Socialism is a MISUNDERSTOOD system, a MISCHARACTERIZED concept, and suffers from the MISGUIDED notion that freedom is suppressed, and a dictatorship is imposed. Socialism is so misunderstood by Americans that they think of it like CANCER or AIDS, as if it’s something to be avoided, expunged, and cured!
Socialism is NOT a system which takes from the well-off and gives to those who are not as the Robin Hood legend might insist. It is a system which does not allow the well-off to become so at the expense of others. Socialism is NOT a system which denies people their freedom to choose and decide for themselves what they would like to do as in a military organization or a prison system. It is a system which selects and encourages those who show great aptitude and interest in various vocations. And, Socialism is NOT a system which people who have it detest and wish to abolish it as is a system of slavery or social discrimination. It is a system which is supported, bolstered, and enthusiastically preferred by those who live under it.
There are actually few places left on planet Earth where Socialism is not practiced. The sharing by EVERYONE of goods and services provided by EVERYONE is a way in which freeloading, exploitation, and waste are all controlled. There are incentives to work because everyone is expected to work in some way or another.
There are incentives to eliminate exploitation because forcing others to do things for you without you doing things for them is a violation of the first principle of social distribution. And, there are incentives to eliminate waste and extravagance because it is folly and unnecessary.
As I once watched a group of ducks floating on a pond while I was sitting on the shore, I noticed that each duck bobbed and dipped its head in the water at different times to get a fish, an insect, or some other item of interest when they wanted it. This represented a system of SOCIALISM to me. Yet, it made me think of how much different that situation would be if the ducks imposed a system of CAPITALISM on the pond. One of the ducks would say to the others: “Catch some fish and bring them to me and I will give you some oil for your feathers in return!” Which of those systems would you prefer? To get your own, or to work for someone else?
The native American Indians were also surprised by settlers from England when they found that FENCES had been erected to keep animals in so the animals wouldn’t run away. The native Americans didn’t believe in keeping animals in pens or corrals because it was against the natural order of things. But when the buffalo, the wild horses, the cows and chickens were kept in fences, they could not be hunted. When waterways were dammed, diverted, and redirected , not everyone could share in the bounty of this liquid. Fences and diverted waterways are the ways of CAPITALISM while fencelessness and open rivers are the way of SOCIALISM.
Socialism is a system of SHARING and GROUP SUPPORT while CAPITALISM is a system of HOARDING and EXPLOITATION. Don’t be deceived by those who condemn Socialism by merely painting it as an atrocity of dominance by government because it is really a system that provides opportunity, fairness, and participation.
Mr. Conrad is a retired college Economics instructor who enjoys expressing his opinion on controversial political, economic, and social issues not because he has all the answers but because he likes discussing the issues.