Socialism, in its broadest application is no bad thing. No, really. Get up off the floor, and let’s talk about this.
The term “socialism” is thrown around by all of us, and we use it carelessly sometimes. That leads to problems in our thinking, and in public discourse.
In its broadest use, socialism is a good thing. Virtually every American would agree with that statement. In that context, socialism means the process of spreading the effects of the vicissitudes of life out over a social network, so that one or a few of us are spared the pain of some of the bad things life can entail. Insurance is one example of this. So is your church charity, or an ad hoc group of folks holding a bar-b-que for a family with a sick kid, or any of a thousand other examples. It might not occur to most people, but a volunteer fire department is another example.
This is totally consistent with a correct understanding of MARKET CHOICE; it should be evident to any observer that there is a MARKET for voluntary socialism of this type. Americans historically are the most reliable people for choosing this market choice that have ever existed.
So long as socialism in this context is voluntary, we ALL think it is a good thing. None of us who believe in this feel the need to force it on anyone. That is extremely important.
When, however, we speak of STATE SOCIALISM, we leave the realm of volitional acts, and enter the world of compulsion. When most of us use the term “socialism”, this is what we mean. We are talking about the use of force to make us do something that others think is “good”. This involves taking property from us that is ours. Many of us are violently opposed to STATE SOCIALISM, and will fight it with everything we have.
But that is not to say that I, for instance, would be opposed in principle to the people of Massachusetts, say, deciding they wanted complete STATE SOCIALISM in their state. I would not live in that state, and so long as there are places of resort for people like me, I don’t care what some may choose to do. I think it would prove a VERY valuable object lesson, in fact. This is what is called FEDERALISM.
But that is never enough for the collective. They are driven to impose STATE SOCIALISM on the entire nation via the central government. It destroys the concept of FEDERALISM, by design. This cannot be allowed, because it destroys FREEDOM, or if you prefer DIVERSITY. That, of course, is the intent of the collective.
Therein is the great, existential, and implacable issue of this time in America. Some of us want to force the rest of us to do what they want done. Those of us who resist that imposition of tyranny will use every means to retain our liberty.