An American’s View On Socialism

As an American, I’m a little shameful of the fact that for a few brief moments, I actually entertained the idea that perhaps socialism wasn’t such a bad thing. Germans like it. They all have health care and, generally speaking, feel cared for by their government. Just like Americans rarely question democracy, Germans don’t really seem to question socialism so I thought, “Maybe it’s not so bad.”

But then I registered with the county so they’d know I’m living here, why I’m here, and how long I intended to stay, and even though I was mentally prepared for what came next, when she finally asked, “Do you have a religion?” it shook me to my very core.

“Do you have a religion?”

I wanted to scream at her and say, “YES, AND IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!”

But according to socialism, it’s very much her business. Because, you see, if you’re a member of the church in Germany, you have to pay a church tax. And I’m not talking about the Biblical principle of willingly giving 10% of your income to the church as a way of saying, “God, all I have is yours and I give this small amount back to you as a way of showing how much I trust you to continue to provide for me.” Nope. I’m talking about your company deducting your paycheck every month, calling it a “church tax” and giving the money directly to the church without you having any say in the matter.

I looked at my husband and said, “She just wants to know because if I say I’m a member of the church they want to take my money, right?” He said, “Exactly.” And because this American firmly and passionately believes in the separation of Church and State, I looked her in the eyes and said, “No. I don’t have a religion.” And though I still know I did the right thing, those words stung my heart and almost took my breath away. It’s no wonder that in churches all across America we hear, “It’s not about religion. It’s about a relationship with Jesus Christ.” but in Germany religion seems to be nothing more than an affiliation with the cold walls of an old, gothic building that gives you the right to have your wedding and funeral presided over by a priest.

A few weeks later my husband, who was a member of the Catholic church, received a letter in the mail indicating that in Germany, it’s basically “all or nothing” when it comes to your household being a member of the church. And since he was a member and I wasn’t, he needed to pay extra cover my portion of the church dues. We promptly marched our hineys to the appropriate office and he renounced his membership to the church so that neither of us would any longer be forced to pay taxes to the major corporation that has cleverly disguised itself as The Church.

Socialism is the lie that says, “you’re free” when you’re really so bound by the government that you can’t leave your house without them knowing. It doesn’t promote the separation of Church and State or the separation of basically anything and State for that matter.

Any lingering warm feelings I may have had left in my heart for socialism were quickly extinguished when I received a bill in the mail two days ago for the radio.

Yeah. You read that right… For the radio.

Many radio stations in Germany are owned by the government. The only perk is the lack of paid advertisements interrupting my music listening time, but now that I know what I know… I’d gladly listen to any radio commercial from now on. Because I live here and own a car, I have the ability to listen to those government radio stations and must therefore pay for that privilege. I was, understandably, floored by this. As it turns out, the law is that you now only have one fee per household and since my husband already pays a monthly fee of around 18€ ($23.27), I don’t have to pay the bill.

***Edit*** While my bill only specifically addressed the need for me to pay for the radio stations, a kind reader asked me to make it clear that my husband’s fee of 18€ per month isn’t solely for the use of the radio. It is also for the privilege of the ability to watch the few government-owned TV channels that we never watch because, according to my husband, “they’re trash.” However, according to my husband, most Germans don’t blindly pay this without a thought. They hate it and they want those channels gone because they don’t like the idea of it being forced on them.

But again I say, “Socialism is the lie that says, ‘You’re free.'” And many people buy into this lie because the government makes them just comfortable enough that they never question it. And really, I think that’s the point of socialism… to enslave the people without their knowledge… to pull the wool over their eyes and turn them into blind and ignorant (but happy) sheep. Well, this American isn’t buying it anymore. Now I fully understand the dangers of another Hitler in the future… because this blind-following has gone on for so long that a dynamic speaker and ruler who had started out by creating great things such as the Autobahn could destroy half the country before the wool was pulled back even a little.

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. Oh my gosh. I have the biggest smile on my face right now. I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I am that you have written a post on this. Every word you said rings true for Ireland as well. I think it rings true for most if not all of Europe. Socialism is a government formed being that is and will suck all of the independence out of the human race. It has and will continue to create generations who rely so heavily on the goverment that they forget what it is like to have the priviledges naturally given to us by God. I’m so happy that your American senses have not left you in your move to Germany. It’s insulting as a human being to have some of these natural rights taken away from us. I move back to the States two weeks from this coming Monday, and after reading your post here, I am going to well Democracy and separation of Church and State with open arms. Let’s just hope that more people in America see your post and realize that Socialism is a state that is slowly being inforced at home. Maybe more people will have the guts to stand up against it and remember exactly what it is that we as humans are naturally entitled to.

    Signed,
    Proud Southern Conservative American Woman

    1. Hey TravelMorganTravel! I’m so glad you liked this! Socialism is absolutely on its way to America if things don’t change soon and now that scares me more than ever. I told my husband the other day, “Your government says you’re free, but you’re not. Don’t you see it? You’re a slave to them!” Fortunately, my German is one of the few I’ve met who sees this and wants out as quickly as possible. I love this country and could stay here forever, but I’m glad to know my husband isn’t one of the sheep.

  2. bevchen says:

    In the UK, everybody has medical care but nobody has to pay church tax. And we also don’t have to register with the authorities every time we move house. Best of both worlds.

    1. My husband recently mentioned the thing about registering with the authorities after moving. He told me you used to have to do that every time you moved even if you just moved right next door. But if I remember correctly, he said the law now is that you only have to register when you move to a new county. Still annoying in his opinion, but better than it used to be.

