Our Ignorance of Socialism is Dangerous


#1

“When the tragedies of socialist regimes — such as those in Venezuela, the USSR, China, Cuba, and many others — are pointed out to America’s leftists, they hold up Sweden as their socialist role model. But they are absolutely wrong about Sweden.”

–Walter Williams, writing in The Stream


#2

“We don’t need socialism” quote from Democrat Joe Biden!~

Not understanding socialism is indeed dangerous. The role of government in owning the means of production would be “true” socialism, not the pooling of taxes to clear roads, or having police and firemen in our community. Not the pooling of money in an automobile insurance plan, which is mandated, or anything else a community or society may decide perpetuates the common good.

If someone doesn’t like a policy it can be too quickly and inaccurately pointed out with the cry of “socialism” even when the Church has stood behind something in the name of social justice. In reality many don’t know what it is or why it’s spoken against by the Church.


#3

Americans are accustomed to freedom and comfort that we take it all for granted, and presume that it can’t go away. If we don’t fight back against today’s socialists, our grandchildren will not enjoy the same freedom and prosperity that we currently enjoy.


#4

Yeah, Sweden isn’t doing so great. It isn’t even an absolute socialist state.


#5

From the article: “Young people who weren’t alive during World War II and its Cold War aftermath might be forgiven for not knowing the horrors of socialism. Some of their beliefs represent their having been indoctrinated by their K-12 teachers and college professors.”


#6

The conflation of social democracy (historically led by the parties that descend from the 2nd Socialist International) and the parties of Marxism-Leninism (historically the parties that descend from the 3rd, communist, international) is at best a distortion and at worst an outright falsehood. Social democrats and communists have always been enemies. Social democrats support democracies of the western sort. Communists do not. Social democrats accept private ownership of the means of production. Communists do not. Social democrats may be religious. Communists may not.


#7

I tell people this everyday.


#8

In Pope John Paul II’s “CENTESIMUS ANNUS”, the Church defends the right to own private property, as it is fundamental for the development of the person. http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_01051991_centesimus-annus.html
Socialism attacks a person’s right to private property and freedom.


#9

Not everything that goes by the name of socialism has this characteristic. The Catechism is specific in what is to be rejected:

[2425] The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modem times with “communism” or “socialism.” She has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of “capitalism,” individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor.207 Regulating the economy solely by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds; regulating it solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice, for "there are many human needs which cannot be satisfied by the market."208 Reasonable regulation of the marketplace and economic initiatives, in keeping with a just hierarchy of values and a view to the common good, is to be commended.

What see here is a condemnation of a specific kind of socialism and a specific kind of capitalism. Neither one is condemned outright. One cannot read this section as a blanket condemnation of any and all forms of socialism without also reading this as a blanket condemnation of all forms of capitalism.


#10

“Leftists” are ignorant of Socialism? Sorry, that’s wrong. The ignorance is on the side of the “rightists” who consistently misuse the term.


#11

Uhm, yes…so now let’s discuss where socialism has worked - is working - is superior -is moral -is Godly…good luck fella


#12

Who remembers Saint Pope John Paul the second and his famous speech in the square in Poland? In the face of the government there? Everyone started chanting

‘we want God.’

It was the end of communism in that country.


#13

It is this sort of shallow and insipid post that fascinates me. Utter ignorance is that which we are left by the current public school system. Abject ignorance is just pathetic…


#14

You know, I have been looking at living in different countries as I near retirement, a process thousands of Americans have done and do every year. Some of what I have found is astonishing.

Somehow, several of these average GDP countries have wonderful affordable private healthcare systems, an affordable standard of living and even a sustainable but not perfect public healthcare system without taxing everyone to death.

I will always be an America [and in five years, living abroad] but there is something fundamentally wrong with the cost of living and healthcare here vs. the massive taxes we pay, no matter which party is in charge, and I am talking living middle class.

