some members of this forum have started a trend that I consider worrying, if not alarming: almost every time someone says something good about, for example, Canada or expresses his dislike for US-style capitalism, he is called a "socialist" or his country is called a "socialist country", as opposed to the supposed one and only capitalist country on Earth, the United States of America.
Please think twice about this in the future: There are no socialist countries on this planet, and you can stop calling Canada or Germany or whatever country one. Socialism has proven that it cannot work in a human society, nicely demonstrated by two countries that claim to be socialist but are nothing but dictatorships: Cuba and North Korea. Additionally, don't forget that even the "National Socialists" claimed to be just that - socialists.
What are the main ingredients for socialism? Since the problem I'm referring to is mostly people talking about economies, let's single out socialist economic policies. They include a widely planned economy, as opposed to any kind of market economy; remember those "five-year plans" that the GDR and others miraculously managed to over-accomplish every single time? Further, they include an absence of capitalist structures such as public limited companies/corporations; instead of that, industries are state-owned - or "people-owned", as governments wanted to make people believe. Without either of these two components, and there are of course others, an economy is not socialist. I know I'm a bit oversimplifying, but it's for the sake of keeping this readable.
Getting to my key argument: if a socialist economy includes state-owned businesses and a planned economy, how are Canada or any EU countries socialist? Arguing they are is simply futile, socialised healthcare for the not-so-rich as we have it in Germany may be a socialist idea, but healthcare alone does not make any country socialist. For example, almost all medical practices in Germany are privately owned businesses, not state-run healthcare centres.
The same goes for social security: it is a (most often) state-run way to keep unemployed people alive and well; maybe that doesn't go well with Social Darwinism, but it goes along well with civilisation.
EU countries and Canada may have actualised more socialist ideas than the US, but we do not have planned economies, we do have market economies and we do not think all businesses should be "owned by the people". And we are definitely not heading in the direction of actualising more socialist ideas, much to the contrary.
Just one favour: Please think twice the next time you plan on calling anything "socialist". Chances are it's not. I don't have a problem with the US being much more capitalist than my country, I have a problem with my country being called "socialist" because it isn't. Seems like the word "socialism" went the same way as "liberal".
PS: Here are some examples of what I'm talking about, I just searched the forum for "socialism" and "socialist".
reply 37: http://www.airliners.net/discussions/non_aviation/read.main/702449/
reply 1: http://www.airliners.net/discussions/non_aviation/read.main/702666/
reply 2: http://www.airliners.net/discussions/non_aviation/read.main/704942/
reply 43: http://www.airliners.net/discussions/non_aviation/read.main/704250/