I can no longer call myself a liberal. I haven't been a liberal for some time now. The older I get, the further to the left I become.
I am a socialist.
I first learned of socialism when I read The Road to Wigan Pier, after reading Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. At the time, I understood socialism to be something that was intrinsically and inherently bad. Capitalism, as such, was the only real alternative. Capitalism wasn't something I understood on ideological or practical levels, because living in the United States it was ubiquitous to me -- much in the same way that a fish can't tell you what the hell water is because it is ubiquitous; such that the fish knows nothing but water, and cannot distinguish it from anything else.
A series of changes occurred in my life. Some of which I typed out and deleted because they are too personal. Some of which I will share with you: I realized through my own experience what health care is like in America for those without insurance. I realized what tuition costs do to families, even well-to-do families. I spent time in Europe and experienced European health care. I made and kept European friends, whose health care systems are superior to American health care systems and cheaper both in terms of point-of-service costs to consumers and per capita costs overall. More people receive better health care for less than half of what is spent on the same in the United States.
In this way, I came to distinguish capitalism from what it is not and having seen the success of other models; so too came to question the basic presuppositions on which the American health care system was conditioned. That opened the door to questioning other things, particularly with regard to the long-since-disproven witchcraft of neoliberal economic anything. It is not only that the neoliberals' way of doing things led to where we are now, but that there was no destination other than where we find ourselves now -- this, the consequence of years of "tax cuts" argued to "stimulate economic growth".
Children and useful idiots for and of the neoliberal elite (both Republican and Democrat, mind you) defend the economic preconditions that underlie the American capitalist system on the grounds that they too might one day realize the American dream, if they have not realized some fragmented approximation of it in the form of a three bedroom two and a half bath house in some bleak, dismal subdivision nestled among others like it (or worse, McMansions) within a suburb that itself mirrors purgatory.
And yet, to what end do we perpetuate this artifice of self actualization?
Reading Dostoevsky made me skeptical of the neoliberals but it was Tolstoy that pushed me as far as I have come (among others, like Chomsky and other left leaning influences).
To what end do we destroy ourselves in service of a system that creates roads and apparatuses of technology that pollute the earth, and deprive us of our health, wellbeing, and time? God is the source of your ultimate authority. Whether you think you're religious or not, you worship. Whether you worship money or the creator, you kneel before an alter whose existence you may not even recognize as such. If the end is for you to amass the greatest amount of wealth, to indulge in the greatest indulgences affordable by you in the capitalist system, or any other such nonsense; what if there was another way?
Inequality from an economic perspective is not what I am attacking, because inequality to the degree it serves to benefit the disenfranchised (and it often does by creating systemic incentives for innovation) can and has proven to be socially useful. Similarly, property rights to the degree necessary are not to be disturbed.
But, something's gotta give.
A cancer diagnosis is a sentence of bankruptcy. Student loan debt cripples the economy, the perils of which we will not fully realize until the next ten years or so when the full gravity of a generation of millenials fail to purchase homes because of the same. A child's sickness is a family's economic catastrophe. A minimum wage worker's child will be unable to afford reduced-rate lunches in public school cafeterias.
The United States approaches Dickens' level poverty. This began with Republican destruction of LBJ's Great Society, largely under Reagan. Nixon left much of it in-tact, even expanding some areas of it. It gained momentum with Clinton-era deregulation of labor markets, NAFTA and other catastrophically bad agreements struck by globalists to with the aim of "improving economic efficiency" -- i.e., waging economic warfare on the American working and middle classes. This paralleled skyrocketing tuition costs to the degree that any prospect of the American dream's realization translates into such a future worker's status as little more than an indentured servant -- structurally and functionally indistinguishable from a serf in Tsarist Russia.
The time will come that a new deal will be struck. It may not happen tomorrow. It may not happen in 2020 with Bernie Sanders, but it will happen. The American people will not tolerate being forced to live as peasants; nor should they. Nor, for that matter, should the landed elites who benefit from their labor want them to be, as the predictable political consequences could be avoided with reasonable reforms, increased taxation on the rich and corporations, and appropriate redistribution so as to prevent a person's "starting economic position" from forecasting their destiny. Nothing like this has happened.
What has happened instead is that economically and politically illiterate boomers and Gen-X types have been raised on a diet of neoliberal capitalist bullshit deluding them into thinking that whenever the government gives handouts to corporations it is 'creating jobs' but whenever that same money is spent on their or their children's health care it is 'evil socialism'. The time is nearing when those who labor under that delusion will no longer be in power -- as millenials will become the predominant voting bloc.
Continuing the delusion, boomers and Gen X assumed that Millenials would become conservative as they got older. Not so. They are not married because they cannot afford it. They have deferred having kids and buying houses for the same reason. They do not buy cars or take on mortgages. They are blamed for destroying everything yet the constraints on their choices are the result of policies and decisions of the same boomers and Gen X fools who so accuse them.
I can no longer call myself a liberal, because to do so would be to buy into this artifice of bullshit. Behind the veil lies a snare and a delusion. There is no American dream. Boomers killed it, Gen X scavenged the corpse, and Millenials have nothing left to buy into the system as it were. Is it any wonder they support Sanders? Is it any wonder they will not vote for Biden or any other Clintonite democrat who acquiesced to status quo's being structured as it is now?
Hardly. Sanders was right. Change will come to America. The kind of change where a 5% tax on capital assets is the opening bid.