Here’s something from Jeff I’d like to address because I think there is a lot of confusion over this subject among many Americans especially oder Americans and those who are more conservative in their bent.
Hi Denise, I’m a recently new visitor to your blog. Your politcal pursuasions are obvious. Isn’t it wonderful we live in a free country where you can say and write about just about anything you want. For that, I know we are both thankful. However, with all due respect, I must say that the socialist countries I have traveled to all have a HUGE gulf between the rich and VERY poor – and if there is a middle class (European countries) it is not nearly as broad of a spectrum as it is here. I am not saying capitalism is the answer to everything. It does however encourage personal responsibility much more that socialist idealism (hence the whole mortgage bailout here in the U.S. will discourage personal responsibility). I really feel you are being dishonest by painting republicans with a broad brush (many of them have very socialist tendancies) that they want the rich to get richer and poor to get poorer. That is ridiculous and dillusional. Please tell me one socialist or communist country where a poor person has the opportunity to better their life than the U.S.A. Do you know any Venezuealens or Cubans that live here in the U.S. who are anxious to return to their homeland? I do not. These are socialist countries where the leaders always speak about the “common good”, yet their intentions are really more about their own power and insecurity. Please Denise – do some soul searching and be honest about this subject. You know very well that human tendancies, whether they be conservative or liberal will veer selfishly out of control if there are no checks and balances. As you also know, the wisdom (of check and balances) our founding fathers had in writing our Constitution and founding documents was influenced by the Almighty himself. By the way, as perhaps you can tell with your psychic abilities, I am a sole provider supporting a family (a wife and 3 small children) and I have come from very modest beginnings. Respectfully, Jeff
I’m so glad you brought up these points. Firstly Cuba is not a socialist country it is a Marxist Communist state. And so are the other examples of countries that you noted. They are not actually socialist countries. Socialism is very different from Communism and Communism is horrible. Marx and Lennon didn’t take into consideration people’s greed and need for power over other people. I totally agree that people in (actually I think all of them) nations which are Communist not only fail their people in the most basic of principles but also generally turn into dictatorships. Marx didn’t take into consideration that politicians once they are in office, are not likely to spread the wealth but rather let their darker nature take over and hog the wealth and they literally rob their own people. It is disgusting and I revile it.
What I advocate is a socialist Democracy closer to what the Europeans and Canadians practice, where there is a built in eject button and safety measures against abuse of power. I am a staunch supporter of our constitution unlike the people in the Bush administration. Here’s a short definition of socialism: social security, the fire department, police department, public education, the library system and in other democracies it includes health care, college education, maternity & paternity leave, guaranteed paid vacations for anyone who works, arts funding, psychological services for those who need them. Socialism can be worked into any other system of government like a democracy or theoretically even a dictatorship but of course it isn’t because it is based on compassion for humanity which dictators usually don’t posses. Communism is based on the writings of Karl Marx from a book called the Communist Manifesto. His ideas were later championed by different dictators as a way to get into power only to have everything change once they got in. Marx’s ideas were (as I see it) psychologically naive and childishly idealistic.
I actually have traveled around the world many times over. I’ve been to pretty much every western European nation numerous times, have been to Australia a couple of times, and have traveled to Indonesia and of course Mexico and Canada, so I’m not speaking from an abstract point of view. According to reality and against many people’s desire to say that America’s always #1, the standard of living is visibly much higher in Scandinavian countries than it is here and that’s a fact.
Here’s a link to the ranking in terms of standard of living you can check out. We have 92% of the world’s wealth controlled by just 5% of Americans. Many countries with GDP’s much, much lower than ours rank higher than we do in quality of life because of that, even though technically they have less money. This is what I’m talking about. We are ranked at number 10 for standard of living.
I advocate eliminating poverty and giving all of our people the respect and help they need to contribute in the most useful way they can, not becoming a communist dictatorship. Ironically, the closest we have ever gotten to true corporatism (which by Mussolini’s definition was what fascism was) and thereby a dictatorship was via George W. Bush. Not only did he bow so heavily to corporate interests and put everything into the private sector including warfare, but also went ahead and finished deregulating everything in the corporate sector so corporations didn’t have to play by the same rules that we as individuals do.
I think Greenspan showed either his stupidity or his immense naivete when he said that he believed corporations would self-regulate. That worked so well in early 20th century America, and Dickinson’s England and now is working wonders in China. Unchecked capitalism is just as naive and stupid as communism because both fail to take into account human nature, greed, power plays, corruption, selfishness, nepotism and just general psychology. This is why we have laws to protect ourselves from one another. We are not made of love, purity, light, goodness and angels. We all have our darker natures which I talked about in the entry about the shadow self.
