Matt Bai: socialism on par with tyranny – an enemy justifying violence
If there’s a journalist that best represents the smug and unreflective nature of the New York Times, it has to be Matt Bai. In his latest article, Bai outrageously identifies socialism as an “enemy” on par with “tyranny”; an enemy so dire it would apparently justify armed violence:
In fact, much of the message among Republicans last year, as they sought to exploit the Tea Party phenomenon, centered — like the Tea Party moniker itself — on this imagery of armed revolution. Popular spokespeople like Ms. Palin routinely drop words like “tyranny” and “socialism” when describing the president and his allies, as if blind to the idea that Americans legitimately faced with either enemy would almost certainly take up arms. (Highlight added)
These are very strong words that should not readily be dismissed. At what level of socialism, I wonder, would Bai consider armed violence justifiable – public education, socialized health care along the lines of Britain, nationalized utilities and banks, tax rates of 90% on great wealth, a guaranteed job for all, Scandinavian levels of social democracy? At what point does socialism become an enemy justifying the taking up of arms?
Either Bai doesn’t understand the history of socialist ideas, which have nothing to do with the communist totalitarianism of Stalin or Mao, or the only difference between he and the Palin crowd is the degree of leftward movement that is required to justify violence. Bai demonstrates either ignorance or an underlying undemocratic, if not fascist, bias.
I’m not sure what Bai really meant by his careless remarks and it’s doubtful he gave much thought to their implications. In an article devoted to criticizing right wing excess, Bai ends up validating their ultimate aims and their rhetoric of violence. It’s a sloppy piece of work all too typical of Bai and the New York Times.