Anybody who has watched Morning Joe the previous week has been repeatedly regaled by self-proclaimed conservative host and former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough blast Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for being a “huge authorities socialist.”
Why does Scarborough name DeSantis by this most politically charged and provocative identify?
Nicely, it was actually a second of political opportunism for Scarborough to bash socialism, out of a whole ignorance of what socialism really is.
Scarborough’s anti-socialist rants, although, along with ignorantly characterizing socialism, have been oddly timed for this pandemic second in a approach that truly uncovered and clarified the risks and backwardness of conservative ideology, starkly highlighting the small-government and states-rights components that allow racism, sexism, and different repressive authoritarian politics.
What Scarborough described as “socialism” was DeSantis’s statewide anti-mask mandate, prohibiting companies, faculties, organizations—anybody and any entity—from requiring folks put on masks on their premises to forestall the unfold of the COVID-19 virus. Scarborough went to city on DeSantis, complicated top-down authorities stupidity with socialism. He ranted:
“Feels like a socialist to me. Whenever you’re a governor of a state, and also you’re telling companies, small companies that they will’t run their companies the way in which they need to run their companies, to maintain their shops secure, the way in which they suppose they will maintain their shops secure, and likewise whenever you’re telling native college boards, banning them from taking security measures in their very own areas.
Florida is like 5 completely different states. So go inform any individual in Broward county, a neighborhood college board in Broward county, that they have to do the identical factor that occurs in Walton county, ten hours, twelve hours away, it’s simply ridiculous huge authorities, one measurement matches all socialism. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Let’s first simply begin with the medical stupidity and small-mindedness of Scarborough’s diatribe from a coverage perspective.
To state the plain, we’re coping with a extremely contagious and transmissible virus. The virus doesn’t know native bounds, and it’s plain that one of many largest obstacles to managing the virus in america has been the refusal of particular person states—and people—to deal with the fact of the pandemic and to take measures to implement, and even encourage, behaviors and insurance policies (testing, vaccination, masking, distancing) that may defend us collectively from the virus and curb, if not forestall, its unfold.
Certainly, an enormous cause the nation has not contained the pandemic is exactly as a result of we’ve got not had a nationally-coordinated effort and uniform insurance policies throughout states, such that governors in states like Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, and Texas have license to hazard the remainder of us.
Scarborough’s logic is strictly that which additionally allows the anti-vaccination motion and, frankly, actions to undermine democracy, authentic racism and sexism, and disenfranchise voters.
Certainly, Scarborough’s logic not solely undermines the premise for a nationally-coordinated method to managing the pandemic, but in addition for preserving democracy, voting rights, and civil rights.
Scarborough launches into this argument for the rights of native authorities on the exact second when desperately-needed laws is tenuously within the works in Congress that may create federal legislation to guard the franchise of voters throughout the nation from Republican state legislatures who’re vociferously trying not solely to limit entry to voting but in addition to permit the state legislatures themselves to find out the end result of elections no matter what voters say.
Would such federal motion that helps and defends democracy represent “huge authorities socialism” for Scarborough?
Had been the civil rights and voting rights laws of the Sixties, essentially handed and enforced on federal degree as a result of some states wished to maintain racial injustice and segregation, additionally “huge authorities socialism”?
The thrust of conservative ideology to help state rights has traditionally been an effort to allow states to keep up racist and sexist cultures and societies on the native ranges.
As I wrote final week for PoliticusUsa, our founders imagined democracy as requiring that residents act not out of slender self-interest however out of a way of the general public good. They didn’t think about democratic freedom as one which gave license to every small enterprise, college, group, and even state to do because it pleases no matter its influence on others within the nation.
But that’s what Scarborough’s conservatism requires.
And his rendering of socialism, a political financial system by which all share within the collective fruits of social labor and acknowledge their interdependence, is simply absurd.
There’s not sufficient house right here for a full dialogue, however I’ll refer readers to Albert Einstein’s 1949 essay on socialism which gives a key perception to the issues we face right now. He might have written these phrases right now, in truth:
I’ve now reached the purpose the place I could point out briefly what to me constitutes the essence of the disaster of our time. It considerations the connection of the person to society. The person has turn out to be extra acutely aware than ever of his dependence upon society. However he doesn’t expertise this dependence as a optimistic asset, as an natural tie, as a protecting pressure, however slightly as a risk to his pure rights, and even to his financial existence. Furthermore, his place in society is such that the egotistical drives of his make-up are always being accentuated, whereas his social drives, that are by nature weaker, progressively deteriorate. All human beings, no matter their place in society, are affected by this course of of decay. Unknowingly prisoners of their very own egotism, they really feel insecure, lonely, and disadvantaged of the naive, easy, and unsophisticated enjoyment of life. Man can discover which means in life, brief and dangerous as it’s, solely via devoting himself to society.
We now have seen a run-away individualism within the nation negating any sense or idea of the general public good, exactly as a result of we’ve got not been recognizing our dependence on each other, our interdependence with each other. The failed and chaotic response to the pandemic, significantly in pink states, highlights this breakdown.
Einstein’s socialist perspective calls for we acknowledge the fact of our interdependence. Scarborough’s conservatism, so unaware of the socialism Einstein describes, denies it and poses risks to a wholesome democratic society.
Tim Libretti is a professor of U.S. literature and tradition at a state college in Chicago. A protracted-time progressive voice, he has revealed many tutorial and journalistic articles on tradition, class, race, gender, and politics, for which he has acquired awards from the Working Class Research Affiliation, the Worldwide Labor Communications Affiliation, the Nationwide Federation of Press Girls, and the Illinois Lady’s Press Affiliation.