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Socialism in America (and Why It's Becoming More Popular)

I was recently asked a question: why are socialists trying to change our system of government instead of simply moving to another country? 

Before I start to answer the question, let's get everyone on the same page.

In political theory, socialism, by definition, proposes that the means of production, distribution, and exchange (PD&E) should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole, usually represented by the government. Whether this applies to all of a country's products or just a few of them is generally the difference between socialism's various forms (e.g., 'communism' is simply an extreme version of 'socialism').

Most advocates of socialist theory believe that its diametric opposite is "capitalism" in its many forms. The political theory behind capitalism is that, instead of ownership by the state or by a community, private owners control trade and industry, and the means of PD&E are established as a 'for profit' venture. As for practice vs. theory, only capitalism has ever succeeded in the long term, but most socialists believe that it has only succeeded at the expense of the most vulnerable people in that society. 

"Cities filled with hatred, fear and lies, withered hearts and cruel, tormented eyes."

As a general rule, socialists believe that the government is a better arbiter of regulating PD&E than the free market, especially if that market has effectively eliminated any sort of competition for pricing of products or services - the "monopoly model". In their view, the problem with capitalism is the private owner who sets the cost of the product or service. If a vulnerable person may need that product or service but the cost is prohibitive, socialists believe that the private owner cares more about "profits over people". Whether that sentiment is true or not is inconsequential. As a result, they believe that if everyone owned an equal share of the product or service, then those who need it would be able to get it at a fair price that is set by the collective rather than by an individual. As an aside, socialists generally do not look at the corollary theories that socialism stifles creativity and innovation where the free market stimulates them. "What is" has more importance than "what may be".

So now to the question: why are socialists trying to change our system of government instead of simply moving to another country? The answer has mostly to do with how the socialist views the United States.

The socialist in the United States may love the country, but they believe that the current economic system sets privilege over rights. They believe that every individual should have the same access to everything as any other individual; equality in all things. They see that the system does not work that way, and so they want to change the system so that it DOES work that way. They don't want to relocated to somewhere that already has a socialist system because, to them (especially if the people are oppressed in any way), that's "not REAL socialism", it's a bastardization of the real philosophy, and if the real philosophy were to be given a chance, it would work. 

"The hypocrites are slandering the sacred halls of truth."

As a hypothetical example, the American socialist believes that the cost of medications is too high. Representing the vulnerable members of our society, the socialist believes that because the vulnerable need these medications but cannot afford them (for whatever reason), capitalism is the root cause to blame. Capitalism, in their view, allows the pharmaceutical company to set the price of the product out of the reach of these most vulnerable members. Their solution, then, is to reduce the costs of these medications across the board so that everyone who needs them can afford them, or (in more extreme cases) that such medications are free to anyone who might need them. Equality for everyone; social justice for everyone. Recouping the costs of research and development of the medications (and also production costs) by the company are a distant secondary issue to allowing the vulnerable who need them access to them.

"Scheming demons dressed in kingly guise beating down the multitude and scoffing at the wise."

These reasons are why socialists do not want to move to another country, and why it has also become so popular, especially among the younger members of our society who may count their loved ones among the vulnerable. 

I hope that answers the question.


Committee to Elect Darren Hamilton
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