We’ve seen articles from WaPo’s Phillip Bump with questionable facts and pushing Democratic position points in the past.
But this one’s a special one as WaPo seeks to ‘clarify socialism for Donald Trump (and you)’. There are some less offensive answers from the high school teacher they interview, but the worst are from the college teacher(of course). They also include some sample questions for you to take to see if you properly id the various systems.
First, they define Capitalism, with a definition you’re not likely to find anywhere else:
Capitalism — or really the concept of “liberalism” — arose in the 17th century, and centers on the right to private property. In Adam Smith’s foundational “Wealth of Nations,” Quill notes, “is recognition that capitalism is going to make the lives of a good majority of the population miserable, and that there will be a need for government intervention in society and the economy to offset the worse effects.”
So capitalism is to make people miserable, and the purpose of government is to make things better for you after capitalism wrecked stuff up. No factual problem or ideological attack intended in that definition….
They apparently missed how capitalism is about the individual having control over his/her own destiny, or how it freed untold billions from serfdom and slavery. But I’d be happy if they just put in the normal economics book definition or the one from Merriam Webster:
a way of organizing an economy so that the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) are owned by individual people and companies rather than by the government
Let’s see what WaPo and Bump do with Socialism:
Socialism was in part a response to capitalism, largely through the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Socialism focuses on the inequalities that arise within capitalism through a number of possible responses. Quill outlined some possibilities: “[T]he state might ‘wither away’ or collapse altogether, in others it would regulate the production of goods and services, in yet others it would become thoroughly democratic” — all with the aim of reducing that inequality.
You can see that’s where democratic socialism arises. That philosophy, Quill writes, seeks “democratic control of sectors of society and economy in order to avoid the pitfalls of an unregulated market and — this is most important — the kind of terrible authoritarian government that emerged in the Soviet Union.”
So Socialism’s purpose is reduce inequality, and democratic socialism(Bernie) saves us both from Capitalism and the Soviet failures (translate: Communism isn’t wrong, it just wasn’t done exactly right, we’ll get it right this time…)
Let’s go back to Merriam Webster, who clearly hasn’t ‘felt the Bern’ yet, for a Socialism definition:
a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies
Gee, nothing about ‘reducing inequality’. Let’s hear more:
-system of society or group living in which there is no private property
-a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
– a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done
Wait what, clearly they are confused. Not only doesn’t it ‘reduce inequality’, but it results in ‘unequal distribution of goods according to work done. And it’s a stage toward communism? Oh, that can’t be, isn’t it all just about fairness?
Americans have always had a distaste for socialists, realizing naturally the special nature of the United States, the value of the individual, individual rights and ownership of property.
But WaPo wants to overcome your inherent common sense because the Democrats have become socialists. And it’s not just Bernie. In a little-covered comment from the debate, Hillary confessed to wanting to ‘reform capitalism'(which according to the WaPo is what socialism is). Debbie Wasserman-Schultz isn’t even able to say how Democrats are different from socialists. Because, given where the Democrats are now, there is no difference.