  3. Indifferent says:

    Hi

    first of all, please look up the definition of “Socialism”, since I think the internationally agreed upon definition is not what you believe it to be (unless you want to go with the “Tea Party definition of ‘Socialism'”). While I have my issues with how things are going in Germany, I don’t think it can be called a socialist state, under any sensible definition of “socialist” that I know of.

    Second, if you really feel the way that comes across in your post, you should better get out of Germany as fast as you can, since the things you complain about will most likely not change in the near future.

    Next, you should check your “facts”. As far as I recall, church tax is only applied if one has declared to be part of a church, or if one is filing taxes jointly, and one of the two is officially part of a church. I won’t deny that it’s annoying, and that it’s the reason why my wife declared she’s no longer part of any church after our first jointly filed tax statement (I’ve been a heathen for years). You can still donate as much as you want (it’s still tax decuctable), after “officially” leaving the church.

    Finally, it is untrue that “Every radio station in Germany is owned by the government”. There are many radio (and TV-) stations that are owned and run by private entities (and that don’t get any money from the “Rundfunkbeitrag” that you had to pay for). I have no love for the GEZ, or the “Rundfunkbeitrag” as it is called now, but spreading incorrect information about it won’t help the cause of thóse trying to get rid of it altogether.

    The 18 EUR you paid are not only for radio alone, but also for the public television (ARD, ZDF, the regional programs known as “die Dritten”, plus other things like “Phoenix”, 3Sat and others). I won’t say it’s worth the money, but I also don’t want people to believe that the stupid Germans pay 18 EUR per month for Government controlled radio.

    Just to put things into context. If you make a case as strong as the one you did with your post, please make sure you can back it up, and you’re not relying on incorrect assumptions.

    1. Hi Martin. Thank you for your reply. I’d like to address your statements/concerns, if I may. Firstly, according to my German husband, Germany is very much a socialist country. However, rather than taking a German national’s word for it, I also did my research. Admittedly, I had trouble finding a legal site that clearly states the classification of the German government, but one thing nearly every single site agrees upon is that even if the German government doesn’t consider themselves to be socialist, they practice many socialist ideals. According to the legal definition of Socialism found at legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com, Socialism is “An economic and social theory that seeks to maximize wealth and opportunity for all people through public ownership and control of industries and social services.” From what I’ve seen in Germany so far, this definition absolutely applies to this country. As an additional example, I’ll point out that ever since Germany was reunified as one country in the 80s, the Germans from the west have been forced to pay taxes to support the east Germans. I do believe that falls under the category of maximizing wealth and opportunity for all people.

      Your second concern was that I run away from Germany fast and hard. I know it may appear that I utterly despise this country based on this single post, but if you were a long-time reader of my blog you would know that I absolutely, whole-heartedly love Germany. I talk about my love for this country in nearly every single post and I apologize if I came across as bitter and hateful toward Germany in this one single post. To me, a country is much, much, much more than government. A country is made up of individuals, landscapes, opportunities, food, etc, and I absolutely adore all of the above.

      Thirdly, you address my “facts” in regard to a church tax. I clearly stated that while I did not have to personally pay a tax because I was not a member of the church, my husband DID have to pay the tax because he “was a member of the Catholic church.” I also clearly stated that in Germany it is “basically ‘all or nothing’ when it comes to your household being a member of the church. And since he was a member and I wasn’t, he needed to pay extra to cover my portion of the church dues. We promptly marched our hineys to the appropriate office and he renounced his membership to the church so that neither of us would any longer be forced to pay taxes…” This lines up with exactly what you said in your comment so we completely agree in this area.

      I apologize for my incorrect statement that every radio station in Germany is owned by the government. I’ll take your word for it and promptly correct my blog once finishing my reply to you. I absolutely don’t want to post incorrect facts, but when my German husband told me that the reason for the bill was because the “radio stations in Germany are government owned” I suppose I incorrectly assumed he was talking about all radio stations. Again, I’m very sorry for this and I will update it immediately. I do also recall my husband telling me that the total bill was for radio and the government-owned channels that you have no option to get rid of and I forgot to make that clear in my post. I will fix that as well, and appreciate you keeping me honest in my blog.

      To be blunt, of all the things you’ve mentioned, the only thing that I got wrong was about the radio station bill I received. I’m human. I’m bound to get things wrong from time to time, but do apologize for the offense. I in no way wanted to make it appear that I believe “stupid Germans pay 18€ per month for Government controlled radio.” I love Germans and would never want to insult them like that. As far as whether or not Germany is socialist, you and I will have to agree to disagree. I’ll have to lean on my own knowledge of socialism and my German national husband’s knowledge of his country in regard to that.

      But let me just make one thing absolutely clear… I love Germany. I love it more than my husband does and it’s his country. His dream is to move to the Canary Islands in a few years, and while I believe I could be happy there, too, I’m very happy and content here. I have no desire to become a German citizen and renounce my American citizenship. With all the things I dislike about my own country, America is still my country and I will retain my citizenship until the day I die. I may disagree with the way the German government is run. Heck, I think I disagree with the current American government even MORE, but having a difference of opinion in regard to government is truly miniscule compared to the rest of the opportunities this country offers.

      Have a great day!

      I’m off to make corrections on my post…

      Tschüss!

  4. croowoo says:

    This is an amazing post! Thank you for writing this and saying what a lot of people are thinking but don’t have the balls to say.

    1. Glad you liked it, croowoo! I just read a few of your posts and I’m hooked. From the crazy driving of the people on motorbikes to your hair rape… OMG. I can’t wait to read more.

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