Democratic Socialism Explained
The Democratic candidate running for President, Bernie Sanders, recently came up with the term “democratic socialism” to explain his platform. It is a coined term that needs some explanation.
- June 2019
The democratic party has been moving left for many years. With each election, they tend to lean even further left. This latest idea of a democratic socialism is being embraced by Sanders and AOC and many other Democrats in the next election.
They see this as a way to break Capitalism‘s hold on our country. They cite the inequalities of the current system to knock down what has been the most successful economic system in all of human history. Capitalism is not perfect as all other economic systems are, and have its faults. However, this is no comparison to the failures of communism and socialism around the world we see today.
Part of the problem is that people today, especially young millennials, have not been taught the history and the real meaning of socialism. They lived and were raised in our system and knows not any other system that have been tried elsewhere. They lack the basic understanding of socialism. They also confuse some policies as being socialistic when in reality they are not. For example, I heard someone say to me that the public library is a form of socialism...
No it is not, In fact, the public library was the creation of Benjamin Franklin, one of our founding fathers. It was an efficient way to allow the common people access to books. It was based on cost effectiveness and not socialism ideals.
What is socialism? Here is one definition.
What About The Public Library?
Is it true the public library is a socialist institution? Or the fire department? Or social security?
Not exactly. It is a false association. The public library was an invention of Benjamin Franklin, one of our founding fathers. It was invented before Karl Marx‘s communist manifesto. The public library is a shared resource of books which in those days was a precious commodity that only rich people could afford. It was also something that most people do not need to keep on their shelves. You read it once and return it so others can read it.
To make the complete comparison, for the public library to be a socialism instrument, they would have to shut down Barnes and Noble and Amazon books. The government would be the only source of books. They will control the creation and the distribution of all books.
What is Democratic Socialism?
This is a made up term. It does not exist anywhere. In fact it is an oxymoron. The two words are incompatible and incongruent.
You cannot combine democratic principles and socialism as an ideology. Socialism demands conformity, and a central controlling politbureau. It is not a rule by the people through democratic election process.
This term is made up to confuse and confound. They are trying to paint lipstick on a pig.
Some people are just confused. They don’t even know what socialism stands for. Democratic socialism is something that may sound good but does not work. Bernie Sanders wants you to believe Denmark is the model of democratic socialism. The Danish prime minister said they are not a socialist country. They do have high taxes and provide a safety net for all their citizens. That is a form of government charity, not government owned and controlled of the mechanism of production. Those are very different things.
When the government takes the money from one group and gives it to another group, it is called income redistribution. In order to make the socialism label, here is what must happen.
Socialism is a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
A Name By Any Other Name...
It really doesn’t matter what you call it. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck... it is a duck. The policies adopted by the Democratic party is socialism like. A single payer government healthcare system. Free College tuition for all. Raising minimum wage across the board to $15 per hour. End the coal energy business. All these ideas and policy are socialistic. There is no democracy when the government imposes these regulations on us the people without a vote.
“Democratic socialism“ is in fact socialism.
Here is my advice to the “new” democratic party. Don’t try to sell something by dressing it up as something else. If you want socialism, just embrace it. It is a sign of courage. These policies are not new. They have been tried periodically by some countries. Invariably, they will fail because of our human nature. We are not designed to live in a socialist and communal environment. Perhaps, Margret Thatcher was right when she made the comment some 30 years ago. Socialism works until it runs out of other people’s money.
Postscript - June 18, 2019
This week, I had an opportunity to take the tour at the Capitol of the US in Washington DC. It was a great experience and I was told on average 6000 people visit it everyday. It is totally free and anyone can just sign up ahead of the time via their Congressional representatives or just walk in and wait on line.
The highlight of the tour was seeing the building, the structure, the artworks, the statues and the history behind it as told by our guide. There is also a 15 minute video at the start of the tour which is very informative. I couldn’t help thinking to myself how the 535 current members of Congress could benefit by sitting through such a video history of our country, our Constitution and how this whole experiment of a nation should work. Our motto E pluribus Unum. Out of many One.
The lady Liberty sits on top of the dome representing freedom, the most basic human right endowed by our Creator.
The current democratic representatives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could learn something about how our government works. She seems to have no clue about the Constitution. She was elected but her knowledge and inexperience is shocking. She has little understanding or appreciate how unique and special is our nation. She prefer socialism of Europe over our Constitutional republic. On the opposite spectrum, you have an experienced Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who called Trump a criminal and wants to lock him up, without the basic protection of every citizen of innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. She could get a refresher course on the laws of the land that she is part of and has the power to write new laws.
Then we have a Senator of the US, Bernie Sanders, who is a socialist and who rejects the government of our founders and rather have Karl Marx as the philosopher of choice.
How did we elect these people to govern when they lack the civility and the basic understanding of our laws, and justice system and our Constitution?
Didn’t they all put their hand on top of a Bible and swore to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States?
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Jack Lee