Are you under the belief that the founders of the United States did not think about socialism?
Though the term socialism wasn’t coined until 1817, if I recall the date, by Henri de Saint-Simon, who in his early years took part in the siege of Yorktown under General Washington, the concepts of democratic socialism was not foreign to the founders of the United States. Nor, were they opposed to the idea of government taking care of the citizens in some ways. After all, the founders of the United States were heavily influenced by the Enlightenment philosophies of Europe, and near all were “Ivy League” college graduates with degrees in law, business, politics, science, religion, and philosophy. As well, the founders were avid readers of prominent writers of the time, such as Thomas Paine – who happens to have published Agrarian Justice in 1797, which is a pamphlet that details the concept of taxing land owners once per generation to pay for the needs of those who have no land. Uh, hello? This is thoughts on wealth redistribution, 18th century style!
Further, in the United States constitution itself are socialistic concepts, though they didn’t call it socialism in their time – rather good and responsible government. In Section 8 of Article 1, Congress authorized a variety of social institutions for the “common Defence and general Welfare of the United States,” that is maintained through “Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises”. For example, to establish post offices and roads, to raise and support an Army and Navy, and no where does the constitution say that such acts of socialism should be refrained just to these provisions. It was President Jefferson himself that authorized the laying of our nation’s highway system, thus paving the road for government sponsored public transportation to support the democratic capitalist economy that made our nation’s emergence onto the world scene a tad different from the rest. And, let’s not even get into the views of the founders on public education, and its imperative social need for every citizen – so much, that some thought it should be free. One could write a book on this (and many have)!
So, how were you taught to define socialism?
According to the founders of this nation, being free to be an individual is great! But, such individualism has its limits, when it comes to the social welfare of a nation of individuals. It’s a balancing act, that requires a citizen involved representative democracy to achieve. In the United States, it is capitalist-based democratic socialism that governs national order! When our founders found it necessary to tax the rich or collective community to provide benefit to the needy or the public whole, they were embracing a form of socialism. Yes. There are different kinds of socialism, but the common core to all forms is a certain social ownership and responsibly for everyone within the whole. Some systems strip out the capitalism to achieve this and, thus, create communism. Some systems embrace capitalism, and find a political balance between government and free enterprise. Those countries that strip socialism away, keeping only the capitalism, lead themselves towards fascism.
Socialism is at its fundamental core about democratic public economic control over production and its wealth affects. This can take root in a range of many institutions for the common good, but is all regulated by a government that is collecting taxes upon its citizens. We simply could not be a capitalist nation, without embracing an agreed upon form of socialism by which to govern it for the common good.
Final thought: The first thing I try to get across to people about history is that history is always messy. There are no absolutes, and apparent contradictions can usually be found within individuals and within societies. So, it is with the Enlightenment philosophies of Europe and with the beliefs and actions of the U.S. founding fathers and mothers.
#MAGA through inclusive capitalism-based democratic socialism that eliminates wealth inequality, racism, xenophobic nationalism, religion-influenced politics, misogyny, and the failure to educate thoroughly. So, that everyone in the United States knows that they, too, are #InHisImage and not #UnderHisEye, because everyone has a fair and honest opportunity for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as is afforded in writing by our U.S. Constitution.