If one reads the website for the World Socialist Movement, one is left with a Utopian view. Everyone will voluntarily work at what they most want to and share goods in common that are produced only for use, according the website. Karl Marx was a little more blunt, and called for a proletarian revolution, while Socialist Action states that socialism can not be enacted through normal democratic processes, and calls for mass protest and revolution. Don't panic! Obama isn't going to start a world-revolution , and I doubt anyone cares whether or not he shared toys or a peanut butter sandwich. Because despite the Utopian language of some, and revolutionary language of others, the heart of socialism is the sacrifice of individual liberty for the sake of collective thinking and control of production. That is the heart of socialism. I've heard plenty of people state that they wouldn't mind a little sacrifice of liberty in exchange for care and justice for the poor, state health care, and yes, some wealth redistribution - that is as long as they were on the receiving end. But that's one of the main problems with socialism. It tells us that we all need to help each other, and then whips right around and tells us that some of us are too successful and others deserve a share of that success. This concept reminds me of Barry Goldwater's 1964 Republican Convention acceptance speech where he famously said, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also, that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." There is no vice, in the mind of the socialist, in extreme redistribution, and their is no virtue in moderating that stance.
Now I am a Christian, and the Bible has more verses about the poor and destitute than just about any other subject. It is my Christian duty to provide true charity (love) to any who need and want it. That is my Christian duty. But is it the responsibility of the state? Most of us could agree that the state should bear a collective responsibility to help those who truly need help, particularly those who, for whatever reason, can not physically work or better themselves. But what about those who can. If I out-compete my neighbor, and earn $10K more a year, is he entitled to some of my earnings, simply because I did better? I don't believe that. Further, every state that has tried this system long-term has failed, been forced to change, or exists in a perpetual twilight (ala Cuba). It's very true that Capitalism unchecked descends into chaotic greed, and that all Capitalism rests in part on some measure of competition. But, socialism is a disincentivizing system. It reward mediocrity.
Competition is what motivates individuals to push hard, to succeed beyond the expectations of their social setting. That is the very heart of the Middle Class in the US - a desire to better oneself, rather than to be assigned a place in society, and have nothing to work for. Competition increases a society's wealth and productivity. Socialism makes society dependent on the government . That is why McCain and Palin have been labeling Obama a socialist. Not because he shared something, but because he wants to share other people's somethings, and then convince them it was all their idea in the first place. And even if Obama is only moderately socialist in his leanings, even if Biden was really just making another 'gaffe' when he declared that the tax increases would begin at $150K, there is Congress to contend to. The current Congressional leadership (note to the constituencies of these clowns - vote them out!) has made it very clear that they will push for redistribution, and that the burden will start at incomes far lower than $250K.
Tomorrow (well, later today) - taxes. For now, go to the name link below for a hilarious take on the election. The video is on Slashdot.org. It was posted by samzepus, and I bow to his creativity.