sometimes i think “wow wouldn’t it be great if the government provided this basic human necessity” then the other half of my brain goes communism. the thing you are thinking of is communism. and it was so fucking drilled into my head in school that communism is a big, giant horrible BAD THING that will destroy everything but like it actually makes a lot of fuckin’ sense
Would it make you feel better if I told you that it is not communism?
The majority of Americans have been taught that socialism and communism are essentially the same thing and that any time the government provides basic human necessity, it’s communism.
And, of course, communism is evil.
First of all, Medicaid, Medicare, welfare, food stamps, etc, are socialist. In fact, the United States is a mixed economy - it has capitalist and socialist elements.
It’s western socialism, which says “Prove you need it and you can have it.” Other western countries have socialized medicine, which means everyone pays in and everyone gets out (It’s NOT free healthcare, that’s a misunderstanding. In the UK, for example, it is called “National Insurance” - you pay contributions, just the same as to social security).
Communism is different.
Marx stated “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” This evolved, or devolved, into the idea that everyone gets what they need equally regardless of their job…you do the job you’re suited for, but a general and a janitor should not get different paychecks.
Needless to say, this doesn’t work except for small voluntary communities (A form of communism has been practiced by monastic communities in the east and the west for centuries).
The reason Communism is wrong is not so much because it is evil as because it goes against human nature and human needs and doesn’t work. Because it doesn’t work, you start having to “Build a wall to keep your people in” - to apply force to the situation.
And because people have a desire to earn more than their next person, communist systems on any large scale rapidly become corrupt.
Socialism, on the other hand, says “Give everyone their basic needs, let them earn the rest.” To be socialist, there has to be a central plan as to what those basic needs are - which results in massive infrastructure that decides who needs what, system fraud, and people not getting things they actually need.
The other alternative, the government simply handing people enough money to cover basic needs is called Guaranteed Income or Basic Income and has been toyed with and experimented with, and is under serious discussion in Switzerland. This is not true socialism, because you aren’t planning people’s lives. If you give somebody, say, $1000 a month, it’s their fault if they spend it on booze then don’t make the rent, so there’s still freedom and personal responsibility…and I could go into that all day (needless to say, I’m a proponent of Guaranteed Income as a solution moving into a society in which the amount of necessary labor keeps dropping).