Commie out the Closet

Last Friday, Bill Maher on his HBO show Real Time called the U.S. a closet socialist nation. This bit from his New Rules segment is BEAUTIFULLY put.

AMEN! I’d subscribe to HBO were my unemployment check bigger.

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4 Responses to “Commie out the Closet”

  1. I’m inclined to consider comedy toxic to political discussions. in comedy, you go for the laugh, but if going for the laugh means characturizing something, glossing over (perhaps important) details, or saying something popular instead of something true for the sake of maintaining appeal, then meaning is lost and the discussion has been derailed and takes that much longer to recover.

    I have a mixed opinion of Mahr but he’s correct in that there is a great deal of inconsistency regarding socialism. I attribute this to two factors:

    First is just outright fear and insecurity, if you’re retired and you don’t have a steady paycheck anymore and the future is uncertain, the natural impulse is to freak out about it (most tea party members are of retirement age). This insecurity in turn can lead to the grasping of anything you think will help you get by.

    the other is that the American public at large, including Mahr don’t understand what socialism really means. Its for this reason I refer to folks as being inconsistent and not hypocritical as there is an element of understanding that I perceive is required.

    Socialism is the public provision (issued by the state) of non public goods (something that could otherwise be privately priced and consumed) and the use of central planning (such as controlling the means of production) to get that done. Now, if that’s something you endorse, I fully accept that and we can have that conversation. But the public at large throws it around because it sounds romantic or disgusting and not because they understand the issue.

    Mahr mentions Switzerland because why not? it’s quaint and has the highest “I’d tap that” per capita. Thing is that the Swiss aren’t that socialized. I mean, yeah, they have high taxes and high welfare but most of their major industries are privatized and they’re into lots of free trade.

    The general problem I have with rants like this is that they are a grab bag of claims; each one needing to be sorted and in a number of cases, discussed separately. Weighing ideas against each other to see which are more worth following is an important social mechanism and one I love, but if someone thinks its more important to be smug and rhetorically masturbate to a public audience, then hey, who am i disagree?

  2. He wasn’t pitching or discussing socialism so much as teasing the hypocrisy of the Right in a way that compares it to another idea they hate – homosexuality – yet many are found to enjoy that as well.

    Thought it was very clever.

  3. First: thank you for responding.

    From a technical standpoint there’s a lot to admire about the structure of the joke and how he develops the theme of conservatives as fiscal closet gays. He delivers it very well.

    All I meant by the prior statement was the issue isn’t hypocracy, it’s ignorance; both are just as damning but come different places and should be addressed differently.

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