As I read through people's "status updates" on Facebook I can't help but giggle to myself at people's reactions to the recent election. Of course some are very happy but others are completely afraid and anxious and it seems that the number one buzz word among those who are afraid of where America is going is the word "socialism." I can't help but think that a real socialist would be somewhat offended that Americans would lump them into the same category as President-Elect Barack Obama who is very much a capitalist who might have some sense of Socialist philosophy.
People are afraid of Socialism when it is in fact Capitalism which America has suffered from most throughout its history. Many of the sad stories of oppression in American history, especially recent history (remember the community garden in ls Angeles which was destroyed), are stories of when Capitalism reaches its' extreme not Socialism. We've seen "big business" grow enormously and middle class slowly shrink to lower class. We've seen the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, but nobody seems to have any anxiety over that. No, they're afraid of Socialism of which they can tell very few stories in American History (not that extreme Socialism isn't bad).
The American economic system is not, in fact, a Capitalist system... it is a hybrid capitalism-Socialist system. This reality is apparent when you take a glance at public schools and public libraries. Shouldn't you have to pay to use a public restroom...? Everything that is is owned by someone in America and if we truly believed in Capitalism there would be no "public" anything because everything should be about competition and turning profit. We are a system of Capitalism and Socialism and our system has worked well when we have not swerved too far toward either extreme.
We have danced with full-blown Capitalism, we've seen its' destructive extreme, yet people are more afraid of Socialism. Ironic.
Nobody wants the pendulum to swing to any extreme but perhaps we should be less concerned about becoming Socialist and more concerned with softening our extreme Capitalism.