As a young man at St. Cloud State University I admit I was far more left of center then than I am today.
That being said, as I enter my mid-middle age years I find myself tilting further to the left than I did during my 30’s and 40’s.
However, it would be a mistake to suggest that tilting further to the left means I support proposals by my Mayor to raise my taxes by double-digits – again – or that we should permit our school board to raise taxes – again – or that we should just spend more taxpayer’s money because it makes us feel like we are doing something.
One doesn’t have to be liberal and not be a conservative.
Nor does one have to be a conservative and not be a liberal.
Frankly, one doesn’t have to be either one all the time on every single issue absolutely.
Which is how I have found myself in my 55th year on the planet Earth.
I have never been one to support ideologues of either ideology or party.
As a college student it is true that I supported nearly every single liberal cause I could find. And, when I couldn’t find one I kept on looking.
I don’t regret any of that. I am grateful for that time of my life.
Which is why I don’t particularly find myself critical of young people today who seem more and more open to the concept of Socialism when it comes to a governing ideology in American life.
I, too, as a young man, could find compelling concepts around the idea of Socialism.
In theory, there were positive attributes of Socialism, from my perspective, when I was a young man.
People helped one another. We were all a community. The village was helping everyone – regardless of their means.
We all cooperated with one another and everyone got an equal part of the pie.
Nobody had to really be a leader. We would just all collaborate and find consensus.
Of course, Socialism really has failed to deliver on much of any of this.
But, it takes some time, effort and experience in the world outside of one’s bubble to accept it.
It also requires not ignoring the inconvenient facts and realities of modern day socialism.
A popular refrain I see and hear from people more often today who espouse the “progressive” nature of countries that are not the United States is “How come we can’t be more like them?”
Consider that the United States is home to nearly 325 million people.
The following countries that call themselves Socialist have this as their population:
Iceland – Population – 334,252
Finland – Population – 5.495 million
Sweden – Population – 9.903 million
Venezuela – Population – 31.57 million
Cuba – Population 11.48 million
Canada – Population – 36.29 million
Denmark – Population – 5.731 million
Netherlands – Population – 17.02 million
New Zealand – Population – 4.693 million
Belgium – Population -11.35 million
Now, all one needs to do is do a simple online search and see that Venezuela is a failed nation with its people struggling to survive.
Cuba is not much more than that, despite its lovely weather, beautiful people and “charming” architecture, old cars and decaying infrastructure.
I saw some mention recently on a Twitter Tweet from some self-professed expert on all things that we should be more like Iceland.
Really? Like Iceland?
The United States has nearly 60 cities with populations at or greater than the entire nation of Iceland.
Wyoming has barely 200,000 more inhabitants than the entire country of Iceland.
Attempting to suggest that Iceland – Finland – or New Zealand – are prototype countries we should emulate fails to account for a simple reality: Population.
Well, there are much bigger Socialist countries that have a lot more population than Iceland.
Like China. A country that represses nearly all form of human rights.
Or Russia. You know, the country that doesn’t just criticize reporters, it actually hunts them down and murders them. And, pretty much anybody else that its leadership doesn’t like.
Then, of course, there is North Korea. Well, who wouldn’t want to live in North Korea? Nuclear bombs. Big statutes to their exalted leader.
No food. Or human rights. But, hey, that’s beside the point, right?
We live in the most remarkable country in the world.
Not the most perfect one.
There are things we have to do to make it a better country for more people and we have an obligation to do that every single day.
We don’t need any President — Member of Congress — or anybody else tell us how that needs to be done — or when or where it should be done.
We just need to do it ourselves.
That’s the beauty of the America that has no comparison in the world of Socialism.
There doesn’t have to be a consensus, or a government decree, or political party affirmation that American can be a better country than it is today.
There just needs to be 325 million Americans who want to make it so.