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Democratic Socialism Explained

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Jack is retired. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 120,000 views.



The Democratic candidate running for President, Bernie Sanders, recently came up with the term “democratic socialism” to explain his platform. It is a coined term that needs some explanation.

- June 2019


The democratic party has been moving left for many years. With each election, they tend to lean even further left. This latest idea of a democratic socialism is being embraced by Sanders and AOC and many other Democrats in the next election.

They see this as a way to break Capitalism‘s hold on our country. They cite the inequalities of the current system to knock down what has been the most successful economic system in all of human history. Capitalism is not perfect as all other economic systems are, and have its faults. However, this is no comparison to the failures of communism and socialism around the world we see today.

Part of the problem is that people today, especially young millennials, have not been taught the history and the real meaning of socialism. They lived and were raised in our system and knows not any other system that have been tried elsewhere. They lack the basic understanding of socialism. They also confuse some policies as being socialistic when in reality they are not. For example, I heard someone say to me that the public library is a form of socialism...

No it is not, In fact, the public library was the creation of Benjamin Franklin, one of our founding fathers. It was an efficient way to allow the common people access to books. It was based on cost effectiveness and not socialism ideals.

What is socialism? Here is one definition.

What About The Public Library?

Is it true the public library is a socialist institution? Or the fire department? Or social security?

Not exactly. It is a false association. The public library was an invention of Benjamin Franklin, one of our founding fathers. It was invented before Karl Marx‘s communist manifesto. The public library is a shared resource of books which in those days was a precious commodity that only rich people could afford. It was also something that most people do not need to keep on their shelves. You read it once and return it so others can read it.

To make the complete comparison, for the public library to be a socialism instrument, they would have to shut down Barnes and Noble and Amazon books. The government would be the only source of books. They will control the creation and the distribution of all books.

What is Democratic Socialism?

This is a made up term. It does not exist anywhere. In fact it is an oxymoron. The two words are incompatible and incongruent.

You cannot combine democratic principles and socialism as an ideology. Socialism demands conformity, and a central controlling politbureau. It is not a rule by the people through democratic election process.

This term is made up to confuse and confound. They are trying to paint lipstick on a pig.

Some people are just confused. They don’t even know what socialism stands for. Democratic socialism is something that may sound good but does not work. Bernie Sanders wants you to believe Denmark is the model of democratic socialism. The Danish prime minister said they are not a socialist country. They do have high taxes and provide a safety net for all their citizens. That is a form of government charity, not government owned and controlled of the mechanism of production. Those are very different things.

When the government takes the money from one group and gives it to another group, it is called income redistribution. In order to make the socialism label, here is what must happen.

Socialism is a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

A Name By Any Other Name...

It really doesn’t matter what you call it. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck... it is a duck. The policies adopted by the Democratic party is socialism like. A single payer government healthcare system. Free College tuition for all. Raising minimum wage across the board to $15 per hour. End the coal energy business. All these ideas and policy are socialistic. There is no democracy when the government imposes these regulations on us the people without a vote.

“Democratic socialism“ is in fact socialism.

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Here is my advice to the “new” democratic party. Don’t try to sell something by dressing it up as something else. If you want socialism, just embrace it. It is a sign of courage. These policies are not new. They have been tried periodically by some countries. Invariably, they will fail because of our human nature. We are not designed to live in a socialist and communal environment. Perhaps, Margret Thatcher was right when she made the comment some 30 years ago. Socialism works until it runs out of other people’s money.

Postscript - June 18, 2019

This week, I had an opportunity to take the tour at the Capitol of the US in Washington DC. It was a great experience and I was told on average 6000 people visit it everyday. It is totally free and anyone can just sign up ahead of the time via their Congressional representatives or just walk in and wait on line.

The highlight of the tour was seeing the building, the structure, the artworks, the statues and the history behind it as told by our guide. There is also a 15 minute video at the start of the tour which is very informative. I couldn’t help thinking to myself how the 535 current members of Congress could benefit by sitting through such a video history of our country, our Constitution and how this whole experiment of a nation should work. Our motto E pluribus Unum. Out of many One.

The lady Liberty sits on top of the dome representing freedom, the most basic human right endowed by our Creator.

