American Socialism

The alienation, the downright visceral frustration, of the new American ideologues, the bone in their craw, is the unacknowledged fact that America has never been an especially capitalist country. The postal system, the land grant provision for public education, the national park system, the Homestead Act, the graduated income tax, the Social Security system, the G. I. Bill — all of these were and are massive distributions or redistributions of wealth meant to benefit the population at large. Even “the electrification of the countryside,” Lenin’s great and unrealized dream, was achieved in America by a federal program begun in 1936. Europeans are generally unaware of the degree to which individual state governments provide education, health care, libraries, and other services that complement or supplement federal programs, as do counties, cities, and other political entities. Since many American states are larger than many countries, their contributions are by no means inconsiderable.

— Marilynne Robinson, When I Was a Child, I Read Books, p. 50-51

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