Every time I hear a youth speak of socialism in glowing terms, I recognize that this person has either: 1) never actually worked for a living, or 2) never accomplished anything on their own. Yes, I know this is a very harsh judgement but consider the relevance.
When I hear these people, they are normally shouting slogans about free college education or increasing the minimum wage or the inequity of the 1%. Needless to say, all of these issues are self serving and are not intended to encourage a work ethic. But, essentially, these slogans simply highlight the lack of knowledge about the topic. Socialism has failed every time, in every aspect but still it is a dream of many that don't want to accept personal responsibility.
The underlying strength with the flip side weakness of socialism is the issue of the nanny state. Under all of the claims and highlights, socialism offers a nanny state mentality for those willing to accept the conditions of socialism. This is also the weakness because many people don't like the oversight of a nanny state because of the lack of self determined growth.
Consider the issue of 'Socialized Medicine', which is often the first step towards further discussions on socialism. There is a reason that most attempts in socialized medicine fail, there is no reason for anyone to make an effort beyond the 'average'. Socialized medicine is based on the application of the 'average' in all things but primarily for the services provided. Everyone seems to forget that the services that people receive are provided by someone else that is going to provide services at an 'average' level. These service providers don't spent more time on the job than required for the average. There is a reason that many people leave countries that provide socialized medicine and go to clinics that are operated on a for profit basis. Very simply, the finest medicine in the world is provided by for profit clinics, or it is the medicine provided for the leaders of socialized countries but the average citizen has a waiting period, why is that?
In everything, there are at least two sides to the discussion, do you understand both sides of the discussion? It is easy to tune into the one side that you want to support, but why are there other people that are supporting the other side? You cannot encourage others to see your sides unless you can understand and detail the flaws in the positions of others.
To understand socialism, start at the beginning. All forms of market economics must be implemented by law. In order to implement the changes desired through socialism, the structure of the socialism must be imposed on the citizens of the country. The reason for this lawful implementation is human nature and the leaders that are implementing this structure recognize that human nature has two basic failings: laziness and greed. These characteristics cannot be eliminated with slogans but through the application of force.
So, as with all things, what do you do with the people that refuse to obey the laws and instead look for the means to avoid or skirt the laws. Laziness is one problem, in that someone is unwilling to make the maximum effort required of all workers to the common goal. Often, these people are looking to find short cuts or avoid the work itself or fail to remain in the best possible physical condition. Consider, recently a journalist took pictures of auto workers drinking beer and smoking marijuana on their lunch hour. What kind of an impact does this have on other workers who must tolerate this behavior of fellow workers when there is a common goal? The old USSR has proven that over time the entire structure establishes new 'averages' to account for everyone operating at the same productivity. The other problem is greed in which some workers simply take more than they are entitled.
This would make more sense if the reader fully understood the nature of socialism and if you don't then you try to believe that you can implement portions without all. You can't integrate socialism and capitalism because of the different natures of the economic systems and the impact on the individual.
Back to the nature of socialism. This is a market system which permits a central governing group to manage the distribution of the labor, assets and resources to those components that central group believes is best for the collective. However, lack of understanding of outside influences can drive these choices in the wrong direction resulting in failures to provide for the collective as a whole.
The type government, either dictator or democracy, does not matter because in theory either version will work. Communism is nothing more than a dictator form of government with a socialism market form. In this case, the leaders end up with secret police and mansions while the rest of the populace often struggle for the basic necessities.
The democracy form of socialism has many of the same results with two levels of leadership and governance. The highest level would be elected by the people, however, under this top level is a layer of bureaucracy which have developed their own positions and structure that is outside of the structure overseen by the elected representatives. This can be identified by the public workers that form unions to insure that they can keep their jobs when the elected leadership changes.
The biggest difference between socialism and capitalism is the inherent nature of humans to desire to better themselves and their circumstances. Socialism provides a means for everyone to have the same. This is important, it is not the best of the group but is instead the average of the group. So if you try harder than everyone else, you still get the average of everyone. Capitalism provides the opportunity for everyone to make an extra effort and to be rewarded for that.
This single concept is the one issue that causes the greatest misconception. If you want to have better, you must make an effort. If you want the same as everyone else, then you simply don't make the extra effort.
Many people espouse the concept of socialism with talk about the promise of a free college education but fail top look beyond the word free. Have you ever considered why people want a free education? Currently, the primary driving force is the cost of a top of the line education with many people graduating from college with hundreds of thousands in student loans hanging over their heads as they enter the work force. Of course, this is a stupid reason.
As with everything that is free, the quality will suffer so that free college education will not provide the knowledge base or the training to equal the current level of education. Second, when someone graduates with outstanding student loans, the first question should be one of planning? Did this person give any consideration to the ability to pay for the student loans in the career field they have chosen? The answers are simple: they went to an overly costly school and had no clue as to the potential market skills of their education. Frankly, this entire problem is the result of students that are incapable of long term planning and thought processes, do we really want students that are this stupid getting a free education and wasting the limited resources of the education system?
If we implement a free education, do you think this approach will apply to places like Yale, Harvard, MTI, or Stanford? No, of course not, these institutions must maintain high standards but you can't maintain high standards with the admission being free. Also, how do you select who goes to which schools if everything is free, they all want to go to Stanford. The driving force is the resulting student loans after graduation, so shouldn't we be looking for a means to eliminate the student loans?
Perhaps we should encourage schools and businesses to work together providing the best education possible while the student works at a job and goes to school so that when the education is complete, they have a job that they can step into without delay or transition? Of course, this approach would require that the college experience be more work and study and less partying and social interaction.
Perhaps we should consider raising the academic level of every school to the same standard so a student could go to any school and be assured of an education that is on par with anything that can be received across the country. This approach would eliminate the need for a student to incur costs just by attending a distant university. Perhaps we should remove the stigma of a four year education, what is wrong with taking 6 or 8 years while working so that the cost of the education can be paid during the process.
The point is that the cost of an education must be counter balanced by two primary issues: first, what are the long term financial prospects based on the completion of the educational goal, and second, what time frames are planned for the payment of the student loans? The biggest issue is that many people don't have answers to these questions before agreeing to the structure of the student loan.
So it is now back to the issue of personal responsibility. Someone made a decision to incur costs while seeking an education and decided to incur the costs associated with a student loan to implement the plan. These were all decisions made by the individual, society did not force the individual to incur these costs or the debt and the individual failed to grasp the obvious: decisions have consequences.
Like so many other consequences from poor decisions, the individual wants society to accept responsibility for stupidity of the one.