photo by Sheri Dixon

Monday, November 7, 2011

"I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Does..."

As promised, today's column is brought to you by a guest blogger who will clarify and define all the different and diverse political trigger words that we've all heard forever but very rarely know the true meanings of.

Without further ado- The Guest Blog.

Misconceptions of Political Systems

Occasionally, whenever you join a conversation (Or even stumble upon a conversation, on, say, the Internet) About politics, religion, etc., you'll find that some people will accuse politicians they don't like of being "Communist" Or "Fascist" Or "Akin to Adolph Hitler". Most of the people who elicit these insults throw it around recklessly, with no idea of what these words actually mean. Basically, in today's culture, if someone is called a "Communist" That means they're a bad person. Nothing more. With no actual study of what the word "Communist" Truly means. The same goes for the word Fascist.

So, I have been invited to briefly define a couple words that have either been bastardized, or that some people would simply enjoy knowing. I will begin with the obvious, Communism.

Communism. Kom-you-niz-um.
A societal, political, and economic theory that promotes abolition of the state, common ownership of the means of production (Factories, tools, machines, resources), abolishment of classes, And a direct-democratic voting system for elections of any and all kinds.
Communist. Kom-you-nist.
A person who promotes and/or believes in Communism.
The misconception of Communism:
The usual misconception of Communism is that it leads to, or is, a totalitarian ideology that oppresses the people, much like in the Soviet Union. But, contrary to the belief, the Soviet Union was not Communist, not even Socialist, but was Totalitarian politically and State Capitalist economically.

Socialism. So-shul-iz-um.
1: A blanket term used to represent the many different Socialisms, including such theories as Trotskyism, Stalinism, and Marxism.
2: A transition phase between Capitalism and Communism in Marxist ideology. It is used to economically rejuvenate the nation after a revolution. Unlike Communism, Socialism still has a more-or-less intact state, but as the society continues towards superabundance and increasing of freedoms, the state gradually dissipates, giving way to Communism.

The misconception of Socialism:
The common misconception of Socialism is that in a Socialist society, no one is allowed to own anything, and the government and politicians are ultra-rich. But, this is not true, as many things can be personally owned in a Socialist society, but if you, say, have a garden that has grown full crops, you take what you need and give the rest to the society, basically making it impossible for any number of people to have to go hungry. Another misconception (As it needs to be addressed) Is that a minority of people in a Socialist society have to work extremely hard to support the majority that doesn’t want to work. But, since money has been abolished, these people don’t need to be “Supported”. Without wage-labor, the requirement for mass labor in meticulously mundane jobs has also been abolished, allowing for people to simply do the job they want, and not the job they need.

Marxism. Marks-iz-um.
1: A political ideology that strictly follows Marxist ideals and tendencies, instead of, say, Trotskyism, Stalinism, and the like.
2: An ideology that simply promotes the plethora of different Socialist systems and beliefs.
Marxist. Marks-ist.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Marxism.
The misconception of Marxism:
People who misconceive Marxism basically think of it the same way they think of Socialism and Communism. To be called a “Marxist” Has become quite an insult in recent years, and people such as President Barrack Obama have been accused of being Marxists many multiple times, whether or not they truly are.

Fascism. Fash-iz-um.
The Political, Societal, and Economic ideology that promotes Nationalism, oppression of movements and ideas that conflict with those the leaders hold, Authoritarianism/Totalitarianism, and opposition to a variety of Political systems, including Capitalism and Socialism.
Fascist. Fash-ist.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Fascism.
The misconception of Fascism:
Fascism, like Communism and Socialism, is a buzzword. When said, it instantly incites a reaction, simply because it has been made such an ugly word over the past decades. Many people (On both sides of the political spectrum, mind you) misconceive the word Fascism. When someone says, “[Well-known Presidential candidate] Is a Fascist!” They are falsely accusing someone of something. If there were a true Fascist presidential candidate, not many people would support him/her. Many people should recognize the recklessness of throwing around the word “Fascism”, just as throwing around the word “Communism” Is reckless.

Capitalism. Kap-it-ul-iz-um.
The Socioeconomic (But not Political) Ideology that allows for Private Ownership (Both of the means of production and of commodities), the establishment of a Class Society,
Wage-labor, and creation and sale of goods mainly for profit.
Capitalist. Kap-it-ul-ist.
Someone who promotes or supports Capitalism.
The misconception of Capitalism:
Capitalism is often misconceived as a perfect (Or even the best) Socioeconomic system. But, Capitalism, like all societal, economic and political systems, has its flaws. It is vulnerable to such agreeably dislikable ideologies such as Social Darwinism and Plutocracy (Both of which I will get to in a moment).

Democracy. Dem-ok-ruh-see.
A Sociopolitical (But not Economic) System that endorses the ability of the people to be able to have say in the choices that affect their lives. Usually accompanied alongside Democracy are the equality of all genders, races and religions (Or Irreligion thereof), The abolition of Tyranny or unfair amounts of power centered specifically in Governmental office, and the main center of focus being the People.
Democrat. Dem-oh-krat.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Democracy.
The misconception of Democracy:
The usual misconception of Democracy is that the United States is the best role model for Democracy the world over. It is not. There have been too many cases of the exploitation of the people by the hands of the corporations and politicians to call America a perfect Democracy, much less the role model of Democracy. The United States is more of a fickle mixture of many different Societal, Economic, and Political theories.

