Jonah Goldberg: “Please, just don’t call it ‘socialism.’”

NY Post:

Polling done by Rasmussen shows that while Republicans favor “capitalism” over “socialism” by 11 to 1, Democrats favor capitalism by a mere 39 percent to 30 percent. So, again: Is it really crazy to think that there is a constituency for some flavor of socialism in the Democratic Party?

When the question is aimed at them like an accusation, liberals roll their eyes at such “paranoia.” They say Obama is merely reviving “New Deal economics” to “save” or “reform” capitalism. But liberals themselves have long seen this approach as the best way to incrementally bring about a European-style, social democratic welfare state.

Part of the problem here is definitional. No mainstream liberal actually wants government to completely seize the means of production, and no mainstream conservative believes that there’s no room for any government regulation or social insurance. Both sides believe in a “mixed economy” but disagree profoundly about where to draw the line.

Personally, I think socialism is the wrong word for all of this. “Corporatism” — the economic doctrine of fascism — fits better. Under corporatism, all the big players in the economy — big business, unions, interest groups — sit around the table with government at the head, hashing out what they think is best for everyone to the detriment of consumers, markets and entrepreneurs. But, take it from me, liberals are far more open to the argument that they’re “crypto-socialists.”

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