Oh, That Liberal Fascism
"CNN Host Confronts Whole Foods CEO John Mackey For Calling ObamaCare ‘Fascism:’"
On CNN this morning, host Carol Costello confronted Whole Foods CEO John Mackey over his recent comments that ObamaCare was tantamount to “fascism” because “the government doesn’t own the means of production, but they do control it.”
“You initially labeled the Health Care Act a form of socialism, and then on NPR you called ObamaCare ‘fascism.’ Why did you decide to change the terminology?” Costello asked at the outset.
Echoing his statement yesterday that he regrets using the word “fascism,” Mackey explained, “That was a bad choice of words, but traditionally socialism means that the means of production are run by the government and in fascism the means of production are still owned by private individuals but they’re controlled by the government. And what’s happening. Our health care system is moving away from free enterprise capitalism towards greater governmental control. That was a poor choice of words due to the baggage and associations that go along with it. So now I’m just calling it ‘government-controlled health care.’”
An unsatisfied Costello then challenged Mackey, saying, “You realize when you say ‘fascism,’ it brings up Nazi Germany and all sorts of things. And we really want that kind language out of our public forum at the moment, don’t we?”
“Apparently you can’t use that word in America any longer, it’s taboo,” Mackey fired back.
As Jonah Goldberg (who's written a book that's more than a little germane to the topic) noted in his weekly emailed G-File column today:
None of this surprises me. But it's still quite amazing. The simple fact is that fascism is a uniquely radioactive political term and the Left has an exclusive license to use it. Liberals are allowed to be as glib and cavalier as they want about the use of the word. But if conservatives use it -- entirely accurately -- it is an outrage and a sign of ignorance. Yes, technically, it would have been more accurate, and certainly less controversial, if Mackey had said Obamacare is corporatist -- the economic structure of fascism -- but very few people know what "corporatist" means. [Here's a decent intro -- Ed]
And so you have this carve out for liberals. They get to use the word fascist -- incorrectly -- all of the time. But if a conservative (or in this case a libertarian) uses it accurately, and not particularly pejoratively either, it's offensive or stupid.
Immediately after the above exchange, Costello went into concern troll mode with Mackey:
“I think, though, that many of your customers probably wouldn’t agree with you since, I don’t know, you kind of run a store that appeals to the more liberal in America in some ways,” Costello replied.
“I don’t understand what your question or your point is,” Mackey said.
“I’m just saying some people feel Whole Foods is a politically-correct grocery store because you sell organic goods,” Costello explained. “You’re into health, et cetera, et cetera, and some of your customers might be taken aback because of that.”
“They might be,” the CEO replied. “But I mean, Whole Foods is a very diverse company. We have a multiplicity of opinions. Again, we’re the United States. We have freedom of speech. We’re a democracy. We need to have a variety of opinions shared in order for us to remain a vital and prosperous country.”
Moe Lane paraphrases Costello thusly:
The question was Why are you publicly disagreeing with your customers on a political issue? and the point was HERETIC! UNBELIEVER! Which Mackey almost certainly knew, although I’m not sure that Carol Costello did.
Because, as Moe adds, "apparently J-School doesn’t require much reading of actual, real political theory."
Of course, based on the past history of CNN and the dictators and terrorists their newsreaders, executives, and their founder have championed over the years, one might get the impression that many at CNN are rather comfortable with the idea of fascism. Even if they can't immediately define the F-word, many there certainly sound pretty cool with the idea of personality cults built upon the worship of seemingly unconstrained political power.
Speaking of which, now is the time we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals style:
In 1937, a highly expectant audience of Moscow citizens -- workers, artists, youth, farmers from surrounding towns -- crowded the Bolshoy Theater. They awaited a performance by the Uzbek National Theater, headed by the highly gifted Tamara Khanum. The orchestra was a large one with instruments ancient and modern. How exciting would be the blending of the music of the rich culture of Moussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Khrennikov, Gliere -- with that of the beautiful music of the Uzbeks, stemming from an old and proud civilization.
Suddenly everyone stood -- began to applaud -- to cheer -- and to smile. The children waved.
In a box to the right -- smiling and applauding the audience -- as well as the artists on the stage -- stood the great Stalin.
I remember the tears began to quietly flow. and I too smiled and waved Here was clearly a man who seemed to embrace all. So kindly -- I can never forget that warm feeling of kindliness and also a feeling of sureness. Here was one who was wise and good -- the world and especially the socialist world was fortunate indeed to have his daily guidance. I lifted high my son Paul to wave to this world leader, and his leader. For Paul, Jr. had entered school in Moscow, in the land of the Soviets.
-- American actor-singer Paul Robeson, "To You Beloved Comrade," March 5th, 1953.
And found via Small Dead Animals, from the latest addition to their bulging "Take Me, Obama" files, jammed full of love letters from the MSM to Man Who Would Be King (or God, in Newsweek's eyes), someone with a similarly childlike tone when it comes to interactions with powerful world figures:
Inauguration Day will signal the culmination of an effort I launched on January 20, 2009, to write a letter to the White House every single day of Barack Obama’s first term.
And I do mean every day. Weekends, holidays, when he was on vacation, and when I was on vacation. I wrote in my office, at home, in moving airplanes, cars, trains and even while running through the woods. I wrote early in the morning, in the middle of the day and late at night.
I wrote about things that were important, like unemployment, Afghanistan and women’s rights. I also wrote about things that were trivial, like sports, favorite foods and my yearly battle with Christmas lights.
The tally: 1,460 letters, well over a half-million words, or enough to fill about seven novels. Laid out as one line of text, these letters would stretch almost 3½ miles or considerably longer than the inaugural parade route.
-- "CNN reporter and anchor Tom Foreman has been writing a letter each day, every day, to President Barack Obama since he was inaugurated four years ago. This is his last one." -- CNN.com, today, in yet another example of Muggeridge's Law in action.
"Foreman ended almost every single letter with a request for President Obama to call him or contact him. The President never did. Talk about weird, obsessive behavior!," Poor Richard's News adds.
"I did not intend to get in this deep," Foreman confessed at CNN.com. Well, over time a cult of personality can certainly sneak up on someone as credulous and trusting as a old media journalist.
Incidentally, the 1933 film (FDR-approved, to boot) Gabriel Over the White House is currently distributed on DVD by one of CNN's parent companies, and would likely be viewed as a how-to guide for the modern Democrat president by many at the network:
Related: "Michelle: New Obama outfit to create 'world as it should be.'" What could go wrong this time around, attempting to immanentize the eschaton yet again?