Why is socialism hated in America?

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In summary, socialist and communist parties are a part of the mainstream political system in most European countries. These parties have implemented policies that have created both problems and benefits, but overall have given citizens a high standard of living comparable to the United States. Employees in Europe have more rights than in America, while employers have fewer. However, in America, any political position left of Democrat is often hated and unpopular due to a history of demonizing socialism and communism. The idea of socialism is also often associated with godlessness and is frowned upon in religious areas. This may stem from the Red Scare/Cold War and a belief that everyone can be a millionaire. The issue of taxation also plays a role, as it is seen as theft in America and
  • #1
N_Quire
Visit almost any European country and you will see that socialist, and in some case communist, parties are part of the mainstream political system. Socialist parties have formed governments, introduced legislation to establish the welfare state, comprising national health services, generous maternity and unemployment benefits, rights for labor unions and so on.

These policies have created problems as well as given rise to benefits, but the best welfare states give their citizens as high a standard of living as in the United States (I have lived in both places and can make the comparison). What's more, most salaried people in Europe enjoy at least a month of paid annual vacation and work fewer hours than their American counterparts (I worked 32.5 hours a week as a magazine journalist in London. Unless you're a doctor or a high-flyer in business, you probably don't work more than 40 hrs a week in Europe). On the other hand, American homes are generally bigger than in Europe, as are the cars and the gas is cheaper.

Broadly speaking, as an employee in Europe you have far more rights than in America. And as an employer, you probably have fewer rights: you can't just fire people at will.

But my question is this, why in America is any political position left of Democrat hated, mistrusted and downright unpopular?
 
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  • #2
Just a thought, but I imagine it's because the bourgouise (sp?) have been demonizing socialism, communism, etc. for 100+ years here. People hear socialism, and somebody shouts "communism" implying Soviet style oppression and death camps.
 
  • #3
Socialism is hated because, in truth, people want the benefits of society without paying for them.
 
  • #4
Socialism in Europe, or what is often called social-democracy (which might correspond to left Democrat), dislikes Soviet-style communism as much as it dislikes out and out, unrestrained capitalism. The socialists in Europe are democrats and have long given up the idea of state-run enterprises (except the Mail, Roads and Defence, etc). Here, in the bible belt, if you announce at a dinner party you're a socialist, well you might as well say you're a satanist or are attracted to sheep.
 
  • #5
Originally posted by N_Quire
Here, in the bible belt, if you announce at a dinner party you're a socialist, well you might as well say you're a satanist or are attracted to sheep.

In some places in the bible belt, the sheep thing is probably more accepted.

Seriously, I think that most of it comes from the Red Scare/Cold War.
 
  • #6
Greetings !

I don't know the historical reasons.
I do however, in general, believe that a well
established and legislated privatized (not social)
system can work just as well and its performance
will remain mostly independent from many factors
in the country that could otherwise influence it.
Free education though is an important issue in
favour of (again well established) socialism.
(Though certainly not the case in many poorer
countries that do have it.)

Live long and prosper.
 
  • #7
EVer heard of that phrase "Godless Commies"?

Especially in a location such as the Bible belt, anything "godless" is frowned upon and socialists and communists are one in the same in the eyes of a good bit of people.
 
  • #8
Originally posted by Dissident Dan
In some places in the bible belt, the sheep thing is probably more accepted.

Seriously, I think that most of it comes from the Red Scare/Cold War.
\

It must..after all, Jesus was a socialist. It also comes from the mistaken impression that everyone can be a millionaire, and if they don't, it is poor people's fault for it.
 
  • #9
The taxation question plays in too. In America, taxation is widely seen as theft. When people talk about taxes, they talk about useless bureaucracy, lazy unemployed and unemployable people, junkies and drug dealers requiring treatment and imprisonment at the tax payers' expense.

Americans don't often talk about the good things taxes do, such as build roads and schools, maintain a strong defence and police force, helping to keep public radio and television running etc, etc.

Without a basic understanding and sympathy for the reasons behind taxation, there is little chance of the kind of socialism which uses taxation to redistribute wealth and bring about reforms.

It's not that people mind handing over money. Millions of people tithe up to 10% of their income to a church, so you can look at that as a form of taxation. Many folks spend a ridiculous amount on health insurance, that's like a tax. And the health issue could be solved cheaper via taxes to provide a national health service, but Americans (or rather the insurance companies) don't want that because it's state control and socialism.

The left needs to be honest and open about taxes, it needs to sell the idea that those who can should pay more. It won't harm the economy, especially if the churches lose tax exemption status and the state or secular organizations get the money instead and do a better job with it.
 
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1. Why has socialism been historically associated with communism in America?

One of the main reasons socialism has been associated with communism in America is because of the Cold War and the fear of communism spreading. During the Cold War, the United States was engaged in a political and ideological battle against the Soviet Union, which was a communist country. As a result, any ideology that was seen as similar to communism, such as socialism, was also viewed with suspicion and fear.

2. How has the American capitalist system influenced the negative perception of socialism?

The American capitalist system has played a significant role in shaping the negative perception of socialism in America. Capitalism is often seen as the foundation of the American dream, where anyone can achieve success through hard work and determination. As a result, any ideology that challenges the capitalist system, such as socialism, is viewed as a threat to this dream and is met with resistance.

3. Why do some Americans view socialism as a form of government control?

Many Americans view socialism as a form of government control because of its emphasis on collective ownership and control of resources. In a socialist system, the government plays a significant role in the economy and provides essential services such as healthcare and education. This is often seen as government interference and control, which goes against the American value of individual freedom.

4. How has the Cold War affected the perception of socialism in America?

The Cold War played a significant role in shaping the negative perception of socialism in America. During this time, the US government actively promoted anti-communist propaganda, which portrayed socialism as a dangerous and oppressive ideology. This propaganda, combined with the fear of communism spreading, created a lasting negative image of socialism in the minds of many Americans.

5. What role do media and political leaders play in shaping the negative perception of socialism in America?

Media and political leaders have played a significant role in shaping the negative perception of socialism in America. The media often portrays socialism as a failed and oppressive system, while political leaders use it as a means to attack their opponents. This constant negative portrayal of socialism in the media and political discourse has contributed to its negative perception in America.

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