Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Republicans and Comrade Stalin

First, the Republicans sold everybody the myth that they are the party of regular folks. Which was quite a feat since in reality they are the champions of the super rich. Then, they convinced people that they defend limited governmental intrusion into citizens' lives. Which was even more of an accomplishment since they favor the strength of government and its participation in every aspect of our lives at a level that would make Comrade Stalin give them a standing ovation.

A glaring example of the Republicans' Big Brother strategies is, of course, the Patriot Act. These are some of the measures that this anthem of authoritarianism made legal: "The Act increases the ability of law enforcement agencies to search telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other records; eases restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the United States; expands the Secretary of the Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and enhances the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expands the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the USA PATRIOT Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied.." Comrade Stalin would have definitely approved of this incredible erosion of civil liberties.

If somebody wants to argue that this was a one-time instance of the Republicans veering off the course of steady support for a limited government in view of terrorist attacks, Comrade Stalin and I would have to laugh in your face. Anti-abortion and abstinence-only sex education policies that Republicans love so much come straight out of Stalin's textbook. In many respects, Comrade Stalin turned the most intimate, long-cherished dreams of the Republicans into reality. In 1936, Stalin banned abortion, restricted access to any sort of contraception, started punishing doctors who still performed abortions by death, and eliminated any possibility of any kind of sex ed in schools. This egregious governmental intrusion into the people's own bodies is an ideal shared by the Republicans as well as the Stalinists.

I'm far from idealizing the Democrats. They are very annoying sometimes. Most times, actually. But in a competition for Comrade Stalin's support and amiration, the Republicans would win with very little effort.


Tom Carter said...

I understand political criticism of parties and individuals, but comparing Republicans or Democrats in the U.S. to Stalin and his regime defies logic and common sense.

The Patriot Act has been great fodder for the left. Their arguments and objections, however, have necessarily been theoretical because of a lack of examples of people who have actually been directly harmed by the existence of the Act. One of the glaring differences between Stalin's totalitarian regime and government in the U.S. is that restrictions on the power of government, including government action under the Patriot Act, actually exist.

Clarissa said...

This was a facetious post, Tom. Of course, I don't think that the Republicans are really like Stalin. But what I really don't like are simplifications. I don't think they are useful in politics. Saying "Republicans are always for limited government in all cases" and "the Democrats are always against" is not, in my view, a productive way of analyzing differences between these parties.