Constantly attaching Socialism to Communism is exactly the same as saying that Conservatism is Racism or Fascism. When people on the left or the right do this they are being intellectually dishonest, trying (or being unconscious of being misguided) to color one perfectly legitimate concept with the dark brush of a related, but separate 'ism'. While Communism is a failed experiment that was built on the concept of Socialism, Socialism in no way requires Communism to stand alone as a construct.
Socialism has, at its very heart, Tribalism as its foundation, and Tribalism is the antithesis of individual human greed, our innate desire to hoard the most we can for ourselves and our own genes (nuclear family). Tribalism is all about sharing for the common good of the tribe, working together for survival and health. Conservatism is related to Tribalism as it is all about family and tribe protection, helping those in need, but only within reason, standing together against threats from other groups, raising children as a tribal responsibility, etc. It is how humans got through 7 million years. Conservatism is NOT about experimenting with new things if the old ones are NOT broken (i.e. 'conserving' the old ways).
Interestingly, Liberalism only emerged as humans became smart enough to develop more complex language and argue and question and experiment. I was reminded yesterday that the Great Apes, while they can learn simple language and can communicate their needs/desires, never ask a question. They cannot think about thinking. It was only 250,000 years ago that humans began to invent new stuff, including new ways of interacting. Language was the springboard. The newly acquired ability to exchange ideas and think about experiments and embrace change, to think outside the box, to welcome others 'not-of-our-tribe' and trade and travel beyond our tribal boundaries led to accumulating knowledge, cultural exchange, animal husbandry, agriculture and permanent settlements.
So it is of little wonder that Conservatism flourishes in rural areas where, outside of the preacher, there really aren't any big shots that run the daily lives of people, while cities and university campuses are hotbeds of Liberalism. The kind of humans who fare best in densely packed cities (and are drawn to them) and don't do so well in Conservative-dominated rural areas, especially those who are interested in constantly exchanging ideas, tend to also be those who feel they need to reach out and help those who are less well-off, welcome others from distant cultures. Their core values are "Care" (reaching out to help) and "Fairness" (sharing the wealth).
Not surprisingly, Liberals are in the minority in terms of human tendencies at about 20% left-leaning to 40% of the population being right-leaning, with about 40% of people being in the center (according to Jonathan Haidt's extensive research). This might explain the Republican's domination of the Senate and House.
What is MOST significant is the fact that Conservatives can understand the values of Liberals, but the reverse is not the case. From a summary by Dr. by R.B.A. Di Muccio of Haidt's work: "The concept of “the conservative advantage.” Based on painstaking cross-cultural social-psychological experimentation, Haidt establishes that the moral foundations of liberals and conservatives are not just different, they are dramatically unequal. The liberal moral matrix rests essentially entirely on the left-most foundations; the conservative moral foundation—though slanted to the right—rests upon all six."
From 'most-Liberal' values at the top to 'most-Conservative' values at #6:
"This is a stunning finding with enormous implications. The first is that conservatives can relate to the moral thinking of liberals, but the converse is not true at all. Haidt, who is liberal himself, elegantly explains how and why conservatives will view liberals as merely misguided while liberals tend to view conservatives as incomprehensible, insane, immoral, etc."
What I find fascinating is the way that, today, things are going off the rails. In the 'hotbeds of Liberalism' on university campuses, the former 'bastions of free speech,' Liberalism run amok has led to blocking Conservatives from speaking on campus and blind protection of students who follow a cult in which the very cornerstone is intolerance and 'imprisoned speech' (repeat only what is written) from hearing the very things that will enlighten them -- the protection and assimilation of the values of the 'free world'.
On 'the Right' we have deeply Conservative folks who are deeply averse to changing anything now to fix problems in the future ("Climate Change is a hoax!" "The rich should keep ALL their money!"), but whose ultimate answer to how we humans will survive is "The inventors among us who embrace change and science will fix all the problems." They have a firm conviction that we all must be charitable to our fellow tribal members (nation) to the best of each of our abilities, but NOT the wealthiest top-earners who can contribute a much smaller percentage of their income than the middle class and who hoard vast sums of wealth (that -- let's not lie to each other -- their families really cannot spend the surplus of hundreds of millions of dollars of invested money they have in any way that is practical).