I am even fine with having the world’s strongest military, but not 892 billion dollars worth. I am fine with having a strong border defense, but not 25 billion for a wall. Why does a certain drug cost forty bucks a pill here and the same pill costs 15 bucks in South America.

The answer must be corruption. No one here cares if people make a profit, more power to them, but the system is rigged. I have a friend in South American earning 7% interest on an insured savings account. All his exp-pat friends are shaking their heads at their friends and families back in the states and asking why?

I will still be a citizen when I go. I still love America. I will still pay taxes, but whatever it is that is our system here, socialism, capitalism, a hybrid of both, it isn’t working. I don’t know how people with no faith who don’t know God, can get up in the morning. At least WE have that to look forward to. The possibility of a happy death. The rest of the country works two jobs, barely make ends meet, and then go to bed. Repeat.

We just have to do better, and if we can’t, well I for one will have to do better somewhere else. The Republicans can’t seem to do it, the Democrats cant do it. Americans, and I love America, should forget about nationalism, the crazy right and left fringe groups in control and look at those happy countries where things seem to make a little bit more sense and say to themselves, “we can do better.”


#15

A few quotes from the great economist, Milton Friedman:

  • “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.”
  • “Government has three primary functions. It should provide for military defense of the nation. It should enforce contracts between individuals. It should protect citizens from crimes against themselves or their property. When government-- in pursuit of good intentions tries to rearrange the economy, legislate morality, or help special interests, the cost come in inefficiency, lack of motivation, and loss of freedom. Government should be a referee, not an active player.”
  • “A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that it … gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”
  • “Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government."
  • “Our minds tell us, and history confirms, that the great threat to freedom is the concentration of power. Government is necessary to preserve our freedom, it is an instrument through which we can exercise our freedom; yet by concentrating power in political hands, it is also a threat to freedom. Even though the men who wield this power initially be of good will and even though they be not corrupted by the power they exercise, the power will both attract and form men of a different stamp.”

#16

Our largely free market economic system is a great antidote against poverty.
According to the Pew Research Center:
“The U.S. stands head and shoulders above the rest of the world. More than half (56%) of Americans were high income by the global standard, living on more than $50 per day in 2011, the latest year that could be analyzed with the available data. Another 32% were upper-middle income. In other words, almost nine-in-ten Americans had a standard of living that was above the global middle-income standard. Only 7% of people in the U.S. were middle income, 3% were low income and 2% were poor.
Compare that with the rest of the world, where 13% of people globally could be considered middle income in 2011. Most people in the world were either low income (56%) or poor (15%), and relatively few were upper-middle income (9%) or high income (7%).”
In other words, we should not fundamentally change America by adopting socialism. Keep in mind that Venezuela had a good economy prior to adopting socialism.


#17

Care to elaborate?


#18

Shell game incoming.

Provide a definition of socialism that accurately depicts what it is instead of what it is not in order to keep pointing fingers at “rightists” who consistently misuse the term.

Define the term in way that isn’t vacuous, so we can move forward to criticizing what it is instead of continually trying to parse the meaning of socialism that never gets proposed by the left.


#19

Let the Holy Spirit work.


#20

What is a rightist anyway? Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m very critical of both far-right and far-left politics though, and if I had to call myself anything, it would be Centre right. I saw where the last three popes condemned socialism, and I tend to agree with them. Pope Francis being one of them, even though people don’t seem to believe that. The reason he seems more critical of right-wing politics, is because he lived under a right-wing dictatorship. Socialism is incompatible with Catholicism, Even if some ideas in socialism are not. One cannot be a socialist and a Catholic. actually, for that fact, since socialism is almost always equated with atheism, because of Communism, one could not justifiably belong to any religion and be a communist or socialist, just because socialism has some vaguely Christian forms does not mean it’s acceptable. I was actually having a discussion with a friend of mine, who is Muslim, about how part of Yemen became socialist. It was ruled by a party that was apparently affiliated with the Soviet Union. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Yemen, but most people there are not atheist, most are Muslim.


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