Episode 136 S4-12
Battle for the South Ch 12
Socialism has multiple meanings, depending on who you ask. Johnny wrote a detailed article on this topic at AbsoluteAnarchyBook.com. In general people usually equate the term socialism to the results of societies operating under a socialist economic system.
There are three basic economic models. Socialism's umbrella includes concepts like Marxism and Communism. In all of these economic models all property is collectively owned and delivered to the individual citizens as determined by a governing dictator or board. Fascism allows for individual ownership of property and the engaging in private business but only with the authorization of a governing board or dictator. In a pure capitalistic society there is little to no government. The individual can engage in business without government interference. There would be no licenses, no minimum wage, no government regulation, no public services like police and fire departments, etc.
With pure socialism, the state provides for the working class. No one owns private property and there is no commercial enterprise because all of the businesses are state owned. People cannot acquire anything. People can't privately own a home, a company, a service industry, or accumulate any personal wealth. Everyone is a government employee and there is no unemployment.
Socialism sounds like a great idea in theory. Extremely poor people get brainwashed into supporting socialism because they believe it will improve their economic standing. This economically challenged class of people believes under this system there will be more equality.
The theory behind socialism began in 1796 when Gracchus Babeuf wrote the Manifesto of Equals. He was tired of the tyranny of the French monarchy and envisioned an egalitarian system where all labor and commerce is shared equally. A German philosopher, Karl Marx, expanded the theories of Babeuf in 1848 when he wrote Manifesto of the Communist Party. One of his favorite sayings was from each his own according to his ability and to each his own according to his needs. This Manifesto is the basis for redistribution of wealth that is sometimes called for here in the United States.
Marx's Manifesto was a direct attack on capitalism and class warfare. He wanted the people to hate the rich and eliminate there power. When you historically reference this Manifesto, the motivation behind writing it becomes clear. Back then, there was no middle class. An individual was either wealthy or not and there wasn't much chance of moving up in the class system. The system they operated under was not true capitalism. It was a polluted system that relied upon colonialism to take large amounts of wealth from elsewhere to prop up the imperialistic governments.
Socialism has many perceived benefits. Socialism is supposed to take care of the people. The rewards are supposed to be equal for everyone. However, the results of implementing socialism often have the opposite effect. Socialism takes away personal incentive to create new things and achieve more as an individual. Socialism eliminates the middle class and enslaves the working class. Venezuela is a great example of what happens when socialism is applied as a countries economic mode. In 1970 Venezuela was one of the wealthiest countries in South America. The government imposed price controls on food, making it more expensive to grow food then it could be sold for. Now they have no food. There is fighting in the streets and it is a virtual apocalypse.
Socialism is very hard to get out of once you are caught up in it.
Some individuals in the United States of America believe that because we already pay taxes for the fire department, police services, road repair, etc., switching the US economic system to a socialist one would not be any different. However, once you employ a socialist model, you can no longer own any personal property or engage in any personal business transactions. This would be a radical shift from the current system in the United States.
Most US citizens believe that we are operating under a capitalist system but this is also a fallacy. In the United States you can own a private business and personal property but the government controls how you do that. You may have a great idea for a business but will the government won't allow you to operate until you have jumped through a myriad of permitting requirements. You can have personal wealth but the more wealth you amass the more taxes you will pay to the government to ensure the safety of the accumulated property. The system described above is not a capitalist one but rather a fascist economic model. The United States government is on the road from a fascist model to a socialist one already. The government already owns about thirty five major businesses, including: The United States Postal Service, Amtrak, VA Hospitals and medical facilities, The Federal Prison Industries, Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, the FDIC, the Tennessee Valley Authority, etc.
The United States was founded under the belief of little to no federal government intervention to maintain the unity of individual states. The states composing the United States of America were supposed to be free to govern their state citizens and business activities how they saw fit. If a citizen of that state was unhappy they could always relocate to another state where the believes were more of a match to their own. Currently the federal government has imposed themselves through various government institutions into every facet of an American's life down to the content that is taught in schools. Capitalism coupled with a deep routed personal values is what made America great.
The shift towards more federal government intrusion began with the progressive movement in 1890. The industrial revolution was in full swing. Many horrific social problems resulted from the explosion of industrializing work activities. People were made to work in unsafe work environments, they used child labor, the sanitary conditions were deplorable, and labor practices worked individuals to the bone. Many individuals may argue, "Well, that's capitalism," but they are wrong. The social problems that arose were a result of capitalism. There were many positive features as well, including increased production of food and products, income for many families, and revolutionary ideas that skyrocketed the development of today's technology.
