Socialism is the idea that there should not be extremes of wealth, that extreme wealth and extreme poverty shouldn’t exist. Instead everyone should have more or less equal access to wealth. This should not be confused with Communism which believes the same things but also believes that Socialism can only exist within Communism. Socialist’s however believe that Socialism can, and should, exist in any political system. It seems a long way from Marriage and to be honest most Socialists never thought about how Socialism would affect Marriage, they simply assumed that it wouldn’t. And at first glance it shouldn’t.
Socialism is concerned with making society more equitable, it’s concerned with economics. The effort behind Socialism was made because people could see the vast gap that had developed between the Industrialists and the working class in the 1800’s. The working class was often from the countryside or from foreign countries and when hard times came they often hit harder, as these people had next to nothing to fall back on. Socialism suggested a way out of this problem. A way of stopping human greed and corruption and a way of stopping hunger and destitution. It wanted common ownership of businesses so that the rewards could be shared. However Socialism also believes in Progress, the idea that history is advancing in one direction and that the economy is marching in that direction also. Socialists believe in growth just as much as any Capitalist does. Which means that they see an idealised version of what the future economy will look like, they see endless growth. But of course that never happened and the great flaw in Socialism is that while it can work in good times, it fails badly in bad times. As while it is happy to share out the rewards it isn’t happy to share out the losses.
Over time Socialists came to see the Government, just as Communists already had, as the perfect way to organise the economy. Communists believe that the Government should control and direct the entire economy, what they call Central Planning. But Socialists thought of Government differently, they wanted the Government to act as a Castle, when things got bad then everyone could retreat into the safety of the Governments Castle. In this case the Castle wasn’t physical, but financial.
Socialists always believed that Socialism would cover the entire economy and that meant the whole of society. That every member of society would enjoy the benefits. But in practise Socialism started small and only over time did it come to cover the whole of society. Age Pensions, Disability, Unemployment all of these over time became the bedrock of the modern Welfare State. They are now so accepted that it is sometimes hard to imagine that once upon a time non of them existed.
But as the Welfare State grow in power it took Socialism into areas it had never thought about. And one of those areas was Marriage.
Nearly everyone accepted that Marriage was between one man and one women for life and that children were to be borne in wedlock. But of course not all children are born in wedlock and it is here that Socialism did something that most Socialists in the past would not have been happy with. The Welfare State decided to pay single mothers. While there were exceptions, most Socialists were very traditional in regards to family and Marriage. They simply assumed that Socialism would not have any bearing on normal human relationships. But Marriage is not just about love, Marriage is also about much more practical considerations. How do people live? How do they pay for food and shelter? How do they provide for the future? All of these are very practical and reasonable concerns.
In the past men competed against each other to show that they could provide for themselves and a wife and a family. But because people fall in love and they talk about love it can hid the reality and that reality is that love often comes afterwards, after the man has proven that he can provide. It’s not the only thing a women looks for, but it is a thing. So what happens when the Government comes along and gives women money for falling pregnant?
In effect these women end up “marrying” the Government instead of marrying a man. The Government provides for her and poor men simply cannot compete. A man who cannot find work, or who hits hard times is now competing against the Government.
For men who are better off this isn’t a problem. The Government is rich compared to even the richest man, but unlike the richest man who only spends his money on one wife. The Government has countless “wives” it must provide for. So even men of modest means can compete because he can still provide better than the Government. It is only poor men and those who hit hard times that need worry about this. Once, not that long ago, even most poor men could marry, but that is now lost. Now men and women live in separate houses, both provided for one way or the other by money from the Government. Lonely houses, Socialism wasn’t supposed to make lives lonely.
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