Good morning, and thanks to the FDL for inviting me to host today’s PUAC. I have a thought that keeps pulling on me that needs some discussion, about the constant accusations from the right, that Democrats and/or progressives are socialists.
Okay, that grates on me, not because socialism is a bad concept, but because to the right wingers it seems to imply something unAmerican or at least subversive. The accusation goes back quite a way, and I originally heard it applied to FDR’s New Deal and to chlorinating drinking water. Later, Joe McCarthy swung with it and accused everyone from Harry Truman to the State Department of socialism, and often communism. It’s the opposite of greed, of course, and socialism as a pure concept gives more weight to society’s good than to any individual’s enrichment.
Of course, some countries have socialist parties, such as Italy, which seldom actually embody pure socialist principles. The definition (Wikipedia) of socialist economics is;
Socialist economies are based upon production for use and the direct allocation of economic inputs to satisfy economic demands and human needs (use value); accounting is based on physical quantities of resources, some physical magnitude, or a direct measure of labor-time. Goods and services for consumption are distributed through markets, and distribution of income is based on the principle of individual merit/individual contribution.
Sounds a lot better than what we’ve got, that increasingly means corporate interests buying their representatives, and keeping them from doing the job they’ve sworn to do, representing their constituents.
Of course, socialism as practiced in some societies has worked out well, and I particularly like India’s call for banning speculation in basic foodstocks. We could use some of that protection of the population here in the U.S., imho.
Basically, I feel more kin to socialist principles than to right wing philosophy, and much more that they embody a really good way of life we identify with christian ideals. Remember, the christian religion started off as one of love, not the one we see too much now, that wants to crucify those who aren’t card-carrying members.
So what do you think of socialism, and do you feel insulted or complimented with being identified with that particular philosophy/economy/practice. Or do you think we have a need to reject an identification with a philosophy that’s been misused – just like every other philosophy, including democracy?
What solution do you see, or do you think it’s futile to reason with the right on anything that involves facts?