It might be a wise move to eliminate the term, “socialism” from the non-academic lexicon; it is useful in a college course on political theory, but has been so perverted and misused by our low information population (and those who pander after their votes) as to effectively become an epithet. In a society where so many devalue education and wisdom,” tags” albeit inaccurate, are popular (See: Blog#28).
There is, inarguably, is no socialism in nature. A bird with a broken wing, a deer with a lame foot, an owl with impaired vision are all goners; inadequate rainfall leads to the mortality of fauna and flora alike. It would be extremely challenging to identify any human beings on this planet that have had the capacity to exist and survive without some societal assistance, especially regarding sustenance and protection.
With the rise and development of industrial mass production, the perception of the intrinsic value of the common man was depreciated and reduced solely to the measure of his potential utility and capacity to work and produce profitable goods for the industrial entrepreneur.
Charles Dickens (and others) artistically and compassionately depicted the brutal and unprincipled use of men, women and young children as instruments of labor (rather than as human beings) in the Victorian era.
Adam Smith, then denominated a “liberal,” maintained that a proper just and efficient society should be completely free of and unfettered by State (Government) control or influence. This brilliant (but errant) philosopher opined that the natural law” of supply and demand would ensure a successful society. The talented contemporary novelist, Ann Rand, shared this heartless economic theory. It simply doesn’t work; ask Charles Dickens, himself or President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In response to the “Great Depression” of the early 20th century, FDR entered into a binding social contract with America, providing for federal participation in the operation of the American economy for the benefit of the nation and its people. This necessary entry by government into the economy and life of the people ,forever repealed the law of the jungle and its Darwinian cruelty and made way for a more compassionate and moral society. Government sponsored projects in general infrastructure, including bridges, roads, transportation, construction of colleges and museums, hospitals and countless others, for the benefit of the worker and citizen in general as well as the nation. Social security, health and labor laws, the protective oversight of hospitals, food and medicine are among a myriad of responsible life enhancing developments which evolved and which have become vital ingredients in the context of the good life of the American citizen, thus elevating him above the merciless world of Darwinism.
FDR’s contract with America worked, it still works. The proper understanding and employment of a calibrated and balanced participation and oversight by government, assures us of safety of our person when we walk the streets, travel, eat, are ill, and even when we invest.
Capitalism, happily and predictably, will always remain our American form of government. Nevertheless, our “flat earth people,” are encouraged by that materially successful portion of our society, which greedily worships at the altar of the many-fisted profit deity, to believe that government policies of responsible assistance are “Socialism,” an evil pied piper who is leading our nation to ruin. The same modest, low information people, who, in reality, may stand in most need of government assistance, are persuaded and misled into virulently opposing all such programs .It is particularly vexing to observe that the large number of our Congressmen, ( usually Republican ) who publically decry and condemn all government assistance programs (as” Socialism”) but who comfortably accept and enjoy salaries and benefits, health insurance (which they oppose for the American citizen),retirement benefits, travel and emoluments of all and every kind which are paid for by the federal government.
It may be possible to avoid some discord by naming our polity “Responsible Capitalism.”