What a great way to break the blogging hiatus by cracking the socialism code and discussing Bernie Sanders. Years ago a cool libertarian debater almost broke my core with facts, cool rebuttals and sincere debate. Since then, I've described myself as politically bi-polar, ebbing and flowing between the political ideology of Libertarianism and Socialism. Now that Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist is garnering a lot of attention (at least on the Internet), I can freely talk about socialism without fear of cultural persecution.
One of the debate jabs my Libertarian friend of yesteryear used (it was a Navy shipmate, that's why I don't interact with this person any more), was that the idealism of socialism was one of hyper-idealism. He thought liberals and socialists had a super-idealistic view of the world and humanity, but that thought plagued me, because I believed then and still do believe that the same argument could be made for libertarians. Without much regulation and with the government out of our infrastructure, schools, and any facet of our lives, would we be putting a lot of faith in ourselves and others to self-regulate?
I feel as though we teeter on a balance between asking the wealthy to be in charge of us or asking the government to be in charge of us. For that reason, our economy and nation depends on a balance between conservatism and liberalism. We need to execute both ideologies during the right times and with as little corruption as possible. A purely capitalistic approach is feasible, but we'd have to accept and address the fact that our great nation has blundered. It's still a relatively new nation, so perfection is not necessary. We can't close our eyes to the fact that we have created great inequality in our nation, and until we address it, we can't set our citizens into the fight for prosperity without the necessary opportunities to achieve it. To be blind to our past mistakes while proclaiming to be the best nation is to be narcissistic, and such a mind-set will squash our progress and growth. We set ourselves up for failure.
Socialism has become a bad word, yet we've had socialistic policies for ages. Much of the conservative to liberal dialogue evolves from the fact that we don't have equal socialistic opportunities, and because of that, our social safety nets have become stifling: food stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Earned Income Credit. Without great access to education, parental leave, decent starting wages, and medical care, the lowest income people are getting the bulk of the entitlement dollars without a great deal of means to elevate themselves out of those situations. So we have socialism, but the socialism we have creates a great deal of stress and anxiety, because hard working people cannot gain access to health care or education, yet they often make just a little too much money to get the help afforded to the lowest income people. So then we become divided, hyperbolizing the stereotypes of the poor as primarily a lazy, addicted, unmotivated lot.
While Bernie Sanders, an open socialist, models much of his political ideology on the social structures in Europe, if he becomes president, our economy will not change significantly due to the checks and balances of our nation. He will preside over a much more progressive agenda, though. He would work toward a more efficient socialism, especially because he aims to dismantle the corruption which stitches our government to the elite. Whether we aim to be a more social economy or a more libertarian economy, we must attack corruption and lopsided power.