Republic. Re-pub-lik.
The Sociopolitical (But not Economic) System that endorses supreme control over the government by the people, the ability of the people (Or at least a majority of them) To vote on affairs that affect their lives, and assurance of basic Democratic freedoms.
Republican. Re-pub-lik-an.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Republic.
The misconception of Republic:
Republicanism is very strongly misconceived as Tea-Party Neo-conservatism, or, at least, the Tea-Party Neoconservative movement is bastardizing Republicanism. Tea-Party Neo-conservatism is a much more radical ideology than Republicanism, and promotes things such as Social Darwinism and Corporatocracy. The Tea-Party Neoconservative movement is simply using the banner of Republicanism.

Oligarchy. Ole-uh-gark-ee.
The Political (But not Societal or Economic) System that endorses the rule of the state by a small group of individuals that are privileged to do so, either because of the family they are from, ties with others they have, election by the people or the Oligarchs in power, or by military conquest.
Oligarch. Ole-uh-gark.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Oligarchy. Alternatively, someone who is a member of the elite class of Oligarchs in an Oligarchic society.
The misconception of Oligarchy:
There are few-to-none misconceptions about Oligarchy. It is not a widely discussed topic, and is neither controversial nor belonging to popular opinion.

Theocracy. Thee-ok-ruh-see.
A Sociopolitical (But not Economic) System that promotes the use of spiritual scripture as a guiding set of rules for the entire nation, powerful religiosity as a requirement for election into political office, and spirituality as a social norm.
Theocrat. Thee-oh-krat.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Theocracy. Alternatively, someone who is in a place of power in a Theocracy.
The misconception of Theocracy:
There are very few misconceptions of Theocracy, and it is rarely discussed in political media.

Social Darwinism. So-shull Darr-win-iz-um.
Social Darwinism is a societal factor (But not a Societal, Economic, or Political system) that endorses Laissez-faire Capitalism, competition between ethnic, religious, and class groups, and the application of the “Survival of the Fittest” Ideology to society at large.
Social Darwinist. So-shull Darr-win-ist.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Social Darwinism.
The misconceptions of Social Darwinism:
A fair number of mainstream American politicians believe that creating a system akin to Social Darwinism would be good for the United States. Being that Social Darwinism literally applies Evolutionary theory to societal issues, it would only become more defunct as time passes, eventually leading to a minority of the richest and their families, and a majority of the poor. I won’t start a rant now, as I have other things to address.

Plutocracy. Ploo-tok-ruh-see.
The Political (But not Societal or Economic) System that allows for political power to come with wealth, thus making a Plutocratic nation a state ruled by its wealthiest citizens.
Plutocrat. Ploo-toh-krat.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Plutocracy. Alternatively, a ruling member of a Plutocratic state.
The misconceptions of Plutocracy:
There are very few misconceptions of Plutocracy, as it is not a very well known word and idea. But it is worth noting that the United States is quite akin to Plutocracy, albeit an un-official one.

Anarchism. An-ar-kiz-um.
The Sociopolitical (But not economic) System that advocates repression of the State, opposition to governmental authority, and endorsement of some form of Economic Market and Private Property.
Anarchist. An-ar-kist.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Anarchism.
The misconceptions of Anarchism:
The common misconception of Anarchism is a caricature of its true ideals. Many seem to believe that Anarchism is the utmost in chaos, where there is no social order and crime is rampant. Even though there is no state in an Anarchist society, social order would still be maintained by the citizens. There seems to be a jump-to conclusion in most people’s brains when they hear the words “Abolition of the State”.

Anarchy. An-ar-kee.
The Sociopolitical (But not Economic) System that promotes reluctance to use (Or abolition of the ability to use) violence, propaganda, or overbearing authority by the state.
Anarchist. An-ar-kist.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Anarchy (Not to be confused with Anarchist (Anarchism)).
The misconceptions of Anarchy:
Anarchy receives basically the exact same misconceptions as Anarchism, and the two Ideologies are used interchangeably, even though they are not the same thing.

Kleptocracy. Klep-tok-ruh-see.
The Sociopolitical (But not Economic) factor (But not system) that advocates the exploitation of the lower classes by the higher classes for wealth and power.
Kleptocrat. Klep-toh-krat.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Kleptocracy. Alternatively, someone in a place of power in a Kleptocratic state.
The misconceptions of Kleptocracy:
Kleptocracy is a very underused word, even more so than Plutocracy. But, it is worth mentioning that the United States today does have very apparent Kleptocratic elements.

As a final word, I would just like to say that politics is a very important subject. The political structure of a country dictates nearly every aspect of its citizens’ lives, and thus I believe it is very important for the citizens of every country to pay special attention to educating themselves on different political theories and ideas. Please always remember to stay informed on the latest political news, and arm yourself with knowledge that could pay off greatly in the future.

Today's blog was brought to you by my son, Alec- age 11.
(and I watched him type it up- every word came right out of his head.)


  1. You're a smart guy, Alec! Don't let anyone ever tell you differently.

  2. You are definitly a keeper Alec! Oh yeah, you are pretty darn cute too ; )