November 22, 2015

A brief guide to avoiding socalism

From our overstocked archives

Sam Smith, 2009

Last May, the Republican National Committee condemned Obama and the Democratic Congress for leading America towards socialism. All the talk got me thinking about what avoiding socialism in America would truly be about. What if we set out to rid ourselves of all intrusions of this purported political curse? Here are a few things we might do:

- Return to the old system of fire fighting in which blazes were handled by private fire brigades hired by private insurance companies. Brooke Harrington described the practice in Economic Sociology: "If you wanted a fire brigade to come to your aid in . . . emergencies, you had to join a kind of club with private membership fees. It worked like this: you ponied up the fees, the club gave you a plaque to put over your front door, and then if fire swept through the neighborhood, the club dispatched help, but they only assisted paying members. So if you didn't have that plaque over your door, the fire rescue teams would pass you right on by. It would not be uncommon to find that your house burned down while the one next door would be saved." Sounds a little like our health insurance system.

- End public education. Public schools - which strongly aided the growth of America - are about as socialistic as you can get. Obama, it should be noted, is trying to help reduce this deleterious influence by converting public schools into profit-making charter operations.

- Close down all federal highways or sell them off to the highest bidder so they can turn them into profit-making roads using tolls.

- Abolish Social Security, Medicare, food stamps and all other such welfare programs.

- End all government interference with the banking and financial industries. This would have recently saved us hundred of billions in bailout funds.

- End all veterans programs including closing veterans' hospitals.

- Sell off all public transportation to unregulated private interests.

- Close all public hospitals, end public subsidies to other hospitals and privatize all ambulance service.

- End all government regulation of food or health products.

- End the practice of government plowing streets after a snow storm. As Boston mayor James Curly put it, "The Lord brought it; let the Lord take it away."


Feeling better yet?

Bet you never realized what a bunch of closet socialists we are.

We got there, though, because - instead of hurling theories and cliches at each other - we decided on a case by case basis who could do a particular job best. And the funny thing is, it's worked pretty well.

People who complain about the threat of socialism remind me of the man from Virginia who went to college on the GI Bill and bought his first house with a VA loan. When a hurricane struck he got federal disaster aid. When he got sick he was treated at a veteran's hospital. When he was laid off he received unemployment insurance and then got a SBA loan to start his own business. His bank funds were protected under federal deposit insurance laws. When he retired he went on Social Security and Medicare. The other day he got into his car, drove the federal interstate to the railroad station, parked in the public lot, took Amtrak to Washington and went to Capitol Hill to ask his congressman to get the government off his back.


Anonymous said...

Actually, this sounds like the Repug 'game-plan'.

joan roelofs said...

What about the largest socialist system in the world? DOD et al.

In colonial US people who felt threatened would form a club to buy muskets, etc., have their tailors whip up some appropriate duds, and stand guard or attack, as they decided.

Maybe that wasn't such a bad idea.