Socialism, in particular democratic socialism, has been rising in popularity in recent years.
When Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) ran in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, he introduced a lot of socialist beliefs to the Democratic party, such as a single payer health care system, free college and radical environmental policies. Even though he lost (unfairly), it’s clear that Sanders will have a larger impact on the party than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ever will. Socialism is looked more favorably than capitalism in the Democratic party, according to a 2018 Gallup poll.
With the rise of Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), democratic socialism has been given the limelight.
According to Merriam-Webster socialism can be defined as, “Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.”
While democratic socialism according to the Democratic Socialists of America is, “At the root of our socialism is a profound commitment to democracy, as means and end. As we are unlikely to see an immediate end to capitalism tomorrow, DSA fights for reforms today that will weaken the power of corporations and increase the power of working people.”
It seems as democratic socialism is less about the government taking control of the economy and more about having the government give the people the most basic needs and giving everyone an equal opportunity.
Democratic socialism is attractive in some aspects, especially on its stance on The War on Drugs and equality. However, it is socialism, and being socialist comes with the same flaws.
Socialism at its core, is against the concept of individuality and if you disagree with whatever the collective deems right, you will suffer.
Socialism fails by confusing the notion of all people should be treated equally with all people are equal. We are all human beings, but every individual is unique. Even twins have different strengths and weaknesses. The end goal of socialism that everyone should have an equal starting point and at least have a living wage seems morally right, but realistically cannot happen because free will enables people to make unwise decisions. You can’t have an equal starting point for everyone and a living wage unless you enforce it, which is why socialism always becomes authoritarian. With any form of socialism, the government will inevitably have to force what it deems equality on society.
While I admire Sanders for his honesty, the truth is that “Free Health Care” and “Free Public College” is not free. Instead the cost of these free programs are hidden away behind taxes; the cost of these programs are no where near eliminated. Add to the fact that these programs become government-run monopolies, the very thing socialists decry.
If you believe in socialism or democratic socialism, more power to you. It’s honestly a great part of society to have differing views. If you want to write a critique of capitalism, I encourage you to do so. I just believe socialism is a failing method.