Friday, October 3, 2008

Field Guide to Republican Tics

Not to worry, I'm not going to burden you with a complete or even partial Field Guide to Republican Tics here. But I thought I would shine a light on a few of them - and from time to time add more - and perhaps, someday, I'll put all of these together in a proper published Field Guide.

Just to be clear, these are not just points of disagreement I have with Republicans. Rather, they are errors of fact, or syntax, which I and no doubt you have been hearing for years.

Let's start, in this post, with three of them:

1. Any governmental involvement in the economy, health care system, what have you, is "socialist". Republicans have been saying this recently about Obama's health care plan, for example, and some Republicans indicated the bailout plan, just passed today, is "socialism".

And that's just wrong, and therefore a tic, because:

Socialism is the doing away of private enterprise, and the taking of all it over, by government.

Pumping money into the economy, offering universal health care paid for by government to all who want it, is nothing of the sort. Rather, it is an attempt to help private enterprise (in the case of the bailout), or provide an alternative to private enterprise (in the case of health care). Thus, these positions seek to help, and work with, not abolish, private enterprise. They are examples not of socialism, but of Keynesian economics. (Much the same incorrect claims of socialism were made about FDR, by the way.)

2. We live in a republic, not a democracy. Republicans like to say this, I guess, because they think it favorably contrasts their party with the Democratic Party.

But it's plain and simply wrong, and therefore a tic, because:

A republic is a form of democracy - a republic is a kind of representative democracy. That's what my Funk and Wagnalls' Dictionary right here on my desk says, and what any good dictionary should tell you.

3. And saving the cherished chestnut for last: Republicans like to talk about the "Democrat" Party. I guess this is because Republicans don't like identification of the Democrats as democratic, even though that spelling would be Democratic.

But that's ungrammatical, and therefore a tic, because:

Using a noun (Democrat) as a adjective (Democrat Party) is incorrect usage - look in any grammar book.

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So, that's a start. There are dozens of others, and I'll try post them here from time to time. I may even include a Democratic tic or two, if I can find any...

Added 17 October 2008
: See also New Republican Tic: "Spreading the Wealth"

Added 4 February 2009: Even before Barack Obama assumed office, Republicans were already pounding out a revisionist history of the New Deal - that FDR's policies prolonged the Great Depression. In reality, as these Gross Domestic Product and other statistics in Charles McMillion's informative The "FDR Failed" Myth show, FDR's policies had returned the economy by 1936 to its position in 1929, before the crash. Look for Republicans to keep beating the drum on this one, in a desperate rear-guard action along the lines of freedom is slavery, and peace is war in George Orwell's 1984.
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