Extreme right-wingers seem to be bandying about these terms interchangeably these days. I really don't get it. Why does the media focus on the idiots at the fringe? Why do they get so much airtime? They annoy me just as much as the extreme left-wingers who claim that 9/11 was the work of the Bush government. Then there's the comparison with Hitler (for both presidents). But that's another matter. Seriously. Why don't we hear more about people like this guy?
Anyway, so I keep hearing about how the Obama government is turning America into a Socialist nation... or maybe it's a Communist nation... no wait... it's Fascist. Either way it's apparently undermining the foundations of our republic and turning us into Russia... or maybe it's China... no wait... maybe it's Nazi Germany. Oh yes, before I get accused of being a crazy liberal let me say (as a disclaimer) that yes, I do lean a little bit left-of-center, but I don't agree with everything the left says. I'm also not a fan of big government. That being said, let's analyze three different political ideologies and see what they actually mean.
Communism is a political ideology as well as an economic system. Communism aims to create a classless society where everybody is equal. In an ideal communist-society, there is no government and everybody owns everything. People are nice to each other and no one really has any desire for power. It's one big party. Communism sounds pretty nice in principle. But since human beings are far from perfect and since there are many who are power-hungry and greedy, communism is impractical. Now obviously the United States is quite far away from being a communist nation. Firstly we are neither classless nor egalitarian. Finally, we have a government. Those who accuse the Obama government of turning America "communist" do so because they say that the government is getting too big - which contradicts what communism is about. Besides this main point, there are numerous other points that make America not communist, and that also show that it is not moving in that direction. Anyone who takes the time to look up what Communism really means, can see that. Those who say otherwise are either ignorant, deceitful, or fear-mongering.
Fascism isn't a party. Actually it's kinda like a party except the hosts tell you exactly what you have to do. You are also supposed to have fun even if the party consists of just knitting and cutting colored paper into random shapes. If you don't have fun, you can be killed or put in prison. Hell, even if you are having fun but the hosts don't think you are, you can still be thrown in prison... or killed. Also, don't even think of saying that the party sucks. You will be killed. Oh yeah, you also go around trashing other people's parties and killing them also. Fascism is a radical ideology. It advocates a nationalistic and authoritarian single-party state. Fascists believe that a nation (or people) can only advance by being in perpetual conflict with other nations (or people). The weak perish and the strong survive. Fascist governments are authoritarian and dictatorial. There is suppression of free speech, and opposition against the government is not tolerated. It's rather obvious that the United States if far from being a Fascist nation. Also, in no way is the current administration "Fascist" in any way (neither was the Bush administration). "Fascist" has turned into an adjective that people use, to label governments whose policies they do not like. The fact that those on the extreme right can speak and make their (ridiculous) theories heard points to the fact that the Obama administration is far from "Fascist". If the administration truly was Fascist, we wouldn't be hearing these dissenting (and downright crazy) opinions. So if you hear anyone use the term "Fascist", ask them what it actually means. You'll find that they really don't know what they're talking about.
Socialism isn't a concrete doctrine or ideology like Communism or Fascism. It's a set of theories of economic organization which advocate a society where the public or workers directly own and administer the means of production and its distrubtion and allocation. A socialist society is characterized by equal access to resources through an egalitarian method of compensation. Sounds nice, but once again, impractical. Human nature prevents a practical implementation of socialism. Finally I think most people are averse to a system where everything is publicly owned. People want something that they can call "theirs". Socialism in its purest form results in Communism. Now most rational people will look at Socialism and think of it as an idea that's nice and utopian, but ultimately impractical. Although socialism tries to address the inequalities between people, human nature will always get in the way. You either end up with free loaders living off those who work, or you end up with the ones with resources opressing everyone else. The fact remains that the United States is committed to being a capitalist nation. Forgive me for being cynical here, but the coporations and the politicians will never allow anything else. There's simply too much money in being Capitalist. Furthermore, if you analyze the Obama administration's policies they're not really Socialist. They're actually anti-worker and pro-corporate. Ironically, the final act of the Bush Administration was more Socialist than anything else: bailing out Wall Street. So if you hear more extreme right-wing nonsense about "OMG SOCIALISM", ask them exactly what it means and how these policies are Socialist. They may come back with vague statements about how Obama is "redistributing the wealth" or "promoting Government interference" or something like that. Redistribution of wealth by itself is not a "Socialist" policy. It will alleviate some problems, but it's not going to cause true economic change. For the United States to actually turn Socialist, a lot of things have to change. None of that is happening. The American people won't let it happen. "Socialism", like "Obama is Kenyan" is another red herring thrown out by the extreme-right. Rational folks, on the left and the right, don't take such things seriously.
No government is universally accepted by the people. There are always critics and detractors. What I'm generally sad about is the current state of political debate (if it can even be called that) in our country (and it's not limited to the current "debate". It dates back to the early days of the Bush administration). It's full of vitriol, fear-mongering, and hyperbole. In general I wish the media would focus on rational views from the moderate left and the moderate right. There is very real rational opposition to the Obama administration's plans, and there are very real concerns. These are the things American people need to hear instead of garbage like "Bush planned 9/11" or "Obama is not actually an American and he wants to kill all the old people!".