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Fun With Socialism

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Memo to the socialism’s haters: YOU ARE DUMB.

So, yeah, we get to talk about socialism, because, well, everyone’s talking about socialism. Remember, a couple years back, we talked about socialism for a while because Bernie Sanders was sorta competitive and he’s a Democratic Socialist? Well, now a young Latinx Democratic Socialist has made waves by unseating one of those ten-term Old White Males in Congress, and thanks to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign reminding us of the existence of something vaguely resembling hope, we’re having the socialism talk again.

So, you may be wondering. Am I a socialist? And the answer is yes. I mean, technically, if I had to describe my economic philosophy in more detail, I’d say it’s “socialism for needs, capitalism for wants”, but we don’t live in an age where nuance helps, so fuck it, I’m a socialist. And I’ll stay a socialist until socialism gains so much traction that it goes too far and I suddenly have to argue against the excesses of socialism, a time that can conveniently be expressed as “never”, because socialism in America is still a dirty word.

And while I don’t want to get in a fight about what Democratic Socialism “really” is with a bunch of card-carrying Democratic Socialists, which I’m not because, well, I already get enough fucking spam from the one time I donated to the ACLU, what I’d say is that it’s really just an expansion of things the government already provides, but to a larger segment of the population, funded at a level that doesn’t starve them to death and make people hate them.

So, yeah. Education. Health care. Housing. Basic existence. The things everyone needs to survive and have at least a shot at thriving here in what we’ve branded, despite all facts to the contrary, as the “land of opportunity”. Provide those to everyone.

There are a lot of dumb arguments against socialism, like “how are you going to pay for it”? That’s the best thing about a hybrid system of socialism for needs and capitalism for wants. The excesses of the capitalism side can pay for the basic needs of the people who would otherwise be harmed beyond repair by those self-same excesses.

There’s a probably apocryphal story about Willie Sutton, who, when asked why he robbed banks, replied, “That’s where the money is.” That’s not how capitalism works. Capitalism works on scale. It’s much easier to steal three dollars from 1,000 people than it is to steal 3,000 from one person if you’re, say, a bank and call it a service fee. Late-stage capitalism is basically the battery towers from The Matrix. They strip-mine the poor.

.

They demonize poor people as lazy, but nobody works harder to stay alive than poor people do. Capitalism knows this, and has developed mechanism to skim every spare dollar these people have, and some that they don’t, knowing these people will have to find ways to survive anyway.

Just this week, a story came out about Mariner Finance, a company owned and run by a private equity firm presided over by none other than OBAMA era Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithener. Mariner Finance mails checks to poor people that, when cashed, constitute a loan agreement at around 30% interest, then sues them into oblivion when they don’t pay, and collect the legal fees from the person they’re suing on top of it all.

This is completely legal, and completely in the spirit of capitalism, and that’s why I’m a socialist, because that’s some unethical, cruel bullshit.

And you know what? Even if socialism is half as bad as its illiterate critics on Twitter say it is, wouldn’t it be nice to give the people who’ve been exploited for decades a break, and fund that break at the expense of the assholes who’ve been doing the exploiting all that time? I think, at a minimum, we’re overdue for a new set of winners and losers.

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