What is the correct word usage and definitions? What do you think?


I am starting an attempt to stop misinformation and misdirection.     Things like the above is not helping, nor can I say the above meme is true.      I am having a conversation with Dylan over economic systems dealing with governing a country, specifically socialism, communism, and unrestrained capitalism.    I have been using the definitions from online dictionaries.   But it seems that common usage is mingling the meaning of Democratic Socialism and Social Democrat.   I wrote a whole reply to Dylan that was well searched and sourced that  switched the two different terms and changed the entire meaning of my reply.    I thought I had made the mistake of using the wrong terms.   However I am seeing on line that there is no seeming set definitions as I thought, just general ideas.   Thankfully Dylan caught it, pointed it out to me that my reply as written did not make sense unless the terms were reversed.   


  I have been using the idea that Democratic Socialism is the desire to create a system where production and distribution of goods  is controlled by the workers and that all people have a voice in economic / governing matters at every level.   I would say it is socialism under democracy, instead of socialism under a dictatorship.    

I have been using Social Democracy as regulating and controlling capitalism by moderating its excesses to provide for the well being of the people in a democracy.   While there is overlap clearly, the goal of the Social Democrat is not to destroy or replace capitalism, but to moderate and improve it to work for everyone not just a few.   

When I read the above meme I decided to again look up the difference between the two ideas.    I found as many different ideas and crossing of Social Democracy and Democratic Socialism as the pages I had open in different tabs.   In an effort to get a common usage, I looked up the most famous Democratic Socialist in the US, Bernie Sanders.   I will quote from this web site, https://qz.com/1805692/bernie-sanders-isnt-a-democratic-socialist-he-is-a-social-democrat/ .   So again mixing and mismatching the terms.    


While it might not sound as dramatic, what Sanders is isn’t a socialist—democratic or otherwise—it’s a social democrat. Social democracy is a reformist approach that doesn’t do away with capitalism in its entirety (as, instead, socialism eventually suggests) but instead regulates it, providing public services and substantial welfare within the frame of an essentially market-led economy. Other leftist politicians such as Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also fall into this camp.

Why Sanders brands himself a democratic socialist remains unclear. It might be, as some have noted, because of a desire to shock. Or it may be a practical choice: Knowing his American audience is likely to equate socialism with a Stalinist, authoritarian regime, he is highlighting the intrinsically democratic aspect of his positions.

The Democratic Socialists of America describe their proposals as social democratic, essentially using the two labels interchangeably, advocating that social democratic reform “must now happen at the international level” and using northern European countries as references for their vision. This seems inaccurate, however, and feeds the misunderstanding Trump is banking on.

Democratic socialism does not pursue a model like Finland, for instance, which has not done away with capitalist ways of production or a private market.

The key difference between democratic socialism and social democracy is precisely that the former advocates for social ownership of the means of production, and does not believe in reforms within capitalism (although it does support temporary social democratic actions), but in a revolution of the system.

The platform Sanders is running on is reformist, and what he is proposing is a US that looks much more like Canada, or Europe—which certainly are not socialist nations. Whether he believes that the end goal is beyond what Europe has achieved (and the history of his political beliefs suggests so), he still isn’t proposing an actual revolution (not within his lifetime, at least) and should just label himself accordingly.   

So I think everyone can see the problem described above and that I am having.  One of my goals when writing or talking to to be clear about what I am trying to convey.    I can not do this on this subject if the definitions of the terms keep changing.  I wonder if the confusion attempt is deliberate?   So wonderful viewers / readers what do you think?  What is the correct term for each idea?  Hugs










23 thoughts on “What is the correct word usage and definitions? What do you think?

  • Many before me have derided the use of “labels.” Yes, they are (somewhat) necessary to provide others with a perspective of what each of us believes/supports, but they can so easily be bastardized.

    Why not just explain to others what we think would be an ideally run society? No labels necessary. If the other person wants to identify us with a label, that’s their prerogative.

    Mak recently posted something about labels and remarked that “Atheism as we all know is loaded politically and socially and doesn’t cover the nuances” … and IMO, this is true of political matters as well. While it may be expected that people identify as a “Republican” or a “Democrat,” oftentimes, there is considerable “cross-over” in their political viewpoints; however, for the simple reason they “identified” themselves, others immediately categorize them.

