Socialism: Good or Evil?

January 25, 2016
By Jaeyub Chung  Aliso Niguel High School 11th grade By Jaeyub Chung Aliso Niguel High School 11th grade

By Jaeyub Chung
Aliso Niguel High School
11th grade

The term “socialism” has garnered an immensely negative connotation throughout history, particularly in a country like the United States where anything that does not sound like “democracy” is dismissed as communism. In fact, many Americans do not even know what socialism is, yet they dismiss it as a heretical and disastrous concept.

Consequently, it comes with no surprise that Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist, has such little support from the American people.

In examining the Socialist Plan of Sanders, however, it is difficult to find anything that will negatively affect the nation. Sanders plans to extend equality to all races, all genders, and all social classes. He also avoids extreme policies that are likely to create social dissent within America. All in all, the plan proposed by Sanders, if looked at with a clear mind, seems to be a perfect solution to eliminate many of the problems infecting America.

So why exactly has an anti-socialist sentiment been implanted in our minds?

To find the answer, it is first necessary to trace Socialism to its roots. Socialism first rose to prominence during the mid-1800s after Karl Marx published the Communist Manifesto. At its core, socialism was designed to be an ideal form of government in which everyone was equal. There would be no social class distinctions and the government would serve only to maintain this equality.

The proletarians advocated this new system, as they saw it as an end to the immense social class distinctions of the current society. America, with its capitalist economy, saw socialism as a threat and rejected it as a radical and detrimental political system that can only end in disaster. This, along with the Red Scare of the 1900s, contributed to the strong anti-socialist sentiment plaguing our nation today.

In truth, however, socialism is neither evil nor doomed to fail. In fact, a socialist economy may be exactly what the United States needs at the moment.

Our current capitalist economy has given more than 80% of the nation’s wealth to a handful of individuals, while the overwhelming majority is left with close to nothing. A socialist economy will ensure that such inequality will not persist. Furthermore, there are many examples in which socialism is followed by success.

During the Great Depression, President Roosevelt implemented a myriad of socialist policies that helped the country recover from disaster. Countries like Canada and Ireland, both of which follow a far more socialist policy than America, have been highly successful and contain some of the world’s best welfare systems.

It is essential that we ignore the connotation of a term and instead focus on the meaning. We cannot dismiss something based on stereotypes and prejudices that we have been told. If we do, then America will have been no different from the times of racial discrimination during the 1900s.

If we want to improve as a nation, we must first clear our minds of any bigotry that remains from previous generations.



  1. Edward

    January 25, 2016 at 5:17 PM

    An 11th grader is going to be all theory and no practice. He has seen nothing of how things actually work no matter how rosy a theory sounds like from afar.

  2. kelly

    November 27, 2017 at 10:41 AM

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