The current democratic representatives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could learn something about how our government works. She seems to have no clue about the Constitution. She was elected but her knowledge and inexperience is shocking. She has little understanding or appreciate how unique and special is our nation. She prefer socialism of Europe over our Constitutional republic. On the opposite spectrum, you have an experienced Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who called Trump a criminal and wants to lock him up, without the basic protection of every citizen of innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. She could get a refresher course on the laws of the land that she is part of and has the power to write new laws.

Then we have a Senator of the US, Bernie Sanders, who is a socialist and who rejects the government of our founders and rather have Karl Marx as the philosopher of choice.

How did we elect these people to govern when they lack the civility and the basic understanding of our laws, and justice system and our Constitution?

Didn’t they all put their hand on top of a Bible and swore to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States?


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Jack Lee


T on September 13, 2020:

How can you discuss anything with someone who thinks the Democrats have shifted to the right? To say

“The shift to the right that the Democrats made”

is plain insanity!!! No one on the left or the right believes the Democrats have shifted to the right or that they ever will for that matter.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on September 13, 2020:


OK, I will take your word for it, you are not blaming Republicans.

However, the elephant in the room is that the DNC has shifted left, way left.

You cannot deny that fact.

The call for universal healthcare, free college education, forgiving of student loan debt, and a universal basic income, and the Green New Deal are all extreme left progressive ideas.

Taxing the rich is a fantasy. There are not enough money to pay for all the programs you want. It has been tried in France and it failed when they up the top tax bracket to 90%. People who have money decided to move out of the country.

Gregory Hicks on September 13, 2020:

I am not blaming the Republicans for anything, all I am saying is that our entire political system has shifted to the right. That the idea that Democrats are becoming more and more liberal is a fallacy.

Your article is a look at Democratic Socialism is just another hit piece on the left. And speaking from past conversations with conservatives, they all think that they occupy the moral high ground and need to straighten out or tutor the "liberals".

Liberalism died with Kennedy, the Democratic party is not Liberal Left, or else we would have gotten Medicare for all under Obama. Instead of the insurance market boon that we did get. Remember that everyone was ordered to buy insurance. Not exactly socialist, even by your definition.


The shift to the right that the Democrats mad is not the fault of the Republicans, it is because of the infection of money in the election process.

Let me emphatically state that I am not blaming Republicans for the Democrats shift to the right.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on September 13, 2020:


You're the first that is blaming Republicans for the left shift of the DNC. Do you know how crazy that sounds? Bernie Sanders and AOC would disagree with your assessment.

They are socialist and they are proud of it. At any other time, they would be the fringe of the party. Today, they are driving the party.

How is that anyway the fault of Republicans?

Gregory Hicks on September 13, 2020:

It might look to you as if the Democrats are moving further left with each election but appearances are deceiving.

The entire political system has been bought by the corporations and wealthy. Even the Democrats: if they were drifting to the left they would have embraced Medicare for all.

And Obama wouldn't have pushed his health care requiring everyone to get health insurance, a huge favor to the health care insurance companies.

Hardly socialist.

The Democrats appear to be be drifting to the left because the Republicans are drifting farther towards the far-right. Becoming even more nationalistic and fascist in the policies and ideology they promote.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on June 22, 2019:

Mike, just to clarify for me, as a progressive, do you think America is still a racist nation?

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on June 21, 2019:

Mike, the one I recommend is “Free to Choose”. It is one of the best book I found to explain the hidden power of the free enterprise system. How people from all works of life acting in their self interest come together to create added value that benefits all of us.

Read the chapter about how a simple pencil is made...

Mike Russo from Placentia California on June 21, 2019:

Thanks, Jack: I think you will enjoy the book. It gives some very good insight into both sides of the equation and possibly a way to deal with your friend. At the very least it will show you how conservatives and liberals deal with their values and beliefs.

I have done some research on Milton Friedman and I'm not sure I believe in some of his theories of capitalism. Which of his books did you want me to read? I hope it's not all of them.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on June 21, 2019:

Mike, I ordered it from your review article. Hopefully you will get the sales commission..

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on June 21, 2019:

Mike, just ordered the book on Amazon. Looking forward to reading it.

Mike Russo from Placentia California on June 20, 2019:

Jack: Read my book review on Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, and then read the book. I think it will give you great insight into the differences in the conservative and liberal mind sets.

