Politically speaking, at the visceral level, most of my fellow Americans fall into three groups: For those in Group 1, the mere mention of the word “socialism” triggers nightmarish visions of tyranny, police brutality, de facto slavery, mind-numbing indoctrination, atheism, economic ruin, hopelessness, starvation, pestilence, and worse.
For those in Group 2, the word “capitalism” invokes a hellish world of greed, injustice, exploitation, corruption, pollution, dog-eat-dog competition, job outsourcing, unemployment, and overall self-destruction. Now if folks in Group 1 were to open their minds a mite and look beyond our borders, they would learn that that the freest, most democratic, most productive, least corrupt nations with the highest standard of living and lowest unemployment rate in the world are, by definition, socialistic. Notable among them are Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands. Their stats can be readily had on the Internet. And should they take a closer look at our own United States, they would realize that many of our cherished institutions—the National Park Service, the Armed Forces, the various law-enforcement agencies, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, to name some— are wholly financed by taxpayer dollars, managed exclusively by the Federal Government and, thus, one-hundred percent socialistic. By the same token, if the folks in Group 2 were to remove their blinders, they would see that free-market capitalism, as envisioned by Adam Smith in his iconic The Wealth of Nations is the engine that generates our material well-being and, thereby, frees us to realize our dreams, “the pursuit of happiness,” as edited in by Benjamin Franklin in" Thomas Jefferson's original version of the Declaration of Independence. (The same year, 1776, that The Wealth of Nations was published.)
But deep-rooted biases, alas, are hard to change. Which brings us to Group 3. Folks in this group believe that the truth, if there be such, lies somewhere between the extremes of the other two groups. It is for these folks—call them free-thinkers, skeptics, cynics, mavericks, fence-straddlers, whatever you wish—that this blog is written. Comments and contributions, pro, con and neutral, are welcomed.
The above part of the blog blog pertains to current events. The second
part is written for future generations, as an account of what things were like, in the opinion of the author, in 2011 America.