From what I understand of small town life, or what is extolled of it, a big plus is that your neighbors will help you out when you’re having a tough time. You know, we help you and if (God forbid) things are bad for me, then you’ll help me. If that isn’t some kind of small-town socialism, then I must be mistaken on the basic principle of helping each other out, albeit in a more institutionalized way, that socialism represents. I have experience living in a socialist society, since that is what a kibbutz is, so let me tell you about socialism from the perspective of a senior citizen on a kibbutz.
Working in the dining hall was certainly not the peak of my kibbutz experience. I wanted to work in the fields; I wanted to milk the cows; I wanted to live the pioneer experience. I certainly did not want to make sure that the old people had filled the salt shakers and the napkin holders correctly. But that’s what I did for about two weeks. Why, you may ask, didn’t they just give the job to me or the other volunteers rather than the old people who might have been making mistakes or going really, really slowly? Because everyone wants to feel useful, everyone wants to be a part of society, everyone wants to do to the best she can. So rather than tell people that they are making mistakes, that they are no longer useful, jobs are found for them and people make sure that everyone feels useful because that’s how it’s done on a kibbutz. Everyone helps to the best of his or her ability—even as one’s ability changes and represents no more than a desire to help. People are not told they are not doing enough, it is understood that life is a cycle and we need to be respected in each part of the cycle for what we can do.
So maybe all of those naysayers out there don’t realize that they are practicing socialism on a small, private scale. This is a part of the fabric of our society, in small towns and big cities (yes, even in cities people know their neighbors and help them when they can) that has not, yet, been ripped asunder.
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Maybe you could help: I would be interested in hearing someone explain what farm subsidies are if not a form of socialism?