Cigar Social Network
I was talking recently with a new friend who I’m just getting to know. She tends to be somewhat conservative, while I lean more toward the progressive side.
When our conversation drifted to politics, somehow the dreaded word “socialism” came up. My friend seemed totally shocked when I said “All socialism isn’t bad”. She became very serious and replied “So you want to take money away from the rich and give to the poor?” I smiled and said “No, not at all. Why do you think socialism means taking money from the rich and giving to the poor?
“Well it is, isn’t it?” was her reply.
I explained to her that I rather liked something called Democratic Socialism, just as Senator Bernie Sanders, talk show host Thom Hartman, and many other people do. Democratic Socialism consists of a democratic form of government with a mix of socialism and capitalism. I proceeded to explain to her the actual meaning terms “democracy” and “socialism”.
Democracy is a form of government in which all citizens take part. It is government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Socialism is where we all put our resources together and work for the common good of us all and not just for our own benefit. In this sense, we are sharing the wealth within society.
Of course when people hear that term, “Share the wealth” they start screaming, “OMG you want to rob from the rich and give it all to the poor!” But that is NOT what Democratic Socialism means.
To a Democratic Socialist, sharing the wealth means pooling tax money together to design social programs that benefit ALL citizens of that country, city, state, etc.
The fire and police departments are both excellent examples of Democratic Socialism in America. Rather than leaving each individual responsible for protecting their own home from fire, everyone pools their money together, through taxes, to maintain a fire and police department. It’s operated under a non-profit status, and yes, your tax dollars pay for putting out other people’s fires. It would almost seem absurd to think of some corporation profiting from putting out fires. But it’s more efficient and far less expensive to have government run fire departments funded by tax dollars.
Similarly, public education is another social program in the USA. It benefits all of us to have a taxpayer supported, publicly run education system. Unfortunately, in America, the public education system ends with high school. Most of Europe now provides low cost or free college education for their citizens. This is because their citizens understand that an educated society is a safer, more productive and more prosperous society. Living in such a society, everyone benefits from public education.
When an American graduates from college, they usually hold burdensome debt in the form of student loans that may take 10 to even 30 years to pay off. Instead of being able to start a business or invest in their career, the college graduate has to send off monthly payments for years on end.
On the other hand, a new college graduate from a European country begins without the burdensome debt that an American is forced to take on. The young man or woman is freer to start up businesses, take an economic risk on a new venture, or invest more money in the economy, instead of spending their money paying off student loans to for-profit financial institutions. Of course this does not benefit wealthy corporations, but it does greatly benefit everyone in that society.
EXAMPLE American style capitalistic program for college: If you pay (average) $20,000 annually for four years of college, that will total $80,000 + interest for student loans. The interest you would owe could easily total or exceed the $80,000 you originally borrowed, which means your degree could cost in excess of $100,000.
EXAMPLE European style social program for college: Your college classes are paid for through government taxes. When you graduate from that college and begin your career, you also start paying an extra tax for fellow citizens to attend college.
Question - You might be thinking how is that fair? If you’re no longer attending college, why would you want to help everyone else pay for their college degree?
Answer - Every working citizen pays a tax that is equivalent to say, $20 monthly. If you work for 40 years and then retire, you will have paid $9,600 into the Social college program. So you could say that your degree ends up costing only $9,600. When everyone pools their money together and the program is non-profit, the price goes down tremendously. This allows you to keep more of your hard earned cash!
Health care is another example: If your employer does not provide health insurance, you must purchase a policy independently. The cost will be thousands of dollars annually, in addition to deductible and co-pays.
In Holland, an individual will pay around $35 monthly, period. Everyone pays into the system and this helps reduce the price for everyone, so they get to keep more of their hard earned cash.
In the United States we are told and frequently reminded that anything run by the government is bad and that everything should be operated by for-profit companies. Of course, with for-profit entities the cost to the consumer is much higher because they have corporate executives who expect compensation packages of tens of millions of dollars and shareholders who expect to be paid dividends, and so on.
This (and more) pushes up the price of everything, with much more money going to the already rich and powerful, which in turn, leaves the middle class with less spending money and creates greater class separation.
This economic framework makes it much more difficult for average Joes to ”lift themselves up by their bootstraps” and raise themselves to a higher economic standing.
So next time you hear the word “socialism” and “spreading the wealth” in the same breath, understand that this is a serious misconception.
Social programs require tax money and your taxes may be higher. But as you can see everyone benefits because other costs go down and, in the long run, you get to keep more of your hard earned cash!
