Much in the news this week is the story of Mylan Pharmaceuticals. The company that makes the Epipen and jacked up the price 400% while giving their executive officers a 600% raise. This is the result of truly “free market capitalism.” Life is made a commodity. I see stories like this, and I wonder why exactly socialism and communism have such a horrible reputation in this country. To let everyone know my bias, I do not believe in free market capitalism, I do not believe in communism. I do not believe that socialism and capitalism are mutually exclusive. I believe that the market should be regulated and that all individuals deserve equal access to education, healthcare, protection under the law, and equal wages. My desire for a more socialist society does not mean I am not an advocate of democracy, I actually think that citizen government is important to maintain equality.
Now that we have gotten that out of the way lets talk about why Americans hate communism and socialism. After World War II, we began our Cold War with the Soviet Union. What the Soviets did was take this idea from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles about the average everyday people owning the means of production, and then they bastardized it. They created this political force where the state controls everything, in the name of the people, and they called themselves socialists and communists. Though in reality, these were governments were far, far from what Marx and Engles proposed. That is what happens when humans get involved with any endeavor. Looks good on paper, but gets screwed up in the real world.
We were at war with the United Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), and her allies, for generations, but it was not a shooting war. Sure, there were little proxy wars that involved shooting, and their was the shadow war that involved some shooting but no large scale shooting between us. As a side note, the USSR kicked our asses in the shadow war between our respective intelligence agencies. To combat the red scourge our government needed to get the full support of the American people. The USSR handed us the means to get that support on a golden platter. One the accepts of communism was to replace god and religion with the state. Atheism and secularism were the order of the day, and that was fantastic for the West’s anti-communist propaganda machine.
This was perfect for assholes like Martin Dies with his House Committee on un-American Activities and Joe McCarthy. No religion equals godlessness, which in turn equals un-American. Anybody that spoke about equality or fairness in the workplace and in society was called a called a commie and shunned. If they were famous enough they were called to Washington DC to testify in front of the House of Representatives or the Senate. Think about it, they most they could be tired for was contempt, but their professional and personal lives were ruined. All because they believe that everybody deserves a fair shake. This view is still around today. You still hear people talking about killing Commies for Christ. You still see cartoons that depict socialism as making it impossible for anybody to succeed because it takes away from those that are doing well and gives to those that are not doing well. That is not socialism at all, socialism is about everybody getting the same opportunity to succeed, but success or failure is up to the individual. We have allowed ourselves to be convinced that equality and fairness are un-American. A perfect example of this is unions. Growing up I was taught, and held the belief, that unions were just communist organizations that had no place in American businesses and were ultimately bad for our economy and society. Well, I grew up and took some Economy classes and found that unions are a very important factor for a successful middle class, and that they forced regulation of business. Unions have ended child labor in America, got rid of sweatshops being common practice in America, got the 40 hour work week, health insurance, paid sick leave, put an end to company towns, and the list goes on. Basically, anything at your job that would make you quit if they took it away, you can thank unions for you having.
Since the 1960s-1970s we have allowed the government to begin deregulating business and reverse the trend of equality. America got rid of unregulated, free market capitalism because it exploits the lower and middle class and only benefits the rich. We’ve tried it, and it caused too much suffering, so we did something different. The government regulated market. We regulated the market and it was working great. Until we started to take those regulations away. We took away laws and rules to allow for massive profits in hopes that the money would trickle down. It has not worked, the money is just pooling at the top, but if you speak out against this you are labeled a godless communist, a libtard, a demo-rat, a commie-pinko fag (yes I still see this one from time to time) or a slew of other names that have nothing to do with economic realities, but have everything to do with the emotional fear that socialism is trying to take away your god and is against American values.
Free market capitalism is a myth. We do not have it, but we are getting closer and closer to it as the US government allows for more and more deregulation. As a result, we have companies raising prices on life saving products 400% percent or more. Making a product that only costs a few dollars to produce cost upwards of $600. Then, the company turns around and tries to blame the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) as the reason for the price hike. Some people actually believe this because Obamacare is kind of a socialist program. Therefore it is godless, evil, and un-American. I say kind of a socialist program because a full a on socialist program would have the government pick up the tab for healthcare instead of forcing people to buy health insurance. Baby steps, we will take baby steps on this.
On a happy note, things are changing. During this years presidential elections Millennials overwhelmingly voted for a self-identified socialist. Whose voting record backs up his assertions. Wouldn’t it be great if freedom and equality were the norm?
I have included a link that explains the differences between communism and socialism. Just anybody disagrees with my assertion that they are different.