Although definitions vary in some details, socialism is typically defined as a system of economic, social and political processes in which collective ownership or control over property, investment, and the means of production and distribution figure prominently. (1)
For our purposes, the term ‘collective’ denotes a centralised government, despite any idealised representations to the contrary.
Beyond this primarily economic definition, however, the modern socialist state is inevitably highly managerial, custodial and parental in its social policies.
A particular expression of this tendency is found in the term ‘therapeutic state,’ (2) a label emphasising the interventionist nature of so-called remedial programmes. Efforts of this kind use social workers to aid poor children in need of special education, socialisation and mental health care. In other areas, campaigns to achieve, say, redistribution of wealth and to equalise real or even merely perceived disparities in social and political status are associated with the modern socialist state.
Whether these campaigns call themselves socialist or not, policies advocated by the modern liberal agenda are fundamentally socialist in their effects. The Green Party, environmentalists, gun controllers etc.
Efforts to establish government control over ownership or management of major economic or social functions rank high on the liberal’s list of priorities. Oxymoronic ‘positive discrimination’ laws inject the agenda’s politics into employment decisions and university admission policies. A cradle to grave health care system remains probably the most important objective, and the ethics of political correctness and multiculturalism typify the agenda’s intrusion into individuals’ lives at all levels.
Rules affecting economic (e.g, sexual equality) and social conduct (e.g. dress codes or the lack thereof, terms of address) in the work place are now common. All of these interventions have been instituted in the name of a ‘collective good.’ All of these interventions are controlled by government officials. All are basically socialist in nature and in their location of control.
(1) The Liberal Mind; pp 27-28, Lyle H Rossiter MD, ISBN-13: 978-0977956319