meaning of socialism

There seems to be a lot of people using the term socialism, as an epitaph on the internets lately, some of our winger botts have been using it as well.

My understanding of socialism is, that under socialism the government owns most, if not all of industry/ corporate assets. Where has anyone tried to curtail our freedoms such as freedom of speech, or religion? I didn’t see anyone standing outside the place where I vote saying you cant vote unless you vote for X candidate.

No one has been forbidding the teabag protesters that I have seen. There has not been any noticeable change in how anyone can use their property, just jump thru the hoops of the local zoning commissions; it’s been that ways for years. So where is the bigsocialism bogyman been hiding? I sure can’t find him.

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Thats just the interweb for you. Drama queens of the world have united upon blogs and forums as a way of taking extreme, and at times, hilarious points of view. Everything that people don’t like, if they are left of center is called fascism (I’ve heard the price of downloadable horse armour for Oblivion called fascism), and if you are slightly to the right, everything you don’t like is socialism and communism.
Here in the UK, we have mostly free health care, but if you ask even fairly right wing politicians here if that si evil socialism, they wouldn’t (generally) say so.

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Some people use a more rational set of definitions. When I think of “socialism” I think of centralized control over economic liberty (regulation, command-economies, and other central economic control), and the redistribution of wealth (which can be direct via payouts, or services like health care). The government need not nationalize “most” or all industry for it to be socialized. Its a continuum, it’s not a sharp line in the sand, IMO. The US is socialist already—almost 50% of healthcare in the US is already delivered by the State (medicaid/medicare is ~46%).

Communism I reserve for actual communism, or people/societies that self-identify as “communist.”

Fascism, well, I reserve that for those states that actually used it—all of which were also socialist to varying extents. The trouble with massive, centralized control over people’s lives is that the machinery is there for it to be exploited if Bad People™ come into power. In a less centralized system, the risk is mitigated considerably, since one really bad egg at the wheel can’t really screw things up badly. Those on the rabid extremes will accuse their current political rivals of this on both sides. Some like to paint Bush as a huge attacker of civil liberties, for example, but that was not even noise compared to the FDR administration during ww2, lol. Similar hyperbole exists WRT the current administration as well—though painting them as socialists is not off-base, they are, it’s just a matter of magnitude.

That website “political compass” has a decent way to plot political views on an X/Y axis with economic freedom on one axis, and personal freedom on another.

Where is the socialism hiding? Nationalizing healthcare for one. I see this every day (my wife is a doc). She is forced to see medicaid patients, and every single one she sees costs us money out of our pockets. She’ll get paid $50 to see someone, and during that 30 minutes her overhead is about $93 (payroll, insurance and building-related stuff). That doesn’t even include HER time. So we pay—really, we in effect write a personal check—to the tune of ~$40 for every single medicaid patient she sees. It adds up to tens of thousands of dollars in direct cost to my family each year. That’s in addition to the fact that we pay taxes to provide the medicaid to them in the first place. Medicare is similar, but it’s closer to break even. Right now the plan is to expand medicaid (eventually covering everyone as private plans are taxed out of existence). This is a tax on my wife, compelling her to pay money out of pocket AND use her valuable time.

The simpler socialism to spot is wealth redistribution via taxes. Basically, if you are not in the top 20% of taxpayers in the US, you don’t even pay one share of the government expense (divided by population). If you are in the top 20%, you pay a share for each family member, as well as subsidizing everyone else (single people can probably pay a fair share even in the next lower 20% group, actually, since they only need to cover one share (which is ~$12,000 per capita per year right now).

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The word socialism comes from the word social (obviously), wich I think is latin for comrade. The idea is that everyone would help each other so that no one would be poor.

Communism brought this an extreme, instead of simply working to make the poor better off they belived that everyone should be on the same economic level and class.

Personally I think the best system is a mix Capitalism and Socialism. On one hand, I think that if you are in trouble that is not your fault you should get economic help from the goverment until you can get back on track. I think everyone should have rights to decent education and healthcare and should have economical support if they loose their job(at least until they get a chance to find a new one). Other than that, the goverment should stay out of the economy and keep taxes as low as possible.

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Central to the meaning of socialism is common ownership. This means the resources of the world being owned in common by the entire global population.

But does it really make sense for everybody to own everything in common? Of course, some goods tend to be for personal consumption, rather than to share—clothes, for example. People ‘owning’ certain personal possessions does not contradict the principle of a society based upon common ownership.

In practice, common ownership will mean everybody having the right to participate in decisions on how global resources will be used. It means nobody being able to take personal control of resources, beyond their own personal possessions.


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It also means that, since there is no personal control, there is almost no personal responsibility. My parents own a house out in a rural area, near a public lake; they take very good care of their property (and the woods on their property). It is theirs, they have a vested personal interest, both for their own use and for the future value of the property. By contrast, the public campsite just down the road (and the surrounding woods on public land) is frequently trashed and ill cared for. The campers are just using it for the night; sure, only some people leave a mess, but even fewer will pick up someone else’s mess. It’s not THEIR mess, and it’s not THEIR property, therefore the problem is “someone else’s”.

Private ownership provides the best stewardship and protection for resources.

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While I agree you have to admit though that having sick people begging people on the street is the alternative. Remember when people get old and sick, they can’t support themselves like they could when they were in their 20’s.

In theory “healthcare is evil” in fact, welfare and healthcare because private tyrannies of private business practices have been so evil in the past, socialism came into existence for a reason, and that reason is that private property system inflicted a lot more evils on people then it has given in benefits to the public at large.

The real issue is human beings just can’t get along because they are greedy and stupid, no ideology is required. I think you have to be mentally ill to be billionaire and not reinvest that money back into society, if you have that kind of money it should be obligatory to help those less fortunate.

Since most people don’t understand that wealth is not personally generated by them, all wealth pre exists as nature (atoms/energy) all human beings do is re-arrange matter and energy that they never created.

So I am firmly an ideological atheist when it comes to the major ones discussed in current political culture.

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