I have two books that I received for father's day that I have to read first. One is, Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations by Admiral McRaven. He is the commander of the Seal Team that took out Bin Laden. The other is about the Tuskegee Airman, about the black pilots who flew missions to protect our bombers during WWII.

But I will do research on Milton Friedman.

Here is the link to my article:

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on June 20, 2019:

Mike, that is good news. I welcome you to read up on Milton Friedman. If you have a good book suggestion for me, I will do the same and we can compare notes.

Mike Russo from Placentia California on June 19, 2019:

Jack: Of course you do. You are a conservative. I trust all of those you mentioned more than Townhall because I'm a liberal. Therein lies a big part of the problem. According to Johathan Haidt, the author of Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion,

"We do moral and political reasoning not to reconstruct the actual reason why we came to a particular judgment. We reason to find the best possible reasons why somebody else ought to join us in our judgment."

I will do the research on Milton Friedman.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on June 19, 2019:

Mike, I trust Townhall more than I trust CNN or MSNBC or NPR...all very liberal media.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on June 19, 2019:

The shoe on the other foot test, did you complain about President Obama for playing record number of golf games during his years in the White House? Not to mention the waste of taking separate planes to the same location by Barack and Michelle...

Mike Russo from Placentia California on June 19, 2019:

Jack: Townhall is a conservative news outlet.

and the Heritage Foundation is a conservative think tank.

This is from their "about" link. is the leading source for conservative news and political commentary and analysis.

Here is what the editor said: "Can the economy in America improve? Of course it can and should, but to claim America's rich are taking everything while the poor starve is completely absent of fact, not to mention out of touch with the reality of how humans live in the rest of the world."

No one is saying that the rich are taking everything. They are saying they should pay taxes on what they earn instead of getting huge tax breaks. If they paid their taxes, we would be able to fund social programs for education and health care. I think you can agree that education and health care for all can only benefit the country. The reason Trump gave them huge tax breaks is for Trickle Down Economics. It didn't work under Reagan and I don't see it working now. Instead of the money trickling down, it goes to the Cayman Islands and Swiss unumbered bank accounts.

Trump alone has cost tax payers 64.6 million for his trips to Mar-A-Logo. This is from the Washington Post.

"According to the Washington Post, Trump has taken some 19 trips to Mar-a-Lago during his presidency so far. If the average cost of $3.4 million for the first four trips is extrapolated, that means the president's vacations have cost taxpayers at least $64.6 million. And that doesn't count travel to his club in Bedminster, N.J., where Trump goes in the summer."

You might want to read this: It is current as of May 22, 2019.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on June 19, 2019:

Mike, here is what Bernie Sanders say about bread lines...

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on June 19, 2019:

Mike, What you and Bernie is not understanding is how capitalism works. It generates wealth. The pie is not fixed. Just because Bezos and Gates have so much money does not mean the rest of the people are poorer.

They created wealth by inventing something people want and willing to pay for, in the process made a lot of money but also hired many employees who also benefited, and made a lot of money for shareholders of their company...which in turn created more business and profits...

You may take the position it is not fair but who is to say what is fair.

Would you rather people being all poor like most communist countries where everyone wears the same cloth and shoes and drive the same bikes and cars? Or live in a world like ours where we the people have all kinds of products...and services in abundance?

By taxing the rich, like Bernie suggest, you are killing the golden goose that lay the egg.

Suzie from Carson City on June 19, 2019:

Mike!!! (ReadMikeNow) "Wooooo-Hooooo!" That's a female wolf whistle (& an oxymoron, I guess!) What a handsome new profile photo! The beret, dark glasses and goatee....have transformed you into the "Coolest Ukranian" I've ever seen!! LOL

Sorry Jack, I have no comment, just busted in because I saw Mike's new awesome photo! (I probably embarrassed him too!) Oops!

Mike Russo from Placentia California on June 19, 2019:

Jack: He is not taking down capitalism. He has performed studies that indicate: In his words, "It is not moral, it is not acceptable, and it is not sustainable that the top one-tenth of 1 percent now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent," The study found the following:

"The top 0.1 percent was composed of 160,000 families with average wealth of $72.8 million. All told, they owned 22 percent of the nation’s wealth.

Meanwhile, the bottom 90 percent included 144 million families with average wealth of $84,000, and they owned an equal 22.8 percent of America’s wealth."

