Jim Carrey recently guest-starred on Bill Maher’s show and the two had a very interesting discussion about socialism. Here is the transcript…
BM (Bill Maher): The Republicans are running with this word socialism…they’re trying to scare people.
JC (Jim Carrey): …say it’s communism.
BM: …Venezuela Trump says, we’re going to be living in Venezuela.
JC: …there are certain people in our society that need to be taken care of. There are people without as many opportunities that need to be helped towards those opportunities. There are people who are sick, you shouldn’t have to lose your home because your mother got sick.
BM: I’ve always said that the United States has been a quasi-socialist government for a hundred years…Medicare, social security…there’s nothing more socialist than some of the Pentagon programs that are just jobs programs…if that’s not socialism I don’t know what is. But that word, the Democrats need to get a plan to fight this slander of, “Socialism you’re going to be living in Venezuela.” I don’t see it yet.
JC: We need to say yes to Socialism, the word and everything. We need to stop apologizing.
I find myself agreeing with portions of what they are saying, but with an entirely different take on the solution for the problem. Let’s look at the statements in order.
1. Communism is not socialism
2. There are those in society that need to be cared for
3. The U.S. is quasi-socialist
4. Say yes to Socialism
First off, they are both correct and incorrect in stating that communism is not socialism. First, what really is communism. From my take on it, communism is simply a perfect form of society. You read that correctly. Communism is the most altruistic and morally pure form of government. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed.” Under communism, everyone is equal, has equal say, and owns everything. The problem is that this type of world simply cannot exist. The problem is that people are not all equal. Some are smarter, more diligent while, conversely, some are lazy and refuse to meet the minimal expectation. The other problem is that people do not all have equal say. The truth is that those who are more charismatic and better orators will always have more weight with their words. Finally, it is simply not possible for us to live in a world where we share amongst each other. People will always want to be rewarded for their work and will have a hard time accepting that others get equal shares for unequal work. This is why communism has never and will never work. The truth is that for all their talk and bluster, communist countries were in fact only socialist. In this regard Maher is sadly mistaken. Communism is in fact totalitarian socialism.
I also agree with the second point. There are those in our society for whom we have an obligation to care. I would view those groups as children and the mentally impaired. Neither of them had a say in their status in life. They were born into the situation they are in and should not be allowed to suffer due to their birth right. The problem is that socialism does not simply stop with those that cannot fend for themselves. They include everyone who has less than those who are wealthy. Who gets to define wealthy? The term is arbitrary and dependent completely upon the view of the individual in question. For people living in Venezuela, those who are under the poverty line in America are rich beyond compare. I recently watched a great debate on Tucker Carlson from Fox News. In the debate, he had a professor arguing that the top 1 percent should be taxed at an outrageous amount in order to fund programs for others. Carlson kept asking why she shouldn’t be taxed at the same rate and her response was constantly because she wasn’t in the top 1 percent. In her mind, the top 1 percent should be taxed. But to the bottom 1 percent, they would ask Why not tax the top 50 percent at half their income? That would be equitable to them. The solution is not to take from those who have, it is to find a way to motivate those who don’t.
Maher is absolutely correct: the U.S. has become quasi-socialist. It would not even be possible for me to disagree with this statement. My issue is that it was never intended to be that way. The federal government was never designed to be a social wefare system. It was designed to be only as intrusive as absolutely necessary to allow for the free workings of the State. If California wants to run social welfare programs, then that is completely their right. I would also state that if they wanted to give free education and voting rights (in local and state elections) to illegal immigrants, then that is fine as well. The consequence of such an action, however, would be that when their system fails because their tax base left the state, they would not have the federal government bail them out. The same thing goes for all parts of the federal system. The states should survive on a best-practices system where they are in constant competition with each other. According to usdebtclock.org, we are at $21.4716 trillion in debt. Quasi-socialism is going to be the financial ruin of our country. I am not saying that we do not have many social issues to solve, our medical system being one of them, but we cannot tax ourselves out of this fiscal crisis. The Democrats have already tried this through corporate tax hikes. Yet even companies who espouse sharing their liberal values buck at the thought of shouldering the financial burdens of their programs. For example, there was the 2013 Senate hearing over Apple using the tax laws to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Then more recently there was the case of Starbucks voicing its opposition to paying a worker head tax to address the city’s out-of-control homeless issue. Again, socialism only works for those who do not need to be part of the system.
Which brings us to the last point, “Just say yes to socialism,” as Jim Carrey states. It is difficult for those who have never seen the horrors of socialism to understand what it really entails. Capitalism has done an exceptional job at ridding most of the civilized world of this form of government. Unless one grew up during the Cold War era, their view of the world is one in which capitalism has provided cheap and abundant economic rewards for us. Things like cloths, technology, and even food are not easily purchased due to socialism. The smart phone revolution would have never been possible in a world where innovation was not amply rewarded. Even more importantly, all of the new lifesaving drugs and medical advances would never have come as far as they have been if not for the free market investing in the research, all in the hopes of being able to make a profit off the potential success. Saying yes to socialism is not simply saying that we want to try a new method of taxation or equalize the playing field. What it really means is an end to the American dream. No longer will the individual be able to choose their own destiny through hard work and perseverance. No, saying yes means saying goodbye to America.