With this piece, I’m going to layout as someone who is not a Socialist in any form, even in what I at least would view as the best form of a Socialist which are Socialist Liberals, what socialism is and what it isn’t. And again if you’re familiar with my blogging I’m more interested in the social democratic form of it, not the Marxist-Communist state-control form. I’m going to do this, because people who are Socialists, don’t own the label of their own politics. And prefer Progressive, or in Bill Press’s case Liberal. And all Socialists tend to get lumped in with Marxists. Which is something different.
Democratic socialism, is not about complete state-control. Sweden, is a successful social democracy with a very large welfare state and we can argue why they’re successful and why their system wouldn’t work here. But they have a large private economy with property rights and take home pay and a lot of other economic freedoms that every other developed Western country has. The world is really down to one Marxist state as far as state-control of both the economy, as well as social policy and politics and that of course being North Korea.
Democratic Socialists, aren’t Liberal Democrats. This is where I’m in complete agreement with DSA. Liberal democracy, is based on a guarantee of individual rights. Free speech, equal justice and equality under law, privacy, freedom of choice, personal responsibility even, rule of law, a national defense that defends the country, property rights, limited government, etc. As well as a safety net for people who truly need it, quality education for everyone and modern infrastructure. Liberal democracy, is truly about the individual. With a limited government there to protect everyone’s freedom equally.
Democratic socialism, is about welfare rights. Having a government big enough to make sure no one has to go without the basic necessities that everyone must have to live well in society. Health insurance, health care, education, pension, childcare, etc. And having a big centralized government with a lot of the power and responsibility in the country. Instead of the federal system where you have layers of government that each have real responsibility over their own affairs. Democratic socialism, is not just very government-centric, but big government-centric. And sees an entire country as one community. Instead of individuals living their own lives.
Democratic socialism, is not just an economic policy, but a political ideology. They have their own foreign and national security policy, as well as criminal justice policy. Which tends to be a lot more dovish at least compared with Liberals, Conservatives and even Libertarians. At least with criminal justice policy. But this is where even Democratic Socialists are somewhat diverse. Because you have Socialist Liberals, that sound like Liberals and Libertarians on social issues, even with free speech and personal choice. But are Democratic Socialists on economic policy. And you have the paternalists, who aren’t crazy about either economic, or personal freedom. Especially freedom of choice and free speech that can be offensive. And want government to regulate and prohibit.
If you look at the left side of the political spectrum, you have Liberals, or Social Liberals, who are Center-Left. Lets say FDR Progressives, who are more left, but still in the political mainstream in America. But move further left and you get to the New-Left, or even Far-Left with Democratic Socialists and even further left with Marxist-Communists. These are all different political factions and on the left, but they aren’t all the same political animal with four different political labels. They are separate political factions with things in common, but are very different ideologically.