What is wrong with socialism?
Of all the lies the right likes to tell, the lie that socialism is bad may be the most damaging of all
Of all the things conservatives lie about to maintain their rigid (and dangerously stupid) worldview, socialism has got to be at or near the top. If you love licking the boots of billionaires (or fake billionaires like Trump), stop reading now so you don’t spontaneously combust.
Global inequality is surging at an unprecedented pace. According to Oxfam, the world’s 26 richest people currently have the same amount of wealth as the poorest 3.8 billion—down from 61 people in 2016. As the rich get richer, sea levels are rising, tribalism is flourishing, and liberal democracies are regressing. Even some of the wealthiest nations are plagued by job insecurity, debt, and stagnant wages. Ordinary people across the political spectrum are increasingly concerned that the system is rigged against them. Trust in public institutions is near an all-time low.
In Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson recently reminded her readers that socialism and American socialism are two different things. In the USA, all of the lies about socialism being evil come from the legacy of chattel slavery that glosses over the dark past of the United States and is an essential facet of the MAGA mindset.
In the South of the post-Civil War years, almost all property holders were white. They argued that Black voting amounted to a redistribution of wealth from hardworking white men to poor Black people. It was, they insisted, “socialism,” or, after workers in Paris created a Commune in 1871, “communism." This is the origin of the American obsession with “socialism,” more than 40 years before Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution. Since that time, Americans have cried “socialism” whenever ordinary Americans try to use the government to level the economic playing field by calling for business regulation—which will cost tax dollars by requiring bureaucrats—or for schools and roads, or by asking for a basic social safety net. But the public funding of roads and education and health care is not the same thing as government taking over the means of production. Rather it is an attempt to prevent a small oligarchy from using the government to gather power to themselves, cutting off the access of ordinary Americans to resources, a chance to rise, and, ultimately, to equality before the law.
Go read the whole article. I promise that it is worth your precious time. Come back here after, and we will continue the socialism is not bad lesson.
Great, you came back. Thanks for that.
Jeff Bezos has $200 billion and a master plan. No one person needs $200 billion. Socialism questions why a few people in the world have vast mountains of resources while a much larger number of people suffer pointlessly and die in state of despair. For those humans able to put aside preexisting bullshit programming, such as the American lie that capitalism is the economic system imaginary sky daddy blessed us with and wants us to defend to the death, there is plenty of eye opening data available to shed light on why the world is the way it is, and where we can go from here.
Today’s global inequality is the consequence of two centuries of unequal progress. Some places have seen dramatic improvements, while others have not. It is on us today to even the odds and give everyone – no matter where they are born – the chance of a good life. This is not only right, but, as we will see below, is also realistic. Our hope for giving the next generations the chance to live a good life lies in broad development that makes possible for everyone what is only attainable for few today.
The unequal progress is perpetuated by many different factors. The biggest factor though, in my estimation, is how much bullshit a standard issue human has to wade through to get outside of the bubble of cognitive dissonance manufactured by conservatives. This is necessary to be able to start to see the world as it is and not as conservatives portray it.
Conservative leaders like Donald J. Trump in the United States (which are far from united in large part due to his torrents of never ending bullshit) and Brazil’s Jair Bolsanaro cannot survive politically without doubling down on bigger and bigger lies. For Donald Trump, the lies are mostly attempts to dismiss his own vast incompetence. That utter lack of ability to lead has killed a quarter million of the people he is supposed to be protecting. For Jair Bolsanaro one of the big lies is denying what his decisions are doing to ruin the world’s environment, which will negatively impact everyone born after I finish this essay.
The idea that 26 people should have the same amount of resources available as 3.8 billion other people is a bad one, especially if the 3.8 billion people do not have enough to eat, do not have adequate shelter, live from moment to moment without basic needs being met and without any sense of security in their lives, all while suffering from maladies and diseases they cannot afford to have treated properly.
Socialism is not the idea that the many should eat the privileged few. It is the idea that Donald J. Trump should get the exact same COVID-19 treatment that you get. It is the idea that Americans do not need an orange god-emperor who hides in a bunker or behind an old book of nonsense. Socialism is the idea that we should all work together to demand a more level playing field for children who have not been born yet.
Do you want your kids to be born into a crumbling empire of lies or into a reborn nation where human equity is actually a real thing for the first time in history?
Don’t let conservatives ruin the world. Demand more socialism instead. It does a lot more good than magical thinking and nostalgia about the good old days that weren’t.