Reagan was a Socialist

The Democrats are in control of Congress and the White House now, and some folks are worried as hell that our country is becoming socialist. Meanwhile there are others who are happy as hell. They see capitalism as the root of all evil, and are looking forward to a big dose of socialism.

But I think this is all just another way that politicians pit people against each other, and in fact, pit us against our own nature. I think each and every one of us is part capitalist and part socialist, by nature.

We all respond to individual incentives, like good ol’ capitalists. Everyone has their price, and even the laziest amongst us will get up off our asses and do some work, if enough money is passed under our noses.

But we all depend upon each other also, like good ol’ socialists. I wonder how an avowed capitalist would feel if his house caught on fire, and he had to write a check to the fire department in order to get them to dowse the flames. But he doesn’t have to. Socialism saves the day, whenever taxpayer-funded firefighters keep a house from burning to the ground.

I was in the military, and that was about as socialist, or even communist as things could get. The government provided me with free meals, clothing, housing, and medical care. And I could not be laid off my job.

Nor could I quit. And that’s because, just like in a communist country, you lose a lot of individual rights when you’re in the military. You lose freedom of speech, and especially the freedom to demonstrate against your employer. You have to shut your mouth, take orders, and be part of the team, or else you can find yourself in a heap of trouble. Just like in a communist country.

And yet, look how much conservatives support our military. They claim to be against socialism, while at the same time they strongly support a communistic system.

But liberals who think we’d be better off getting rid of capitalism, have a lot to learn about human nature. People tend to become very lazy when they have no individual incentive to be productive. But rub some dollar bills together, and suddenly they’re at your command, like Aladdin spewing out of his magical lamp.

I will admit that socialism can simplify our tax forms, and make it very easy to file. If some of the more extreme Democrats in Washington have their way, here’s what our new tax form might look like:

Line 1. Enter your gross earnings for the year: $__________.

Line 2. Enter amount from line 1. This is your tax: $_________.

Line 3. Don’t worry, the government will take care of you.

Under pure socialism, I think productivity in our country would plummet. We must have capitalism, to keep us off our asses, and hard at work, with our noses to the grindstone. And yet, we must have some amount of taxation and government programs. Government programs help to keep capitalism strong. And capitalism, with the tax revenues it generates, helps to keep socialism strong. There’s a symbiotic relationship between the two.

Here’s a list of a few socialist programs we must have, in order to keep our capitalist economic system from falling apart:

Law enforcement

Military forces

Road construction and maintenance

Public transportation

Public education

Public libraries

Hydroelectric dams


National Weather Service

Social Security & Medicare

Lawmaker salaries

Even Reagan was a socialist.

Wait a minute. Lawmaker salaries? I think so. The very lawmakers who denounce socialism draw large salaries and generous benefits funded by you and me, the taxpayer. So even though they may claim to be capitalists, I believe they’re also socialists.

And that means even Ronald Reagan, who railed against the evils of socialism, was himself a socialist. Or at least, part socialist.

I think we’re all a mix of capitalist and socialist, whether we want to admit it or not. I think it’s impossible to be otherwise. So I don’t listen much to politicians who try to turn us against either one. They’re being unrealistic. They’re just trying to scare the hell out of us, to get votes.

As an avowed capitalist, I support socialism. And as an avowed socialist, I support capitalism. So wake up, you mossback conservatives and bleeding-heart liberals.

See the value in both.

Categories: Politics

31 replies »

  1. As long as you have politicians whose priority is to stay in power, they will naturally do everything to convince the voting public that they are the perfect party. By promoting themselves in such a way will naturally be divisive. One area where the US deviates from other countries (i.e. Canada), is that while we have a dominant 2-party structure (Conservatives and Liberals), we do have other parties of significance (being they can impact an election). Our National Democratic Party (NDP) has had significant impacts in my time here (since 1975). Our Green Party (Environmental focus) is gaining a lot of traction, and various other parties enter “the ring” periodically.

