Political Independent, Author, Scholar, Veteran. 20+ years in politics and current educator.
Is There A Push For Socialism Within America?
To answer the initial premise, one must first slog through a series of questions in gauging the depth of such impending discourse to be had. Fundamentally of which, the question — Were the Founding Fathers Socialist where they not only championed but constructed the first-ever universal healthcare in American history by charging sailors one to two pennies per to the government that ran the then, modern-day, healthcare system? Was Reagan a ‘Red’ as he implemented the policies left over from the ‘New Deal’ where the government intervened in the growth of fruits such as oranges allowing them to rot within the California sun as an endless sea of red upon the horizon to keep prices high, disallowing consumers to buy such product cheap thus inextricably hurting farmers? “In socialist economies, consumer prices are usually controlled by the government. Capitalists say this can lead to shortages and surpluses of essential products, yet commits to the very same vices begging the question — Is it only Socialism when others do it, but not America?”
Another such initial question to be asked in framing the conversation would be how one instinctively, if not historically, views Socialism — whether as a baseless signifier of a European hellscape rather than the more accurate descriptor of what one ultimately believes. This is pertinent whereas Warren Buffet asserted “Government needs to reallocate some resources … be it extreme cases such as World War II, that’s the closest that we have come [as a nation] to Socialism.” Millennials and Generation Z are far more embracing of incorporating Socialistic elements into a broken system than preceding generations inundated by dutiful brainwashing dating back to, and largely defined as a historical linchpin, the McCarthy hearings and the blacklists that derived from which where a young Ronald Reagan, then president of the Screen Actor’s Guild, would sell out Hollywood rivals as Communists cementing television roles for himself while his acting career waned.
It is important to note both the complicity that Reagan had as a budding Republican in which, and how such was prescient upon the role he would ultimately play later as president to a fallen Russia where both were equally calculated, thus setting up the return of the “Red Scare” under a Trump administration where the right-wing would all but trip over one another running for a camera crew instilling such vivid demonizations of both China and Russia as preambles for a war that Sun Tzu suggested, “If one must go to war, they have already lost.” But such preludes were dubious at best given one’s ultimate determination in regard to what is and isn’t Socialism, especially inherent Socialism within America. For reference, Capitalism dates back to 1400 AD in Europe where Socialism sought a resurgence in France, in 1800 AD. Where the prevailing winds lend more so toward Capitalism in feasibility, Socialistic trends crop up roughly every fifty years or thereabout.
Through much labor in wading through dated material and subsequently flawed precepts of a comprehensive understanding of what Socialism ultimately is through its many colors and hues, I found this definition to be one of the more inclusive and therefore more insightful — “Socialism describes a variety of economic systems under which the means of production are owned equally by everyone in society. In some socialist economies, the democratically elected government owns and controls major businesses and industries. In other socialist economies, production is controlled by worker cooperatives. In a few others, individual ownership of enterprise and property is allowed, but with high taxes and government control.” By Robert Longley.
It’s my assertion (more fact than theory) that the Left now resoundingly remains entrenched within the middle regardless of the hysteria surrounding Socialism while the right incessantly, regrettably, moves more to the fringe of the party while shouting unfounded hysterics toward a return toward a “Red Scare” due, in large part, to gross ignorance surrounding Socialism — a topic that immediately calls upon the reader to set such parameters of the conversation by asking ‘political’ or ‘economic’ Socialism where the two are vastly different. Within this vain, top-down Socialism asserts that one must first gain power in order to enact their policies where bottom-up Socialism establishes it’s policies which inevitably and intrinsically changes the power structure at the top — co-ops spread throughout the world and especially within America would be a chief example of which. Further, Socialism has many branches inasmuch as Conservatism does. So there is no one definitive preamble that one can subscribe to it in enumerating their many misinterpretations of such a nuanced philosophy without being both intellectually dishonest and led by hubris, not fact, in doing so. None of the policies that have been put forward by Democrats — or such policies that are feared that they might put forward — emphatically reside within a Socialistic camp. Or no more than systemically or historically have etched their mark upon the American landscape.
Contextually, there were various periods spread throughout American history where policies like those of a more centrist based Democratic party were based upon “for a greater good” — the GI Bill, a minimum wage, removing children from the workforce, lesser hours within the workday and better working conditions, along with collective bargaining to name but a few. LBJ ushered in Medicaid, Medicare, the Headstart program along with the National Endowment for the Arts and Public Broadcasting Corporation as part of his ‘Great Society’ program. It is the absence of such forward-thinking, and the general fear of a “Red Scare” part two, that has led to such a pragmatic perspective — one encroaching upon the favor and/or policy-making of both sides of the aisle — to be readily and ignorantly dismissed from the larger conversation. So much so that the causality of which has led to stagnant wage increases dating back to the '70s, further historical highs in wealth inequality and national debt, the inherent and systematic need for UBIs, and an undereducated citizenry in a great many pertinent areas of thought and/or expertise due to exponential rises in post-secondary education. As a footnote to the latter, modern economist have elucidated on the lack of teaching of Socialism within post-secondary educations for multiple generations has fed into the grave misinterpretations and the preponderance of ignorance upon the topic of Socialism that forces any honest discourse virtually impossible without long, drawn-out conversations dispelling widespread and generational generalizations toward which.
