Monday, August 3, 2015

Are you Liberal or a Socialist?

A few days ago on MSNBC Debbie Wasserman Schultz was being interviewed, by Chris Matthews, and was asking about the campaign of Bernie Sanders.  I should mention at this point that Ms. Shultz is an ardent supporter of Hillary Clinton and she was being asked about Mr. Sanders (not the chicken guy). Bernie Sanders is an open and proud socialist, but still very proud of his Democratic roots.  Ms. Schults was Asked,

“What’s the difference between a liberal and a socialist?” she was asked by Mr. Matthews.

She never did answer the question but deflected the issue toward the differences between Republicans and Democrats.  It may surprise you, not what she said but about the true differences between the Democrats, the Socialists and the Republicans.

So what is the difference?  If you’re a socialist you should believe in the following:
1.  Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2
a :  a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
b :  a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3
:  a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.

So let’s recap:  government or collective owns everything and no one owns anything….
Liberalism:
1  The quality or state of being liberal
2  A movement in modern Protestantism emphasizing intellectual liberty and the spiritual and ethical content of Christianity
b :  A theory in economics emphasizing individual freedom from restraint and usually based on free competition, the self-regulating market, and the gold standard
c :  A political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties; specifically :  such a philosophy that considers government as a crucial instrument for amelioration of social inequities (as those involving race, gender, or class)

I’m not making this up, honest, these definitions come directly from old man Webster himself.  What got me thinking was how Ms. Shultz was unable to answer regarding the basic tenants of her espoused belief, a belief that seems to have strayed from the defined concept of liberty, freedom and self regulation into a literal free-for-all anarchanistic, moral quagmire where anything goes as long as you have the ability to justify or rationalize, like the current selling of baby body parts, just as an example.

Bernie Sanders is fairly open about his position of socialism and the need for greater oversight and larger governmental controls, and for me it is at least comforting that he is what he says he is.  Lliberals of this day have forsaken the ideals of liberalism and have moved headlong into the socialist camp but are too afraid of voicing those changes for fear perhaps of the backlash of a predominantly Conservative/ Liberal country.

True liberals want more government but only in regard to the amelioration  (the act of making something better; improvement.: "progress brings with it the amelioration of the human condition".) of social inequalities.  When taken as a whole the liberal has to accept not only governmental oversight for egregious inequalities but must also accept a self regulated marketplace and individual autonomy, or change their name to socialist.   But then I forgot that definitions mean very little to the liberal, they can pretty much say or do whatever they want despite the vernacular or historical meaning of the word.  Remember the word Marriage?   

I am most surprised by the lack of basic understanding of a philosophy that proclaims, through definition, a belief not unlike that of conservatism, which by the way is:
capitalized
1  The principles and policies of a Conservative party
2  The Conservative party
a :  disposition in politics to preserve what is established
b :  a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change; specifically :  such a philosophy calling for lower taxes, limited government regulation of business and investing, a strong national defense, and individual financial responsibility for personal needs (as retirement income or health-care coverage)
3  The tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change.

Recap:  preserving what is and basically less government.

So the pressing question is really not whether you’re a conservative or liberal, because even though there are stark divisive differences between the two, if either philosophy was followed, the outcome would be positive and societally beneficial.   The question then becomes, “Are you a liberal or a socialist?”  If I had to choose I would chose liberalism as defined above.  

Like most of us,  I like my house; I like my freedom to choose and I think it’s actually a pretty good idea for government to step in once in a while to balance, the out of balance….but only once in a while.  But I think I like being conservative even more.