From time to time, I read articles and declarations stating that Barack Obama is a socialist in regards to his health care restructure and other policies.
Though, as a person who grew up in a so-called socialism country–China—I am now educated in an American college. Knowing more about the two cultures has convinced me that Obama is not a socialist.
Definitely not, in my opinion.
In the United States, when people mention the word “socialism,” what is the first thing comes to your mind? Nazi? White horror? Soviet? Cold War? Tiananmen Square Massacre?
But these are not all about socialism.
In order to explain my assertion, I will to start with the definition and a different understanding with a socialist system in these two countries. It is somehow hard to do so because Karl Marx’s theory had been modified in order to be used as the establishing theory of a country system, like in China. It is called “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.”
Marx is the creator of the socialism concept. So what exactly is Marx’s socialism theory?
“To correct this inequality between the bourgeoisie, who are the wealthy minority, and the proletariat, who are the poorer majority, Marxism advocates, and believes in the historical inevitability of, a proletarian revolution, when the proletariat take control of government, and then implement reforms to benefit their class, namely the confiscation of private property which is then taken under state control and run for the benefit of the people rather than for the interests of private profit. Such a system is socialism, although Marxists believe that eventually a socialist society would develop into an entirely classless system, which is known as communism in Marxist thought.”
For short, Marx believed that Capitalism will some day be replaced by Socialism and eventually Communism, with the precondition of overcapacity. It’s not the overcapacity of capitalism—people’s insufficient currency for goods. Instead, it’s that human beings are able to produce far more commodity than one can only satisfy their needs. It’s a society of absolute sufficiency.
In Marx’s socialism/communism, hierarchy and bureaucracy are destroyed. People do not work for their needs of living necessity. Instead, working became a natural need for self-fulfillment of human beings. Marx believed that human’s ideology is decided by the environment in which they lived. He thought that with time, along with the development of sufficient human material goods, all people started pursuing higher morality, and human’s ideology would be developed to a certain degree that no selfishness would exist. No rich, no poor, no master, no slave, no crime, no sin; all freedom, all happiness.
Obama is not a socialist. A socialist country is supposed to be characterized by all the absolute centralization of power. Obama does not intend to destroy private insurance companies. His intention was to create competition against private companies which finally result in self-discipline and anti-corruption. I’m not saying that it’s practical, but his conduct is far less than what a socialist will do, which is centralizing all transportation means and energy companies providing oil, electricity, gas and water.
Marx’s socialist theory sounds very unpractical, and yes, it is.
From Yutang Lin’s book From Pagan to Christian （2）, this seems to me to be the best answer to explain Marx’s Utopian Socialism:
“You cannot create a good society just by changing its production systems, but depending on the reform of people. But Marx’s society never solved the problem of human nature. It’s the same today. For men and women in and out of the Soviet federal system, who are dominated by the caring heart to their children, for the same motivation, want to send their children to better schools. They are also motivated by making higher salary to work, and they also have the desire to have privilege in society. Private property and inheritance has resumed. Class privilege and wage inequality has been steady progressing. Over time, the abnormal Russian state will firmly go forward to the capitalist society, allowing freedom of work, free thought and free trip, though she still flapping the ‘socialism’ flag. It is said that socialism must work for humanity, instead of humanity compromising with socialism. History has proved that contrary to the international communist theory, Russia has become a strict National Socialist country, to the honor and extension of the country; Marxist believers intuitively distrust of ‘the crowd love,’ and believed it created the worst and the most horrible intuition regime and opposed it.
For these reasons, it’s my belief that Obama is not a socialist. This is a topic that continues to be widely discussed across America with health care reform at the front of the discussion. We’re open to the conversation and invite you to share your thoughts on this subject as well. Feel free to comment below. Thanks.