    Where we all seem to fall down badly, is that our democratic system has developed such that significant financing would seem necessary to make any impact at election time. Given the adage “He who pays the piper calls the tune”, we should not be surprised that we (the people … which, by association, should be our country) are not the major priority of any political party. Being funded by industry provides an obvious conflict of interest, as does being funded by labour unions etc. etc.

    Of course it is always easy to criticize, so what is the solution? I have no idea, because all the alternatives are equally flawed. Given the obvious 3 options of democracy, socialism and dictatorship … none of them stand up too well in the context of national efficiency and effectiveness but, for countries that have developed (such as the US and Canada), then it would seem that democracy is probably the best of a poor selection!

    Just some thoughts! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Reminds me of the Thomas Paine quote: “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”

      We have third parties in our country, but they rarely have any effect. Occasionally they have split the vote just enough to get a major party candidate elected. For instance, Ross Perot of the Reform Party is why Bill Clinton beat Bush in ’92. And some say that Jill Stein, of the Green Party, is the reason why Trump beat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

      I agree that it’s the money behind the candidates that “calls the tune.” And I suspect that’s the way it always will be. The people be damned.

      Liked by 2 people

      • A lot has to do with campaign funding, which has been mutually legislated by both parties in ways that keep them both in power. Follow the money (what you can), and it’s ironic how many very large donors contribute to both parties. About half of all US political funding can be traced back to only around 400 super-wealthy families through loopholes kept open by both parties. (Leaving a disabled link, so you know this isn’t just some “conspiracy” nonsense.)
        (replace the “[DOT]”)

        Add in that corporations are now Constitutionally “people”, and loopholes such as “bundling”, “soft” money, PACs, and things hidden in omnibus budgets (another disabled link to blow your mind), and I think it’s fair to say that neither party is going anywhere in the foreseeable future.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds about right. Seems like rather common sense that societies benefit most from both motivated individuals and the support provided by the strength of a group. Most are capitalists when we’re doing the work, but socialists the instant we can’t afford what we need (or simply want). The best places I know are where they’ve figured out what to socialize so that people can also benefit from what they earn. Most familiar with Asia… Singapore comes to mind as a poster child. Even Taiwan as a bastion of both democracy and Capitalism (with a capital “C”), has figured out that it’s a good idea for a society to invest in both civil and social infrastructure. Explains much about why they’re two of my favorite places in the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It seems like a fine balance has to be struck between capitalism and socialism, to get it right. And when it’s not right, the economy suffers, until things are rebalanced. Which is kind of what we do in our elections, in our own clumsy way, first electing a conservative, and then following that with a liberal, and so forth.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. well said, Tippy. Although I disagree a little bit about the idea that people are inherently lazy. While a paycheck certainly is important, I don’t think that’s the only reason people work. Work gives people a chance to socialize, a chance to feel like you are a contributing member of society, a chance to help others, a chance to rise up to a challenge, a chance to acquire and master a skill.

    I also saw that you listed Medicare as necessary; what are you thoughts about “socializing” medicine completely?

    Liked by 3 people

    • True, there are other rewards besides money, from work. Otherwise I wouldn’t write posts like “Reagan was a Socialist.”

      I have mixed feelings about socialized medicine. Cranky Pants, one of my followers, is Canadian. And what she tells me about socialized medicine in Canada, leaves me feeling very wary about it. On the other hand, our current medical system is no model of efficiency and fairness, either. But Medicare seems to be run relatively well, in my opinion. So if it could be expanded to lower age groups without sacrificing its quality, I’d be for it.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Capitalism is OK, just not runaway capitalism where the big guys can gank the little guys at every turn. Some measure of socialism is good too. We want people to go into teaching, child care, elder care, the arts, etc, and they may feel called to do it, but decide to do something else because these professions don’t pay very well. If we had UBI and safety nets insuring that they wouldn’t starve, go without housing or health care, or be crushed by student debt, maybe more people would choose to follow their hearts and do them. Socialism provides the basics. Most people want more than that and would work to be able to afford it. Some would make do with what they’re given but it would be a pretty spartan life.

    Liked by 2 people

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