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Are You a Card-Carrying Socialist?

November 3rd, 2015

I’ve seen a lot of this meme lately, plastered about the Facebook by the Bernie Sanders Cult.

Card-carrying socialist?

This is supposed to silence anyone critical of “socialism” by demonstrating some sort of hypocrisy of deed or action: You have a Social Security Card, therefore you’re a Socialist, therefore your criticisms are invalid. QED.

Lel. And fuck off. No, I’m not.

Having a Social Security card (or, having been assigned a Social Security Number) doesn’t make anyone a card-carrying socialist. It simply means you’ve been enrolled (probably at birth, by your parents who either thought they were looking out for you, or were ransomed in to enrolling you to take advantage of the tax breaks that dependent children afford them) in what is ostensibly a social welfare program, which you can’t ever opt out of.

Also because words have meanings: card-carrying generally means that you’re registered with some association (which has subsequently issued cards to their members, as a sort of credentialing system), or as an adjective that means you’re dedicated to a particular cause. You can be a “card-carrying” Democrat if you’ve registered with the Democratic Party, or a “card-carrying” member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers if you’ve been admitted to that Union, or you can be a “card-carrying Environmentalist” in the sense that you’re pretty vocal about your support for all things “green” or whatever.

But simply having a government-issued card for a program you probably didn’t sign up for and can’t opt out of doesn’t make you either of those things. So while you may physically be “carrying” the card in your purse or wallet, that is not what “card-carrying” means.

no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics