Two recent polls, one conducted by Fox News and another conducted by Hill-HarrisX, both found that a majority of registered Democrats favor socialism over capitalism.
In the Fox News poll, 59% of registered Democrats reported having a positive view of socialism, while 49% had a positive view of capitalism. 44% of Dems had a negative view of capitalism and 31% had a negative view of socialism. Among registered Republicans, 67% had a positive view of capitalism and only 8% had a positive view of socialism.
The Hill-HarrisX poll results were not so bleak, though they still revealed that Democrats felt more positive about socialism than capitalism. 56% of Democrats had a positive view of socialism, while 53% had a positive view of capitalism. For Republicans, those figures were 74% and 26% in favor of capitalism. Among Independents, 61% had a favorable view of capitalism, and 48% a positive view of socialism. The Hill-HarrisX poll broke numbers down according to age, and found that younger voters were generally more favorable toward socialism than older voters.
What is the attraction to socialism? Socialism is the idea that the state, or society as a whole (which usually translates in reality to the government) should control natural resources and the means of production. So, there is no private business or private ownership. All is owned by all (but, again, this translates in reality to the government owning and controlling all). The attraction, I suppose, is that people think that everyone owning and controlling everything means that everyone will have a voice in the control of natural resources and the means of production. As such, the distribution of resources will be more equitable. Resources will not end up in the hands of only a few, greedy corporations or wealthy titans. This will mean more for everybody,
Of course, it has never worked out that way. Why? Because there is no practical scheme whereby every single person in a community much larger than a small town or village can possibly have an opportunity to personally share their ideas and exert their influence on a matter of the use of resources and the means of production. As such, power historically ends up in the hands of populist figures who claim to represent and champion the will of the people. These people then amass a great deal of power and control over society, usually with the help of allies in the military (the guys with the guns), and then proceed to impose their will on society, with them enjoying the benefits of power, such as lots of food when others are starving. So, the notion that control of the natural resources and means of production will be in the hands of society at large ends up meaning, in practical reality, the control of such being in the hands of either a small oligarchy or a single dictator. The people are left out of the equation entirely.
What’s the difference between socialism and democratic socialism? In democratic socialism, the people vote to adopt socialism, then the process as outlined above plays out. So, the only thing democratic about democratic socialism is the initial vote to adopt socialism. After that, there’s nothing democratic about socialism at all.
Socialist politicians generally appeal to the idealism of young people, who often feel that life is unfair and that it’s the job of the government to make life more fair for more people. Socialists claim to do this. In reality, the opposite is what develops. In capitalism, people with resources use those resources to invest in their company or product in the hope of getting a financial return. To do this, they generally need to hire others to work for them. So, the goal of achieving financial profit for themselves inspires the capitalist to invest in others, so more people are raised up financially. Are all raised up to the same level of financial gain? No. Those who invest more get a larger return. This is what so many regard as somehow unfair. They seem to think that, if one person invests his life savings into starting a company and another person invests 40 hours per week of labor in that company, they should receive the same financial gain. They lose sight of the fact that, should the venture fail, the one who invested his life savings loses everything and has to start again from scratch, while the one who invests his 40 hours per week loses a job and needs only to find another. In socialism, those in power need only invest in those they need to keep them in power. They usually take resources from others who have built up those resources. Of course, they do this in the name of the people and in the name of depriving greedy corporations or wealthy titans their “unjust” financial gains. The lie is that they are assuming control of these resources in order to benefit the people. In reality, they’re used to benefit those in power, in order to keep their power and to enjoy the resources for themselves. Why does it always turn out this way? Because power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Put power into the hands of the few, and they will employ that power to keep it and enjoy the benefits of it. This is how socialist governments turn into socialist regimes – because in order to keep their power, they must employ ever harsher methods against those they perceive as threats to their power.
Do I think the United States will turn to a socialist economy and government? No. Americans, by and large, are realists and not idealists, at least by the age of thirty most are. I think, rather, that the turn to socialism by the Democratic party will translate into losses for the Democratic party, at least on the national stage, though there will always be pockets where Democrats will remain in control, most especially the northeast, the northwest and the inner cities. Socialism is not attractive to anyone with a functioning brain who has read history, or who awakens to what it really means. Bernie Sanders has no intention of selling off his multiple houses in order to redistribute his wealth. He has every intention of confiscating your house in order to redistribute your wealth into the hands of a small band of power-hungry autocrats, all while claiming to do what he does in the name of and for the people. We should never give him the opportunity.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.