There is no more frightening word in the American English lexicon than the word ‘socialism.’ Socialism destroys freedom. It destroys innovation by destroying the ability to profit. Under a socialist system, all color will be drained from life. Individuality will be lost and creativity will be squashed. Life will be unrecognizable. Well, at least that’s what we are told. Is that really true? Does socialism leave us a dreary world, lacking in choice and liberty? Will we all be forced to eat the same food, read the same blogs and watch the same movies?
If real life is any example, the answer is a resounding “No!” Socialism has been a part of American life for as long as America has been a country. Socialism has been surviving alongside capitalism. In recent years, capitalists have gotten very clever at competing in a socialist market. Here are just a few examples:
- The Post Office – Argue the success of the Post Office all you want. It is socialist. Unless my letter absolutely, positively has to be there overnight, I use the Post Office. In fact, I even use it when my letter or package does absolutely, positively have to be there overnight. When corporate America sends me bills, they send them through the Post Office. It’s cheaper than the alternatives, yet, FedEx and UPS are thriving.
- Water – The US has one of the largest water treatment systems in the world. It is run primarily by the government (aka socialism). Most Americans shower in socialized water. They cook in socialized water. They make their coffee with socialized water. Yet, in 2009, Americans spent over $10 billion on private sector, bottled water.
- Social Security – Every American is eligible for Social Security. Americans who can afford it, look to the private sector to help with their retirement. Investments in 401k’s and other private investments are worth trillions of dollars.
- National parks – National parks are enjoyed by nearly all Americans. National parks are purely socialist. Private land sales don’t seem to be affected.
- Schools – Public schools are socialist. No, that doesn’t mean they are teaching a public agenda. It simply means they are supported by tax dollars. The public has a say in what is taught. Private schools have always existed, they most likely always will.
- Universities – Same as above. I don’t think Harvard is having a difficult time competing with the University of Massachusetts and vice versa.
- School lunches – Send your kid to school with the lunch you made or give him a couple of bucks for a socialized school lunch. It’s your choice.
- Gyms – Most cities have city rec centers. Most cities have multiple private, for profit gyms.
- Libraries – Book stores might be suffering, but it’s not because of libraries.
- Public health care – Seniors have socialized medicine. They can see nearly any doctor. The VA has socialized medicine. They can also pay to see any doctor they want.
Every successful country in the world operates under a combination of socialism and capitalism. When done properly, they support each other, giving people the best choices for quality and cost efficiency.