Excellent article in the NY Times today about the Dutch government and its "socialist" tendencies. I am on the more liberal side of the democratic party (as you may or may not have guessed from reading my blog), and so this article really struck a chord with me.
I have read a bit of Marx, and one thing that really struck me is not so much his ideas of communism, but really--how the capitalist system as it is today is doomed to failure. The idea that capitalism will evolve into something closer to socialism--and work--is something that resonates with me, because I just don't get the idea of capitalism in America. I believe that if you work hard for something you can achieve it, but I have a problem with the idea of not helping others if you are able to.
One of the things I really like about the Dutch system is that it seems like there is a balanced mix of socialism and capitalism. I really don't think that if we have universal health care in America that all people are going to suddenly feel "entitled" to things beyond their means. I actually think our current "capitalist" American society has done that. We have spent the last couple of decades fooling everyone into thinking that we are "entitled" to have nice cars, big houses, easy money. Where has that gotten us? Into a very extreme, economic downturn.
One of the things that Shorto points out in his article is that the Dutch form of "the socialist state" is that it is not really based on Marxism, but rather, St. Francis of Assisi. At this point, there is not a perfect system in the world. But I truly believe that parts of the American system are broken. We need to change, especially if we want to keep our status in the world. And for a country bent on being different from our forefathers' country--we really seem to be afraid of change.
Suck it up, people...it's not going to kill us to try something different.