We continue to experience frustration and disbelief at the persistent and unremitting use (misuse) of the term, “socialist,” or “socialism,” as political epithets, for programs of governmental empathy and assistance, by the uninformed partisans who, by in large, are needful of, and regular beneficiaries of such social programs.
In a much earlier writing, “American Socialism,” we reviewed the earliest days of Capitalism, referred to the horrific hardships of the working poor, as existed at the early days of the Industrial Revolution (as related by Charles Dickens and many other reformers). Adam Smith’s economic-scientific theories of the operation of, “ laissez-faire,” left manufacture, labor and economic matters, in the control of “Natural Law,” and free of any interference from the King (Government).
Unregulated Capitalism led to popular unremitting and unspeakable hardship, hunger and privation, for the lives of the working lower class. Many years of privation, sickness and early decease, passed before Parliament saw fit to eschew Natural Law and initiate legislation to regulate the cruelties necessitated by unregulated free enterprise (capitalism) and legislatively mitigate the harshness of the lives of the working poor.
In America, it was not until the 20th Century Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, that concern for the suffering of the working class was recognized, as an economic, practical and moral priority. FDR entered into a contract with America, providing programs of governmental empathy and assistance, with especial emphasis on the working poor. Such recognized and undertaken responsibility and provision of sorely needed programs, were not thought of as socialistic but were morally required adjustments, to the humanistic operation of capitalistic enterprise, contemporaneously and accurately, referred to as, “Compassionate Capitalism.”
Consequently, a plethora of wise and protective programs was passed by the Roosevelt Congress, and subsequent Legislatures, providing for the safety and well- being of the American citizen including, but not limited to: regulations of working conditions, including safety and working hours and minimum wage provisions, social security and survivor’s insurance, disability benefits, air, water safety, drug and food regulation, health insurance programs, anti-discrimination and equal pay statutes, graduated rates of taxation, safety regulations for air, highway and rail transportation, and a great many other governmental programs of assistance and protective regulation.
These programs have proven to be universally salubrious, and an assurance to the enlightened and appreciative American citizen, that he is not, forgotten and left out in the cold, by an uncaring and irresponsible government. It is our understanding and belief, that our citizens have universally, been appreciative beneficiaries of these expressions of governmental undertaking of responsibility. Until recently, even the most ignorant recipient of these acts compassionate capitalism has not been derisive of it, nor, reductively, attempted to impugn the hand that feeds him.
Despite their willing acceptance and enjoyment of governmental benefits, we continue to agonize over the tribally, thoughtless, and unappreciative, misuse of the terms “Socialism” and “Socialist,” as intended epithets, regarding certain political candidates, and their platforms, apparently, because they promise delivery of universally needed programs and economically called for adjustments, by government. The factual unawareness and ingratitude of such ignorant and self-defeating inconsistency, is as incredible as the election, by these people, of Donald Trump.
Let us briefly, yet once more, ad nauseasm, define the meaning and concept of the term “Socialism.” Simply put, “Socialism” is merely a theory of economics and government, in which the government owns and controls all industry and business. People are paid in accordance with their “contribution.” [diametrically opposed to Communism, in which there is no government, but rule by the “proletariat.” The State owns everything and people are paid in accordance with their “need.” Communism seeks the violent overthrow of government, which is opposed by Socialism.] The respective adherents to the two disparate theories are hated enemies].
We can confidently and unreservedly state that there exists no known candidate for public office, who believes in government ownership and control of industry and business, viz., socialism; an irrefutable fact known to every American, of every stripe.
In our earlier mini-essay, entitled, “American Socialism,” we attempted to demonstrate that programs of compassionate capitalism are far from socialistic, and argued that the same preserve capitalism by their empathic public assistance.
It is our view that Sen. Bernie Sanders, the most compassionate and moral reformist, Presidential candidate, made the fatal mistake of labeling himself as, “Democratic-Socialist”; too many of our undereducated population were probably hesitant concerning the label. The designation “Democrat- Reformist,” would have publically meant the same as compassionate capitalist, and not afford to ignorant and tactical opponents, a paper tiger to attack.