America in the 20th century was a proud social democracy. It can be hard to put history in perspective when politics in America have been pushed – inch by inch – toward extremism by a two-party system running in the same direction.
That direction is the Gilded Age, the America of the late 1800s. The Gilded Age is a term Mark Twain coined meaning a glittering surface with a rotting core – sound familiar? It was America’s closest brush with fascism. An authoritarian age of mass injustice and political corruption, robber barons bought off politicians ensuring a miserable existence and short life-span for the average worker.
This led to bloody strikes and the labor movement. America overcame this period of unregulated greed with common-sense regulation and the New Deal, leading to a social democratic America caring about the quality of life of citizens. Things like Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps, and the GI Bill all poured from that same fountain. America changed and the world changed with it.
Where are we now? What has America become? We now have a mass media misinforming the public, labeling the ideas of 20th century America: radical, extremist, socialist, communist, nazi. Like a soviet propaganda machine, this media charade is puppeteered by robber barons, just like during our more primitive gilded age.
The truth is, a complex organized society needs elements of socialism. Without this the law of the jungle prevails, and socialism comes anyway in other forms. Corporate socialism has become increasingly prevalent and authoritarian as the 21st century advances, and may even be called a defining feature.
The excuses given for 20th century America being ripped away – under the feet of the working class and poor – is presented as economic efficiency; They say it costs too much money.
What, then, is the gain? In this age of under-regulated greed, most Americans seem to be poorer in both wallet and spirit. There’s no real economic reason to repeal the New Deal. Its just a hit-job, perpetrated by ever more radical politics forced on us by merciless 21st century robber barons: American fascism.
The story of the 20th century was the story of the triumph of American social democracy.