He gave us many memorable quotes from his novels, and his ideology. Like so many authors he was a master of words. So when someone pulls out one of his quotes we should listen to it. One such quote that is his, and I hear often about Socialism is
“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”And he has a valid point. We tend to not see ourselves as being all that poor, or just someone who a little short at the moment, our ship will come back in, and we will be among the rich once again. I will admit that to some point it is nicer to think that any day now you will always have enough, never want again, we might not be rich, but we will be comfortable. But this is not the entire truth behind why Socialism never took root in the American mind, and way of life.
Some of it is an irrational fear of what Socialism is. It is not understood thanks to mountains of misinformation, brought about by people who feared that their wealth would be stripped of them. It is not a means of taking wealth, but a means of ensuring that all people are treated equally. To provide that all people share the same things.
But it is something more than that. It is a mindset, we all at some point think that we have something. We think that we have a job, so things will get better if we try. Sure we are having a down turn at the moment, but things will get better if we keep trying. But the truth is, for some things do get better, for others they do not. For those who find things do not get better a grim realization sets in, and while there is a dim hope things will improve with simple hard work, they realize they are chasing a carrot on a stick, but they do not want to admit it.
Then there are the people who believe that we are a solely Capitalistic nation. This is an error on their part. So many aspects of our society are Socialist, but they simply do not want to admit that this is a hybrid economy in some regard. Public roads, schools, our military, our police, fire departments and other EMS, public libraries, medicaid/medicare, social security, welfare, and a loads of other things are all Socialist inspired. They work, until Capitalism steps in, and starts attempting to make them for profit, at which point they start to fail.
This is also part of the problem, and why people so vehemently decry Socialism. They see where it fails, and the point at it, see it as a failure, and a bad thing. The problem is, because of their mindset, they cannot look at the big picture as to why it fails. So ingrained in the way things were, that when Capitalism has a major failing, they overlook it.
In 1929, it failed, and suddenly we started seeing an influx of Socialist ideas. In 2007, it failed again, but we did not see the influx of Socialist ideas, and that is because of a fundamental change in our mindsets. In order for this nation to work, we must step back from the "me, myself, and I" mentality we have, and look to help our fellow man. We must have a true hybrid of Capitalism and Socialism, in order for this nation to move back to the top of the leader board in the world. If we go in one direction or the other, purely Capitalist, or purely Socialist, this nation will fail. The chances are though, it won't be so bad if we go pure Socialist.