I am a Democratic Socialist.
I might not have known that, had I not watched an interview last night with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the congressional candidate who just scored an upset win in the NY Democratic primary. She identified herself as a Democratic Socialist, and, when asked by Stephen Colbert what that means, said it meant three things: everyone should have access to health care, regardless of income; everyone should have access to post-secondary education, regardless of income; and everyone should have a roof over their heads, regardless of income.
I wholeheartedly agree with all three of those assertions, and never knew they had anything to do with socialism. Milton Friedman, too, felt that post-secondary education should be at no cost to the student: an obvious matter of equality of opportunity. Richard Nixon was the first to attempt universal health care in the US. It is the right in Canada, notably Hugh Segal, who are advocating a Guaranteed Annual Income. As to the very idea of a “social safety net”―you can trace that back to that wild-eyed radical, Bismark. A Marxist friend of mine claims that Marx himself was opposed to welfare.
There seems to be some sort of miscommunication here. If this is what Democratic Socialism is, we are all or almost all Democratic Socialists. Except possibly for the Marxists. What we disagree about is only what we can afford, and how most efficiently to achieve it. Surely I am missing something here?
I think Ocasio-Cortez must be deliberately falsifying her position, rather than expressing ignorance. There are obvious issues like abortion, free speech, and freedom of religion, that really do divide the contemporary right and left, which she does not mention.