Understanding Socialism | By Chelsea Hoffman
Socialism is a political ideal that embraces equality for all individuals, as well as varied ideas on economical issues. There are several variations of Socialism, which many people are not educated on, so this contributes to confusion as to what Socialism really is. Conservative news networks and representatives paint a picture of doom, describing worst case scenarios while spreading confusion about this political thought by highlighting only the most extreme points, and labeling it Communism to cause fear and intolerance to suit their own agendas.
In recent times, the Republican party has really increased their use of the words Socialism and Communism, referring to President Obama as an advocate of these ideals, and certain so-called “fair and balanced” news networks continue to deny the American people of factual information regarding these issues.
1. Economy : Most Socialists advocate an egalitarian type of financial compensation. Egalitarianism is a doctrine that declares that all people under law are to be treated as equals and be entitled to the same rights whether it be politically, economically, socially and even civilly. Equal pay in the workplace is promoted, to eliminate feelings of discrimination, and other economical and workplace issues. Confusion with this doctrine is caused by calling it a Communist ideal, and although it is true that Communism incorporates an egalitarian thought, doesn’t make egalitarianism a communist practice. Saying that it is, is comparable to saying all Christian denominations view their sabbath on Sundays. It simply is not true. Even Democracy realizes a type of political egalitarianism, even tho it isn’t quite as equal as some may want.
Statistics show that U.S. states that hold an egalitarian standpoint rank higher in strength for environmental policies, and rank lower in premature death rates. Minnesota is the most egalitarian state in the US, whereas Mississippi is the least. Research has shown that states that are more egalitarian than others correlate with better environments and a higher quality of life.
2. Civil Rights : Socialism adheres to the theory that all people should truly be equal in every way. This means that no person, or groups of people will be allowed civil rights that are otherwise not allowed to other people or groups of people. This could pertain to equal rights for women, minorities, gays, and everyone else. Considering that the United States of America is fondly quoted,”The land of the free”, one could appreciate the socialist view on equal rights, and equal opportunities.
3. Benefits of the People : Essentially, Socialism is considered the “Working Man’s Party”, because it is a belief(and a valid one at that), that the middle class, or working class are truly the backbone of the U.S. and of basically any society. Socialist ideals are meant to strengthen the quality of life in a society by eliminating monetary or social class. When everyone is equal, unemployment virtually doesn’t exist, and with careful planning such benefits like universal health care can be available in a socially evolving environment.
4. By the People, For the People : Contrary to what some people may believe, the United States could in fact become a Social-Democratic nation without losing any of the traditional values that make this nation great. Socialism doesn’t entail the complete control of the people by the government, as Socialism does not advocate inequality and control. Extreme forms of Communist ideals, however, do not value freedom and equality. This is the difference between the two. Communism and Socialism shouldn’t be compared together, and that is why the American people need to educate their selves on these political ideas, so to form their own educated opinions, instead of allowing their selves to be led down a path of confusion and falsities by the ultra conservative right and other biased sources.
Many who oppose the Social evolution of this nation are also people who oppose the equal rights and civil liberties of many different groups of people. The republican party, and other conservative leaning individuals protest social growth, calling it Communism. These are the same groups of people who oppose a woman’s (or family’s) right to abortion and family planning services. These are also the same people who oppose gay rights and equality among diverse cultures. Naturally, a group who opposes the freedom and rights of their fellow men and women will not agree with living in a society that condones freedom, and encourages equality and civility.
Now, picture this : A society that doesn’t measure a person’s worth by how much money they have made in their lifetime, and a government that enforces equal rights without having monetary agendas by enforcing equal opportunity laws in the workplace for men, women, minorities, gays, straights, and other walks of life. Imagine living in a society that doesn’t define a person by their sexual orientation, and instead of punishing them by disallowing them civil rights that all people should be entitled to, they treat them like the human beings they are. This could be achievable, in time, as long as people arm their selves with the information they are entitled to about our government, and political issues that matter.
Though Socialism adheres to the idea that all people are to be completely equal, there are some discrepancies with this ideal. For instance, it is common fact that you cannot make everyone happy, meaning with equality, some people will feel as if their private rights are effected. An example of this problem can be observed via the heated gun control issue in the U.S. Many people who share socialist views feel that guns should be completely outlawed for use in private homes. The issue with this is the Second Amendment in the Constitution that gives every American the right to “Bare Arms”. Naturally, the equality in this situation would be that nobody has a gun. Obviously this would lower the crime rate, and the rate of accidental deaths due to guns in the home, which will, in turn strengthen the overall environment and quality of life in our nation.
However, many people do not want the 2nd Amendment to be dissolved, and feel that their rights are being stifled in the name of Socialist opinion and views. Regardless of this, we can still become a socially leaning nation without completely giving up our freedom to bare arms. This isn’t to say it is necessary for a person to own a complete arsenal of weapons unless they are a military official, or a super hero!
Taxation is another downfall in Socialism and it’s practice. Part of having complete equality in every sense of the word is paying for it, which is to be expected. You can compare this idea to the preferences of private schools as opposed to public schools, as many people gladly pay the extra price to receive higher quality in education. With that said, socially influenced taxation is beneficial for the maintenance of the entire country because the extra dollars and cents go to public health care, schooling, beautification, and other extremely rewarding outlets. Let’s face it. Nobody likes to pay taxes, but we just have to.
It’s our duties as American’s to put back a little of what we are given, and eliminate tension and boundaries because of money and status. It’s the duty of every American citizen who cares about our home, to put back twenty percent of their income, because if we didn’t, this nation would crumble under the weight of financial insecurity.
In all honesty, people who protest paying taxes must not really value this country as much of those who haven’t any issues in paying an extra twelve or fifteen percent. You can’t expect your government to give you all of the perks you ask for, without giving something in return. If you want better curriculum in schools, you have to pay for it. If you want better availability of vaccines and medications in your local hospitals, you have to pay for it.
It doesn’t magically appear. There is no education and vaccine fairy to sprinkle tax free benefits about the land for our frivolous enjoyment. We all have to unite as Americans, and realize that you get what you give, and in the condition this country is in right now, we all need to do a little more giving, and a little less copping out on our national duties as citizens of the free world.