Bill Maher as usually get’s a few things right and a few things wrong in the same commentary. He’s correct when he says that Americans do not understand socialism, I would add for the most part. There are Americans who do understand socialism who aren’t as ignorant and partisan on both sides of the political spectrum. Who are actually interested in facts rather than finding things to back up their partisan ideological perspectives. I would also add to that there are Americans who are simply flat ignorant about Socialism. And we also have Socialists who are socialist, except they don't know it yet, or don't have the balls to admit and prefer to be called progressive, or even worst liberal.
When Americans they think of socialism, they think of Fidel Castro or the Soviet Union and state-owned industries that are failing and so-forth. And lump socialism and communism into the same pot. What today's Socialists do instead of taking people's property away and making them now the property of the state, they just take most of your money away and claim they know best about what you need to live well. And keep most of the money in government's hands in some made-up of fairness.
Another thing that Bill get’s wrong about socialism is European socialism as if all European countries are the same. As if Denmark and Germany have the same economy. Which would be like saying Vermont and Texas are the same. They're both America by the way, how different can they be? And have the same economic systems which are simply wrong. I wrote a blog last week about Germany and its economic system and pointed out they aren’t doing well and cleaning the clocks of their European neighbors because they are a socialist republic. Because they aren’t they look a lot more like America and Canada then they do Sweden or France. Denmark looks like Vermont though, at least ideologically.
The fact is several European countries like France, Britain, Italy, Greece, Sweden and others, are examining their welfare states and seeing if it’s smart for them to have social insurance systems that are so large and cost so much. Or should they expect their populations to do more for themselves and be less dependent on the government. Why, because these countries tend to be run by fairly intelligent people who can understand when something is not working right and needs to be reformed.
The Communist Republic of Cuba is doing the exact same thing and now requiring physically and mentally able people who can work full-time. Which I'm sure must be a cultural shock for Socialist Cubans are now terrified that they may have to get a job and figure out how to pay their own bills. It might seem shocking at first, but if their education system is as good as Socialists in America claim that it is, they should be able to get through that initial cultural shock. And of course America is looking to reform its safety net as well.
So now we have Socialists in Europe who aren’t quite as in love with the welfare states in Europe, looking to reform their welfare states. Even though we have Socialists in America who do not want to reform our safety net. But call any attempts to reform it mean-spirited and callous. And believe if anything that we should expand the safety net in America and create a European welfare state. Even as Europeans are scaling back their welfare states. Socialism in its mainstream and even most used form is about the welfare state.
And government social services, rather than state-ownership and government takeovers of industries and outlawing private-property. Again the modern Socialist is not so much interested in government takeovers here. We are not talking about Communists here, they just want to take most of the money away from people, but allow for them to keep and continue to own their physical property. Because in most Socialist countries private enterprise and property rights exist.
So do welfare states, high taxes and regulations, but now there are Socialists in Europe who are examining the role of government there. And looking to see whether they can afford to have a government that provides so many services for their people. Or should their people do more for themselves instead. They are actually examining can they afford to have a government so big and expensive that the people don't have to take personal responsibility over their own lives. And when was the last time Socialists did that.