Progressives often tout compulsory government programs as examples that America is already socialist. They are right, but they seem to lack an understanding of what their “success” entails. Occupy Democrats has taken the position of “if you don’t like it, don’t use it”. Speaking for myself, I would love to opt out of Social Security and Medicare among others.
Only one problem: I cannot.
The government has declared these programs as law of the land. They are by all means compulsory. Don’t like your neighborhood school? Too bad, your kid must attend or you can “opt out” by completing lengthy forms and permitting processes. Don’t worry though because you still pay taxes to fund the school that your child doesn’t attend. Last I checked, taxes aren’t optional.
Somehow being compulsory means it’s a good thing. It’s as if there is a utility gained through forcing an individual into a transaction regardless of whether they benefit from it or would otherwise agree. Government can enforce a contract, but it cannot define the terms – which is the socialism found in their list.
For example, city services are “socialism”. However, that alone does not mean the consumer benefits. Speaking from experience, Philadelphia Waste Management would constantly toss my trash cans and cause them to crack. I called the city numerous times to no end.
Now, in the real world, I would have switched by provider, but seeing as this “great socialism” left me no choice, I now have cracked trash cans. How is that anything to brag about?
I could go on with the failures of services in Philadelphia and other cities, but you get my point. At the end of the day, I was left with a market monopoly. There are valid arguments for public service, but the fact is that they are legislated monopolies of government-owned enterprise.
In fact, there are even municipalities where you can “choose” to not use their service, but they charge you a fee for “opting out”. Their fee is not a request and they only ask nicely once.
Progressives can brag about this program or that law. We can continue to use facts and empirics showing why they’re not necessarily in the right. Putting those debates aside, there is still the moral issue of whether an individual should be compelled to act and whether the government can spend the fruits of their labor more effectively.
It seems they have completely abdicated any sense of moral fortitude by concluding that these compulsory socialist programs must be good because they’re run by the government. Never mind if you had a better idea of spending your own money, like with Social Security.
Public spending does not mean private benefits. Just because the spending exists, the individual has not benefitted.
In my experience, putting socialist arguments in the context of compulsion makes it difficult for them to defend. They’ll relinquish typical “greed” and “inequality” arguments, but assert that it’s for a “greater good”.
I find this troublesome. What specifically is this “greater good”? Society? Social stability does not hinge on how many compulsory government programs exist, nor does it thrive off people living at the expense of other people.
The irony for me is that liberals are often first to attack our corrupt justice system and the laws enforced. They never, however, ask whether their laws are equally as corrupt. What happens when someone cannot afford their ObamaCare penalty? What happens if I simply refuse to contribute to Social Security, or if I believe I can spend my money better? Would they see me hauled off to jail? These are the questions liberals must answer, but they never do and I doubt they will ever start.
They brag about programs that exist out of compulsory force, but that’s hardly anything to brag about. In fact, compulsory government programs wouldn’t be so “successful” if there were competing private alternatives.
Economics is always heavily debated, but I don’t see too many socialists openly admitting that compelling human action furthers an individual’s well-being. At the very least, socialists must defend this notion under the premise of utility benefit.