Congratulations! You’re a Socialist!

A recent exchange with a friend of mine resulted in him calling me a terrible name. It was the unholiest of all unholies: He suggested that I was a socialist! Not only that but he said that our very own President is a socialist as well. You can imagine my horror.

 

When did the word socialist because such a dirty word in our country? Why does every politician—regardless of political affiliation—recoil in horror when this term is mentioned in his/her presence? The word socialism can have several different meanings, and I don’t want to get too bogged down in discussing the different types of socialism. (Similarly, the word conservative can carry a lot of meanings. For example, a conservative evangelical Christian is very different from a conservative libertarian.) Here is one definition of socialism which I thought was brief and to the point: any various social or political theories or movements in which the common welfare is to be achieved through the establishment of a socialist economic system. Nothing here appears to be too controversial. It is basically an economic and political system created with the intent of promoting the general welfare of society as a whole as opposed to the well-being of a few individuals or groups

 

The problem most conservatives seem to have with socialism is they confuse it with the Communistic dictatorial regimes of the USSR and Eastern Europe from 1945 to 1991. These were not examples of socialism. These were dictatorships that sucked all value out of society to enrich themselves and cloaked their despicable behavior in something noble, socialism. Their behavior was so atrocious that the concept of socialism was tarnished forever and sullied in the eyes of most Americans. If you want to see what socialism actually looks like you can visit any number of countries in Western Europe. Pointing out that socialism and Communism are both on the left side of the political spectrum is no more illustrative than noting that conservatism and anarchy are both on the right side of the political spectrum.

 

There is an important distinction to be made between Communism and socialism. Communism advocates that all citizens have the same, thus eliminating the need for money, class, and individuality. Socialism does not advocate that all citizens have the same but rather that all citizens have the same opportunities (i.e., the opportunity to receive adequate healthcare; the opportunity to receive a quality education; the opportunity to retire and receive a pension). If people make bad decisions in life, or encounter bad luck, there is a safety net to catch them.

 

I can prove that the vast majority of Americans are socialists. Look at this example:

 

A 4-year old boy shows up at an emergency room following a car accident. The boy was riding in the backseat of his mother’s car when a drunk driver ran a red light and careened into the vehicle, causing life-threatening injuries to the boy. The mother brings the boy to the ER, where she discloses she has no health insurance, no savings of any kind, and no way to pay the hospital bill because she is single, unemployed, and disabled.

 

Do you believe the hospital should treat this boy’s injuries despite the fact he does not have the financial means to pay? If you answered yes, you are a socialist. You are advocating that someone other than the boy and his mother foot the medical bill. In essence, you are in favor of redistributing the wealth. When someone needs help, the rest of us chip in and make it happen. This is socialism. Terrifying isn’t it?

 

If you support public libraries, you are a socialist. If you support publically-funded schools and universities, you are a socialist; if you support tax dollars being used to fund police forces, fire departments, and ambulance services, you are a socialist; if you believe Americans with disabilities should receive financial assistance to help them pay for food and shelter, you are a socialist; if you believe children without health insurance should receive emergency medical care, you are a socialist. And this is going to pain a lot of you, but if you support the U.S. military, you are a socialist. After all, the United States military is the largest socialist organization in the history of the world. Everyone in the military gets government housing, government-provided healthcare, and even government-issued clothing. Yikes!

 

Republicans would have you believe we are on the precipice of socialism and that if we do not act fast, we will succumb to socialism. Well guess what. We crossed that bridge a long time ago. It’s not a question of whether or not we are a socialist country. It’s a question of how much socialism we want.

 

– Nathan

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One Response to “Congratulations! You’re a Socialist!”

  1. Bernie Sanders is the living counter point to the whole “socialists are bad” meme. Bernie Sanders describes himself as a democratic socialist. He is fantastic. He makes the case every time he talks. I think there is a reason he is never mentioned or quoted on Fox, etc.

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