But as the conversation grows — if it can blossom into such debate — one must rightly contrast the flaws within each system. Through capitalism, an economic recession happens every seven to ten years resulting in government intervention. For context, every President since LBJ has raised the national debt by at least 30% To which, only three times within America’s storied history has the budget ever been balanced — under LBJ, Eisenhower, and lastly, Clinton, who, upon September 30th, 1998, announce a balanced budget ushering in wasteful spending by his successors. Yet a historical asterisk marred LBJ’s name where adding Social Security to the overall budget ledger inevitably masked the deficit he created. According to Robert Reich, “Over the last 40 years:
Wages for the top o.1% grew 345%
Wages for the top 1% grew by 160%
The share of wages for the bottom 90% shrunk…
Unfettered capitalism has pulverized the working class.” Typically, 80% of federal spending goes toward Medicaid, Medicare, social security, national defense, and paying on the interest on the national debt.
In conclusion, such Socialistic(?) constructs like UBIs and co-ops are being utilized if not being ground tested all over the world, but specifically within the parameters of this discussion, also in America with great success. Specifically, but not solely to one example and not the other, co-ops have saved entire regions from abject poverty allowing them to flourish in the same regard as microlending transformatively saved third world countries by granting them access to and furtherance of financial mobility. Once the data is entered covering the rate of success or failure that UBIs’ will have within the immediacy, countries will be better able to customize them as the world enters into a third industrial age within the next 20 to 50 years (probably sooner) that is going to further remove the already depleted and unskilled middle class in market-related talents as a bulwark of consumer spending. Where credit cards were the go-to intermediary during the ’80s and upwards. thus supplementing income for a stagnating middle class, UBIs will vastly, and inevitably, take over such a vital role to perpetuate consumer spending as the unskilled middle class and working poor are crushed under the weight of a markedly unfettered and self-serving capitalistic economic system.
Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on January 03, 2021:
Very good article. I knew it'd be good as soon as I read: "current educator" and saw that there are no videos and no photos. You stuck to what is important.
Now, this is a very difficult topic to discuss because it is very complex.
What I can say is that in my opinion it is clear world-wide right now, from Orban's dictatorial approach to governing in Hungary, to Erdogan's authoritarian rule in Turkey, to Salvini's Fascist Five Star Movement in Italy, to Syriza's failure in Greece and to Corbyn/Labor's failure int he UK, that the Left has some serious issues in gaining power and control in many western societies not just now but really in the last decade, or so.
I think one of the main problems is in messaging. The right-wing nationalistic, populist message is being gobbled-up by millions of people as truth. We see this anti-immigration, anti-intellectualism, anti-government attitudes spreading across the world (together with some insane conspiracy theories all bundled-up in a perfect package for the uneducated masses)
“We won the evangelicals,” Trump said. “We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.” - And he was right for once. What did the left win? Nothing yet. We're struggling to come together; to put a few lines together which can stick and last. Sigh ... it's tough. I don;t want to be too critical but we're really failing at this game called "politics"; brutally I might add.
"It’s my assertion (more fact than theory) that the Left now resoundingly remains entrenched within the middle regardless of the hysteria surrounding Socialism while the right incessantly, regrettably, moves more to the fringe of the party" - This here is a very important fact which needs to be understood.
In North America people do not understand what it means to be on the left (on the political spectrum). Most people think CNN is a left-wing media organization and with that I want to go and take a bite out of the wall, or maybe beg Elon Musk to take me to Mars. CNN left wing ... ffsk Haha!! If CNN is left-wing then I have fallen off the political spectrum because I am so far left of CNN that our worlds do not merge much at all.
So, I am thankful that You are breaking down some of the myths regarding "socialism" and trying to help people understand that America is already socialist, it's just that it has a perverted type of socialism where the rich get the help and the poor get the boot. Financial slavery that's what it is. That's what the masses are living under: financial slavery. Banksters get bailed-out (socialism) and poor people get to live on the street if they can;t pay the bills. We see it all the time and we allow it. That second part is the painful part in my opinion: people allow it. People vote against their own best interests but that's because the left failed at messaging. And we've come full circle: we need to work on messaging and grass-root organizing.
I'm going to stop now before I write an article in your comment section lol Thanks a lot for this piece of writing though - it's needed. Cheers and best of luck for 2021!