Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

John Samuel Tieman: Are you a socialist and just don’t know it?

Yesterday, I heard a reporter say that she was surprised that Senator Bernie Sanders has garnered so much support. I’m not.

Not long ago, Vox Populi published my argument in support of Sanders, the democratic socialist who is campaigning for president. Several friends thought it curious when I said, “Many Americans are socialists and just don’t know it.” One friend asked, in effect, if my assertion is true, then how would anyone know if they were a democratic socialist?

Good question. I am an old school teacher. My response is to give a test.

Instructions – Answer the following questions with a simple “yes” or “no”.

Grading rubric – If you answer “yes” to the majority of these questions, then, comrade, you are likely a democratic socialist. Note that this is a test for a tendency, not a creed.

  • Do you favor an extensive system of social security that counteracts poverty?
  • Should the government insure citizens against loss of income following illness, unemployment or retirement?
  • Should the U. S. have a mixed economy consisting of both private enterprise and publicly owned or subsidized programs?
  • Should the country provide a free education to the extent of a person’s abilities?Should the government provide free and universal health care?
  • Should the government provide free child care, elder care, veterans’ benefits, and similar social services for all citizens?
  • Would you favor a government that vigorously supports trade unions, consumer protections, and that regulates private enterprise by ensuring labor rights?
  • Do you believe that government should sponsor wide ranging environmental protection laws?
  • Should the government fund alternative energy resources?
  • Should the federal government sponsor laws, and sign treaties, designed to combat climate change?
  • Do you favor a progressive tax to fund many government expenditures?
  • Should there be a limit on wealth?
  • Should the wealthy, without exception, pay the highest taxes?
  • Do you favor fair trade over free trade?
  • Would you favor policies that value immigration and honor multiculturalism?
  • Should our foreign policy have, at its core, policies that support the promotion of democracy, the protection of human rights, and, whenever and wherever practical, the practice of effective multilateralism?
  • Should governmental policies have at their core, the advocacy of social justice, human rights, civil rights and civil liberties?
  • Should the federal government rigorously enforce gender equality?

copyright 2015 John Samuel Tieman

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