    Liked by 4 people

    • “What you call me doesn’t change who I am.”
      Dan “Diego” Piraro Artist/Cartoonist on Patreon

      We cannot convert to a Socialist government, no matter what the conservative faction may say. We all have heard the multitude of monikers ‘those other people’ have used to describe us which often conflict with each other, such as Antifa and fascist.

      Our constitution does not allow us to become Socialist in its true definition.

      Section 8
      The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

      To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

      To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

      “…to regulate commerce…”
      We are a capitalist society. Period. But every time Congress attempts to regulate commerce, the capitalists and their paid minions scream all those threats, beginning with “Socialism.” The reason they do that is to terrify the republic with memories of such people as Lenin, Stalin, and any other dictatorial regimes which were ‘called’ socialist or communist.

      “…and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;…”
      Taxation is supposed to be purposed to the benefit of our society. That is not Socialism. That is a Republic with a democratic form of government, of the people, by the people, and for the people.

      Communists, monarchies, oligarchies, etc., have always called us capitalists as though it was a demeaning title. When our capitalists are under reasonable regulation, they serve us well. When they are out of control, as they’re now, they put our democracy in jeopardy.

      If you and Dylan are playing point-counterpoint, keep us posted.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hello Nan. I wish things would work that way Nan. It is hard enough to be clear and concise in writing, as we have recently talked about. Sometimes we have to agree to use words that have the same meanings to be understood. Talk about lengthening a comment, if every time I talk about this topic I have to use ten to twenty words instead of two to give my position it causes a problem.

      But really I see this as a bad faith way to muddy the waters of a discussion to mix the definitions. I am not sure I have seen Mak’s post but theism and atheism have set meanings. Belief in god(s) and without belief in god(s) and to try to blur that meaning is to misinform and misdirect people. IMO.

      Some days my mind is calm and focused and I can see the points of a discussion so clearly, other days it is wading up a muddy stream trying to find footing on a shifting surface to make my points. To have to argue what the very words we use as starting points, the labels, makes it that much harder. And it increases the anxiety of was I understood? Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

      • I do understand your point, but I stand by mine as well simply because too many people form “opinions” about a person primarily based on a “label.” I realize it’s part of how we identify each other so I don’t see any way around using them — at least to some degree.

        But let’s take your conversation with Dylan … if you simply describe yourself to him as a “Social Democrat,” is he (or anyone else) going to know what that means? However, if you describe your political beliefs/perspectives, then no label is necessary. He will know exactly where you’re coming from.

        Of course, like I said at the beginning, labels are part of our conversations with one another. The problem arises when each person attaches a different meaning to them.

        Liked by 2 people

  • Hello Scottie. I see I was not understanding what you were searching for. I apologize for the wild tangent.

    Ambiguity. I once was told there is no ambiguity in the Greek language. That turned out to be not true. So, what Nan said. Set the goalposts in concrete. Codification means disambiguation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Cagjr. I found your comment helpful. While I was looking more for what is the correct usage Social Democrat or Democratic Socialist. Right now they are being used interchangeably but they mean different things. So I agree the best thing is to set the meanings of what we are talking about first. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

  • Good for you on this one, Scottie! I am so damn sick and tired of hearing people say that such things as free education, ACA, and an increase in minimum wage are “socialism”, when they have no idea what socialism even is! I’m pleased to see you taking this bull by the horns and will re-blog it later today, with your permission! Like Nan, I am not a big fan of labels, but when I hear somebody call helping people “socialism”, it sets my teeth on edge and makes me growl loudly. Let this be the start of a conversation that educates people about what social democracy really is! Good work, my friend! Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello Jill. Sorry I am late getting back to you. Spent the better part of three days in bed again. Yes always feel free to use anything you find on my Toy Box. I love the idea of posting something you like enough to use it. Thank you for the grand complements. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

      • No worries, Scottie! I am often way behind on comments, too, for there are only so many hours in a day and I have only very limited energy these days. Hope you are okay? I always find things to love on Scottie’s Toy Box … just never enough time to visit as often as I’d like! That may change soon, for I’m considering shutting down Filosofa’s Word … just a thought at the moment … no definitive plans.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hello Jill. I wonder if setting up a posting schedule or posting days would help, so you do not feel pressed. I hope you just keep posting when you feel up to it with no pressure to post but that is because I love reading your posts when I can. Selfish of me I know. That is what I do now BTW. I do my morning (sometimes late afternoon) roundup, and then if I feel up to it, I post more or go to other’s blogs if I can. Please let me know I can help you in anyway. You are grand and your posts are inspiring. Hugs

          Liked by 1 person

          • I do have a posting schedule … 3:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. for my usual fare, and 11:00 a.m. for my music posts. If I add any, as a rule it’s only a reblog. I’m just tired of fighting what I’m beginning to see as a losing battle. BUT … no worries, my friend, for it’s in my blood to be a fighter and yes, I’ll keep on blogging, though I could really use a few days’ break. I appreciate your concern, your kindness, and your offer to help! You’ve got enough problems of your own, though! It just drags us down, seeing how hard some of us are fighting against the corruption and greed, and yet we might as well be spitting in the wind. But, as I tell others, if we stop fighting … what then? Thanks again, dear Scottie … love ‘n hugs to you!

