Shadowboxing Socialism, The Strawman That Just Won’t Die

I kind of pity Michael Moore. Once upon a time he was doing pretty well for himself in the political sphere. Bowling for Columbine propelled the documentary maker into the national public consciousness, and asked some tough questions about the Columbine massacre that transcended the incident itself and directed a tough cross examination towards the American Culture.

The following hit, Farenheit 911, was lauded by liberals who were hoping that as the documentary hit theaters just in time for the 2004 election it would have an appreciable effect on George W. Bush’s chances at reelection. And that’s where everything went wrong for Moore.

I think a lot of people on the left were letting their hopes ride on the back of the vocal Michael Moore going into November 2004, and when he failed to deliver the defeat that his very presence seemed to promise, it was as if the entire mainstream liberal movement kind of turned their back on him.

On his own merits, it’s something of a phenomenon that Moore ever got as far as he did. He’s extreme, and a sensationalist. Something that always struck me with 911 wasn’t that he went too far, but that he didn’t go far enough, and it seemed as though he was pulling punches in favor of dramatizing the thing.

Whatever the case, since that fateful November, Michael Moore has lost both credibility and clout, and it is almost a given that the buzz of his next movie, Sicko, is not likely to reach the levels that 911 did.

This doesn’t stop him from being a favorite punching bag of the right, and a very interesting one at that. It is, of course, his own fault for being the fall guy; Moore has never stopped trying to regain the clout he had in pre Nov. 2nd America. So when he tried to pick a healthcare fight with soon to be announced GOP candidate Fred Thompson earlier this year, it’s no wonder that Thompson pretty effectively turned Moore into the punchline of his own conservative snortripper on youtube.

And again, we see conservative blogger Rob of Say Anything beating up on old Mikey Moore for not only his new movie, but his socialist approach to the pirate release of it. This is not only a sad attempt at trying to trip up a left wing extremist (Rob lays a pretty lame trap for Moore by showing his movie, and then daring Moore to tell him to take it down so he can call Moore out for the capitalist that he is), but it is highly indicative of the kind of fearmongering attack that conservatives have clutched onto since the cold war.

Moore doesn’t care about copyright laws. Which isn’t surprising, since most socialists don’t care about private property. That’s why the left is always so eager to seize the wealth of citizens through taxes and redistribute it according to their whims. Hillary Clinton has pretty much made wealth redistribution the centerpiece of her campaign for the presidency. Moore’s movie, in fact, may as well be a campaign ad for Hillary and her endless drive for socialized medicine. All examples of how these liberals don’t respect the private property of the citizenry or the principles of personal responsibility.

The subtext is pretty hard to ignore, really. Essentially, all liberals want to rob you blind, and that rich liberal socialists (like Moore, Clinton, and Kerry, I know he’s not mentioned, but you can almost see the writer’s frustration upon not being able to squeeze him in) are really just pissed off because there are other people richer than them and not sharing the wealth.

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. People such as myself who are not religiously anti-tax don’t LOVE taxes, but realize them as a necessary. At the birth of this country, the governing document that preceded the Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, provided no means for the federal government to collect taxes. It was a nice idea, one in which people just kinda volunteered money to the federal government, but as it turned out, it didn’t work very well.

So I don’t see taxes as particularly evil. I see them as a necessity wherein we pay for services that we can’t provide ourselves and would be detrimental to privatize (like, say, Social Security).

But on the right, it’s almost as though we are still fighting the commies, we liberal pinko socialists (of which I am actually not. I’m a greedy capitalist pig like most of my friends) are trying to redistribute the wealth out of YOUR pockets and give it to no good lazy heathens who don’t believe in God and would rather spend that money on a bottle of Wild Turkey or Rasberry Ripple than get a job and be a part of the American Dream.

Did I get it all of it? Yeah, I think I did.

In the meanwhile, it is a semi effective way of shooting down actual issues that people care about. An overwhelming majority of folks in the US want some sort of “socialized medicine” because our privatized healthcare has become too expensive, doesn’t cover enough people, and often times is laden with pitfalls and trapdoors that can leave people who do have plans in the lurch.

I’ve always been on the pro side of the universal healthcare issue because though I am a capitalist, I feel the protection of life kind of transcends the need for profit. When someone is lying on an Emergency Room table bleeding out, the question of whether he is insured or not shouldn’t even be spoken. This is a moral view for me.

Save the life.

One thing that the OTHER Thompson GOP candidate, Tommy, pointed out during the last Republican debate was that preventative healthcare can actually be good for the country as a whole, and I agree. Work places LOSE money when too many of their workers get sick and are forced to take time off for corrective healthcare.

And the whole point is that universal healthcare is not something that should be boiled down to a bumper sticker campaign. It is not just something that the majority wants, but there are good reasons behind them wanting it. But so long as we still exist in the shadow of the very memory of the cold war and the anti-socialism rhetoric, we will see blow hards equating universal healthcare with foresaking god and turning America into a communist nation.

And for what? So we don’t put HMO’s in risk of losing a profit?

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