I don’t claim to know everything about *socialism, but I know enough about it to worry that lots of people these days in our country think that it’s a great idea. They like the idea of free education, free healthcare, free this and that and so on. But the big question is this: where is the money to do all this going to come from?
The Crankee Yankee has a simple scenario that gives an idea of what living in a socialist country would be like:
- You work all week at your job. At the end of the week, you get your paycheck.
- Then you take that paycheck to the nearest Social Services office and hand them your paycheck.
- The Social Services office then determines what you need; bills to be paid, food to buy, clothing for school kids, etc. That part of your check you get to keep.
- The rest of your money goes to the “common good.”
Sure, your education and healthcare is free as well as some other services, but even in socialism, nothing is truly free. One of the scariest parts of socialism is that the government decides things for you that you may not like.
Example: say you are in your middle ’80s in a nursing home. There are some very expensive medicines that will greatly help your comfort and may even heal you and give you more years to live. However, the government is in charge of this, and they may decide that you are too old and too sick to waste money on. They would rather give that money and medication to younger people who can still serve the country. In other words, the government becomes the entity that decides if you live or die.
I realize that this sounds very **Draconian and scary, but it’s important that we understand that 1) freedom is never free, 2) you don’t get something for nothing, and 3) once we turn to socialism it’s pretty hard to go back to the freedoms our country fought so hard to put in place.
Just consider this a cautionary tale.
*From Webster’s Dictionary: Definition of Socialism
1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.
2a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property.
2b : 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.
Socialism vs. social democracy:
In the many years since socialism entered English around 1830, it has acquired several different meanings. It refers to a system of social organization in which private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control, but the conception of that control has varied, and the term has been interpreted in widely diverging ways, ranging from statist to libertarian, from Marxist to liberal.
In the modern era, “pure” socialism has been seen only rarely and usually briefly in a few Communist regimes. Far more common are systems of social democracy
, now often referred to as democratic socialism
, in which extensive state regulation, with limited state ownership, has been employed by democratically elected governments (as in Sweden and Denmark) in the belief that it produces “a fair distribution of income without impairing economic growth.”
*From Webster’s Dictionary: Draconian comes from Draco, the name of a 7th-century B.C. Athenian legislator who created a written code of law. Draco’s code was intended to clarify preexistent laws, but its severity is what made it really memorable.
In Draco’s code, even minor offenses were punishable by death, and failure to pay one’s debts could result in slavery. Draconian, as a result, became associated with things cruel or harsh.
Something draconian need not always be as cruel as the laws in Draco’s code, though; today the word is used in a wide variety of ways and often refers to measures (steep parking fines, for example) that are relatively minor when compared with the death penalty.