A few definitions for your reading pleasure

a la Merriam Webster online:

Fascism: a political philosophy, movement or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized, autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible oppression of opposition.

Examples? Augusto Pinochet in Chile, who came to power after the CIA-backed overthrow of democratically-elected president Salvador Allende. Click here for more info on Pinochet. Or, Franco’s Spain. Or, most recently, the Bush administration: think of, “Love it, or leave it;” the demonization of Islam and its followers or the numerous tactics utilized by the previous administration and many current Republicans which pit Us versus Them in the name of furthering the hegemony of the U.S. state.

Autocrat: a person ruling with unlimited authority

autocracy: a government in which one person possesses unlimited power

Examples? The end of habeus corpus in the U.S. under the Bush Administration; the Patriot Act and the silent revocation of civil liberties; Bush as “the Decider” and, ” the Cheney Branch of government” in which, according to our esteemed former VP, an elected official can forego the checks-and-balances of our political system.

Socialism: any of various political and economic theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.

My two cents: If the worst we can do as a nation is go socialist, Christians need to re-evalue their value system to examine exactly why they object to such a system, or evaluate their belief that this is a “Christian-Right nation” (which it isn’t…but anyways). As I’ve written before, I can see how such a communal-minded political system might repulse citizens of such an individual-gratifying country.

Moreover, the development economic systems of the Southern Cone countries in South America in which trade unions flourished and more equitable prosperity was spreading throughout these countries only ended when international investors were threated by such policies. Similar to the ouster of Allende in Chile, the CIA swept in, overthrew the government, ushered in military dictatorships and decades of oppression and poverty for the masses at large. Democratic socialism was working for these countries- it works for the Scandinavian countries-  it only ended in the South American countries because free market economists paired with the U.S. government, multinationals such as Ford, and the military in Argentina and Chile to violently suppress dissent and squash the populace (see Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine, for starters or any recent history monograph on South America). Tell me again how this resembles anything President Obama has done??? In four months, no less?

Communism: a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed; a final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are distributed equitably.

another two cents: Communism, as Eric pointed out, is an economic system. It is an ideal and the history of communism in U.S.S.R. is not the best way to gauge the viability of the theory of communism. Regina, if you read this, could you expound upon this in the comments? You know much more about this than Eric or I do.

State capitalism: an economic system in which private capitalism is modified by a varying degree of government ownership and control.

Examples? The U.S. economic system, since the very beginning and to this day.

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