This is in part a result of tax breaks for the super wealthy and what he is saying, is they can afford to pay higher taxes to help fund the social programs he is proposing. He is not taking down capitalism, but is trying to bring more equality to workers and wage earners. At an average of 72,8 per family, how long would it take to tax them out of existence as you say?

Large corporations and big moneyed interest do have too much influence in our elections and policies, especially with the passing of Citizens United. Corporations and big moneyed interest can donate unlimited amounts of funds to campaigns without any accountability on their part. As they say, follow the money.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on June 19, 2019:

Mike I would agree with you but that is not what Bernie is proposing.

He is going the extra mile of taking down capitalism...the evil corporations...and taxing the wealth creators...out of existence.

Where do you think all the money will come from to pay for these programs? It does not grow on trees...

Bernie is a socialist and just use the term “democratic” as a descriptor to hide what he really thinks.

Mike Russo from Placentia California on June 19, 2019:

RMN: I read your article. Bernie Sanders is proposing social programs without controlling the means of production.. He is using the term Democratic Socialism to differentiate himself from the other candidates. From your article, call it Compassionate Capitalism if you wish.

Why can't we have a government system of both socialism and capitalism? They co-exist right now, people just don't realize it. What do you think social security is and medicare and Group Insurance offered by companies to their employees?

There can be social programs without government controlling the means of production. Bernie has said this over and over again. But conservatives ears perk up as soon as they hear the word socialism. They envision Communism and the nanny state with the intent to destroy capitalism. Nothing could be further from the truth. Controlling the means of production comes from the Communist Manifesto written by Karl Marx in 1848...Get over it.

This is from your article:

"Socialism can take the form of government controlling or interfering with free markets, nationalizing industries, and subsidizing favored ones (green energy, anyone?). The Nordic countries don’t actually do much of those things. Yes, they offer government-paid healthcare, in some cases tuition-free university educations, and rather generous social safety nets, all financed with high taxes. However, it is possible to do these things without interfering in the private sector more than required. It is allowing businesses to be productive that produces the high corporate and personal incomes that support the tax collections making the government benefits feasible. The Nordic countries are smart enough not to kill the goose that lays the golden egg."

Readmikenow: What would you call social programs without having the government controlling the means of production and that don't interfere with the precepts of capitalism?

Compassionate Capitalism doesn't describe it for me because it leaves out the social aspects of the idea of people working together for common causes.

Even paying taxes is a form of socialism because we are all paying for the common benefits of what those taxes will bring. And there is no controlling the means of production.

breakfastpop on June 19, 2019:

I think this hub should be required reading for voters in the next election.

Readmikenow on June 19, 2019:

Jack, the responses on this thread prove the theory that the only people who support socialism are those who don't know what it involves.

It is painfully obvious when nobody mentions that under socialism the government controls the means of production. THAT is socialism. THAT is what happened to Venezuela.

It has NOTHING to do with social programs. The countries with the most social programs often have the most capitalistic governmental systems.

Let us end the myth of the socialism of the Nordic countries. In many ways, they are more driven by capitalism than the United States.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on June 18, 2019:

Mike, we are in agreement on the basic principles of divided government. As our Constitution state, some are functions that are clearly the realm of the Federal government and some are the job of local state and city government. Then, some are better done by individuals and private companies snd non-profit institutions. The Red Crpss and Catholic charities are some of the best examples of this.

A good country will embrace all of the above to help make our country great.

Our disagreement is the degree which each of the parts should carry. You are constantly cheering for bigger government programs and the “state” despite the evidence that some of these programs do not work and in fact are harming our citizens. I will cite the welfare state as an example.

In my case, I believe in a limited government and the free market to take care most of our needs. The book by Milton Friedman “ free to choose” explains why it is the most efficient mechanism.

Mike Russo from Placentia California on June 18, 2019:

Jack: Here is the preamble to the Constitution:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Promote the general welfare is the key operative in this discussion. In my interpretation, that means social endeavors to help each other as a society.

In California, when there are forest fires that can't be managed by local or state departments, they call in fire fighters from other states to help out. They are organized and commanded by their own people to help others. That is a social endeavor. When there are natural disasters, we all come together to help out. The means of production are controlled internally by those in charge.

