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Thread: why are so many americans against any form of socialism?

  1. #1

    Default why are so many americans against any form of socialism?

    Just curious to get some responses to this question. Ive never been around a large enough group of americans to give me a proper reply

  2. #2

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    Not all Americans are opposed to policies or programs that are socialist, but that word has been turned into a negative attack word against anyone who sees government programs as helpful to the American public. Much of the hysteria over it is irrational. For instance, the so-called Tea Party really came I to existence because of the attempt to reform our health care system. They were opposed to government being involved and there were many signs saying things like "Government Keep Your Hand off my Medicare!" Which is ironic because Medicare is a government run health care program for senior citizens. It is a socialist program. Basically those opposed to government in the USA believe everyone should be responsible for their own needs and not rely on government or public programs. If we took them literally, we'd all have to make our own roads, education systems, armies, airports, etc. in reality, government is okay for them to the extent its programs make their lives better, but it's bad if it helps others and they don't see a benefit for themselves.

    So, here's one American who believes programs run by the government to improve society in general or assist those at a disadvantage to survive or improve their chances in life are good things, even though they might be "socialist."

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    Last edited by Gardener; 18-Aug-2014 at 17:38. Reason: Remove duplicate text.

  3. #3

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    There are several arguments that people make, some of which make more sense than others. Broadly speaking, I'd group them into two main lines.

    1. Philosophical: Americans as a people believe in individualism. We're self-made people and reliance on the government makes people lazy and soft. It's also unfair because the government is taking things away from the people who work hard and giving it to people who didn't work to receive it.

    2. Economic efficiency: the government sucks at everything it does. It's always more inefficient than the market and the services that it provides mostly wind up in needless bureaucracy or fraud. Making government programs is just flushing money down the toilet.

    Now, personally, I think that both of the above have some valid points, especially the idea that government should not try to compete with private industry. But I do believe that government can make valid, workable programs that help people who really need that help.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchieRoni View Post

    2. Economic efficiency: the government sucks at everything it does. It's always more inefficient than the market and the services that it provides mostly wind up in needless bureaucracy or fraud. Making government programs is just flushing money down the toilet.

    .
    As I see it, the market theory sounds good, but isn't really. Most times when we "privatize" we end up paying more in the long run. Locally, it was decided to sell the public parking garages. Now rates are going up despite promises to the contrary. In Michigan a few years ago, it was decided to privatize road maintenance. Counties and municipalities ended up paying more out of their budgets and we the taxpayers ended up paying for it. Why? Because when private enterprise is involved there has to be a profit earned somewhere. The other result is that usually the workers end up getting paid less, often because their unions also went away, which just makes them less able to support themselves, needing more public services. Don't even get me started on privatization of our schools! It sounds good, but I trust public servants much more than corporate execs looking for their big bonuses!

  5. #5

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    Another facet of socialism that people fear is the degree of control that it implies. The state gets to decide things, rather than enterprising people. Bloated bureaucracy is in control, not the people who have a vested interest in getting something done. When people in The States hear about the abuses and incompetencies of say, socialized medicine in countries like Canada or Britain, a blanket statement of "socialism doesn't work" gets applied. It doesn't help when some of our own socialized practices fail us, like the VA, Medicare, or the FDA. The people simply don't trust government to be the most effective entity to control people's lives. Personally I see it as no different to being a low ranking servicemember in the military. Probably a bit extreme when compared with a less invasive method like perhaps Sweden, but there's no guarantee that applying more socialized practices is going to result in a better system. The fear of it getting worse, therefore, is a driving factor as well.

    The idea is that with the market there is accountability and choice; a little more control but not too much more. In socialism the state is all you get, and if its mediocre, you're SOL. It takes longer to change bureaucracy than it does to change companies. I present the FDA as evidence. The FDA has taken 15 years to examine new sunscreen ingredients that have already been in use in all of the EU, Canada, and some Asian countries. These ingredients are supposed to be both safer and more effective. Of course one can argue that corporations are bogging down the FDA to prevent competition or the FDA is looking out for the consumer, but the same sunscreen companies are able to sell their product in other countries except this one.

