The title of this post came from a tongue-in-cheek post on a forum I sometimes post on, and this post is not about the NHS nor it is even about socialism.
What it is really about is the over the top reaction you get when anything even tangentially related to socialism crops up anywhere someone from the US can see it. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that this is a variant on Godwin’s law whereby if someone accuses something of being socialist, they instantly win and condemn the “thing”.
To which I want to respond: grow up and think for yourself.
First of all, socialism is not the same as communism and in turn, communism is not the same as the kind of communism as practised by the Soviets. It is possible that communism inevitably leads to the kind of totalitarianism that the Soviets were so keen on, although there are those who disagree. But this is not about what sort of government you have.
It’s about how to run certain things. How do we pay for, and run certain services we have decided are essential such as :-
- Health care (of individuals)
- Public health (of society as a whole – vaccinations, sewage, water supply, etc.)
- Police and justice system.
There are plenty of things that we have historically decided that should be paid for by the community as a whole, and be run by our government (in a very loose sense the community itself), including many of the items listed above. Even the most rabid anti-socialist is unlikely to start bleating about how the government is interfering with the private sector when talking about defence.
Yet suggest something new should be paid for by the community as a whole – such as the health care system – and Americans will start shouting “Socialism” and condemn the notion without looking at the merits.
By all means condemn a new community-funded notion if there are obvious problems with it, but to condemn it because it might be something suggested by a socialist government is ideologically-driven stupidity of the first order.