Miscellaneous musings from the perspective of a lefty (both senses) atheist with a warped sense of humor.

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Location: Madison, WI, United States

I am a geek, but I do have some redeeming social skills. I love other people's dogs, cats, and kids. Snow sucks, but I'm willing to put up with it just to live in Madison.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Name Me Some Socialized Services

Synopsis of many e-mail discussions I've had lately:

Me: We need national health care.

Idiot: But that would be *gasp* socialized medicine!

This objection is always delivered with an overtone of shocked horror, as if the mere prospect of socialism is akin to gifting your 1st-born child over to Satan.

I have finally had my fill of this attitude and have begun compiling a list of various socialized services that are widely available in America. It's reproduced below. I'd appreciate your taking a look at it and filling in the gaps or otherwise offering suggestions for improvements.

By "socialism" I mean something akin to the Marxist motto "From each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs.". The general idea is that money goes into the common pot (usually in the form of taxes) and is used to pay for services that are available for free (or at nominal cost) to the average citizen, regardless of what he or she paid into the pot in the 1st place.

It is my contention that almost every American benefits from many different socialized services, but that we've become so accustomed to them that nobody thinks of them as socialism any more. They're just taken for granted. It's my hope that listing a whole batch of them in one place will help remove the blinders from those who mindlessly denigrate socialism as if that's the only objection they'd ever need to raise to a new idea.

Here's the list as it stands so far. Have at it.

addiction-treatment programs, air-traffic control, anti-discrimination laws, anti-trust enforcement, bank deposit insurance, canals, consumer protection, contract enforcement, criminal justice, diplomacy, elections, employment relations, energy generation and transmission, epidemiology, fair labor standards, farm price supports, fire fighting, fish hatcheries, food and drug safety standards, game management, garbage pickup, handicapped transportation, historic preservation, housing standards, immigration controls, insurance regulation, lake districts, levees, libraries, mail delivery, medical research, Medicare, mental-health services, mentally disabled care, money, national defense, occupational safety and health inspections, outdoor recreation (playgrounds, tennis courts, golf courses, etc.), parking ramps, parks, police protection, pollution controls, prisons, public broadcasting, public housing, roadways (streets and highways), rural electrification, scholarships, schools, scientific research, sewerage, snow removal, Social Security, space and oceanic exploration, swimming pools, traffic engineering, unemployment compensation, urban planning, utility regulation, veterans' health care, water, weather prediction, weight and measure certification, wetland protection, workers' compensation


Blogger phoenix rising said...

Well put. I've been saying the same thing. I think that those who are so against the idea of anything remotely "socialist" should have to do without each and every one of those services for a year to see how life would be without them.

I feel the same for those who have insurance and don't think that coverage for everyone is necessary.

As a country, we are the insurance industry's bitch.

10:25 PM  

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