There has been a lot of talk about how the US is now a socialist country (e.g.). It is and it isn’t.
First, communism has been popular in the US for a long time.
Second, the ship sailed a long time ago. A revolution has not just taken place, it took place a long time ago. As Garet Garrett put it, The Revolution Was.
The best author on this subject is John T. Flynn. Basically, it was agreed during the Great Depression – by the people who decide these things – that relatively free markets were longer acceptable. Nations had to find a new way. Russia, Germany and Italy pioneered new ways to organize society. What’s not recognized is that the US did so as well. Our mastermind was FDR. He admired Mussolini (this book has assembled enough information to convince anyone), but Mussolini-style fascism wouldn’t work in the US. We came up with our own version of . . . well, whatever you want to call it. I think it looks more like fascism than socialism.
(For example, under the health care, it’s safe to assume small health care companies will die and big ones will become highly profitable. The big ones will not be taken over as they would be in socialism, but they will act like arms of the state, as in fascism.)
The American Depression-era alternative to free markets is FDR’s own system. It’s easiest to call it the New Deal. As always, we can turn to the best historian of the 20th Century around:
Yes. FDR (like Lincoln) was a dictator. He governed America more or less personally by decree. Obviously, many people worked for USG in FDR’s time; but, as with a normal corporate CEO, none could flout his will and survive professionally. FDR was not quite in charge of the courts; Lincoln could disregard the judicial process, but FDR couldn’t. However, these exceptions should be seen as minor details in an overall pattern of general personal government.
Those who hanker for a New Deal 2.0 should remember that FDR invoked a permanent state of emergency in 1933, just like Hitler. And just like Hitler, he ruled for life. For the next 12 years, he and his minions governed America by whim, like Dick Cheney cubed. It’s true that FDR found himself constrained by the Supreme Court. It’s not (entirely) true that when he fought the Court, he lost. And there was certainly no one else in America who could contend with him!
(Nor was FDR, as commonly asserted, a "traitor to his class" – anything but it. FDR’s beliefs, or at least his speeches (in one so seldom praised for candor, the inference of any actual conviction is at best an exercise of imagination) can indeed be studied as almost perfect reflections of the intellectual fashions of America’s apex upper class, the socialite-socialist aristocracy. These fashions have changed somewhat since 1933, but not that much.)
FDR could not, it’s true, order someone arrested or shot for no reason at all. At least, not so far as I know. We still have a lot to learn about this era. FDR did not have the powers of Lincoln, who could have anyone arrested, and did – but not shot. Lincoln was no Lenin or Hitler. For the purpose of managing the normal operations of government, however, FDR, Lincoln, Lenin, Hitler, Henry VIII, Cromwell and Napoleon exercised more or less the same level of authority: personal sovereignty.
There were many opponents of FDR’s system. Some still exist, but they were purged from the mainstream Conservative movement by Buckley and then the rest were pushed aside during the Reagan era.
If Conservatives follow their normal modus operandi, they will object like hell to the health care take over and then roll over and accept it after a couple years. In the future you will be considered a reactionary-extremist if you opposed the health care bill. If you continue to object, you’ll be purged from the mainstream movements and no longer invited to the fancy cocktail parties.