Democratic Socialism does NOT mean taking from the rich and giving to the poor. It works to benefit everyone so the rich can no longer take advantage of the poor and middle class.
I see you didn't read my post ~ so much for intelligent discussion.
OH NO! I just realized that if I am elected I'm going to have to deal with 8 years of stupidity sponsored by a guilt complex and the church. Got in didn't he. Still going yes? I suggest that is someone worth voting for. A man prepared to face down bad government.
funny stuff John. You kill me
Thanks for sharing such important information.
But then again, I'd expect NOTHING LESS from you.
PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM
Why socialism is evil
Walter E. Williams decries 'the forcible use of 1 person to serve the purposes of another'
Evil acts can be given an aura of moral legitimacy by noble-sounding socialistic expressions such as spreading the wealth, income redistribution or caring for the less fortunate. Let’s think about socialism.
Imagine there’s an elderly widow down the street from you. She has neither the strength to mow her lawn nor enough money to hire someone to do it. Here’s my question to you, and I’m almost afraid for the answer: Would you support a government mandate that forces one of your neighbors to mow the lady’s lawn each week? If he failed to follow the government orders, would you approve of some kind of punishment ranging from house arrest and fines to imprisonment? I’m hoping that the average American would condemn such a government mandate because it would be a form of slavery, the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another.
Would there be the same condemnation if instead of the government forcing your neighbor to physically mow the widow’s lawn, the government forced him to give the lady $40 of his weekly earnings? That way the widow could hire someone to mow her lawn. I’d say that there is little difference between the mandates. While the mandate’s mechanism differs, it is nonetheless the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another.
Probably most Americans would have a clearer conscience if all the neighbors were forced to put money in a government pot and a government agency would send the widow a weekly sum of $40 to hire someone to mow her lawn. This mechanism makes the particular victim invisible, but it still boils down to one person being forcibly used to serve the purposes of another. Putting the money into a government pot makes palatable acts that would otherwise be deemed morally offensive.
This is why socialism is evil. It employs evil means, coercion or taking the property of one person, to accomplish good ends, helping one’s fellow man. Helping one’s fellow man in need, by reaching into one’s own pockets, is a laudable and praiseworthy goal. Doing the same through coercion and reaching into another’s pockets has no redeeming features and is worthy of condemnation.
Some people might contend that we are a democracy where the majority agrees to the forcible use of one person for the good of another. But does a majority consensus confer morality to an act that would otherwise be deemed as immoral? In other words, if a majority of the widow’s neighbors voted to force one neighbor to mow her law, would that make it moral?
I don’t believe any moral case can be made for the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another. But that conclusion is not nearly as important as the fact that so many of my fellow Americans give wide support to using people. I would like to think it is because they haven’t considered that more than $2 trillion of the over $3 trillion federal budget represents Americans using one another. Of course, they might consider it compensatory justice. For example, one American might think, “Farmers get Congress to use me to serve the needs of some farmers. I’m going to get Congress to use someone else to serve my needs by subsidizing my child’s college education.”
The bottom line is that we’ve become a nation of thieves, a value rejected by our founders. James Madison, the father of our Constitution, was horrified when Congress appropriated $15,000 to help French refugees. He said, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” Tragically, today’s Americans would run Madison out of town on a rail.
I understand, John, thanks
I guess in my own twisted world, which is based on Liberalism and Catholicism, I am a Socialist.
It's kind of weird that anyone, me - you - FOX - CNN can make a point ~ an argument for any cause they feel strongly about. Thus "The Art of Persuasion" (ref. comment below in response to Brian D.)
With that ~ I will go ahead with my beliefs as I know you will.
With that ~ I will go ahead with my beliefs as I know you will.
my dear mark,
that's what makes this country great...
this country is fuckin' doomed.
All the "great" societies vanish. Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, English, Celtic, Vikings, Moors, etc.
The ONLY ONE THAT WILL REMAIN will be CHINA ~ thanks in HUGE part to the USA ~
And, a couple centuries from now, even China will collapse.. and maybe the Scots will be the most powerful people on earth for 300 years, then they'll fall and be replaced by the Mexican Empire. Boy, to read the history books of 1,000 years from now..
England may not be #1 but we are still here. Please don't write us off just yet! Hello? can anyone see me?
It's strange; liberal Catholics don't want anyone to have a say in what a woman does with her body, while conservative Catholics think no one else should have a say with what a man does with his bank account.
Woo hoo, Fall, Babylon, fall!