Fri 5 Mar 2010
NOTE: The word Socialist (capital S) refers to the Socialist party. The word socialist (lower case s) refers to the school of political thought.
There are a lot of reasons to hate FOX*, but the one that has gotten to me more than any other is the whole “Obama is a Socialist” fear mongering they’re doing. A current Google search has more than four and a half million hits for the search terms Obama and Socialist, but the whole thing is fucking absurd. Obama isn’t a Socialist, he’s not even a socialist. He’s a moderate Democrat. I would know, I’m a socialist, and he doesn’t come remotely close to representing my values.
Being a socialist is pretty great. It’s fun to argue with someone and say something like “of course every citizen deserves medical care,” have them counter with “that sounds like socialism,” and be comfortable saying “man, we should BE so lucky.”
See, having the government pay for and/or administer health care is not socialism, any more so than public schools, police and roads. These are public services, services which every person in the country deserves access to. This, to my mind, is the absolute LEAST that a person should be able to expect from their government.
The most immediate response when I out myself as a socialist is that I have something against free enterprise. I find this one amusing, as I’m a huge proponent of free enterprise, it’s part of the reason I agree with socialism. Honestly, I’d be in favor of the complete dissolution of all national corporations. Anything that ought to be on a national scale (internet, phone, railways) should be passed to the national government. Anything that ought to be local (grocery stores, restaurants, farms) will be owned and operated by people who actually live in the area and can see the impact of what they do. This doesn’t mean a product can’t be carried nationally, it just means that rather than a single chain carrying the same products everywhere, each product would be sourced for a specific local clientele. Locations would develop a culture. There wouldn’t be as many obscene benefits available to huge chains, making it far more likely that a startup could become competitive if there is indeed an unsatisfied desire in consumers.
I’m well aware that the scenario above is not traditional socialism, so just to verify, yes, means of production for essential goods like oil and sustenance food farming in the hands of the government. This still leaves local farms to produce foods people actually want under their own agency. Are there problems? Sure, but I can’t help but feel a greater affection for an organization chartered under the notion that its purpose is to serve the public good, rather than to make money from the public regardless of the outcome.
I’m honestly interested in some counter arguments, so if you think I’m full of shit, by all means let me know. A position like this succeeds or fails based it its ability to resolve or adapt to criticism.