Monday, November 12, 2007

Why Not Socialism?

After writing the last post I was ruminating on why I react so strongly to socialism. The reasons may be deeper than I know, but I think some of the reasons are easily discerned.

First, I am a converted socialist (A small s socialist not a formal Socialist.) I grew up in a family that chose me to be an "over functioner". Because I know family systems well, it is also clear that I also chose the role. In fact, I loved the role and was rewarded by almost everyone because I was a nurse and baby sitter to my sick grand father.

Every family distributes various "functional roles"from generation to generation to all its members. There are some who are chosen and who choose to "under function". These folks get stuck in cycles of sickness, depression, alcohol abuse or poverty.

Others take the opposite role and "over function" by hard work, perfectionism, religious involvement and trying to help the "under functioners" in their family, church and society. The problem with being a hero is that we need a constant supply of victims to rescue. Where would Superman be without a city of Victims like Metropolis and Persecutors like Lex Luthor or the Joker?

My mother was a wonderful woman who came to faith in Jesus Christ as a young girl. She spent her adult life caring for others out of "spiritual and religious conviction". Her mother and father lived next door to us and our families were deeply intertwined.

"Mom" Taylor was a spiritual giant in our little town, and almost killed herself over functioning in her marriage taking care of her husband, my Grand Dad Taylor. After suffering a near fatal ulcer attack, Mom seems to have made the decision to stop taking care of a perfectly well husband and he reacted in a shocking manner. He got worse, much worse. (This is not unusual.)

What was the family to do? Someone HAD to take care of Grand Dad Taylor. He could not take care of himself. (So we all thought.) Despite looking strong, he "felt" terrible and talked constantly of his aches, pains and depressed feelings. My mother came to the rescue.

With my mother replacing her mother as the official over functioner for Grand Dad Taylor, she was unable to do as much at home. That caused great conflict between my Mom and Dad and the conflict caused much pain in me.

Think about socialism as an attempt to over function for those who are under functioning. It sounds good and compassionate but it destroys both the people who do too much and those who do too little.

Socialism, either formal or informal, is the cruelest of all systems for the weak and the strong are both spending energy on the wrong things.

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