Owen is a blogging friend from the UK. His post yesterday focused on the political terms we use that so many people don’t even understand, but use them almost as if they were bad words. He gives concise definitions for everything from liberalism to fascism and adds his own views of each. Though his perspective is from Brexit and the UK, he also has a good understanding of U.S. politics and sees the parallels between his country and ours. Thank you, Owen, for this helpful post!
I have long since tired of people using tags and labels for people or movements that they do not understand. The term “socialist” is bandied about by those who haven’t a clue what they’re talking about. Our friend Scottie has taken it upon himself to do some research, to try to understand the differences between “Democratic Socialist” and “Social Democrat”. There are important distinctions that people need to understand if they’re going to use these terms. Thank you, Scottie, for opening this important conversation!
Filosofa means ‘philosopher’ in Spanish. When I first started this blog, my friend Herb suggested the name ‘Filosofa’s Word’ because he sees me as a philosopher of sorts. I rarely philosophize these days, but tonight I am in a reflective mood, pondering and feeling the need to opine a bit. Please bear with me.
Have you ever stopped and pondered the differences … the core differences, not the everyday cosmetic differences … between the two major political parties in the U.S.? Most people are lifelong members of one party or another, while a small percentage are recent converts and another small percentage identify as Independents.
If you ask most people, they will give you a few key talking points, such as Republicans are for smaller government, big business, and a balanced budget, Democrats are for inclusiveness, more government regulations, etc., etc. If you ask a die-hard republican what Democrats stand for, the first word out of his mouth will likely be: socialism.
I am neither a registered Republican nor Democrat, don’t label myself as either, though at this point, I see so much wrong with the Republican ideology that I suppose I’m far more aligned with the Democratic Party than the Republican. But it occurs to me tonight that perhaps neither side actually understands what the other is fighting for.
I drew this conclusion after reading part of a statement issued by Florida Senator Rick Scott tonight. In his statement he makes some truly absurd claims …
At the very same time these far-left radicals are trying to remake America in their image, and lead us into a disastrous, dystopian, socialist future, we have a parade of pundits and even Republican voices suggesting we should have a GOP civil war. NO.
This does not need to be true, should not be true, and will not be true. Those fanning these flames, in both the media and our own ranks, desire a GOP civil war. No, we don’t have time for that: The hour is late, the Democrats are planning to destroy our freedoms, and the threat in front of us is very real.
Yes, we are up against powerful elites headquartered in Washington and on the coasts, and they endlessly try to lecture, bully, and intimidate us. But we can beat them. The Republican Civil War is now cancelled.
You and I are being called upon to rescue our nation from a socialist experiment that always has a tragic finale, an ending that involves loss – loss of prosperity, loss of freedom and loss of life. Let’s work together, let’s focus forward, and let’s get to work to create the America our families want and deserve.
Say WHAT??? ‘Far left radicals’ … is that what I am? What planet is this man living on? Dystopian socialist future? Destroy our freedoms? Socialist experiment??? Loss of prosperity, freedom and life? What the Sam Hell is he even talking about?
My first comment is that Rick Scott does not understand what ‘socialism’ is, and like so many in the Republican Party today is trying to use the word as a scare tactic. Socialism, as I have clarified before, is: a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
Nobody that I’m aware of is advocating that the means of production, distribution and exchange be owned and regulated by the government (the community as a whole, in this case). Regulations, yes … ownership, no. This is, for better or for worse, a market-driven capitalist nation. Personally, I think the U.S. has taken capitalism too far, to the detriment of the people of this nation, but nobody asked me. Regulations have only been imposed where corporations abused their freedom, such as in their treatment of employees, workplace safety, monopolistic practices, and most recently polluting the environment.
When Mr. Scott speaks of ‘loss of prosperity’, I have to wonder just whose prosperity he refers to, for the income gap in this country has been growing by leaps and bounds, leaving most of us scratching our heads when the word prosperous comes up in conversation. But see, here’s the problem … too many people don’t understand most of this and when somebody tells them that they’re going to lose their prosperity or their freedom if a Democrat is elected, they believe it! They don’t realize that they aren’t the ones with prosperity and freedom to begin with! It is the owners of the companies they work for who are prosperous, at their expense. It is the CEOs of the companies who manufacture the cars they drive, the appliances in their homes, the clothes they wear, and the food they eat that are prosperous.
The biggest difference between Mr. Scott’s Republican Party and the Democratic Party is people. The Republican Party still adheres to Ronald Reagan’s ‘trickle down’ economic theory … a theory that has been deposed and dispelled so many times, and yet they keep telling the myth over and over. And people believe it … over and over. The theory goes that if we don’t regulate big business, if we don’t expect them to pay their fair share in taxes, then they will make lots ‘n lots of money and they will then share it by paying their workers more, and by starting new factories to hire even more workers. It’s a lie. A bald-faced lie. But even today, people believe the lie. Even after Republicans have blocked a raise in the federal minimum wage rate for twelve years, people believe the lie.
The key difference in the two parties boils down to this: people vs profit. You’ve heard me use that term more than a few times but stop and consider it for a minute. The Republicans support big business, unfettered by such things as taxes, workplace safety regulations, or environmental regulations that might cut into their obscene profit margin. They believe that the working class should bear the bulk of the burden of supporting government and that government spending should largely be on such things as the military and show-stopping space exploration. Democrats, on the other hand, would rather see people’s wages increased, access to affordable healthcare for all, and taking care of those who, for whatever reason, are not able to take care of themselves. Yes, Democrats support what are called ‘social welfare’ programs that help people pull themselves up, help them feed, house, and clothe their families. Is that really such a bad thing?
The simple fact is that not everyone has the opportunity to earn a college degree and get a high-paying job. People have troubles, sometimes of their own making, sometimes not, but should they and their children have to die of starvation or a lack of healthcare, while others have billions of dollars stowed in offshore accounts? What, exactly, is wrong with equality, with everyone contributing so that everyone has an opportunity to live a decent life? This “I’ve got mine; you get your own” mentality is bullshit. And the ultimate irony is that most of those who identify themselves as Republicans claim to be ‘Christians’. I make no such claim, but I’ve always heard that Christianity was about sharing, giving, caring, helping. Perhaps not so much anymore.
The newest member of On the Fence Voters wrote a very thoughtful … and thought-provoking … post yesterday that I would like to share with you this afternoon. I hadn’t thought to categorize people in this way before, and I suspect that most people are some combination of these two, but what he says makes a lot of sense. Take a look …
Keeping in mind the crucial caveat that there are exceptions to almost every rule, I will attempt to persuade those reading this missive that we can accurately place every human into one of two categories. Category one is made up of how people. Category two is made up of why people. How people tend to be doers; they accomplish beneficial tasks–or at least want to do so. Why people tend to be dreamers, thinkers. They might also accomplish beneficial tasks, but they are more likely to want to discover why those tasks the how people accomplish are beneficial.
How people tend to be hard-working blue-collar folks. If they attended any college, it probably was a community college or a trade college. It’s likely that during their career-preparation years they had only marginal interest in subjects outside those that pertained to their chosen profession…
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