Many opponents of the welfare state criticize the British N.H.S. (National Health Service) for being "socialized medicine", while also describing the same program as a case of "nationalized health care". The United Kingdom, and the various European political and economic and trade alliances, are commonwealths (at least in name). However, British and European commonwealth feature much more free trade, and nationalization (that is, centralized administration of social programs) than they feature socialization or communization. But on the other hand, it would be difficult to argue that the so-called “Euro-socialist” nations are any different from that model (mostly because the majority of them are in those economic unions). To be clear, the purpose of mentioning commonwealths and Bolshevik "communism" in the same breath, is not to describe each of them as communist, and therefore the same or similar; but rather the point is to distinguish them.
Contrary to Meghan McCain's claim, Venezuela is not socialist. Venezuela is collapsing not because of socialism, but because of the effects of oil prices collapsing (after nationalizing oil profits). The existence of the nation, the profits, and the taxation of those profits in the first place, all indicate that Venezuela is a capitalist country, not a socialist one.
As we might expect, many people struggle, through all this, to understand what socialism actually is. In my opinion, the best definition is “the management of the means of production – land and natural resources, farms, factories and plants, productive machines, etc. - by the whole of society”.
That is not to say, however, that securing ownership or control of means of production by workers, collectives, or cooperatives, wouldn't make societal management more likely; in some cases, it almost certainly would help make that possible. But it is no guarantee.
Right-libertarians will sometimes strawman the position of libertarian socialists, by assuming that they believe cooperative ownership to be the same thing as socialism. Right-libertarians say that libertarian socialists should not expect to be able to achieve a socialist society through their own actions, because right-libertarians believe a socialist society necessarily involves socialism everywhere. But additionally, right-libertarians will conveniently "forget" this idea immediately, when they realize that it doesn't fit the narrative of another critique of socialism they make; that libertarian socialists can achieve the society they want, simply by earning property under the onerous conditions of capitalism, and then by pooling what little property they manage to scrape together.
That is not socialism, nor is it a state of liberty. It is "socialism", but only on the conditions set by capitalists. Right-libertarians, on the other hand, would probably never accept "capitalism" spelled out according to socialists' terms.
Many conservatives, and even right-libertarians, will claim that “socialists don't respect private property”; or that they don't respect individual rights, nor free markets, nor have any concern for big government coming to tax us. But the opposite is actually the case.
Originally Written on July 4th, 20th, 26th, and 27th, and August 1st through 4th, and 6th, 2018
Edited on December 5th, 2018