Everything in U.S. psychology implanted by the media says socialism and welfare states are bad. This is the implicit message of our society's propaganda. But to reduce a complex set of desires into a simple set of bad or good really doesn't get to the heart of the issue. Welfare, as defined generally, is support by society through financial means for the basic needs of its citizens. Now, who in their right mind would oppose such a great idea? As it turns out, there are plenty of ideologically blinded individuals who will say that welfare is for all intents and purposes the invention of the devil intended to lead good "Christian" folk down the path of government control. While all criticisms of welfare sound reasonable on the surface, the more we dig into the rhetoric the less real good we find.
In life, we all make choices, amongst which are the desires of the kind of society we wish to live in. Some people would prefer a capitalist paradise, while others would prefer socialist one. What is relevant is that these choices as values cannot be imperfect because they represent lifestyle choices for collectives. One of the clear problems with current ideology is that the choices of some are honored while the choices of others are dishonored. If choice does not damage others, then choice should be honored. Yet, this is not how we choose to live our lives as a society, especially with regard to the harmful, violent dialogues we use to shame and blame those on the bottom end of the economic spectrum for their choices, or even their infirmities.
The result of propaganda is that people become convinced that what they want is what the authority wants. As a consequence of complex propaganda, many Americans now believe (or at least are pretending to believe) that welfare is bad, but 60+ hours a week of labor is good. As a consequence, America is on the path of permanent enslavement to an ideology of indentured servitude enforced by heartless middlemen, selfish careerists who have climbed the ladder to the position of personal guardians of the ruling class's supposed interests. These middlemen are the real troublemakers because it is they who have created the ideology that we deal with today, and they are for the most part the enforcers of this ideology. The bureaucrats have a partial interest in seeing the system succeed because the hard labor is left for those at the bottom. The ideology of "work hard and you will get ahead" is a pyramid scheme that supports those in the middle, but not those at the bottom because hard work is not rewarded in our system of economic distribution.
Yet the process of hazing is ruthless, and is turned by the engine of ambition, the selfish cause of self serving greed. Greed and force combine to produce intimidation and deception is used to cover up the fact that this the reality. We are treated to the smiley face dictatorship of pretenders and phonies lying to us (and themselves on many levels) who insist that all is right with our broken economic system. What would you propose instead, a welfare state? You goddamn communist.
But with public opinion so twisted by propaganda, how can what Americans say they want really be taken seriously? If Americans were given a real choice, would they respond differently? They have been told that going down the road of a more fair and balanced distribution of society's production is evil, because government, the big boogeyman, is incapable of creating such a system effectively (among other reasons given). Yet, no one has really tried to do it properly, so how can it be said that it never worked? It reminds me of how I hear some people say Christianity never worked. It's funny because very few people have actually tried to live as Christians either and certainly no political system has lived by the words of Jesus. So then how can you say something doesn't work if you've never tried to make it work?
What about Communism, some would ask. First, Communism isn't a welfare state. Second, Communism as envisioned by it's original founders has also never been tried. While I wouldn't choose to live in a Communist system, because of lifestyle and political preference, we never really found out whether or not it worked because the people who implemented it (Lenin, but more especially Stalin, Mao, etc.) created something else that wasn't part of the original model besides being ruthless butchers of millions of people. It is also very difficult to convince Americans that Communism and Socialism are two entirely different systems because of propaganda. Socialism does not preclude some inequality. Systems such as PROUT (PROgressive Utilization Theory) are forms of semi-socialist economic models, for instance, and advocate ideas such as a maximum wage to go along with a minimum one to keep wealth disparity lower. Communism, on the other hand, tends to say that all inequality is bad.
Yet everything depends on our values in what we believe is "good" or "bad", but more specifically with what we think we like and what we think we don't. Yet in such a monolithic world where all values have mostly been reduced to value of one's financial assets, all other social models have become sidelined to the rush to greed. By now, however, a clear line between permanent winners and permanent losers is being drawn in our economic system. No amount of propaganda is likely to cover up the realization that for many people, the future is a dead end financially and possible physically. Yet still welfare is considered a dirty word even among people making very little working very hard for someone else. Is some people's need to bow down to authority so great that they would destroy themselves worshiping an ideological lie rather than face the truth of how it is never going to work? Apparently so.
The question remains, do Americans actually want a welfare state? I believe the answer is yes, they do. They simply don't realize that is what they want. But America's current values point to this inevitable conclusion. The conflict of values between families and our current version of capitalism (whatever you want to call it) is the core conflict. In the end, family is required for human survival, but economic ideology is just window dressing. Human needs will reshape American opinion to favor the creation of a new welfare state of some sort by necessity. I believe it will be something like a workfare system (AmeriCorps) with guaranteed good hours that really represents our preferred lifestyle choices. In addition there is likely to be some sort of restructuring of how society's end products are distributed through some mechanism whether it is PROUT or worker ownership of "corporations". In addition, community values must make a comeback if people are to survive. I don't believe a redistribution of personal property is good or necessary in this process. What matters is that people are rewarded for the work they do in the future. For some, this will not be enough, but it is the most likely outcome and is the least destructive option for our society.