It seems like a lot of America's young people (commonly referred to millennials) love the notion of Socialism. They color it by saying it's "Democratic Socialism" ("DS" going forward) which is sorta the same thing and not good -- Bear with me here.
True democratic socialists believe that a socialist state can be achieved through democratic means. I don't believe that's what these folks are going for. It would be far better for these people to refer to themselves as Social Democrats because then at least that says they aim to modify the harshness of capitalism with the infusion of some elements of socialism which I believe to be closer to their true aim. But so far all of the millennials I have talked to that are pro the "DS" idea's call themselves democratic socialists, not social democrats. May seem like a minor quibble all things considered but language matters.
To those people I'd like to say the following;
Firstly, and foremost; I appreciate that you have a political view. That’s a good thing. I know a lot of people my age, who at your age had no political views what-so-ever and happily let the government do whatever it wanted. You're not doing that. Good for you! Take a stand in what you believe in.. Hell yeah.. that’s what America is all about! I very much appreciate your attempts to better the country where my generation was a little less caring about it.
Having said that, in my opinion, there is a distinct dichotomy between being for "DS" but against the government doing something it feels is in your best interest. I'm specifically referring to the FBI wanting to add backdoors to iphones "for your own good". It's good they oppose that, but it seems to be a direct contradiction to the "DS" mentality -- but that's an aside.
"Democracy is the road to Socialism"¹
I'd also like to point out that the United States of America isn't a democracy. We live in a constitutional republic, and while the line between democracy and republic is a fine one -- it's an important one. Primarily because a constitutional republic is the road to freedom, and a democracy is the road to socialism.
So with that, I have some serious concerns with “Democratic Socialism”. Mostly that by its very nature it imbues the government with MORE power. It strikes me as away by the citizens to eschew responsibility to the government and basically implies that you trust the government to take care of your needs. History is replete with examples of why this is a bad idea.
"The road to Hell is paved with good intentions"²
Democratic Socialism is a white wash of socialism. Most non-democratic societies love to throw the word “democratic” into the language to describe what they are doing just to muddy the water, to confused and befuddle the proletariat into thinking that they had some choice or input on the matter. They often don't. I mean what exactly is democratic about the DPRK?
"Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please"³
As to the United States; it really seems like people have forgotten that the US government has a primary job of national defense. Giving the government more and more power, which is what democratic socialists are trying to do, will only encourage the tyrannical shift that many governments in the past have made. History doomed to repeat itself.
Dangers of Socialism
"DS" or just Socialism in general has a lot of dangers to it;
It rewards people for being irresponsible, indolent and for being unaccountable for their own actions
In an environment where you aren't responsible to produce, what stops you from being a complete lazy slob that can just hold your hand out and demand compensation? Nothing. In this environment people will demand more and more for doing less and less. We already see this today and it will only get worse.
This system actively rewards people for being indolent and promotes indolence by de-incentivizing, robbing of initiative, drive and ambition those that produce anything because they have the fruits of their labor effectively stolen from them to perpetuate those that don’t. "DS" not only allows for and legalizes theft but actively promotes it in the name of redistributing wealth.
It de-incentivizes those that do produce, robbing them of not only the fruits of their labor but the initiative to produce in the first place
Those that do produce things will be less and less likely to do so over time because they will see the individual who did nothing rewarded for doing nothing with the very fruits the producer should have gotten. The notion that people will continue to produce happily for the sake of production is a flawed one due to the nature of Humans. The Mark 1.0 Human being simply doesn't work that way.
It rationalizes theft, penalizes accomplishment and does away with individual rights for the sake of the "public good"
If you're taking away from the person who produced in order to give it to the person who didn't, then you're not only penalizing the producer and de-incentivizing that production, but you're stealing from that individual who produced to give to those that didn't. You can't encourage people to do more by first stealing from them. You can't multiply production by first dividing it. And you can't encourage those who do nothing to start being a productive member of society if you are giving them hand outs. Again, Human nature.
This means that it completely undermines any spirit of entrepreneurship, innovation and competitiveness and actively promotes totalitarianism by encouraging people to be self-indulgent instead of self reliant.
This also means that the rights of the worker will go out the window in favor of the public good and control by the state.
It actively promotes obedience to the state, idealizes state power and encourages dependence on the state
This is where the real issue is; The more the government squeezes and takes with intent to distribute to those who don't have, the more people will become dependant on that handout. The more we go down the "DS" hole, the deeper people will get and the more people will rely on the government. It’s a vicious cycle. Think of where that will end.. By it’s very nature it can’t stop with just social programs like people think.
The “democratic” aspect of it means people are willingly giving their own freedoms up without fully exploring where this could go.
But the Scandinavian democratic socialists managed it!
mmmm, no they didn't.
“I know that some people in the US associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism. Therefore I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.” -- Prime Minister of Denmark at a speech at the Harvard Institute of Politics.
Countries that already do this are pure consumer economies some with over 50% unemployment and over 80% taxation.
To sum up with Pro's and Con's
What would it mean for a true socialist democratic solution in the US?
- Taxes would go up - A lot to cover all the new spending
- Unemployment would go up - A lot because people don't have to work
- Productivity would go down - A lot because people will be de-incentivized
- People would be reliant on the government
- Gives government much more (if not full) control
- Rights of workers go out the window
- Income inequality would go down - Unfair to those who product
- Free benefits would go up - Not really free at all due to high taxes
- Promotes a classless society - Rich and Poor gap will narrow drastically, again unfair to those who produced and earned
¹,²,³ : Finally, if you agree with any of the quoted headers above then you agree with Carl Marx and his Communist Manifesto as they are direct quotes from the man -- this would be a good time to rethink your position. National Socialism (Hitler), Marxist Socialism (Communism), and Democratic Socialism are different, but not vastly so. More over "DS" can include forms of Marxism and even Anarchism. I feel modern pro "DS" individuals are taking more of a Marxist tack than they realize.
Also, keep in mind, governments ultimately enforce everything with a gun. I feel that this socialism road people are trying to take us down will have a very bad ending...
Additional -- I think this is a pretty good viewing and worth watching all of it: