Many people in this country claim they are afraid of Socialism. I call BS.
The irony of their claim is just how many have benefited and/or currently benefit from Socialist programs which have been in place in this country their entire lives or close to it.
Let me give you a root words and definitions.
The root word of Communism is community/communal. Defined, it indicates a system in which all property and wealth belong to the community and (ideally) is shared equally. While on the macro scale this has been problematic, it is possible. On smaller scales, it has worked and continues to work in small communities across the planet. It can be found in tribal communities removed from capitalist influence, from Tibet to Russia to Greece to South America. Some refer to Marxism as Marxist Socialism but I personally prefer to use separate names for each to avoid confusion.
The root word of Socialism is social/society. This denotes a system in which resources are used to benefit the society and it’s members. Individuals can own private property, make profits, etc. This system typically utilizes higher tax rates which are then used to benefit the citizens in that system, such as providing access to healthcare and education along with strong social support programs. Such Social Democratic systems exist and are called such in numerous countries to varying extents, including Germany, France, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, England, Canada and more. Countries with the highest quality of life and longest lifespans.
The root word of Capitalism is capital, meaning money or profit. This is a system where all resources are directed toward money and profit, especially weighted toward those at the top of the financial chain. In a true capitalist society, everything is for sale, including public offices and justice. Only the rich have rights as they purchase those rights. Vertical mobility in such a system is virtually impossible, as when you gain upward mobility, you become a threat to those already at the top and they can afford to stop your ascent by any means.
The true fact is that from true Communism to true Capitalism, no current system is pure. We live somewhere on a continuum in between the extreme poles.
Now let me give you another definition. Any government program which is paid for by society for the benefit of society is, by definition, Socialist. By this definition, as mentioned above, the US has had numerous Socialist programs in place for most of the last century. These programs are what have made life livable for many millions, improved our education and quality of life compared to the 19th century and expanded the strength of our economy at one time to the strongest in the world. It has been the weakening and dismantling of those programs which have caused major disruption up to and including a declining lifespan for Americans. It was our Socialist programs which literally made the US the country that those in other countries once followed and looked up to. But no longer.
A short list of the Socialist programs which were once strong in this country include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public schools, fire departments, public police, public roads, public libraries, public health departments, water and sewage treatment systems, child labor laws, the very existence of a minimum wage, wage protection laws, consumer protection laws, worker safety laws, overtime pay, public defenders, Miranda Rights, public elections, welfare programs, public housing…
Getting the point yet? Each and every one of these programs is Socialist in concept and primarily in execution.
To go even further, think of all the jobs these programs support directly and indirectly. Directly they support doctors, nurses, teachers, librarians, road maintenance crews, public defenders, police, firemen and more. Indirectly they support suppliers, building construction and repair, grocery store jobs, farmers, ranchers, food processors, lumber harvesting and milling, paper companies, computer technicians..
The fact is, without these programs in place, our entire economy would collapse. Can you imagine the millions of seniors on Social Security and Medicare being stripped of those benefits?
So, the next time you encounter anyone who says they oppose Socialism, I seriously encourage you to share this article with them. Challenge them to offer viable capitalist alternatives to these programs. Because those alternatives simply do not exist.