Words @ War: Socialism: Is it good or bad?

It’s not all that bad; just ask Bjorn

“Obama is a socialist.”

I’ve heard that phrase thrown around quite a bit for the past four years. President Obama has been labeled as a “socialist” because of the Affordable Healthcare Act and other programs he supports.

What irks me the most is a lot of people who use the term “socialism” or “socialist” when bashing the president or other democrats. They most likely have no idea what socialism is or that there’s more than one form of this economic system.

The definition of socialism according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.”

According to a column written July 10 by Milos Forman, a contributor to the New York Times, said this about people who call Obama a socialist: “They falsely equate Western European-style socialism, and its government provision of social insurance and health care, with Marxist-Leninist totalitarianism.”

Forman points out that many of those who use the word as an insult have no clue behind its true meaning or aren’t aware there is more than one form of socialism.

There are seven forms of socialism: guild socialism, utopian socialism, Christian socialism, anarchism, market socialism and agrarianism, according to howstuffworks.com.

It sounds like a very complex economic system that has been portrayed to be nothing but negative by conservative media outlets and the threat of communism during the Cold War. However, socialism is not a scary, horrible ideology.

I graduated high school with a foreign exchange student by the name of Bjorn Eriksson from Sweden. Sweden follows socialist ideologies on matters such as healthcare and education.

For Eriksson, growing up in a socialist country has been quite beneficial. He believes all of Sweden benefits greatly from its socialistic system.

“We have a very high ratio of well educated people, since university education is free. This makes Sweden and other European countries very competitive on the international market and attractive for investors,” Eriksson said. “This in turn creates new jobs and more tax revenue, which makes the government able to give better service to its citizens.”

He also said, “Low unemployment also means happier and healthier people. Students who don’t have to work to pay tuition can perform better in school, and people are healthier when they don’t have to worry about losing their health insurance when the economy goes down and they lose their job.”

Well then, that doesn’t sound too terrible. I wish higher education was free in the United States. I’m certain many graduates who are up to their eyeballs in debt wish the same. Many of you reading probably wish you weren’t stuck with thousands of dollars in loans.

After delving a bit deeper into researching socialism, it doesn’t sound too shabby at all–Sweden doesn’t seem to be suffering.