Hello everyone, your captain Viggy here for a few quick words. Welcome to another edition of the Weekend Edition, where I give a break down of what’s been on my mind. Topics always range greatly here, and this week we’ll be talking about Socialism.
What’s that word, that scary word? The one that makes pale newscasters somehow become more pale. The word that can make a wrinkle skinned politician suddenly taut. Should I whisper it like it’ll summon You Know Who? Socialism, there I said it. Look at that I somehow managed not to transform into some fascist dictator after doing so.
Now I see myself as a fiscal socialist. Some of your heads may have just exploded trying to wrap yourself around that one so let me explain. Being fiscally conservative, and Socialist, are not contradictory ideas. You first need to understand how Socialism can actually spur economic growth. Taxes paying for roads, civil services, and other infrastructures like lights and the internet, actually provide commerce, jobs, and continued economic growth.
Many people try to paint Socialism as this gross misuse of publicly generated funds. They’ll say the government is inherently ineffective, while simultaneously ignoring the fact that socialistic ideology works here, and in many other places around the world. My favorite part of this debate is the claim that one person can be more effective at solving a problem than the entire population of the United States.
Socialism provides our roads, schools, police force, firefighters, bridges and dams, lights, water systems, and even the internet. It managed to do all of these things effectively while embracing the idea that the collective society provides them. Of course, some will also try to claim that Socialism reduces the free market. But that’s clearly not the case when you look at something like the road system.
In our current system, the government might have companies bid for a contract to build a road. They’ll let the free market pick a company, who will then be subsidized. Upon completing the project the road is owned by the government, who then will pay other free-market agents to maintain it over time. Do you see here how this is both fiscally conservative, socialist, and capitalist, all at the same time?
The public was taxed to raise funds for systems benefitting the whole, the free market was used to force construction companies to offer the best deal, and by producing the best deal the government managed to do so in the most fiscally conservative way. If socialist leverage free market capitalism, to ensure the best overall service to the collective whole you’ve come to the beautiful blend of fiscal socialism.
Here’s another example of something that makes me a fiscal Socialist, the death penalty. Now I’m very liberal and very socialist. But at the same time, if you did it, and it was heinous and we can prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt, you should not be spared at the taxpayer’s dime. You might shout out, that’s essentially the ideology of conservatism! You’re right in that conservatism believes in harsh punishments as a deterrent to a crime, but that’s not why I support the death penalty.
In my supporting the death penalty, I am looking for a solution that is both the most fiscally conservative, while also providing the most benefit to society. Rather than pay for the hope that this person may one day change, I say don’t waste the time on the hope they can. And this is how I believe socialism needs to step into the 21st century.
Take universal health care, socialist in practice, but what makes it so appealing is the understand it will save everyone money. Cue the screaming about government inefficiency. Let me just stop you there, resources are limited. Anything we can do to mitigate and manage our dwindling supplies is a good thing. The system as a whole can also bargain more efficiently when it transforms to an individual against a conglomerate to a nation against the conglomerates.
In the future, if we want to see more socialist policies, we need to find a way to frame it as all pros no cons. The most successful programs are ones that combine free market practices, with a bargaining for the collective good. If we look for socialist programs that can subsidize the cost, promote and spur economic development, and at the same time provide a collective need for the people we will win every time.
Socialist ideals are not unobtainable or unsustainable. To claim that is to say everything that is already socially oriented in our society is useless. No one would claim roads don’t have a use or that privatized security is better overall than a service that comes right to your door. Find the systems that produce the most benefit for the people and the economic system, create the solutions that combine the already existing market forces in a way that makes them compete, and do so in a way that does it better overall than the capitalist system does now.
If we can combine those practices, we’ve found the winning argument. And maybe people will start to see that socialism isn’t scary after all. That we can combine democracy, socialistic ideology, and capitalist free markets, to find solutions that benefit society the most.
Taking it one step further, the preamble to our constitution sets it out perfect. “We the people… promote the general welfare.”
Even our founding fathers understood that the government is supposed to provide for all in the most efficient way possible. Whether free-market capitalism was their intention is not clear, so why should we act as if it’s the best way possible without really putting in the time to study it?
That’s it for the Weekend Edition, everybody. Hope this piece made you think a little and conveyed what’s been on my mind. The original idea came from the few debates I’ve had this week on socialism vs conservatism.
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