If you have been watching the news at all recently you have almost definitely heard the term “socialism” thrown around quite often, especially in reference to Bernie Sanders. Although this term is used frequently by news anchors and news correspondents, many do not seem to actually understand what this term means. By definition socialism is “a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.” (Source). Obviously, “socialism”can be used to describe a wide range of policies. Everything funded through taxation is technically a socialist policy. Despite the inconvenience of having to give up a portion of your wealth to fund social policies, it would be much more inconvenient to live in a country with absolutely no socialism. Without the collective contribution of an entire society it would not be possible to maintain infrastructure, build a military, or even provide services such as fire departments and police departments. Despite these facts, many of today’s news personalities tend to use the term “socialist” as if it were an insulting slur. For example, Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld describes socialism as a dangerous,”cruel doctrine”. He goes even further “It’s one step shy of radical Islam, rejecting innovation for medieval failure(Link).” This statement is ridiculous for many reasons. Not only does Mr.Gutfeld think that the next logical step from policies such as social security and universal health care is violent extremism, he seems to lack a complete understanding of what the term socialism actually means. While there have absolutely been many terrible regimes that branded themselves as socialist (or more commonly communist), these regimes do not characterize the majority of socialism.Claiming that socialism inevitably leads to disaster is simply not true. Countries such as Canada, Sweden, and Switzerland have many socialist policies, yet are still successful countries. To conclude, I am not trying to promote socialism, I am simply pointing out that this concept is often misrepresented in the news. Both socialism and capitalism have benefits as well as drawbacks, and both coexist in nearly every modern country. In order for a country to be successful it must find a balance between these two systems.
Contributed by F.B.