Thursday, August 05, 2010

Off Topic - Socialism

I'm a little tired of the Right wing of this country calling the Democrats, "Socialists". It's just a way of making middle aged people remember the cold war and the Soviet Union. It's hateful and wrong, so here's what I think.

First you must define what you mean by Socialism. Right now it's being used by the Right in this country as code for "communist". The fact of the matter is that all Western countries are socialist to varying degrees. The U.S. has socialist institutions: highways, military, utilities, fire departments, police, V.A. medical services, Social Security, and on and on. So, we are socialist to an extent.

There are countries in Europe like France that have taken it somewhat further. France happens to have a more even distribution of wealth because of it. So, to say that there is anything inherently bad about socialism is to deny reality. It's mostly a matter of what you perceive to be fair.

Many people in this country hold on to a sense of the American Dream which gives them the (mostly false) belief that if they work hard enough, and make the right decisions they could become as rich as Bill Gates. This attitude makes us uniquely "American". In France and England this sort of thing doesn't exist in the same way. People are more geared toward having a comfortable life rather than hoping for an extravagant one sometime in the future.

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