As has always been the case, neither the left-most or right-most solution will work for the nation as a whole. Regulations and barriers are required to control those among us who have no empathy, but do want to hoard vast sums of wealth and want to exert political control over the rest of us (think the 'Cock' brothers). Government is required to protect individual rights, but also to ensure those whose instinct is to hoard and manipulate cannot do so. Right now in American the system is entirely broken as the Supreme Court was bought off and, in turn, enshrined the one-sided power of wealth to corrupt the majority of politicians who spend most of their time NOT working on law-making, but rather 'dialing for dollars' to ensure they can win in the next election. It is a never-ending race for money, it is not governance.
All that Trump is doing is stuffing his family's pockets, along with all the rest of the money-hoarders while the voters rail at each other from across the 'identity politics' divide. "My family has always voted Republican/Democrat and always will!" Ahh...both parties are screwing you over, so if you had an ounce of sense you would stop clinging to your so-called 'identity' and 'party loyalty' and vote for centrists who might actually work in YOUR best interests:
- Protect a values-based society in which free speech and respectful debate based upon facts and learning from history is upheld.
- Make assimilation, not 'ghetto-ization' and cultural isolation, a national value and only embrace those who want to embrace Western values.
- Limit the sweeping power of a government overly influenced by money (the latter inevitably leads to fascism -- how can it not?) to monitor and imprison its populace.
- NEVER allow tolerance to welcome intolerance and allow it to become an acceptable norm within a free society, especially if it is actually a personality cult and seeks to hide itself inside 'freedom of religion'.
- Uphold genuine free speech (letting bad ideas die in the public forum) and reinstate the requirement for all news programming to give equal time to all voices in politics (move corporate-owned news departments out of the profit-driven 'Entertainment Department'), while recognizing hateful speech for its intolerance and potential for inciting violence and limit it.
- Enshrine a progressive tax rate that justly recognizes that there actually is a limit on how much money any family needs. The money generated by this change would pay off the national debts and fund life-changing societal enrichment.
- Recognize that, left to their own devices, capitalist corporations will naturally (being solely profit-driven and at the mercy of the global gambling pool we call 'the stock market') swallow each other and impoverish the masses in their inexorable and insatiable drive to 'survive against the competition' and bring back real anti-monopoly regulations. The only ultimate solution is to eliminate the stock market permanently.
- Acknowledge that there are many things that belong under control of the majority (Government) and cannot be privatized due to the fact no profit-driven entity can make a profit on them (everyone ages and dies without exception, so medical care for the sick and elderly is a losing proposition -- those in "The Poverty Trap" and the old in the middle class must die early, while the elite upper class of "Money Hoarders" live on).
- Accept that welfare does create a "Poverty Trap" and find ways to lift groups that have become mired in generations of poverty out of the trap and be given a realistic 'leg up'. A 'Universal Minimum Income' is proving to be this tool in countries that have implemented it as it frees people from 'scrambling' and gives them the 'breathing room' to become educated and find meaningful work, to stop dealing drugs and ending up in prison, to stop single mothers from living in the kind of poverty that ensures their kids will become criminals like their imprisoned daddies, etc. Despite the fact that the concept makes Conservatives' skin crawl, it really does work.
- Be honest. We all know that corporations manipulate emotions and predilections to make money off of us. The gun companies do it, too. Lots of guys cannot resist the thrill of power that comes from having an instrument that can instantaneously take the life of another person, and at a distance that prevents any harm from befalling the shooter. The intention of the 2nd amendment was an obligation to help protect the new nation with really shitty muskets, NOT to establish and inalienable 'right'. That instantly lethal shit needs some strict controls and way fewer new merchandise cranked out year after year.
Those on the Right or Left might dispute this list, but the Centrists (if their IQ is high enough ;-) will agree. Note that I'd don't necessarily equate 'Centrists' with 'Libertarians'. My main problem with their philosophy is that I just don't think most human beings have sufficient brain power or self-control to truly be left to do as they please without the interference of Government (I'm over-simplifying their stance, of course -- see below).