At that time, there was no doubt that big business needed to be kept in check. They were not being socially responsible and the development of business monopolization started producing unfair product pricing. In 1895 the Sherman Antitrust Laws were passed to give the executive branch of the federal government the power to intervene into private business. Theodore Roosevelt put these laws into action to prevent monopolization of a market. The progressive movement did make many social gains for American workers and American business owners gave away their freedom to conduct business to the federal government for the first time. President Roosevelt believed in big business but also felt they needed more supervision. Regardless of the historical reasons this was the beginning of federal government intrusion into business. He passed more antitrust laws and started the move towards fascism in the US. The executive branch was given authority to overextend its constitutional parameters to address these social problems.
Future presidents continued to fuel the journey towards a fascist economic system. Woodrow Wilson was a major contributor. He made radical changes, including: creation of the Federal Reserve, the Federal Trade Commission, a Federal Tax system, as well as instituting an eight hour work day. Warren Harding was another president that continued the fascist trend. He signed the first national welfare bill in 1929: The Promotion of the Welfare and Hygiene of Maternity and Infancy Act, or the Sheppard–Towner Act. He got the federal government involved in agriculture by exempting farms co-ops from the anti trust acts. He regulated meat packing, farming activities and created farm credits. These credits allowed farmers to grow more than demand was calling for.
Governor Roosevelt (left) and Al Smith (right)
Franklin D. Roosevelt was a socialist and a major player in moving the United States towards fascism. He took office when the country was in the Great Depression after the 1929 stock market crash. FDR went to work creating socialist programs to "rebound" the country. Many of his ideas were not supported at first but his ability to sweet talk the people and hold the country in a status quo earned him many elections. He eventually packed the supreme court with members that would support his vision of a socialist United States. He established over 100 government agencies and a lot of this was done without the approval of congress, setting a new standard for the future activities of the executive branch of government. His actions sucked the money out of the economy that would have funded economy expansion, but instead fueled the expansion of the executive branch of government.
Lyndon B. Johnson continued the march towards fascism. He took office after Kennedy was assassinated. LBJ created the "Great Society" program. This involved taking all State and Local Welfare programs and placing them under federal indirect control. The federal government collected the State welfare program money and would return it to the states as long as the state's followed federal guidelines. This gave the executive branch the power to regulated these programs and administration costs skyrocketed, increasing the demand for more tax dollars.
The United States needs to be very careful about the path they are choosing to walk down. Even though the socialist theory calls for equality this will never be possible. Basic human nature causes all humans to have different hopes and dreams. We all have an individual drive to achieve different goals. We all have various reasons why we get up and motivate ourselves to live through another day. Socialism removes the desire to achieve and innovate because as an individual you can achieve nothing. It won't enrich your financial standing or provide you with a better future. Your future will be provided to you by the federal government. We can see clear results of that happening in United States Society today. Welfare recipients often form a life geared towards receiving their next welfare check. It has promoted a subculture of individuals reliant upon the government for existence. They are not motivated to improve their lives because there is no cause to do so. A socialist system will eventually fail. The countries dept skyrockets as manufacturing and product production decreases and tax revenues fall with it. Over one half of immigrants coming into the United States of America become reliant upon the welfare system for substance. With no incentive to get off of the welfare system the country becomes further strained to maintain its dept ratios.
There has never been another country that has innovated and achieved a standard of living that capitalism built in the United States of America. The Nationalist Socialist Party (NAZI) in Germany advanced innovation under the label of Socialism. However, they too were a fascist government that controlled private business with a heavy government hand. It may be argued that China or Russia made many new technological advances. However, most of the time the ideas they revolutionized were theories stolen from other inventors that were realized in these countries.
It is time for a reversal of federal government intrusion. The blame between government, corporations and the citizens needs to come to an end. We can not change the past but we can ensure a better future for future generations of Americans. Right now they will be slaves to an ever increasing national debt. A president should not have the power to make a country great again on his own. Making America great again will only happen through government streamlining, corporate responsibility for its actions and a resurgence of personal values based upon innovation and charity.
Governor Roosevelt (left) and Al Smith (right)
Featured Quote From Today's Chapter:
"He watched the simplicity of life going on before his eyes and wondered why he had never been content with a life like that."
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