Tag Archives: socialism

Simple Socialism

Johnny and I were standing outside the tennis courts in Forsythe Park watching some of the regulars try to revive their backhands and discussing Obama’s win. I asked him if he was excited.

“Why? Because a black man is president?”

“Um, yeah.” Duh.

He shook his head. “Just because I’m black don’t mean I’m impressed.” Then he leaned in as if he was fearful of being overheard even though there was no one around except the players who had enough on their hands discovering top spin. “I’m a socialist,” he said in a near-whisper. “You know what that is?”

We’d been talking politics all summer but he’d never said the word before. “I’ve heard of it,” I said non-commitally. “What is it?”

“It means taking care of people. Socialism is people first.”

Over at Slouching Toward Organia, Organian began a discussion of socialism by very sensibly defining her terms. “What I Mean by ‘Socialism’” lays out the classic, fundamental economic definition very well but I must say I like Johnny’s definition better. In a comment I said:

[T]he definition above is the commonly accepted depiction of Communism, while the commonly accepted definition of socialism has come to resemble what you call “European Democratic Socialism”. Might there be some good reason to accept these definitions rather than go back to Square One?

I was thinking of Johnny when I wrote that.

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