            Liked by 1 person

  • Scottie, my guess is you may not like what I am about to say, but if Democrats have to resort to definition distinctions like this, they have already lost their argument with too many voters. The people who need to see these distinctions are not going to pay attention to an explanation. That is a key reason an overtly untruthful person got elected president in 2016.

    A reason people believed witch-hunting Senator Joe McCarthy is he had no qualms about making things up to defame the opponent (this description came from his advisor Roy Cohn). It should be noted that said and now former president had a mentor early on in life named Roy Cohn – same guy who advised McCarthy. This eerie coincidence is not so eerie when you see the now former president making so many things up.

    Dems need to stick to facts. In thirteen White Houses since 1921, when data started getting measured, Republicans have had the president. In twelve (not counting Biden), Democrats have had the president. Under which White Houses have more jobs been created? It would surprise even Democrats to know the answer is Democrats. And, it is not even close. The jobs created under Democrats dwarf that of under Republican presidents. THAT IS THE MESSAGE not what Dems call things. It should be noted the economy and stock market has done better under those White Houses as well.

    Keith (Independent voter)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Keith. I think you misunderstood the post my friend. In this case the call is coming from inside the house. The conversation is happening, right now, so it behooves us to understand what we are talking about. This is not about insults. It is not even about moving the Overton window. The problem is different groups, some who agree with each other, are using different terms thinking they are talking the same things. This creates a situation where people are not sure who is talking about what. It creates confusion. I am looking for consensus on which is the correct term.

      As for Democrats creating more jobs, it is also true that the economy does better under Democrats, but again not the issue. The conversation on doing more for the people with the tax money generated public treasury. But what is the Nordic model called? The European model? What do we call countries like Sweden and Denmark? Are they Social Democracies, or are the Democratic Socialism? Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

  • Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:

    I have long since tired of people using tags and labels for people or movements that they do not understand. The term “socialist” is bandied about by those who haven’t a clue what they’re talking about. Our friend Scottie has taken it upon himself to do some research, to try to understand the differences between “Democratic Socialist” and “Social Democrat”. There are important distinctions that people need to understand if they’re going to use these terms. Thank you, Scottie, for opening this important conversation!

    Liked by 2 people

  • Scottie. This is not exactly germane but it may be something you want to read for general information.

    /////https://religiondispatches.org/republican-senator-cindy-hyde-smith-spouts-christian-nationalism-defending-racist-voter-suppression/ \\\

    Liked by 1 person

  • Trying to define Socialism and Social Democracy are operating models is liked trying to teach cats to conduct synchronised movement as some do with groups of horses. The problem is in the attempts to marry up what Americans would probably see as the ‘moderate’ view of the Democrat party with those which hover on the border of Marxism (and a sprinkling of Anarchy thrown in to add flavour). In short trying to be all things to most folk at a day to day level. Which is why Socialism and Social Democracy when placed into an operating model in government get tangled up and the system creaks with arguments.
    Thus, when looking at the first word ‘Socialism’ you can divide it, sub divide it and sub-sub divide it. (A process similar to going onto Wikipedia, looking for a genre of music and then start following on the different styles which come under that title. ‘Metal’, ‘Folk’ and ‘Country’ and can provide at least a hour’s worth of time, scratching the surfaces.).
    In the UK the first thing all socialists will embrace is that the main problem for Socialism is other groups ‘claiming’ to be socialists who are by their activities are stopping Socialism being a credible form of government in the UK.
    Should any American (with an open and enquiring mind) visit the UK and have a meeting with five socialists/ social democrats and ask them to explain the doctrine, the following in likely to happen:
    1. The American might have to break up a physical tussle between two who claim the other is ‘a traitor to the cause’
    2. Replace the chairs because one has stormed out in a classic hissy-fit proclaiming the other four are fools and the whole discussion is pointless.
    3. Having listened to the remaining two and waded through explanations replete with insults, asides and non-sequiturs to do with their pet project, the American will have concluded their are at least ten different types of socialism prevalent in the UK. (And ponder on the fact that both persons appeared to have contradicted themselves on at least three occasions)
    4. The American will then repair to their hotel room, take something for the killer headache they have developed, dim the lights and lie down.
    (Just for giggles I really want to tell one of the MAGA group I am a socialist and explain things to them, just so I know their heads are spinning around).
    Take care out there

