Video: What exactly is socialism?

Good question, says NRO’s Kevin Williamson to Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie in this interview. People tend to confuse regulatory states with socialism, and vice versa. Williamson has just published The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism, and Gillespie walks him through a few of the commonly-thought examples of American socialism. ObamaCare? In theory no, but in practice, yes. Public schools? You bet; government owns the means of production. How about Sweden, an example hailed and reviled on the Right and Left, depending on the argument? You’ll be surprised at Williamson’s answer:

What’s the real definition of socialism? How is it distinct from regulation and a social welfare state? Why are intellectuals still enamored of a system that brought us Stalin, Hitler, and more recently Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong-Il? And what can the United States learn from Sweden about free enterprise and capitalism?

It can learn that the socialist model fails even where people have largely supported it. As Williamson notes, the Swedes have been moving towards free-market capitalism over the past several years, thanks to the dysfunction that socialism creates. It’s a good interview, and the book looks like a fun read.

In fact, maybe the people running General Motors should buy a few copies for themselves:

In late 2010, General Motors agreed to sponsor a propaganda film celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The CCP made film titled (translated to English) “The Birth of a Party” or “The Great Achievement of Founding the Party” is set to premiere all over the Communist nation on June 15 reported China AutoWeb last September. The auto website adds:

“As the CCP marries totalitarianism with capitalism and fools the people with entertainment, only the “politically correct” or stupid–or those who pretend to be so–can get rich. And GM seems to know this very well. While Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Volvo have all rushed to please China’s rich and powerful through physical enlargement (offering models of extended wheelbases), Cadillac gratifies the party orally, singing praises through a film.”

According to the above report, the film will discuss events that led up to the formation of the CCP following the 1917 Russian Revolution. When the movie first went into production GM signed up Cadillac as the “chief business partner” with the Communist Party, stating: “Cadillac whole-heartedly supports the making of the Birth of a Party.”

Or maybe they just like the business model:

The United States government currently own 33% of the GM company following the auto-bailouts of 2009, and GM CEO Daniel Akerson describes China, as the “key to [GM’s] success.” (h/t The Detroit Bureau)