    Frankly I don't see either one as being superior to the other, since they both come with their problems. Its hard to really a do an accurate comparison, especially in the States where the marriage between state and business has gone on for so long and so deep its hard to tell who's influencing who more. Does corporation gain power from the state or does the state gain power from corporation?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gardener View Post
    As I see it, the market theory sounds good, but isn't really. Most times when we "privatize" we end up paying more in the long run. Locally, it was decided to sell the public parking garages. Now rates are going up despite promises to the contrary. In Michigan a few years ago, it was decided to privatize road maintenance. Counties and municipalities ended up paying more out of their budgets and we the taxpayers ended up paying for it. Why? Because when private enterprise is involved there has to be a profit earned somewhere. The other result is that usually the workers end up getting paid less, often because their unions also went away, which just makes them less able to support themselves, needing more public services. Don't even get me started on privatization of our schools! It sounds good, but I trust public servants much more than corporate execs looking for their big bonuses!
    I just saw your mention of privatizing schools. I don't know if its quite the same, but when you look at private schools, by and large they are considered to have superior education, produce individuals who are academically superior to their public school counterparts, and go on to lead more financially successful lives. Don't ask for sources or studies as I haven't read any, its just a cursory summary from my own experiences and word of mouth, so it could be wrong. However, I do know that advanced classes at private schools are essentially double advanced compared to public. The trend is that the average student at a private school does geometry when the average public student does algebra. The advanced student at the same grade level will be doing alg 2 whereas the public equivalent will be doing geometry. Private schools also give lessons in the arts, whereas public schools are struggling for this.

    There's definitely a trade off, and like the saying goes, "you get what you pay for."

  6. #6

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    We're reaping the benefits of all those years we spent demonizing the Soviet Union. As a result, "socialist" has become a buzzword that means "this is where it starts; the end is a Communist dictatorship akin to 1984." Medicare gets a free pass because it's already established.

  7. #7

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    I'm not sure where you're looking at private schools, but locally here, a corporation running 17 charter schools is under investigation for what they've been doing and there are studies here that have shown charter school students do no better on the state achievement teats than public students, and one of the big differences is that private schools can reject students that don't have the educational level they want, whereas public schools have to accept everyone. Are there great private schools? YES! Are there lousy public schools? YES! Are there lousy private schools? YES! Are there great public schools? YES! But leaving all the disadvantaged students in a public system without the support they need to get a good education is going to hurt all of us in the long run. I don't think there's an easy answer to what's wrong with education in America, but we need to look for a solution to start fixing it.

    But I'd like to ask nick85 what you think of your health system? How does it work and would you recommend it to other countries? Is it socialized medicine? Thanks.

  8. #8

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    I'm a bit of a political numbskull but I think I get this. It's basically fear. Philosophically the concept is brilliant and for certain governed program's it is awesome. Unfortunately, like all things that involve human beings, it is open to abuse....and there are many examples of socialism being abused. So I get why people may be skeptical.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchieRoni View Post
    There are several arguments that people make, some of which make more sense than others. Broadly speaking, I'd group them into two main lines.
    Those are the arguments people make, but I don't think they answer the question of why Americans are against socialism. Ignoring the fact that we spent the better part of 40 years demonizing non-capitalist economic systems during the cold war misses the much larger point. I won't say that concerns you raise over practicality or effectiveness of socialism aren't worth debate, but the debate in the US about issues like healthcare and drug testing for welfare recipients and funding of scientific research should show that the dual arguments of "these programs are highly effective / these programs are worthless" really aren't given much credence when they butt up against ideology and emotion.

    Read Free Republic sometime. The passage of any type of social program by the government is viewed as a harbinger of the end times.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gardener View Post
    I'm not sure where you're looking at private schools, but locally here, a corporation running 17 charter schools is under investigation for what they've been doing and there are studies here that have shown charter school students do no better on the state achievement teats than public students
    Freudian slip?

  10. #10

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    I am going to stretch my neck out on this one but here goes.

    The USSR is an example of extreme socialism gone wrong with a dictatorship government. I know of only one true communist society and we killed it in the 1850. That was the Hopi Indians. Thus where I finally learned about the difference between capitalist, Socialism, Marxist Socialism, and Communism.

    The issue in this country with socialistic ideology is individual entitled mentality. In order for socialism to work every one has to work together and "Pay for it" then get you share. But people do not want to pay the taxes to get the system then get their share. They just want their share and someone else ("The RICH") pay for it.

    There is a few democratic societies that do have socialized policies but then again look at the income tax level, i.e. France and the tax is 75%.

    So the point is either taxes for ALL have to raise, or do not do that. Instead we are doing the policies and running up a debt that our grand children are going to have to pay. Can anyone say "Greece"! the financial collapse is coming but I do not know the answer to solve it without starting WW III, or the second civil war.

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