A couple weeks ago the City of Temecula proposed becoming a constitutional city, and then after a bunch of socialists showed up with their scare tactics and misleading arguments, the council-critters (except the mayor) curled up in the corner and shelved the proposal with fear in their eyes.
Shortly after it happened I jotted down a quick post about it: Temecula Idiots Fold on Constitution
One of the angry comments by a person named Liam O’Mara is as follows:
This post is straight-up gibberish. I sincerely hope that you are there if this comes back up, because you might learn something. You seem to have no idea how “socialism”, “communism”, “Marxism”, or “republic” are even defined, and your conflation of Democratic policy priorities with socialism and Marxism is laughably absurd. Socialism is an economic model; republicanism is a governance model — they are entirely distinct. There have been quite a number of socialist republics already, and there has never been any incompatibility, either in practice or in theory. Socialism also does not require a strong state, or one that takes any of your liberties. In fact, a large number of schools of socialism are explicitly anti-authoritarian and anti-statist. What socialism opposes is concentration of economic power in the hands of a few. Technically speaking, capitalism requires a strong state, and socialism can exist with no state at all! None of this is especially relevant to the inane proposal in Temecula, however, since there is no push anywhere in the US by the Democratic party to embrace socialist, Marxist, or communist principles, aside from the extremely loose sense used by the poster above. (None of that stuff is actually socialist in any way, but I can see why it is mixed up with socialism by many people.) If you would like to understand how this stuff works, feel free to reach out to me — I’ll happily appear on your radio show to clarify it for you (given I am a professor of the history of ideas).
To respond I wish to do so in parts.
The comment begins, “This post is straight-up gibberish.” A common kind of start that tries to establish dominance out the gate. By calling the post “gibberish” the commenter is establishing immediately that the post is crap, and therefore is not worth your time to read. “Gibberish” is a word used with the hopes of silencing the voice of the writer by telling the readers it is not worth reading in the first place.
“You seem to have no idea how “socialism”, “communism”, “Marxism”, or “republic” are even defined.” If you read the post, I didn’t define socialism, communism, Marxism or republic other than to point out that socialism is control of the means of production (which is a more accurate definition than the one you provided, Mr. O’Mara, while standing at the podium at the Temecula City Council meeting on April 23, 2019). Then, I provided constitutional evidence that socialism is not legal in the United States. At the federal level there are no authorities granted to the government to control or own the means of production, and at the State level the States are required to maintain a “republican form of government.” From the founders’ point of view, a republican form of government was one based on, among other things, a laissez faire style of economic system.
“your conflation of Democratic policy priorities with socialism and Marxism is laughably absurd.” This is a false statement largely because I never said anything about democratic policy priorities. While this country may use some democratic processes, we are not a democracy, we are a republic, so I tend not to use the word “democratic” or “democracy” very often. If you are referring to my claim that the Constitution provides no authority for socialism, your denial of that fact is what is laughably absurd.
“Socialism is an economic model; republicanism is a governance model.” True point, but from the Founding Fathers’ point of view, the use of the word republic for their purposes was one that also went with the free market system they established, which is why the federal government has no authority to control the means of production in any way, and the States are expected to follow suit. In fact, as I stated in the post, if the States do not, the federal government is required to “guarantee” that each State maintains a republican form of government. The word republic has been hijacked in the modern day lexicon, so from the commenter’s point of view, it could mean a number of things. But from my point of view, which is in line with the original intent of the U.S. Constitution, a republic is a system of governance established by the Constitution, and it is expected to operate in a manner consistent with constitutional authorities, and as stated earlier, socialism is illegal in the United States based on a lack of authorities granted, and the demand that the States maintain a republican form of government.
“There have been quite a number of socialist republics already, and there has never been any incompatibility, either in practice or in theory.” Again, just because socialist states have called themselves a republic does not make them the kind of republic that the Framers of the U.S. Constitution were referring to. The use of the word “republic” by socialist states is a play on words. I can call the pile of crap in my yard a twinkie all I wish, but that doesn’t truly mean that it is.
“Socialism also does not require a strong state, or one that takes any of your liberties. In fact, a large number of schools of socialism are explicitly anti-authoritarian and anti-statist.” Socialism does require a strong state, once the people realize what they have bought into. As the socialist state progresses, more and more rules are added to keep the people in line, until eventually and inevitably resorting to authoritarianism. While socialists may wish to be anti-authoritarian and anti-statist, the reality is that the natural state of humans is to have possessions, and the ability to improve their place in the world in a competitive marketplace. Therefore, once the reality of what socialism truly is sets in, some members of society begin to flex their desires for possessions and an incentive-based system of profit and upward mobility, which then triggers the necessity of authoritarianism to keep them from rising out of a state of communal equity. The problem also accompanies the wiping away of a moral standard. Socialism tends to be anti-religion because people are not willing to depend on government when they believe their lives are in God’s hands. But as religion is slowly stripped away, so is our moral compass, which also eventually leads to an authoritarian system. Benjamin Franklin said it best. “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
“What socialism opposes is concentration of economic power in the hands of a few.” In a free market system the economic power exists in the hands of all. During one’s individual journey, some persons become economically stronger than others, and through natural market forces those positions of economic strength are constantly changing hands. It is natural for some to achieve more than others, and that is okay. The fact is, anyone may become a large economic power, in a free market system, but by forcing all economic players to be the same, it kills incentive driven individual innovation, which in the end stifles growth and in the long run kills the economy altogether. Also, while one may complain about large economic powers, it is those same economic powers who fuel the economic engine, creates innovation, and provides jobs for those who have not taken the same kind of entrepreneurial course. Unlike the socialist who wrote the comment, I don’t hate the wealthy and powerful, but instead I would like to someday work my way up to their ranks. I may reach that level of economic success, or I may not, but at least in a free market system I have the allowance to make a stab at it.
“Technically speaking, capitalism requires a strong state, and socialism can exist with no state at all!” Not true at all. The whole concept of capitalism is laissez faire; or, allowing things to take their own course with as little governmental influence as possible. While the pipe dream of socialism is communalism, the very nature of socialism stands against human nature and therefore it ultimately seeks to force people from seeking upward mobility in their economic system. To achieve keeping everyone in line, a strong state must be in place to enforce its brand of communitarianism.
“None of this is especially relevant to the inane proposal in Temecula, however, since there is no push anywhere in the US by the Democratic party to embrace socialist, Marxist, or communist principles, aside from the extremely loose sense used by the poster above.” If this statement were true, then why did the socialists come out in droves to Temecula’s city council meeting on the issue? And the statement about the Democrat Party is wildly inaccurate. The very basis of their platform is a charge in a socialist direction. Among the leading candidates for president is a self-proclaimed socialist, Bernie Sanders. Characters like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez openly cry out for socialism. The reality is, the rest of the democrats scream socialism by another name, and then claim they are not pushing it. It’s very deceptive to say the least. The Democrat Party is all about socialism, and in the case of Temecula’s proposal, socialism is not compatible with the U.S. Constitution, so if Temecula wishes to be a constitutional city, the natural result is that they will have to recognize socialism as being incompatible with the American System.