Brains Not Included

Cracked Up, Whacked Out and Completely Out of Control

Was Tocqueville Right?

I have a friend who I am beginning to see as my teacher.  In fact, in real life he is a teacher and I’m sure he’s a damn good one.  Like most good teachers he is usually calm in a debate and he throws out ideas and concepts that challenge his students.

And….like most students, I am incredulous when he shoots a theory my way that I totally disagree with.  In his calm demeanor he has informed me that I don’t debate.  Rather, I argue and he abhores argument. 

As he puts it, I am a competitive person and I argue not to ‘win’ per se.  But I argue because I’m competitive and I love the competition.  Toche’!  Listen to your teachers, whether you agree with them or not, you can learn much from them!

So it is with great respect, calmness and a spirit of debate that I profer this argument.  Our nation was founded as a Republic with a component of democracy.  Our founding fathers framed the constitution as a static document, not a living one. 

The reason I feel this way is because they made it so difficult to amend.  Think about this, if it were truly a ‘living’ document as some believe, then our framers would have made it easier to amend and apend.  As it is written, it is virtually impossible to change.

This leads me to the thought that my teacher proferred.  (Now understand that I am a 45 year old man, so when I say my teacher, I’m talking about someone who’s opinion I respect greatly.)  He asked the question; ‘What is so wrong with Deomcratic Socialism?’  …..I was blown away!

First of all, I had never heard the term.  Second, what American could ever embrace any kind of government that even has the word ‘Socialism’ in it’s title?  Intrigued I did some research and what I found was very interesting and it may explain the state of our country today.  It also explains why a politician that openly expresses a desire to ‘spread the wealth around’ is not treated as a pariah.

Wikipedia and other sources (see links at the end of this post) have a hard time defining exactly what Democratic Socialism is.  On the more conservative side of thinking it is a democracy that decides to vote to be ruled under a socialist style governement.  A more radical understanding is that it is a marxist style government where the leaders are elected by the population.

Another interesting fact is that the definition of socialism in this context can range from the traditional meaning where government controls the means of production to the more sublime and populist understanding of the government having the power to redistribute wealth.  The concept is very interesting and has been tried in Europe, Russia and China (to some extent) with limited success.

What is interesting is that the American Left has been able to frame this type of government within the context of our own unique hitorical experiment.  The problem is that these socialist government haven’t worked in any form.  However, our government as a ‘Democratic’ Republic with a capitalist economy, has created the greatest wealth cycles in history.

Sure we have problems now and we have experienced problems in the past, but in the context of world history our system of governement has created more wealth, more religious freedom and more personal freedom and any other system. 

Our problem is that we have allowed ourselves to be fooled into thinking that wealth is finite.  Our educational system and many educators within it have not been teaching our children what has made America great.  And our news media wants to create a utopian society akin to what it offered in science fiction like Star Trek.

The bottom line is that what makes us American has been watered down and individualism has been set aside and replaced by group think.  I believe it was the French philosopher, Tocqueville, who posited that a Democracy would eventually fail because once the people realized they could vote to obtain the wealth of others, then they would use the power of government to do so.

In general, that is what is happening if we vote Obama/Biden (Senator Government and Joe the Senator) into office.  We make Tocqueville’s prediction come true.  We turn towards Democratic Socialism.  Is that what we really want for our great country?

Some links:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_socialism  |  http://www.dsausa.org/dsa.html  |  http://faculty.maxwell.syr.edu/merupert/Research/far-right/dem_soc.htm  |    

http://reds.linefeed.org/vocab.html#SD

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