If you were to ask a group of Americans if they think social security, Medicare/Medicaid, food stamps, and unemployment are forms of socialism, the chances that the majority of them would respond yes, would be pretty high.
After all, we have been conditioned to believe such things, the idea that socialism (a system of economics) is the same thing as social programs (social democratic initiatives to manage society with), that belief is so prevalent throughout society and reinforced on corporate media - one can only conclude there is nothing accidental about it.
Since the early 1960s prominent figures from Ronald Reagan, to Milton Friedman, to John Birch were all busy equating American social programs to socialism and communism, in an attempt to most likely reduce their non-voluntary involvement in supporting such programs through taxation, among other more nefarious reasons.
If we go back a bit further, Friedrich Hayek's work on non-voluntary collectivism, firmly established for the following generations a mantra that anything resembling collectivism must be socialistic in nature or leading to socialism down the road.
What strikes me as odd are two things, one, America has never been a socialistic country, not even remotely. In fact, I have yet to find a developed industrial socialistic country on the face of planet earth.
Anyone claiming socialism involves the state has already sullied the term beyond recognition. True socialism is the philosophy of anarchists, women and men who want to be free from coercive rule and authoritarian laws, and want to share and collectively manage the commons and means of production through direct democratic initiatives.
True socialism is based around a voluntary society that does not involve the state, and is best suited for the majority of citizens who labor to survive ' socialism does not exist yet.
And two, we didn't create welfare in this country because socialism was destroying equality, oppressing millions through wage labor and debt servitude, and creating tremendous wealth inequalities leading to a fractured society of the haves and have-nots ' capitalism has produced all of that, along with a state firmly entrenched into our markets.
I know, it's sacrilegious to blame capitalism for welfare and the emergence of collectivist social programs, but it is undeniable unless you can pervert definitions, opaque facts, and pour billions of dollars into establishing perception as reality.
We can factual claim that welfare programs are required in order for capitalism to function without completely crumbling in on itself, as proven over the past eighty plus years here in America ' what does any of that have to do with socialism?