*disclaimer: I’m no political science student. I failed economics. I’m a public servant. I should love socialism.
A huge number of pundits, here in Australia, the United States and England are often crying about the pitfalls of socialism in todays politics. Conservative commentators here in Australia took pride in proclaiming our former Prime Minister’s Fabian past. Right-wing bloggers in the US often scream about Obama’s seemingly socialist tendencies. Many British writers criticize Cameron for either continuing the previous Labour governments social welfare policies or not doing enough to remove them.
Politics aside, what are the desires around socialism? The emotions of socialism? We know the basic premise of socialism – public ownership of goods, services, farms – where the individual works as a collective for the good of society – where all share in the spoils (or deficit) that the system produces.
We’ve seen militant socialists – the current Marxist and Green-Left movement seems to bring out the more fundamental elements of socialism. Current Labour politics has roots deep in socialism. In Australia, it can be argued that much of our ‘middle-class welfare’ system is deeply socialistic.
I’m not here to offer a critique of socialism – much smarter people than me can offer explanations of the ills and benefits of socialism. What I’m here to offer are the emotions around socialism. The feelings behind it.
Desire for fairness and equality
Many ‘givers’ of the socialist system – government human service workers, refugee and migrant services, social services all rely, for the most part, on government funding. As we know, this is sourced from taxation. It’s hard to argue with altruistic tendencies of these groups – the desire to see people lifted out of poverty. To see the poor and marginalised helped, given dignity, given hope. This group of people, from what I can see, work in difficult conditions – dependent on government funding every year to continue, working with people who may seem to make little or no improvement, working against a tide of hopelessness. It’s these people, you can argue, are on both the benefiting and coalface of socialist initiatives. Benefiting as they gain employment and a chance to use professional skills, to use their natural abilities in assisting others, to seeing social change in action.
Desire for economic fairness and justice
This group could be argued as the collectors for socialism. They see the worst of capitalism. Obscene wealth. Tax avoidance. The stripping of natural resources for profit, many time for foreign profit. The ‘boys club’ of economic protection, lobbying and racketeering. This group, under many its guises (environmental activism and economic equality come to mind) have this almost righteous anger against the Murdochs, Reihhards and Koch Brothers of the world, making it their mission to punish their obscene personal wealth for re-distribution to more agreeable and equitable purposes.
The desire for wealth for toil
How can anyone forget this classic line embedded in our national anthem and psyche? The notions that hard work brings its rewards. The notion that the small business owner can enjoy the spoils of her or his hard work. The company boss can be prudent in his business affairs and turn a profit. The family business that sees their hard work eaten up by an oppressive taxation regime, seemingly designed to punish their hard work and effort. Extra taxes imposed to support social or environmental purposes far removed from their humble factory or business. Reluctant funders of a bloated bureaucracy. Involuntary supporters of those who elect not to participate in the workforce. The emotion, the desire to get ahead, punished by a socialist regime imposed upon them for causes they would prefer to fund on their own.
The desire of entitlement
The life-long dole bludger. The constantly pregnant woman living in public housing. The guy with a ‘sore back’ who just ‘helps out a mate’ 5 days a week. They are the takers. They aren’t the guy who’s had a run of hard luck, puts his pride aside and reluctantly asks for welfare. They aren’t the woman, running with her kids from an abusive domestic relationship in desperate need to get back on her feet. It’s not the university student working hard to get her degree, working for minimum wage, asking for some rental assistance. It’s the bludger that believes the world owes him something. It’s the single mother who treats the state like her financially stable husband. It’s the lazy slob waiting for every second Thursday for his ‘pay day’. It’s the business-owner who’s friends with the politician who just seems to be awarded a constant string of plumb government contracts. It’s the people that make you wonder why you are paying all this tax to fund this entitlement behaviour.
There’s no doubt that a stack of educated people from all sides of the economic spectrum will be able to shoot holes through every sentence of this piece. I was just kinda tryin’ to see socialism, from it’s different desires and emotions.
Feel free to rip this to bits, peeps.