Op-Ed: Socialism – Who thought it would be a good idea?

Randy May | rmayof1@gmail.com

One thing I’ve grown extremely upset with over the years is how socialism has been given some sort of negative connotation. In everyday conversations with friends and family it’s used almost as a weapon. This weapon’s payload being that you’re anti-American if you believe in more social systems when it comes to the operations of the United States. I remember originally studying political systems in high school and learning about socialism and thinking that it seemed like the best option. Were my friends and family sick during those lectures or has too much time elapsed since they learned about political and economic systems? I think not.

The easy answer is that this attitude has been shaped by major media. I’m guessing you could watch Fox News for less than an hour and witness this type of rhetoric. This rhetoric is then later repeated by some puffed-out chested idiot whose comprehension level is similar to that of a recording device with a rewind and play button. But for the sake of journalistic integrity I decided to relearn the main pillars of socialism and what it might actually mean to be a socialist.

Like any good journalist, I went straight to the most reputable source: Wikipedia. That sentence could be taken as a joke but should it be? When it comes to information it seems to all be skewed. Every bit of information that can be found in books, journals, articles, statistics or other forms of research was put together by someone for some reason. Those reasons could include money or a politically vested interest and could be furthering private agendas by establishing misinformation as “credible information.” Anyhow, not very long into the reading I came across this quote:

“The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil…I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.” –Albert Einstein

When it comes to our most prominent intellectual individuals in the history of mankind I don’t think there is a more synonymous name then that of Albert Einstein. This quote came from an article he wrote in 1949 titled “Why Socialism?” for the original publication of the socialist journal Monthly Review. Here’s the link to that article.

I personally have a degree in economics from St. Cloud State University but should you listen to me when it comes to if socialism is a good idea or not? I certainly don’t expect you to…though maybe you should lend an ear to one of the most influential minds of modern times. Albert Einstein not only posed the question of why socialism, he answered it, the least any real American would do is read it.