Every new political cycle has slightly different rhetoric, doesn't it? And is that rhetoric getting progressively more socialist? Closer to outright Stalinism?
In 1992, when Bill Clinton was running, I called him a socialist. But, they said, he wasn't a socialist. He just wanted to (and did) raise taxes to pay for a massive expansion in social programs and government regulations. The results were the largest single tax increase in the history of the planet Erf, and the first-ever retro-active tax increase, supposedly to cover huge expansions in Medicare and other federal aid programs. Not socialist at all, right?
In 2008, when Barack Obama was running, I called him socialist. But his supporters shouted us down, saying that he wasn't socialist, he was simply a moderate liberal who wanted to - and did - increase government control over individuals' lives through increased government regulation of the private sector, especially the healthcare industry, and increase the size and scope of the federal government through deficit spending and massive increases in backdoor tax revenues. Again, no socialists here. Nope. None at all. Just free healthcare and Obamaphones for the masses.
Today, I'm sitting at my desk, watching the political discourse unfold between some of the various atheist and agnostic groups I follow, and I can't help being amazed at the number of people who don't appear to have learned a thing from (even recent) history. They're drawing a distinction between socialism, which some of them agree is bad, and Hillary Clinton's version of Bernie Sanders's democratic socialism, which they evidently feel is the good kind of socialism. Which, if you ask me, is kind of like talking about the good kind of being raped in the ass with a broom handle.
It's not socialism, its supporters might say. Maybe it's just democratic socialism, or maybe it's just American Liberalism, or maybe it's just an extension of the Obama era government expansions. You know, that thing you get when you increase the size and scope of the federal government to expand social programs, raise taxes to pay for additional government functions, and tighten down on the private sector through the use of anti-business policies and a larger, more powerful regulatory structure. Which leaves me wondering: What would these people have to see, before they start calling it what it is? Do we have to run ads featuring Hillary Clinton in a Chairman Mao uniform, with the little red star on her hat? While Hillary and Donald Trump are bickering about bullshit and calling each other puppets, no one seems to notice that she's still talking about the same collectivist, Maoist, Occupy-Wall-Street rhetoric that Sanders used about the top one percent and the evil corporations who aren't paying their fair share.
Because what gets lost in all of this pro-big-government talk is that individual drive that made this country a worthwhile place to live in; the individual personal drive that causes people to become doctors or entrepreneurs or scientists or any of the other professions it takes to make the country work. Political rhetoric shouldn't be about what the government can provide for those who are either unable or unwilling to provide for themselves,. it should be about inspiring people to become something more than they are today. And collectivist politics is a great way to destroy that.