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What does it mean to be socialist?
Does the thought of all the different political systems cause confusion on election day? Do you even listen to those who try to defend one political/social/economic system over another? Perhaps you only vote for a specific party regardless of what that party may or may not represent. Perhaps you no longer even vote because of all the deception and confusion.
Well, this article will not try to tell you what is the 'right' system or the 'wrong' system. The point of this article is to explain, in simple words, what socialism is, what it promotes (directly and indirectly through it's actions and policies) and what one can expect from a fully socialist government. This is a first in a sort of 'series' or articles regarding the different political ideologies that are foisted on us, the general voting public.
The People's Choice
Assuming that all ideologies are free from corruption, which system would you choose?
What does a socialist society look like?
In a socialist society, the government owns most if not all of the businesses and property in a given political entity - such as a country or state. The illusion that people are dictated to as far as career choices go is just that, an illusion, people can be whatever they want in a socialist society. The number of employers is of course drastically reduced in a non-free marketplace but people are allowed to be whatever the wish to be.
On the surface, socialism seems to be a very good system for people in general. Universal health care, affordable housing, child care programs, the whole nine yards is provided at the expense of the nation (or taxpayer). Crime rates are generally lower, cities are less violent in socialist societies and generally speaking life APPEARS to be far easier for the average citizen. There is even peaceful protest against government policies in socialist countries so they also seem to respect things like free speech and political activism. This seems to be a pretty good way to go eh? Taxation is high but there are price controls and housing provided so why should the actual tax rate bother anyone that much when you do not need money for the basics? As said earlier, this seems like the way to go.
But is it? Socialism has some big drawbacks that are not always visible on the surface and that could, over the long haul, hamper the overall progess of your country. Socialism is like smoking pot, your problems do not go away, but you care about them less. To clarify, Socialism makes the 'status quo' ok and encourages us, as a people , to not advance ourselves or to not better ourselves. Consider, if you were poor in America and had to pay the rent you would be motivated to improve your circumstances, and in so doing improve yourself. You would look for a better job, or seek out some form of higher education or skill training in order to correct the issue of being poor. In a socialist country, if you are poor then no worries the government will pay for things for you such as rent, food whatever. In the end, this makes it OK to be poor and removes the motivation to improve ourselves. This can be detrimental to a nationstate's future social development. The socialist system only works well when a massive majority of the people are working and paying into that system. In a socialist state, when things like unemployment start to go up more people are on the rolls and this reduces the amount of actual taxpayers paying into the system. The motivation to improve yourself and get a new job or to be enterprising are greatly reduced as the hardships experienced through a loss of employment are greatly reduced.
The programs offered by socialist states, such as child care, are used to propagate their ideology in the young minds of the nation at the earliest possible stage, otherwise funding would be provided regardless of where that childcare took place. Example: In Quebec, you can get subsidize child care but only if the child is in a State-run daycare center. If grandma, who is living on a pension and is poor, is available to look after that child then you cannot get any subsidizing for grandma's time and expense. Even though she is clearly the superior choice in child care options. This complete disregard for family in favour of state institutions should be serious cause for alarm.
Do you think that constant and petty quarrels are detrimental to progress?
Why so Quarrelsome?
The second big issue with Socialism is the constant need for conflict to maintain the system. I don't mean 'war' specifically but rather internal conflicts, political wrangling, strikes, disputes all seem to occur way more in a socialist society than in a non-socialist society. Unions, a socialist creation and tool, specifically need conflict to exist or they do not exist as they were created to manage the conflict - what are they then without the conflict? Nothing! Socialism seems to be this way in general. They maintain the conflict to maintain their own existence as we would not need socialism if we all became respectful of our neighbors, helped each other out on our own and respected our society and were mindful of things like adequate healthcare access for children - right now doing these things in human society seems to require some sort of mandate or law forcing us to. This means we are not ready yet as a society and a species.
If we could ensure that there would be no corruption would you consider voting for a socialist candidate then?
Corruption is everywhere in Politics
Socialism also has a high probability of corruption as distribution within the society is decided by a very few for the many and those very few can be bought off or, during hard times, will divert more resources to helping themselve and their own families than is allowed under the socialist rule. In other words, until we treat each other as truly equals (a very long way off) Socialism and socialist states simply will not work. In the end they will always lean towards corruption, either out of greed or a instinctive desire to look after our own children at the expense of someone else's children. Corruption is inevitable given our human nature.
So, in the end
These are the hidden dangers of a socialist society. They sap motivation from the general public, the make the status quo ok when we are a species that seeks satisfaction through our own advancement. They are corrupt and use conflict to propagate their own agendas and to distract the populace from the fact that only 35% of the country is actually paying into their little socialist utopia.
So, we can expect that a fully socialist government would be a corrupt one that looks after their own interest before the state in bad times and pretty much pocket all the excess production they can during the good times. They will try to pacify the population by simply giving them whatever they want regardles of the cost in either money or social progress, Socialist countries are usually heavily indebted under producers.
For further reading on Socialism..
- Fifth column: An end to socialist elitism? | The Indian Express
Modi does not see poverty as romantic or alluring. Having lived in poverty, he knows the indignities it imposes if you are not a tourist.
- Socialism: The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics | Library of Economics and Liberty
- Socialism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
© 2012 Robin Olsen