I think the real argument you are posing here is the advantages/disadvantages of capitalism versus socialism. I believe a society like ours needs a balance of both economic systems. As I said before, in our society, there are some services that are better handled by government than individuals, but by the same token, there are some services that are better handled by private enterprise.

In order to find that balance requires good judgment and wisdom on both sides. Many people today are too quick to equate social programs with communism. They hear those words and immediately think of the Soviet Union and/or the welfare state. It is the difference between the conservative mind set and the liberal mind set. Both have their negative and positive qualities.

Just because Bernie Sanders calls himself a Democratic Socialist does not mean he is a communist and wants to destroy capitalism as it exists today. That is the thesis of your article and I don't believe that is what Bernie Sanders means or wants.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on June 18, 2019:

Mike, I am afraid we are too caught up in the naming of these competing economic platforms. If you have a better idea for an alternative system, please explain it. We can just call it “XYZ” or something other less toxic.

If you can come up with a system that allows individual the freedom to take chances and innovate and to make profits, and also, at the same time allow the government to over see a fair and balanced tax system where the public is taken care of in their basic needs and make the books balanced, then I may come out to support it.

That will be the closest we can come to an utopian society.

Unfortunately, it does not exist.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on June 18, 2019:

Mike, I am very familiar with that link. It is not socialism when the government is involved such as the post office, and the DMV and the DOT and a host of other agencies.

I am not against all government agencies. Some are needed as a way of standards and consistency.

Where I think it crosses the line is when it becomes an arm of activism such as the EPA. It drifted away from its main function of environment protection into energy control climate change...just one example of a miss use of government.

A good example of how private industry can do a better job is the mail package delivery business. Why DHL and UPS can be profitable and the USPS cannot...

Mike Russo from Placentia California on June 18, 2019:


J: For you to put so much faith into “big” government despite the corruption and the one size fits all mentality tells me you are not for freedom and the individual.

M: It's not a matter of faith of big government. At a national level, those agencies can better serve the people than private organizations. Those agencies are a form of socialism. We pay taxes so that they can serve everybody, whether they need the service or not, it is available and serves us. How would you privatize those agencies?

I think you need to read this. It is very informative and describes the different types of socialism, their advantages and disadvantages.

BHolcomb on June 18, 2019:

Jack Lee,

Exactly!! The constitution and our nation is based on freedom, not equality. Equality is in the opportunities to flourish or to fail. It’s not the governments job to see that everyone has the same things. Only the same opportunities.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on June 18, 2019:


But, what does our Constitution say and guarantee? It does not say equality of outcome. We are all given the freedom to try and succeed or fail on our own merit. The opportunity is equal to all who wants it.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...does jot mean a free college and free healthcare and free lunch...

BHolcomb on June 18, 2019:

Interesting conversation. It depends, I suppose, on what your priority is.

Dems (libs) = equality as delivered by the government.

Conservatives = Freedom to live as you choose.

Thus, the rub.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on June 18, 2019:

Mike, I think you are confused. Just because an agency is a federal one does not mean that is socialism. Our Constitution, if you read it and understand it, has some specific powers given to the federal government and that includes rhe military.

However, they recognized not everything should be controlled at that level for fear of a overpowering government.

That is where federalism comes in.

For you to put so much faith into “big” government despite the corruption and the one size fits all mentality tells me you are not for freedom and the individual.

The other fact you are missing in this debate between socialism and capitalism is the incentive. It is the basic economic principle which drives efficiency and innovation.

Mike Russo from Placentia California on June 17, 2019:

Jack: FDA, FCC, USDA, CDC, FAA, All branches of the military, ATF, DARPA, FTC, USGS, NSA, NASA, NOAA, NTSB, OSHA, Patent Office, DOT, to name a few.

Can you imagine all of these agencies being privatized across the nation? The reason they are at the federal level is they provide continuity and standardization for all the states in the land, air, and sea.

That my friend is a form of socialism that exist along with capitalism. If they were privatized, it would create chaos and corruption like we have never seen before. As I said before, socialism, does not necessarily mean communism. We also need socialism at the state levels, in the form of law enforcement, fire fighting, ambulance services, et al.

