What is Socialism

My evangelical cousin hasn’t posted on FB in a while, but he couldn’t resist putting up Trump saying "this country will never be socialist. So I responded with this list,

Medicaid, SOCIAL Security, libraries, fire departments, national parks, rural electrification, vaccinations, public school, NASA, aid to farmers, military draft, drug regulations, auto safety laws and licensing, public transportation including highways, disease control, food inspectors, the Federal Reserve, FDIC deposit insurance, Small Business Administration. For Trump especially, bankruptcy protections and incorporation generally as ways to protect the individual from risk. Take away just a few of these and many of us would not be here to discuss it.

He said most of those are not socialism. Any idea what the hell he is talking about? In terms of actual programs, what do you think counts as socialism?



Well asked. Be fun to see if you get a serious response.


He and his dad have the strategy: Tell me I’m wrong but never take a stand for anything, at least not in much detail. Worse, I’ve pointed it out and they say they did explain what they think. If I can get them to agree that children should educated and air should be breathable, they say, “yes, but, we have different ways of achieving those goals.” They stand for nothing, and fall for anything.


So, my question was to the forum here, What programs and policies do you consider socialist?

Medicaid, social security, public schools are socialist programs in every way. Interstate highway system is partly socialist. It’s a stretch labeling the rest as socialist.

Seems like you’re saying people cooperating on a large scale = socialism, which is false. Socialism means productive enterprises are (more or less) owned and operated by the public rather than private operators. That’s all it is.

Medicaid, social security, public schools are socialist programs in every way.
So does that make them evil?
Socialism means productive enterprises are (more or less) owned and operated by the public rather than private operators. That’s all it is.
Hmm. Isn't military something that could be privatized, but isn't? Same for parks, electric grid, space exploration. Regulation could be something that isn't so much an "enterprise", but food inspection would be. I sure wouldn't want to do without that, but just because most people agree it's necessary, that doesn't mean it isn't socialism. I usually ask the question, what if government wasn't doing that? Some free enterprise group would do it, and only rich people would eat safely.


“but just because most people agree it’s necessary, that doesn’t mean it isn’t socialism”

It’s not socialism simply because that isn’t the definition of the term.



I didn’t argue with your definition OneGuy. I asked if you thought my list of examples was correct. You disagreed in broad terms, but offered little in the way of specifics. Just pick one if you want, say, electric grid. How is that not a “productive enterprises are (more or less) owned and operated by the public”. It may be technically a private company, but it is highly regulated.

Socialism to me depends on how I am using the word and who I am talking with. For example, gov’t paid Health Care is an example of socialism. But there is no way I really believe that as being true in the context of any political research I have done over the years. Socialism was formed to eliminate the caste system and has never worked for the good of the people. Problem is the caste system is not generally understood. That makes it hard to talk to people about even if the caste system is a part of the gov’t.

The proper term for me of government paid Health Care in a capitalist system is tribalism. The same with schooling, another tribalism program. Tribalism is one of the strongest forces any government can have. Yet again, tribalism is not generally understood today.

It’s kind of ironic how reporters are always coming up with new words to impress the public on how brilliant they are. Yet a word like socialism is used all the time and you have proved that it is not understood with a consist meaning. Just look at the countries in Europe that are called socialists countries that are in disagreement of that labeled by many college professors.

For your list, the only socialist program would be the Federal Reserve.

Mike; your posts continue to degrade. “Socialism to me depends on how I am using the word and who I am talking with.” That is barely even a sentence, but it describes you perfectly. I believe it was just this month that I said you make up meanings of words and change them as you need to fit your latest narrative.

You follow that up with your Health Care example and immediately say you don’t really believe that according to your “research”. I think I also said you often refer to this research you do, but no one living has ever seen it. Once you start one of your famous history lessons, it just gets silly.

For a guy that claims to understand the bible. This is very common method used of staying on the subject of the idea and not being sidetracked by political correctness and grammar. What has happened is people take words in bible and twist them by putting the subject’s weight on the word and not staying on the idea. The rabbis and now the Baptist too, have been arguing over the meanings for decades with no end in sight. I believe there is not enough credit given to people of the past. We may have more knowledge available and are more technically advance. But I think you are making a mistake to think you are smarter than earlier humans.

If you want good sentences, I suggest getting off the internet and read a book.

How many times have we use the word “socialism” in these posts? Yet, there is no way it is correct most of the time. I have no problem staying on subject of the idea. You’re correct about the Health Care example. If I was to use the word “tribalism” or “tribe”, you would have a hissy fit. Coming up with words to fit the ideas. Do you mean like “Democratic Socialism”? Can I get a ruling?

I would guess there was schooling, and medical care before socialism. So how are those programs only socialism programs? Socialism is new on the timelines. Dam it, it did it again. I’m sorry. I should get it through my thick skull that you get to ask the questions then to be the judge. You very seldom ever answer a question.

Name a time in history when tribes did not cover schooling and medical? https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/10/the-threat-of-tribalism/568342/


Small town utilities might be more innocent, but most utility companies regulate themselves through buying off local government officials. They make the rules ultimately.


Name a time in history when tribes did not cover schooling and medical?
I've used the term "tribe", I don't know why you think I would be bothered by it. I don't know what you are trying to do with the word "socialism". It seems like you are trying to say it only has the meanings ascribed to it by pundits in the last century. I actually asked an open question, "what do you think it means" by way of examples, so really I wasn't interested in debating it, more interested in what people thinks it means, but you want to turn it in to some sort of contest about who is right.

As for tribes, and people working together to make sure their kids are educated and their elders are cared for, I think that would be called communal living, that is, a pure form of communism. The Marxist/Leninist brand is not the same as that, it doesn’t really translate well to the nation-state. That’s where the term “socialism” best fits, in my opinion. It’s the attempt to legislate, regulate and fund caring for each other on a scale where you don’t know the people who’s care you are contributing to. You trust that your government is doing it correctly and employ oversight as best you can.


When I hear or see the word socialism relating to governments. It always seems to be negative. All positive data seem to be short lived. When relating to non-government. I think the word is misused.

Socialism is not always negative. It usually works if it develops organically in a society.

I think most socialism advocates in America don’t realize that European socialism didn’t come up overnight from the minds of well meaning liberals, it basically grew out of the nearly continuous warfare (and related industrialization) in Europe during the 19th-20th centuries.

However, forced socialism is always a disaster.

However, forced socialism is always a disaster.
I think my cousin would agree with you on that. Of course, he and I would disagree on what is meant by "forced". But I think I get what you're saying.