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Socialism • Posted: Jul 20, 2019 12:56:41Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

A couple of years ago, I was sitting in a waiting room with two other guys. I think Fox News was on the TV. I probably made a comment about the non-validity of Fox’s reporting and/or commentary. The younger of the other two took issue with what I said. And so ensued a conversation during which he claimed Democrats were all “socialists”, and therefore no better than “communists”, a claim Trump seems to have adopted as mantra for his current attempt at reelection. I told that younger guy I didn’t think he actually understood what “socialism” was. And, I asked him, “Have you ever been a member of a team, like a baseball team or a bowling or soccer team? Or, have you ever joined the military or a church or a choir?” He looked at me quizzically, then said, “Yes.” To which I said, “Then you are a socialist.” His jaw dropped and that other guy in the room smiled. So, I explained, “In its simplest form, socialism is just people working together, working together for common benefit. You want your team to win, you put your personal aspirations aside and work together for the team. You want your choir to sound great, you put your star power on hold and blend in with the group. You want your army to prevail, you put your life on the line along with everybody else to do that. Socialism is people working together.”

Now, some reading this may object and claim no, socialism is a form of government where private property is taken away from individuals to be owned by the government. But, if you think that is true, your understanding of socialism is not correct, either. As a proposed antidote to unfettered capitalism, yes, Marxist socialism advocates social groups seize control of the means of production for the benefit of the entire community. Marxist socialism seeks to end the inequities that unfettered capitalism creates: two classes of people with unequal rights and unequal opportunities, a class of poor subservient workers verses a ruling class of rich monied capitalists. But, Marxist socialism and unfettered capitalism are the extremes, with fascism, communism, and ruleless anarchy even more extreme. There are lots of viable points in between, and most are achievable through the mechanisms of democracy. In fact, people agreeing with each other to adopt and live by the principles of democracy are actually agreeing to cooperate socially in a rudimentary form of socialism for mutual benefit and mutual survival, not entirely unlike people teaming up to win a game or make beautiful music together. I mean, even animals, birds, and insects practice social cooperation on that scale, with their own species-wide variations on the theme of socialism. Just look at the images above.

So, when Trump tries, like that younger guy in the waiting room, to paint all Democrats as socialist monsters intending to eat you alive, try seeing his rhetoric for what it really is: extremely ignorant and distorting fake news.

Thursday, July 27th, 2017
Otsego/Bay Village