders who so admire my opponent are up-front about their objectives.” (Obama was busy texting his supporters.) BHO’s predecessors cloaked their agendas with camouflage terminology, the “New Deal” and the “Great Society,” and Obama may yet find some similarly palatable euphemism for his attempt to strengthen the core of the federal government through massive infrastructure overhaul, universal health care, and, yes, higher taxes and redistribution of wealth.”
We must ask ourselves… What is the first thing any political insurgency seeks to control? The media. And how do such political insurgencies maintain control over the people? The media. While the Democrats’ “Pork-O-Rama” stimulus legislation is important, it cannot be allowed to distract the public from the Democrats’ attempts to gut the First Amendment and silence conservative voices while we’re not looking.