Did you know that the "S" word, Socialism, is scary to Americans? Which makes Democratic Party presidential candidate scary! Somehow, this whole article is in the news section of USA Today, rather than the opinion section
(USA Today) If Bernie Sanders were to win the Democratic presidential nomination, his chances of actually making it to the White House are somewhere between zero and nothing.
That, at least, is the view of some political observers. One of the reasons for their pessimism is Sanders’ political ideology: He’s a self-described "Democratic Socialist."
And the S-word frightens a lot of Americans.
A Pew Research Center survey conducted in December 2011, shortly after the Occupy Wall Street protests, which highlighted the growing wealth gap between the rich and the poor, found half of all Americans still had a positive view of capitalism, while 60% had a negative perception of socialism.
“Socialism is a far more divisive word (than capitalism), with wide differences of opinion along racial, generational, socioeconomic and political lines,” Pew said.
“Fully nine-in-ten conservative Republicans (90%) view socialism negatively, while nearly six-in-ten liberal Democrats (59%) react positively. Low-income Americans are twice as likely as higher-income Americans to offer a positive assessment of socialism (43% among those with incomes under $30,000, 22% among those earning $75,000 or more).”
Fortunately, Global Post writer Allison Jackson (the article appeared originally at Global Post) offers 5 ways to make Socialism less scary:
- Free baby stuff
- More than a year of paid parental leave
- Generous unemployment benefits
- Free healthcare for everyone
- Long holidays (that are paid)
Of course, in Reality Land, none of these are free: someone's paying for it. In pure political theory, Socialism isn't necessarily scary. The Democratic Model has three cores: the Moral, the Economic, and the Political. For Socialism, the government stays out of our private affairs (Moral). There is massive direct democracy, voting on everything, and virtually everyone can vote (Political). But, for the Economic, though, this is where the government is heavily involved in owning the means of production. They own industries, companies. They dictate in the extreme policies for those that are privately owned.
In practice, this doesn't work out so well. Socialists very much want to get involved in citizen's lives. Hence all the "free" stuff, as well as this policy and that policy. The government quite often ignores the votes of the people, as those in charge start establishing a political aristocracy. And getting that heavily involved in the means of production? Here's a word for you: Greece. As the oft-mentioned quote from Margaret Thatcher goes "the problems with socialism is that eventually run out of other people's money".
There's also the problem with rising costs and inflation. The system disincentivizes people from working hard and earning, and drives those who are go getters away.
National Review's Jim Geraghty writes that America now has an openly Socialist party. But, is it really Socialism, or Progressivism? Sanders may be an openly Socialist guy, per his self-description. Yet, these people mostly seem to be Progressives, which Jonah Goldberg referred to as "nice fascists", the nice meaning "they're going to do things for your own good". It creates an authoritarian regime, one where the Central Government becomes involved in virtually every aspect of the citizen's lives. This never turns out well. It's a system in which the people are controlled by the leaders, and every form of government abuses or exceeds it's legitimate power, sooner or later. Fascism makes it that much quicker.
Crossed at Pirate's Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.