Social Question

Rangie's avatar

If most democrats are liberal, and most liberals believe in basic socialism, why aren't they called Socialist?

Asked by Rangie (3664points) May 2nd, 2010
25 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

Just how liberal are the democrats, about health care, food, housing, wages, and taxes?

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ragingloli's avatar

Because socialism is the public ownership and administration of the means of production, e.g. a publicly owned economy and most of liberals do not support that.
They support capitalism with strong regulation and basic government services to achieve a modicum of social justice. They would be called social democrats here in europe, which is actually quite moderate. Of course, the US does not seem to know such a concept. Instead you see it in binary, on the one side the holy pure capitalist fanatics and on the other side the devilishly evil communists.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Simply because they are not. Or at least most. Most believe in government control of some sectors, such as regulation of industry. However, some government control and total government control are very different things. The term ‘socialist’, in political rhetoric, refers to the full control, al la Stalin. And unlike what Glenn Beck would like us all to think, subscribing to an ideal doesn’t mean you subscribe to it’s total extreme.

Ltryptophan's avatar

liberals make me so sleepy!

mammal's avatar

No, most liberals do not believe in basic socialism, Socialists believe in basic socialism, Liberals believe in Liberalism, they are opposed to discriminatory behaviour and support the state with regards to curtailing discriminatory behaviour, they tend towards policies that promote education, welfare for the poorest and healthcare, but they are generally in favour of a free market economy with minimal state intervention and the concept of private ownership, this is where they part company with socialist ideology.

ShiningToast's avatar

It actually has to do with the terms during the early 20th century. “Old Liberalism” is typically what we now know as Republicanism (small gov’t) and “New Liberalism” (current day liberalism) was coined by progressives like Woodrow Wilson and FDR, and they used that term to represented their ideas of a larger, more controlling gov’t that expanded the freedoms (liberties) of the poor (think New Deal).

As for your terms, @ragolini took the word straight out of my mouth. Socialism is the workers owning the means of production, not universal health care as hard as that is to swallow. If you don’t like being “socialist”, you can forward your Social Security checks to me.

holden's avatar

You make a good point. And if most republicans are conservative, and most conservatives believe in militant nationalism, why aren’t they called fascists?

ShiningToast's avatar

@holden Are you my history professor in disguise? ;)

mammal's avatar

@holden neo fascists, sure, America, Britain and Israel particularly, are fascist countries with neo-liberal concessions for it’s citizens, so outwardly fascist, inwardly more diverse. They are also unashamedly prone to dealing with openly fascist countries, this kind of special relationship is made all the more special if the trading agreements are lucrative and the regions are kept free from communist influence.

Sarcasm's avatar

It’s a matter of extremity.
Just like you don’t call someone a slut for having sex one time.

shilolo's avatar

Liberal’s open support of providing basic social services ≠ being a socialist. Just because both social and socialism share the root “social”, doesn’t mean that the concepts are the same. A simple dictionary would have sorted out the difference. Of course, if you say it over and over again (liberals = socialists), then of course, it must be…

PandoraBoxx's avatar

There are liberal Republicans, and conservative Democrats.

What confuses me is why aren’t Christians socialists? It would seem to me that “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” and “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me” “Judge not lest you be judged” and the loaves and fishes would fall more in line with socialism than “I got mine, you get your own.”

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

The question has an invalid premise.
I don’t subscribe to any of this socialist vs. democrat talk.
All it is, is a inflammatory term meant to elicit an emotional response.
It makes as much sense as calling republicans nazi’s.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

The Democrats are only liberal by comparison to the Republican who are so far to the right that they can’t even see where the centre is from where they are.

In most counties that have liberal parties, those parties are very much further to the left of the political spectrum than the Democrats currently are. In many other countries, a party like the Democrats would be considered to be a centre-right party.

On another point, a party can support socialist policies such as a government run equal access health care system while still being strongly committed to democracy in government.

No well informed person should make the mistake of thinking socialism in any way implies totalitarianism.

Just because a party strongly supports and promotes capitalism does not mean they have a strong commitment to democracy. The Republicans are very strong on Capitalism but their recent unwillingness to work with the duly elected majority in the House and Senate suggests they are not so strongly committed to democracy.

Labels are more often confusing than informative. Name calling just makes the confusion worse!

DominicX's avatar

Because most liberals do not want a socialist state, therefore they cannot be called “Socialist”.

mattbrowne's avatar

In don’t support public ownership and administration of the means of production! And I’m a liberal. I do support solidarity and a social market democracy. Free markets are the basis, but predatory capitalism must be avoided.

A social market democracy is not basic socialism.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Here is a great article that describes how democrats are not socialists, but are corporatists. You can also apply this definition to republicans. When you start looking at it this way, you realize that both parties are exactly the same.

Qingu's avatar

@chris6137, “exactly the same” is an absurd conclusion to draw.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Is it really?
No matter who is in the majority, the main concern is keeping the corporations happy because corporations pick our president. Until we get corporate money out of politics, most politicians will be beholden to corporations. Gotta love how much air time the Citizens United case got on the news. Oh yeah, the same corporations who gain the most from this, own the damn news.
Until either party starts raising this concern, yes, both parties are “exactly the same.”

Qingu's avatar

So you must have missed Obama’s denouncement of the decision (in his state of the union) and calls by many Democrats to enact legislation controlling corporate money for electoral purposes.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Its called doublespeak. Just like financial “reform” and health care “reform.”
They can say whatever they want, its what they do that shows who they are really for.

Its pretty simple. Corporations are not people. Limit corporate campaign money all you want, until I hear them say that corporations are not people, whenever I hear them say they work “for the people,” I will still believe that they people they are referring to, are the corporations.

Qingu's avatar

You keep on moving those goalposts.

Rangie's avatar

So, if the political spectrum was, say divided like the face of a clock. Where 6 o’clock would be where the dems & Repbs are basically the same. Where would you say the Socialist are, 9,10 o’clock? I am just trying to get the Democrats views on the different levels of the Democrat Party.

Qingu's avatar

@Rangie, it’s a pretty silly line of reasoning; Republicans support “socializing” national defense, police, and fire departments.

6rant6's avatar

Most conservatives believe in democracy. Why not call them democrats?

Rangie's avatar

just asking ????????????????

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