There may be fraud and abuse in some of the agencies. But can you imagine what it would be like if they were privatized? There would still have to be federal agencies to overlook the privatized agencies. Unfettered free market enterprise without regulations leads to more corruption and fraud because greed and corruption are natural behaviors.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on June 17, 2019:

Mike, I will have to disagree with you. There are only a few things our federal government does well compared to the private sector.

Take any agency, the post office, the prisons, the VA, the EPA, the SEC...welfare, medicaid, food stamps...and you will find inefficiency, bureaucracy and in many cases fraud and abuse...

In fact, let me turn this around and ask you. What agency of our Government that is doing so well and successful, that you as a public citizen, would want it to do more of the same?

Mike Russo from Placentia California on June 17, 2019:

Jack: You are equating all social constructs to communism. There is a difference. When you say, the democrats are leaning more towards the left with every election, what you are implying is that it is just a matter of time until the nation becomes communist. I don't believe that to be the case.

There are many services that are better served by government than by private enterprise. That is what you are really concerned about is when you say that "the democratic socialist see this as a way to break capitalism's hold on our country." I believe our country operates best when there is a balance between socialism and capitalism. Below is what Sander means when he says Democratic Socialism.

"The right to quality health care, the right to as much education as one needs to succeed in our society, the right to a good job that pays a living wage, the right to affordable housing, the right to a secure retirement, and the right to live in a clean environment. I don’t believe the government should own the means of production."

I believe that using the label of Democratic Socialism is going to be a hard sell for Bernie, because it is so easy for the ill -informed and those that are still living in the 60's with the threat of the Soviet Union think that is what he is selling. Believe me it isn't.

He is really talking about FDR's form of socialism that existed very well along with capitalism. He is trying to differentiate himself from the others who are campaigning and make that label common place without people equating it to communism of the Soviet Union.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on June 17, 2019:

John, you missed my point. Socialism is not democratic... calling it does not make it so. Just because our system is not a complete capitalism does not mean we support socialism. No government I know of today is pure anything. It is a mix bag. It depends of how much of one over the other. The policies advanced by the democratic party today is leaning more to the socialism of failed Cuba and Venezuela than that of Denmark or Sweden.

John Coviello from New Jersey on June 17, 2019:

I also disagree with two premises of your article.

1. Just because Ben Franklin came up with an idea like a publicly organized funded library or a publicly organized post office in the 18th century that this form of socialism is somehow negated by a later development over 100 years later when Marx came up with an extreme form of socialism that came to be known as communism. It's more like degrees of socialism, whereas Ben Franklin came up with a form that was functional and compatible with an open market and democratic society and Marx proposed and some tried to carry out an extreme version that entailed a total government take over of private production and services, which anyone with any sense understands does not work for many basic human nature and economic reasons.

2. Socialism and democracy are not necessarily at odds, as you suggest they are. As I and others have pointed out, the U.S. has forms of socialism and a functioning democracy from the local to federal levels, as do many other countries around the world, including all of Europe. Communism, as practiced by counties like North Korea and China does run contrary to the principles of democratic representation. It is one-state Communism that is at odds with democracy. Democratic socialism in countries in which it is practiced can be modified by democratic elections and actions by lawmakers.

John Coviello from New Jersey on June 17, 2019:

Isn't the Democratic party in the U.S. advocating a social safety net (charity as you call it), rather than a government takeover of private institutions? Some of the programs in place today in the U.S. are "socialism" by your strict definition and have been supported by Democrats and Republicans for decades. Medicare, for example, is government healthcare for the elderly paid for by payroll taxes. Medicare is a good example of when a socialist program works since it is delivering healthcare to seniors with an overhead cost that is just a fraction of what private insurance companies charge for overhead, and seniors generally like Medicare medical services and the general ease versus dealing with a myriad of private health insurers.

As far as "free public" libraries. I quoted "free public" because that is what many are called since they are funded by the public (usually on a local and to some extent on a stat.e level) and are open to everyone. They might not fit a marxist definition of socialism, but since they are paid for through taxes on everyone, whether one uses a free public library or no, rather than by users, then it is a form of socialism. It is the opposite of having to go to Amazon to buy a book. The book is available due to public taxation and means of delivery of services.

A good article would be about whether free public libraries or any libraries have any place in the future where so much information is available electronically online.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 17, 2019:

Now I thought Christians were communistic. Karl was a little late to the show.