Democratic Socialism is a Moral Imperative

If there is only one absolute truth in the universe it is this: We didn’t ask to be born.

Stated in another way, we could say that nothing that has ever existed has ever chosen to exist in the first place. This should be self-evident. Even a supposed eternal god was denied this choice as that god always existed thus never had the chance to make the choice to exist.

So what, you ask? This to me is huge and I would argue makes Democratic Socialism a moral imperative.

By being inherently denied the choice as to whether to exist or not in the first place, I would argue that the most fundamental choice we have in life is whether to continue to exist or not. That should be each individual’s choice, no one else’s.

It is easy to extrapolate from that absolute truth that murder is a moral wrong, and thus it is a moral imperative to prevent murder, as best as possible. Society at large already acknowledges this.

But murder is not the only way to kill someone. If you have ten people stranded on an island by no choice of their own, and the strongest one of them hoards the majority of the island’s resources for themself such that some of the others starve to death, then the hoarder is taking the choice as to whether to continue to exist or not away from the others by killing them slowly via starvation. Society would not call this murder, in fact it does not because this is exactly what happens when wealth and income inequality occur to the degree we have in today’s world, and we don’t call it murder… we call it bad luck or blame the victim for not “pulling themself up by their bootstraps.” All while the stronger, more privileged, even deny supplying bootstraps for the victims.

I also argue that we can extrapolate from this absolute truth that we also have no choice as to the circumstances of our birth or the nature of our existence, i.e. socio-economic status, color of our skin, gender, heritage, sexual identity and orientation, or disability. All of these things factor into one’s opportunities in life, as has been demonstrated in study ofter study in America and elsewhere. It then follows that society has a moral imperative not only to make sure that every person on the planet has access to life saving services, i.e. food, shelter, and health care, but also to access to services that provide people with the opportunity for liberty and the pursuit of happiness that the US Constitution explicitly calls “inalienable rights.”

Thus to allow even a single human to go hungry, lack adequate shelter, lack access to health care, lack adequate education, transportation, and communication in a modern world, by no choice of their own, is a grave moral wrong.

I have gotten in arguments with conservatives who, when discussing universal access to health care, claim that they are compassionate people. But I question them on this. I ask if they understand that thousands of people die and hundreds of thousands needlessly suffer from preventable and/or curable illnesses every year due to lack of access to affordable health care. I point out that if they are compassionate people, they would not allow this and would do whatever possible to help these people by supporting politicians who advocate for policies and laws that would bring about a system that would guarantee health care as a human right.

The same can be said for homelessness, food insecurity, and lack of adequate public education, communication, and transportation. All of these things are required for a person to realize the United States’ promise of the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. How can you pursue happiness if you don’t have the means to get a job that pays a living wage in order to fulfill the American Dream, which remains elusive for large swaths of the US population.

So if, as a society, we want to truly live up to the ideal explicitly stated in the US Constitution noted above, when we need to make sure that every American, as best as humanly possible, has equal access to the means by which we can survive (food, shelter, health care), be free (transportation, communication), and pursue happiness (education, equal opportunity employment). To deny this is to demonstrate that you don’t care about, nor have any compassion for, large swaths of the US and global population.

As the lack of access to the above noted things demonstrably causes pain, suffering (emotional and physical), and death, knowingly and willingly denying them to any individual is immoral.

I do accept that a discussion can be had as to the best way to achieve the ideals set forth above. I have heard arguments from the right that just “throwing money at the problem” won’t solve it, and that a free market solution is best. I would counter that we have been trying free market “solutions” for hundreds, nay, thousands of years and in every instance the freer the market, the more income inequality there is and the more disparate access to necessary services is. The New Deal, arguably the largest increase in social spending in US history, was a huge success and is often cited, along with unions, as creating the middle class in the US. So it would appear that “throwing money at the problem” does indeed work. Then the question becomes “where do we get the money?” Well, let’s start with the one percent, and if that is not enough, work our way down until we have an equitable system where the strong minority do not prevent others from having access to the resources needed to live, be free, and pursue happiness.

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