The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer says conservative Evangelical Christians view President Obama as “the avatar of godless socialism”. Do American Christian conservatives use ‘socialist’ to mean ‘insufficiently religious’? If so, their usage parallels that of Osama bin Laden.
“Socialism” and “liberalism” are poorly defined in US politics; the former is over-applied to left-of-center positions, and the latter used in two almost reverse ways. “Neoliberalism” is a hot topic in contemporary anthropology, but the word is sometimes used without sufficient reflection. One way to spot the best work is to look for authors who take pains to define the terms.
The word socialism seems to be much in vogue in the United States recently, primarily as an epithet for one’s political opponents, especially for representatives of the Obama Administration or the Democratic Party, but also for “the Media” collectively.
I was therefore pleasantly surprised to find two recent blog posts pointing out how this usage differs from the traditional definition of socialism as a political position.