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  • Writer's pictureDora Nudelman

The Problem with Socialism and the Word “Systemic”

In an ideal and Utopian world, no one would go hungry, no one would be disadvantaged, no one would be deprived, and no one would be discriminated against. Some people say that this Utopia can be found within a socialist structure, but is that really true?

The thing about socialism, which is sometimes interchanged with Libertarianism (of the anarchistic kind), or even Marxism, is that as long as the human ego exists, true equality amongst all peoples and leaders alike simply isn’t realistic. Why did so many socialist regimes fall? Because in theory they sounded great: “All for one and one for all.” But, in reality, the amount of corruption, abuse of power, and uneven distribution of wealth and power (held mostly by the people in charge), did not comply with the Utopian vision of what socialism was truly intended to be. And once people grew skeptical enough, those regimes came falling down. And so, whenever socialism (or some version of it) is proposed, inevitably someone wants to take the lead, and with leadership comes hierarchy all over again.

Socialism also takes away some degree of personal responsibility. By blaming the “wealthy” (or another specific demographic within society, be it related to religion, race, or whatever the case may be) for all of society’s problems, injustices, and inequalities, what one is doing is declaring themselves a victim. But the more we blame others for what we feel we lack, the longer we will sit in that victim mentality, and the harder it will be to manifest what we truly desire.

No one is keeping you from your dreams. If someone has a nicer house than you or has more money in the bank, that does not mean there isn’t enough to go around for you too. It doesn’t mean that by them having more you automatically must have less. And it doesn’t mean that what you desire for yourself is any less possible. What anyone else has or doesn’t have, does or doesn’t do, in reality, has no true bearing on what is possible for you. And to judge others as selfish or greedy because of what they have is only fueling the deeper issue within; for true success cannot be attained through the lens of lack.

The Robin Hood mentality might seem righteous on the surface, but underneath it all lies a lack of belief in oneself and a tendency to relinquish all personal responsibility, making one feel entitled to something that is not actually theirs to have. Stealing from the rich to give to the poor is still stealing, no matter how you sugarcoat it or what righteous movement you use as your excuse to back it up.

These days there seems to be more and more people getting on board with the socialist model. They want equality, and that is perfectly respectable. But what many don’t seem to want is to take any ownership for what they manifest (or don’t manifest) into their own lives. Whether it’s BLM or anarchy-supporting libertarians or extreme social democrats, the message that looting, squatting, stealing, penalizing success, reverse discriminating, or taking what is not really yours, is not the true definition of equality. Taking what does not belong to you, or punishing those who have more, does not promote any cause other than a further divide amongst the people.

Equality means equal opportunities. But nothing occurs in a vacuum. And so, if we are to truly come to solutions that include fairness for all, each of us must take responsibility for ourselves. Do inequalities exist? Yes. But can they be solely blamed on one class, race, culture, or institution? No. There are so many factors that go into why a particular person or even community struggles. And while some of that has to do with societal structures for sure, if those in peril do not take at least some ownership over their own circumstances, true equality and fairness will never exist. What happens when systems fall? Who will you have to blame when all you are faced with is a mirror? When we play the blame game, eventually we will run out of those to blame, and then we will have no choice but to start looking within.

Equality does not mean everyone must have the exact same things. Equality means everyone should have the same access to opportunities should they decide to pursue them. If we look strictly at physical conditions, we might say that it is harder for some than for others to succeed. And on the surface that might look and feel to be true. But, in energetic terms, anything and everything is available and possible for anyone if they only acknowledge this to be true. Do some cultures or classes have a harder time because of how they are structured within society? Certainly. But the only way out of those conditions is not through finger pointing but, rather, through self-empowerment and self-responsibility. If you want to get rid of the weeds, you can’t just cut off the tips. You have to get to the root. But, unfortunately, the more we point fingers, the less power we will actually have, and the more dependent we will become on needing others to change their behavior so that we can actually be happy.

The problem with socialism is that it doesn’t allow freedom in its truest sense. When we are allowed to make free will decisions to create the life we desire to live based on our personal merits, efforts, choices, and alignments, that’s what freedom is all about. But when we are told there is a cap to how successful or wealthy we are allowed to be, or when we perceive ourselves as limited by our own personal circumstances, that ability to live our lives as we wish is taken away. When we are guilted and shamed into believing that what we have and what we want is sinful, greedy, or selfish, or that others are the sole reason for why we feel oppressed, that is where true oppression actually begins. But the truth is, no matter the actions of our oppressors, no one can actually take our personal sovereignty away that lies within our own hearts and minds.

Consequently, capitalism is not the enemy. The abuse of capitalism (and power) is the real issue. And so perhaps we needn’t look to socialism as the way to Utopia but, rather, focus on holding others accountable while we also take more ownership of our own personal responsibility and power to create the changes we want to see in the world. Because positive change will not happen by vilifying each other. We must collaborate.

And then we come to the word "systemic," which is a word that I believe has been thrown around very loosely lately to great detriment. The word “systemic” is often used by those who feel oppressed by the various inequalities that they feel exist within the whole of society. The problem is, however, that this word can too often lead people to make sweeping judgments based on that word alone.

So what does systemic actually mean? It means affecting ALL of something and not just a part of it. And so, if we are to use that word correctly, we must also understand that we are stating that ONE cause is the ONLY cause of everything, and not just a part of the problem. But when you observe how this word is being used today, it appears as if it is being used to, in fact, blame one for all. The word seems to have been hijacked in order to justify certain behaviors that would otherwise be seen as unjustified and even unlawful. So in the fight for justice and equality, many of those who are fighting are actually causing the very same problem they want to eradicate.

Consequently, when we want to see more equality in any respect within society, we need to go to the foundation of the problem rather than only pointing the finger at external issues, or manipulating specific examples (by telling only half the story) in order to justify making grand and sweeping generalizations that serve our purpose. We need to look at ALL the facts and statistics rather than just picking and choosing what is most convenient for our argument. And we need to look under the hood to see how we ourselves could possibly be contributing to the problem, either personally or as a collective. If we want to be taken seriously, we have to focus on the actual injustices rather than painting everything with the same brush. And if we truly want injustice to end, we need to stop making enemies of all and, instead, address the whole truth rather than just the parts we want people to see.

We cannot blame one race, one socio-economic class, one gender, or even one lone organization for all of the problems that exist in the world. Instead, if we want to see real change we need to look at the entire picture, as well as all of the nooks and crannies within that picture, in order to figure out where change is actually needed (in the most effective and efficient ways). And most of all, if we are to support any one cause, especially with such anger and fervor, we would be best served to actually educate ourselves first so that we have two legs to stand on. Otherwise we become spewers of empty words backed largely by hate, ignorance, and hypocrisy.

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