Robert Orr

By Robert F. Orr

Mitch McConnell texted me the other day with an urgent message! If Democrats are elected, particularly Joe Biden, then America will be lost to socialism!

Ok, so Mitch actually texted every breathing Republican with the same message looking for money – not just me. But it was a stark warning to voters, playing on fears about some huge Democratic plot to undermine our economy and allow the government to control everything.

I confess Mitch’s warning reminded me of the famous line from the old movie starring Alan Arkin about a Soviet submarine stuck on a sandbar off the coast of a New England island. The locals, upon discovering the submariners’ presence, panic and their warning sweeps the local countryside: “The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!” It’s a really funny story. The GOP’s fearmongering about a socialist takeover isn’t.

A friend of mine was recently having an engaging “discussion” with a local farmer up in the mountains, who assured my friend she would be headed to eternal damnation if she didn’t vote for Trump. His big fear was that the United States would become a socialist country if Biden is elected. Asked exactly what “socialism” meant to him, his only response was that America would be the next Venezuela. 

One of the recurring themes articulated by the GOP in this election plays on fears that if Democrats are elected, then our government will turn towards socialism. To make sure I knew exactly what they were talking about in raising this specter of socialism, I started checking around. It seems you can find lots of dry books on the subject, but not too much that simplifies the concept.

Finally, I stumbled across an article on the internet that seemed pretty even-handed in its discussion and actually had a definition that I remembered from my ninth graded economics and civics course way back in 1960. For those of you too young to remember, 1960 was the Kennedy – Nixon election and all of us in the class were paying close attention to what that Democrat “liberal” from Massachusetts was proposing. 

The old slogan used by my teacher to describe socialism described it as “from each according to ability, to each according to need.” Pretty simple. What it doesn’t explain is that government makes the determination as to what each person provides and what each person gets. The government owns and controls the means of production. In a socialist economy, public officials control producers, consumers, savers, borrowers and investors by taking over and regulating trade, the flow of capital and other resources.

All of that sounds pretty draconian and scary. However, considering the public’s lack of confidence and faith in government, it’s hard to imagine our country moving toward a truly socialistic economic system.

Then I started thinking about these last few years of the Trump administration and its allies in government, and I had to ask whether the GOP is actually complicit in moving us down the path toward socialism?

Isn’t that what the Trump administration is doing by having an economic policy with the government pumping “borrowed” money into the economy by the billions, if not trillions, of dollars? Isn’t that a socialistic principle of government–regulating and controlling the flow of capital and other resources?

Don’t huge government-imposed tariffs restrict free trade? Don’t huge “targeted” tax breaks for selected big businesses fall within the socialist rubric? 

It would appear that Trump’s policies favoring big businesses are just a different version of government intervention in the economy.

If Democratic proposals for adequate healthcare protecting all Americans, or protecting Social Security, or providing needed unemployment benefits to out-of-work people, constitutes an inexorable march toward a socialistic economic system, then Mitch needs to take an honest look at the policies and practices being advocated for and implemented by the Trump administration. 

Maybe “the socialists are, in fact, coming.” They’re just coming in a big-business version pushed by the Trump administration.  

Robert F. Orr is a retired North Carolina Supreme Court justice and N.C. chair of Republicans For A New President.

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  1. Your Honor
    Your words taste of one who may be too long and too far from calloused hands. As a person who has earned my living under both party’s leadership, I’ve always fared better with the conservatives. Have I and do I always agree with the Republicans? Absolutely not. Do I find agreement with the Democrats, almost never. You seem to disagree with Trump’s trillions in aid being pumped into the economy. It surely would have been multi trillions if Democrats desires were fulfilled. You’d think that one of such shallow pockets as myself might think that tax breaks and policies benefiting big businesses might leave a sour taste in my mouth, but no I have usually did well when big business did well. One truth I’ve always known, I’ve never have and I never will earn a pay day from a poor man.
    Let the wheels of our economy roll, let freedom ring, and elect statesman who will revere the constitution. GO VOTE!!!
    Vaughan Bryant

    • The Ocracoke Observer is an award winning newspaper; it is not a newsletter. The paper covers local and regional events as well as state and national matters relevant to the community and its citizens (who are citizens of the state and nation, as well as Ocracoke). Informing community members about elections and candidates is one of the vital roles of a newspaper. (If the editors disagree with my description I apologize and welcome your corrections.)

      If you don’t want to read political coverage then don’t read it.

  2. Dear Justice Orr, Thank you for this thoughtful piece. It begs the question: Why is it Republicans for a New President and not Republicans for a New Government? Trump has not acted alone. As you point out he accomplished much of what he has done fully supported and aided by other elected Republicans, especially, those in the Senate. It appears to me that we need not only a new President, but a new Senate followed by some new ways of looking at the world as well as governing so we never get in a situation like this again. If the Senate doesn’t change it won’t matter who the President is as we will be stuck with McConnell and his bid to spend our tax money – collected and due in the future – as he wishes with no regard for the interests of all Americans, but only for the benefit a very few.

  3. Just thinking how we have to find some nice place on the coast in the north and abandon our ‘soul spot’ of ocracoke, because of politics, then I read this piece in the little engine that could, the Observer. Think I’ll stick around.

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