Many videos and articles I’ve seen in the last few years are a sudden, scary re-branding of a political economic system with otherwise well-known seriously dangerous implications. It’s like we forgot what it means now that a post-Berlin Wall generation is grown and ready to vote. But here’s a brief primer to to address the main points you’ll keep hearing about:
Unions, Wages, and Hours
The gains of the labor movement were not Socialist, only supported by them toward a very different end. In truly Socialist countries, there are no unions because the “people” (government) control the “companies” and resources as directly and completely as possible.
Social programs by themselves are also NOT Socialism. Socialism is wholesale management of the means by which people take care of themselves, basically national housekeeping. Currently government programs co-exists with charities and private options for health, retirement, etc., and the fear is that there will be no private options, only non-voluntary solutions if we continue down our current path. That is why it is ironic some clergy stand under the banner as “socialist” — they are asking for people to give up their freedom to contribute to the needy and the community in general as they see fit.
Government in General
The problem is that to sell the label, Socialists try to define government in general as Socialist in nature, at least the arguably beneficial parts, while ignoring that it demands the abandonment of personal business ownership in most of its forms — highly limited economic freedom and the ubiquitous poverty that comes with it. One ridiculously idiotic video purports that even the existence of a military is “socialist”.
A Matter of Degree
Some nations have far more Socialist tendencies. When we say they are Socialist, we usually are referring to free college or universal health care, something we used to have (in reality more than principle before the HMO paradigm and it’s antecedent Obamacare). And yet some do quite well, depending who you ask. These are mostly smaller, culturally homogeneous ones that don’t have a rich tradition of meritocracy and individualism. But outright Socialist nations end up totalitarian (and long bread lines) without exception — the USSR, North Korea, even arguably Nazi Germany (the party being “National Socialist” and having much of the same platform points as today’s far Left as well as a few points from the far Right).
We’re just too young to remember that Socialism as an ideology had it’s fair fight for over a hundred years — and clearly lost. The wishing it could just be tried one more time the right way is a laughable sore-loser mentality at best. And yet all things old are new again, returning from the dead. Socialism is truly a zombie religion, and threatens to become an infectious cult by the simply lack of collective memory.