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The Social Democrat

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on March 4, 2020

So, it appears that the Democratic primary is narrowing quickly to a two-candidate race between Sanders and Biden. It will be interesting to see how far left the Democrats may want to move, or how tired they may be of the drama of the last few years and just want to return to a calmer political tableau.

As we wait for some indication of the answer to this question, it seems an appropriate time to give one last time my lecture regarding democratic socialism, the actual meaning of which the electorate seems so embarrassingly ignorant, and to add some perspective to the Sanders candidacy.

With only one bizarre exception of which I am aware, no country’s economic system is totally capitalist or totally socialist. They are a mixture of the two. Only a moment’s thought reveals this.

We may think of the world’s economic systems running along a spectrum, from more capitalist and less socialist to more socialist and less capitalist, but with no country actually touching either end of the spectrum, except North Korea, which is actually an authoritarian communist dictatorship, even Cuba.

(Idle thought: why have made peace with Japan after it bombed Pearl Harbor and even Vietnam after it killed 58,000 of our military, and not Cuba or Iran? It’s a rhetorical question. I know the answer. I just can’t respect the illogic of it.)

Some economies will lean more socialist, some more capitalist, with any number of commutations and permutations in between. So, when we abhor socialism out of hand, remember that America is somewhat socialist. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. are socialist programs, bigger than Dallas. What we are really debating is what distribution between the two systems we want to have.

Obviously, Bernie Sanders envisions a distribution more socialist and less capitalist than what we have now. And this is where the term “democratic socialism” comes into play. To his credit, Bernie wants the distribution to be determined democratically, not imposed. Responsible countries do, and it’s a very important distinction.

Full disclosure: I am on the left edge of the spectrum, near Bernie. I don’t agree with all his points precisely, but I believe he has identified important areas where more socialist policies are needed: Education, economic inequality, political inequality and the corruptive influence of money in politics (read plutocracy).

Further disclosure: I am actually way farther to the left on the spectrum than Bernie. I would add at least one important topic to the mix of issues needing more socialism: Food. It is a sin, a scandal and a crime that some people in this country do not all have enough to eat. There is simply no excuse for it, except, well, too much capitalism.

And, of course, I am on the other side of the planet from Bernie on gun control.

So, how does this understanding inform my voting choice? Very little. I am going to vote for which ever candidate polls better against Trump. Getting that bloated, corrupt, pig part of a presidential prick out of the office is all I care about. Thus ends the lecture.

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