My husband’s parents are very conservative. They are wonderful people who, I’ve come to realize, see America through the fixed lens of their own childhood imaginings. Where everything is black and white, good guys and bad guys, and we are always on the side of good. Although they mean well, there is a general lack of self reflection about how our government works. It is not a fixed entity but a living organism that changes and grows. The America of 2009 is not the America of the 1950s when they were coming of age and it never will be again. We have grown, changed and become intricately connected to all the nations of the world in ways we never could have imagined back then.
It has been my observation that conservative people tend to have a sentimental view of America and constructive criticism about making it a better place is greeted in the same fashion a nasty comment about their mother would be. Liberals on the other hand are a diverse group, have different agendas and often not only criticize the government, the opposing party but their own party as well. They are by their very nature self-reflective and idealistic. And it doesn’t always serve them well because often they can get too far out on a ledge and all the petty bickering can lead to a lack of seeing the bigger picture.
I actually see myself as a pretty moderate person. I’m compassionate, empathic and want all people to have a good quality of life. I really don’t think that’s too crazy considering we can do a lot to accomplish this with very little sacrifice. I don’t think that a 36% tax going up to a 39% tax on the 5% of people who control more than 90% of the wealth is anything close to socialism. One of the richest men in the world is the founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad and since he lives in Sweden pays at least 50% income tax, yet he manages to do just fine without belly aching because he knows that his money is going to make his country a better place and he has more than enough for generations of his family to live like royalty.
I personally think if you make 10 billion dollars a year you should pay the government half of it because it is your karmic duty to give back when the Universe has given so much to you. And if you are so greedy that you’d rather step over people living in tents with their kids by a river who are slowly starving to death so you can have that extra 1 and a half billion dollars you are a despicable human being who deserves to trade places with that person in the tent. Anyone who can tell themselves that people should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and buck up is not only uncompassionate but naive. There are many people in this world who don’t have the same advantages that everyone else has, such as the mentally or physically handicapped, or even people who are of below normal IQ’s. Should they just shrivel up and die because they can’t do it alone? Ronald Reagan the great advocate of this ended up with Alzheimer’s, if he had been dealt a couple of hard blows and lost his fortune, who would have taken care of him? He got rid of all the halfway houses for people with mental problems back in the 1980s when he was president.
As a mystic I see this issue as much bigger and perhaps one of the greatest tests of human character. We are meant to help one another, learn from one another, have compassion for each other, love each other. Those are the messages of Christ. His message was clear and ringing yet instead of the compassion, non-judgement and love he preached Christians and our “Christian” country has taken a very old testament view of things. When Christ said, “I am the way,” he meant follow his example. But this is a tall order and one that requires intense spiritual, psychological and emotional work to accomplish. It’s a whole lot easier to turn the other way when your brother is starving and say, “It’s his own damn fault. He should pull himself up by his bootstraps. Look at me I had it hard, blah, blah, blah.” Yet that person has no idea the struggles the homeless person they are judging endured and if the right set of circumstances hit anyone could end up in that situation as so many are finding themselves now. And then would you want people to judge you? Having not walked in your shoes? Or would you want compassion and a helping hand.
We come into this world dependant on our mother. Our whole life is intertwined with other people and we are given things, opportunities, education, and countless other things, even just support and love from our families, yet we seem to forget this. No one does anything alone. No one person is better than another. No one person more valuable. We all have something to give and we all have something to learn. It is a sin of vanity that makes a person judge another and a sin of selfishness which allowed capitalism to run amok just as communism did before it.
Both have fallen.
Now lets move on and stop playing this game, the game of division, lets stand together and help one another become a strong tribe, watch each others backs. Let’s take this opportunity to reinvent ourselves so we maybe born again into a greater version of who we are, let’s face our nation’s shadow self squarely (and it does have a shadow as all living things do) and grow into a more evolved, compassionate, educated, civilized and decent people. This is all I advocate. You can call me a lefty, a communist, a socialist or whatever makes you comfortable. But the truth I’m writing about here will make itself known. I only hope you learn the lesson before the hammer comes down and this lesson is learned the hard way.
Honestly, I worry that our country still hasn’t really gotten what’s going on and it’s going to have to get worse before it gets better before the lessons of compassion can be learned. I also worry that President Obama will be too pliable and take a long time to slowly change things to where he wants them, but for many on the left they may feel disheartened as he won’t go quickly enough for them. And for many people who are desperate right now, they too might be upset because they need quick help, not a slow moving tortoise approach while they are drowning.
Best wishes and blessings,