Why do Americans see Socialism as a dirty word?

Does the average American even understand the concept of Socialism?

Many see Socialism as taking someone's money and giving it to others. From the point of view of Capitalists, I understand why its a dirty word. We have grown accustomed to the unfairness of our system. Another way of describing socialism is EVERYONE BEING EQUAL IN TERMS OF THEIR RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES. And not allowing one person to usurp the rights of others to make a profit. It is a concept they taught to us in preschool...SHARING.

Most Americans have no problem with Social Security, Medicare, Welfare, and such, which are socialist approaches to caring for the vulnerable in our society.

Pure Capitalism would eventually result in Overlords and Slaves because GREED knows no limits. Your thoughts...


@ Charro,

I do understand your perception but it is flawed. Socialism doesn't mean give away everything, it means everyone who is working ACTUALLY BENEFITS in equal measure. For example, if we both work equal hours in the same company at the same job, we would both get equal pay. That company would make profits and share them equally with everyone in the same work class of that company. There is no benefit for NOT working in socialism. And those who want more...can save, instead of stealing profits from workers by taking their rights away.

Update 2:

There are many wealthy socialist countries. It refers to an economic system which spreads wealth around. The average American's issues are financial. The middle class is becoming the poor because the people at the top of our economic system (owners) will never be fair enough to share (I mean take a reasonable profit and allow workers to make a living wage) on their own.

Update 3:

Rob, Ray, Dee in CO, and Michael...all great answers. Thank you.

11 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    It's a complicated issue, and not all American's would associate it with a dirty word. Following the two world wars, America succumbed to a sort of "red scare" hysteria and a general fear of evil communists. The sad truth is that both capitalism and socialism, if left unchecked, could lead to an undesirable world. The common element in all forms of economic and political systems is the human being - the true source of greed, hate, ignorance, evil, etc. We must evolve as a people in order to advance society - this can be accomplished by promoting education, tolerance, love, freedom and peace across the globe. I think that finding the right balance is necessary to ensure that individual freedom is not eroded or destroyed in the name of progress. I do find it most ironic that the far right wing voters in America view socialism as a dirty word, yet they fully support social security, medicare, etc. Under the right circumstances both socialism or capitalism could lead to a world that none of us would be proud of.

  • Ray
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    There is GREED and there is LAZINESS, both traits humans tend to. We still have people enslaved; only now it's called minimum wage or living on a poverty wage. The answer is for more people to become entrepreneurs (self employed). This is not taught in our public schools (it should be). This, coupled with hard work, is what our founding fathers used to build the United States. Government regulation stifles the entrepreneurial spirit like being required to pay your income taxes in advance on money you have not yet earned (called quarterlies by the IRS). If socialism really worked, then Russia would be the richest country on earth. Instead, they have long lines at grocery stores because the shelves are empty. Why? Because the bakers have no flour. Why? Because the farmers would rather keep the grain they harvest to feed their own families than to send it off to market at half its true value and not have enough for their own family. The farmer is still using horse drawn implements to farm with because the tractor manufacturer is not allowed to sell for a profit sufficient to build quality merchandise and feed/house his family. The grain harvested is turned into vodka instead of bread because the socialists think that a drunk people will be docile and easy to rule over without revolt (as opposed to well fed and housed/warm). Should the government have such power? No.

  • 7 years ago

    Well the first reason why Americans hate socialism is because socialism was first seen in Russia, and Americans always hated/still do Russians. There's always rivalry between the two, yet Russians don't seem to give two ***** about America (I mean there's no hatred coming from them)

    The other reason why they think it's unfair is because in socialism, if you are reach and possess heaps of land, all your possessions will be taken away by the government and shared between all people. In socialism u don't OWN anything, everything is OWNED by the government. Besides the owning part, socialism ideally could work easily - free medicine, everyone is equal (however I don't believe that brain surgeon or a fire fighter that save lives should be getting paid the same as the mechanic),

    Another reason why people (not just Americans) seem to dislike the idea of communism, is because it always failed and ended up being a terrible idea. (North Korea, China, Cuba, Russia) all those countries had/still do experience tough economical and social times

  • Charro
    Lv 6
    7 years ago

    Because it rewards the will nots and takes from the workers of society. I for one am sick of supporting lazy Americans who refuse to work. Before you bleeding heart liberals start blasting me I do KNOW there are people who need help, however, the Government is the last entity who needs the money to pass along to the needy. Charity should be through non profits. Socialism is a sham used by the left to appear compassionate while really just trying to get votes. Dependency on the government=VOTES!

    Your idea of "sharing" is ridiculous! Sharing means both ways, you tell me how if I give and the other person NEVER gives back just how that is fair? If I continue to share and share and share and share but NEVER get anything in return? There becomes a point where the socialist welfare system turns into an enabler. It is like giving an alcoholic a reason to continue to drink alcohol.

    Source(s): Common sense
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  • Arnie
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    The Socialist ideology is a road to failure! Under socialism, incentives either play a minimal role or are ignored totally. A centrally planned economy without market prices or profits, where property is owned by the state, is a system without an effective incentive mechanism to direct economic activity. By failing to emphasize incentives, socialism is a theory inconsistent with human nature and is therefore doomed to fail. Socialism is based on the theory that incentives don't matter!

  • 7 years ago

    There is an innate distrust of Socialism and big government in America. America is a nation founded on freedom.

    Also, many Americans are descendants of immigrants from Europe who fled to America in search of a freer and less socialist life.

  • 7 years ago

    From my understanding many Americans think Canada is socialist country I dont know how fear from the truth it is that's just my point of view

  • 7 years ago

    If I make good money and you don't, would it be fair if someone mugged me; Then after they took my hard earned money from me, they gave it too poor you who dropped out of school and is at fault for having a miserable life? Just so we could be equal?

    Source(s): That is the same concept of socialism. If I earn it, it should be mine,not ours.
  • Bill
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    my first thought is you're confused. there is nothing wrong with capitalism except for a few criminals that tend to go too far. it is what made this country what it is and all have lived a pretty good life. if capitalism was so bad why are Russia and China now turning to it save their countries. it works.

  • 7 years ago

    Because they don't know the difference between socialism and communism, and they don't know how socialist their own country already is.

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