You’ve probably come across it.
With Bernie Sanders seriously contending as the Democratic candidate for President in the past two elections seasons, champions of Socialism have crawled out of their parent’s basement to declare their love for all things Socialism. In doing so, they have declared that all things that glitter is obviously not capitalism.
“If you’re against socialism, don’t drive on our roads. Don’t call the police.”
Unfortunately for the layman, a quick quip in return isn’t exactly going to drive the point home with much clarity. Some things are better explained with reasoned argument, which unfortunately is lost in a world of instant gratification.
Socialism isn’t everything that benefits society. That loose definition of socialism has plagued millennials and likely contributes to their erroneously positive outlook on the socio-political economic system that truly doesn’t work.
The best short defined explanation for how socialism operates is this:
“Socialism by definition involves community [read: “workers” – Marx] ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange.”
If that sounds very close to communism, well there is no wonder Karl Marx used socialism and communism interchangeably.
Obviously, that isn’t taking place with American roads. Far from it. But how do we explain the nature of them?
We’ll, roads and other public programs are “socialistic” in nature, if we must use the term. They are communal goods, but not not attributed to socialism.
If it sounds like splitting hairs, it’s not. Consider the difference between Leftism and Liberalism.
As the explanation goes, In the US, “only one of those elements – “exchange” – is the function of the community or its government.” While the government acts as the “purchasing agent on on behalf of the public at large” non-profit and private organizations that own the means of the production “submit bids for projects…subject to oversight from [the public].”
It’s sort of an academic work around. Technical and wordy, it doesn’t deliver a quick punch like that of absurd statements about roads and emergency services.
After-all, the US governments had begun to establish a system of roads and infrastructure long before Marx came up with the very definitions that define socialism (and communism) today. So it would be anachronistic to suggest our roads are socialism.
If we must, we could also point to the 250,000 miles of roads built by the Romans in antiquity, surely Marx didn’t time travel and give them the idea of socialism.
So why the heck am I talking about this unfortunate misrepresentation of our tax dollars at work to begin with? Well for one thing, millions of young new voters are suggesting Socialism, even Democratic Socialism, is the new way forward all the while being unable to truly understand what the authoritarian system enacts.
$2 Trillion passed by the US Senate, and presumably to be followed by the US House. $2 Trillion American Dollars to bail out an ailing economy.
In figures, thats $2,000,000,000,000. A number so large it is difficult for the mind to fully understand. So here is a visualization of sorts:
The other issue of course is Covid-19. The Corona Virus. The Wuhan Flu. La Rona, if you will.
The word is, Americans and Capitalists have come running to Socialism to save the country. After all, raw money checks from Uncle Sam are being distributed to about 90% of the American people.
Yay, Socialism! Right!?
Especially considering why the move has been made to begin with. Dan Crenshaw puts it short and sweet:
You’ve probably seen the memes. A Republican wearing a MAGA hat and attempting to choose between two buttons, a check from the Federal Government or denouncing socialism.
But the memes (like most poorly made Liberal memes – that was redundant) have the advantage of being funny over being accurate. Since socialism isn’t in play here, the dichotomy is false.
But why wouldn’t this wealth sharing move be considered socialism? Well, not only does it fail to meet the definition above but the necessity for the action is artificial induced upon the market.
In other-words, the community (read: Government) imposed actions on the market that forced it to shutter up its goods and services. Therefore, the Government effectively used force to institute a market shutdown and is acting as a sort of insurance on behalf of the people (individuals and organizations).
We have already seen an example of this before Covid 19.
Consider the Trade War war with China. The trade war has harmed American farmworkers in a direct way, forcing them to lose millions in profit.
Since the government has forced this hardship, that same government has smartly interceded on their behalf – using tariffs imposed as a means to cover farm profit losses.
As an individual, you also go through a similar trade with the government when you file taxes. Whether you use a tax professional or pay for an online software, filing taxes costs. Since filing taxes is an imposed hardship placed by government, you have the opportunity include this expense in your taxes as a “write off.” Same goes for DMV registration.
The $1,200 (+$500 per child) one might receive is hardly going to make a dent for those dealing with a lost livelihood but it’s an attempt to help with an economic issue government forced to take place. That is hardly socialism but it is a welfare safety-net move that one can say is very much owed to the American people.
A people who may otherwise have simply pushed through the storm, rolled up their sleeves, and continued to work, like we always do.
After all, this $2 Trillion dollar “socialist” bail out would never be possible if it weren’t for Capitalists.
⁃ Ken Gulley
- Page Tutor: https://www.pagetutor.com/trillion/index.html
- Modesto Bee: https://amp.modbee.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/community-columns/article232512087.html (Liberal lean)
- Big Think: https://bigthink.com/ (Left bias)
- Intellectual Takeout: https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/article/socialism-not-public-roads-and-911-service/ (Right bias)