A recent Gallup poll generated some surprise with the headline-grabbing result revealing 43 percent of Americans think socialism is a good thing. People should be surprised, as the poll itself is somewhat misleading: upon closer reading, we learn that 1 in 4 respondents define socialism as meaning social equality, while only 17 percent define it in the more traditional definition of government owning the means of production.
There’s a problem with all of this, which is a larger problem in our society: how are we even to debate ideas and their merit when we can’t even be sure we’re defining terms the same way?
The truth is while American Millennials and their younger brothers and sisters tend to have less of problem with socialism, it’s clear many of them aren’t entirely clear about what the word means. This is yet more proof of the failures of our education system as it is disingenuous about what socialism actually is and what it has done to destroy nations and economies and peoples’ lives.
The kind of control socialism brings breeds societies with stagnating economies, government control of your private life, and worse. You won’t hear that message from the failed ideologues with tenure at the indoctrination camps of higher learning, or the politicians on the campaign trail, but that has been the result of socialism in every country it’s been tried.
While the younger generations might be confused about what socialism really means, however, those proposing it and pushing it inside the Democratic Party know exactly what they’re talking about. Medicare for All is socialist healthcare— a complete government takeover the health industry in this country. The New Green Deal is environmental socialism—an especially coercive socialism that would annihilate the U.S. economy. Democrats know full well what they’re doing, and they’re banking on the ignorance of a not insignificant percentage of the American people to succeed.
Which is staggering. We can see the results of government run healthcare abroad in Great Britain, where the National Health Service allows citizens to die before receiving care. The waiting list for care is expected to grow to 5 million by 2021. Meanwhile in the United States, veterans are committing suicide in parking lots of Veterans Administration hospitals after repeatedly being failed by their government healthcare providers. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) insists however, the problems at the VA are a “myth.” The families of those left behind might disagree. But this is the terrible result of government control: fraud, delay, failure, and worse.
In many ways, that’s 2020 is going to be about socialism versus capitalism, as an unabashed capitalist in Donald Trump takes on whatever socialist-loving nominee Democrats offer up (because at some level, all of them believe in more government intervention and government control of major industries in this country). Is America going to continue to unleash its economic potential or will it be undone by reverting to more government intervention and regulations?
But it’s about even more than the economics of it all. It’s a debate about who gets to make life’s decisions for the individual. Will the American people choose a system of government that is limited in size and scope, that leaves most of life’s decisions to the individual? Or will it choose a socialist system based on the premise that government knows best, not you. You don’t know how best to order your life, where to live, what products to buy, which doctors to visit, what your children should learn, where you should worship, what you should read, even what you should say. Your bureaucrats and politicians are the experts and they will decide for your “good,” no matter what.
But do Americans really want a system of government that decides who their doctor will be? Or what kind of healthcare one gets and when? Even if one gets to go to college and where, or how much one actually makes and even how one gets to spend that income? Because when government is big enough to give everything to everyone, it is big enough to take everything away, and compel, by force, outcomes and behavior. This choice, about what path we will take as Americans, is truly what the 2020 elections are about.
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