I was talking with a young woman, a Southerner, Christian and business woman. She was describing historical research she had done, coupled with some deep thinking, and concluded that she is a Democratic Socialist. Amazing. But then young people haven’t spent their entire lives pounded with Cold War propaganda that labels anything left of Mussolini as ‘evil socialism.’
Most Americans respond to “socialism” with knee jerk disgust, though they can’t define it. They don’t know what it is, but they hate it. I was talking to an elderly woman who asked the definition of communism. I told her basically, it was the position that the Owners sucked the life out of the workers to enrich themselves and so the workers should own and run the “means of production.” She looked at her feet for a few moments and then said with surprise: “But I like that idea.” Amazing.
We all cook up a Worldview Meatloaf, made up of many ingredients. We all think we should deal with each other fairly, but then we branch out and throw in our local spices and voila-we disagree. That’s fine if we are are open to genuine debate, but instead we defend our Worldview Meatloaf as the ONLY possible and bestest meatloaf in the universe. Other meatloafs are not only yucky, they are evil. Many wars have been fought to defend meatloafs, many millions have been slaughtered.
Two threads have flowed into our thinking and they are based on our view of human nature.
Lazy Leech Lords
One thread claims humans are lazy schemers and must be forced to work. To provide them what they need to survive is to create a crowd of lazy leeches who the few Good People are forced to support. The lazy leeches are immoral and selfish, and will use their free time for drunken orgies. All order breaks down and it’s chaos-the end of the world. Order always includes the Lords on the top, and that order is sacred.
Life Loving Lefties
The other view is that humans have always worked and derive some meaning and pleasure from making stuff, from creating, from contributing something to others, They posses life, and life is what is sacred. They want and deserve to live decent lives in peace. Humans are social creatures, working together we can have a fair, thriving society…more like those happy nations in Scandinavia.
These threads will always exist and it’s not a tragedy if we are open to discussion. The problem comes from extremes. Extreme Lords and Lefties, probably fearing they don’t know everything, loudly proclaim that they do know everything and the other guys are evil incarnate. This is stupid, childish and harmful. And it comes from both sides.
How about something toward the middle? How about the necessities of life for all citizens coupled with rewards for innovation and effort? Sweden is socialist, but don’t tell me Ikea isn’t out to make a profit. The Lords shout “Freedom!” but freedom is useless to a corpse.