reply to post by Hastobemoretolife
America's social programs (while not exactly what I would call "socialist") were good ideas in principle. The problem is they don't go far enough.
You can't mix and match socialist and capitalist ideas to such an extent and expect things to work out. We just need more sweeping overhauls of these
programs and our society as a whole must become open to that in order for this to succeed. The problem is that America is a bit, well, slow. Too slow
to change, to evolve. Too conservative, and even too moderate in certain situations.
If the progressive alternative fails, it is simply because it is hampered by the conservative status quo. We do not give progressivism (a term which I
choose for the moment - the ideas behind it are also called liberalism, leftism, socialism, etc.) enough of a chance in this country. Under Obama,
hopefully that will change.
Progressive ideas (however they have been termed over the centuries, in different societies in different time periods) are concerned with equality and
harmony. They are focused on the future. We progress
towards a more egalitarian, peaceful world, despite setbacks, which historically come from
conservative ideas. History is my field, and time and again I have seen examples of conservative ideas dominate...and I have seen how they ultimately
fail. The seeds of progressive ideas have seldom found soil in which to take root, not because they are bad ideas, but because the aggressive
conservative/traditionalist/materially-focused soil pollutes and dominates. That is how I see it.
The working men and women of America are not looking for a handout. They are looking for economic equality and a better standard of living. As long as
we need governments, we need what they provide. And they have a responsibility to provide for the common social good. This means all of the things
that contribute toward a healthy life - health care, food, shelter, clothing, leisure time, infrastructure. As long as we use money, this costs money
that must come from the citizens. Under a harmonious socialist system, a few people might choose to be "lazy" but this will not damage the whole.
The benefits would outweigh any imagined drawbacks.
A free market inevitably leads to economic inequality, and to the eventual end result of one corporation controlling everything anyway, completely
ending the "healthy competition" that capitalism is supposed to inspire. We are seeing the results of unregulated capitalism now, and the situation
has gotten so bad because the "free market" is never free, and it is infinitely exploitable. It is like a game - those with economic power, the Wall
Street tycoons, wrote their own cheat codes. Capitalism simply does not work in the end. So we will inevitably move towards socialism assuming we have
no severe stumbling blocks along the way.