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hello deteremineddespitewp. I love your comment, thank you. I did notice you used the Socialists / Social Democrats. So do you have a party that calls itself Social Democrats? If so what are their beliefs? Do they want to work to a socialist system or are they for the restrained / regulated capitalism.

      One last question if you don’t mind. I have gotten the idea you would prefer a socialist form of government which as I understand means workers control production and distribution of goods? Has that ever been viable or used properly? One of the things I have to refute when I talk about controlling capitalism to expand / ensure public programs that use the public treasury to pay for programs for the people, is that impression of trying to turn the country into a failed nation state like Venezuela, Cuba, or the old defunct USSR. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Scottie
        Glad the comment was of help.
        The reason why I put a ‘/’ between the two is that in the UK there is a blurring and a very uneasy alliance. As I suggested previously the animosity within the Left is legendary. Back in the early 1980s as the Labour Party lurched to the Left (or Dreaming Left as I call it- being of a harder nosed and pragmatic outlook), four prominent major members did quit the party and formed a Social Democrat Party which excited a great deal of interest as Thatcher was not popular at the time. However this wore off and eventually the SDP merged with the then Liberals to form the Liberal-Democrats since known as the Lib-Dems. Both parties shared an outlook you could associate with the majority of the USA’s Democrats, bearing in kind British parties must adhere to the NHS (National Health Service)- the closest thing to a state religion in the UK.
        During the era of Labour Government under Tony Blair and then Gordon Brown a middle of the road stance was maintained with fiscal prudence (a polite way of saying they juggled the books). Again a Democrat would’ve seen certain similarities although some of the levels of state intervention might not have sat well with some elements in the USA. During this era the far Left of the party took its usual stance and complained about betrayal, sell-out etc.
        Pinning down the beliefs is difficult because there is no true doctrine within the Centre or Centre-Left of British politics. The emphasis tends towards the provision of public services with at best a convivial atmosphere with the Commercial side; this is often labelled Keynesian after the economist John Maynard Keynes who although socialist believed there had to be a partnership with Business.
        In answer to your question Scottie I do consider myself a socialist in that all public services should be state run and managed on the basis that a business cannot. provide a public service and make a profit, since they are not selling a product. That said the idea of Workers Control and Distribution is only something that works in theoretical tracts or in rhetoric. Within any production process there has to be a division of labour into varying expert or specialised roles, however the rewards system must be fair and equitable to ensure a steady output while encouraging initiative a flexibility. The staff producing the good cannot be expected to give over time to the selling or distribution. Nor, to repeat, can a public service be run like a business or vice-versa, the two are quite separate disciplines. This it could be argued is more Social Democrat than Socialist, but as I have to say Socialism is comprised of very argumentative groupings and constantly shifting in much the same way a driver is obliged to on their journey.
        Socialists or Social Democrats therefore often display a mix of views in their attempts to visualise a fair society.
        This is where I start at least worrying folk as when it comes to the administration of the system as I tend to be what some would see as authoritarian. So no tax loopholes, harsh laws and penalties for fraud. Very strong laws on those crimes of violence, abuse and anything which puts the ordinary induvial at risk. Zero tolerance on crimes of a sexually abusive nature, and extra powers to put ‘The Fear of God’ into any perpetrators. No time for violent protests of any sort. Movements which promote hate against others would suffer a lot. Folk irrespective of Race, Religion, Culture, Gender and Orientation (with the exception of paedophiles) should be allowed to be free from fear, discrimination or hate; anyone who disagrees can leave the country or expect to be locked up, and re-educated. In fact ‘With Rights Come Responsibilities.’ I tend to worry folk who think up until then I am on their side of The Left….and I doubt if my ideas will ever be wholly adopted, as unlikely and probably as unworkable as Workers controlling production and distribution.
        Sorry it took so long but explaining Left or Centre-Left politics in the UK or anywhere in Europe is a tricky business.

        Liked by 1 person

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