Thursday, August 20, 2009

Socialism

In the Health Care Reform debate we often hear opposition to change based in way or the other on "socialism".

According to Merriam-Webster:

  • Main Entry: so·cial·ism
  • Pronunciation: \ˈsō-shə-ˌli-zəm\
  • Function: noun
  • Date: 1837

1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods 2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state 3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done


I am pretty sure the "fear of socialism" comes from the 3rd definition mentioning Marxist theory.


Since at least the 1950's, we have been indoctrinated about the evils of communism. So by design, anything that can be remotely associated, even a tenuous association, is inherently evil.


However, let's look at "socialism" at work in the United States as it pertains to the 1st part of the definition:


1. 9-1-1

2. Police

3. Firefighters

4. Roads - country, city, highway, expressway

5. Sesame Street

6. Emergency Room Care for the underinsured, uninsured, indigent, mentally ill

7. Disability

8. Social Security

9. Medicare

10. Disaster Relief

11. Education

12. Animal Services

13. State Parks


My tax dollars go to pay to support these systems. Some of these I use. Some of these I will never use. How about you?


Would you rather stop these programs immediately, and start a system of pay-as-you-go for each service?


Are we better off to provide education to children in this country even if it's paid for in part by people who don't have children, have only one child, whose children have long ago been educated?


Are we better off to preserve areas of untouched land for generations to visit and learn from or should we let them deteriorate?


Are we better off to provide emergency services to people or should we only respond to people who have "police insurance"?


Are these things bad or evil? Do these programs threaten capitalism?


They certainly don't always work perfectly. Some things need fixing. Some things are wonderful. Some things are missing from the list.


Part of the social contract is that we give up certain freedoms for the safety and good of all. We have done this in the past and in fact we all do this everyday.


Have you ever been late? Did you run red lights, drive on the sidewalk and speed to get to your destination? Why not? What stops you?


You didn't because you agree to abide by rules and laws that are in place for the good and safety of all. When you don't you put yourself at risk for being punished.


Your grandparents probably gave up certain foods and amenities during World War II due to rationing. They did it for the good of the country - they gave of themselves for others.


Yes, I am willing to contribute some of my taxes to pay for other people's care. I am willing to do this because it needs to be, because we need it, because it is for the good of all.







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