An intelligent mind rails against dividing humanity into starkly-defined moral groups, but sometimes in the course of politics a stark choice resolves out of ambiguity. We have reached such a point in American politics, with one group wanting to address the entire spectrum of viewpoint and philosophy, but being obstructed and demonized at every turn by an increasingly violent and hateful minority who defines all morality and civilization since the dawn of literacy as "Socialism." We like to think they're just exaggerating their views because they're idiots and assholes, but I think the truth is more disheartening - they're being completely honest and comprehensive about their opinions. They see the very idea of human society as The Enemy, and on some basic level want to reduce all life back to some kind of primordial chaos where it's all against all - pure, thoughtless instinct and predatory violence. We can call this viewpoint Sociopathism: The political ideology of nihilism, cruelty, and anti-humanity, and currently the moral framework of the Republican Party.
We can explain to people who support Sociopathism that their ideas don't work, that they are hypocritical, that they demand access to programs they're constantly demonizing in the abstract, but none of this really matters because there is no intellectual basis to the Sociopathic mind: The dysfunction that causes it is primal, and the politics that follow from it are just attempts to excuse and rationalize it. People who suffer from this condition - and "suffer" is a dubious term for it, since their view of themselves tends to be impervious to any sort of moral self-judgment - are instinctively sickened by even the concept of mutual benefit, compassion, or equality, and have a term for all benevolent thought that disgusts them: Socialism.
This is not the Socialism you learned in political science - what they're talking about has nothing to do with the specific economic system where governments own and operate the factors of production. They're talking about the underlying moral framework where human beings acknowledge that they owe each other something, which underlies every form of government and economy other than the unwritten, implicit private power of violent feudal chaos. Everything other than totally consequence-free violence occurring in perpetuity without any semblance of moral or political restraint is, to this way of thinking, a form of oppression, and they connect all such possible systems together under the aegis of "Socialism" - because "social" is the term for every human interaction that goes beyond raw force. Every form of sexuality other than rape; every form of acquisition other than theft; every form of employment other than slavery; every form of free group relationship other than total war represents "socializing," and the Sociopathic mind considers this to be the root of all evil and the former states to be "pure" and "innocent."
Now, if this sounds like fascism, you're not far off the mark - but even fascism is too organized, too rationalized for this mindset to fully trust. A fascist deprecates the individual not in service to common humanity, but in service to their race/culture while treating other races and cultures as subhuman prey. So fascism could be thought of as "Group Sociopathism" - people whose ability to relate to others extends a certain distance but then suddenly disappears at a certain level of distinction, be it race, religion, or some other aspect. But at least in terms of how they go about benefiting their own group, fascists are conditionally rational - for instance, they would not tear up their own roads and pour antibiotics into the gutter on the grounds that these things are some kind of conspiracy to make them weak.
But in its most atomized, basic form, Sociopathism is not even capable of a group survival imperative: This, and not just common corruption or irresponsibility, is what is at heart behind climate denial and other anti-science nuttery that shrieks in the face of plain fact. It isn't that they don't believe human beings are endangering our common survival - it's that they consider the very concept of common survival to be a violation. The very idea that their fate could be tied to the fate of people they despise and victimize is offensive to them, and from their way of seeing things, invalidates their most basic nature and instinct. If everything is connected, then there is nothing more futile, more ridiculous, and more doomed than a predator, and everything they feel and believe because of what they are must be dismissed as a flaw in the fabric of nature destined to dissipate away.
No one wants to believe this about themselves, and even someone who was brought to believe it still wouldn't do anything about it. If the shoe were on the other foot and they could prove to us that compassion, decency, truth, democracy - everything that underpins who we are - is irretrievably flawed and doomed to fail, none of us would surrender the time we had to experience them and choose to be conservatives instead, regardless of what destiny supposedly had in store for us. We would simply decide that we are better than the universe that spawned us, and hold to what decency we could, for as long as we could. The reason is that this goes to basic motivational definitions: An intrinsic good needs no justifying ends, and an intrinsic evil cannot have any. People can't have perfect knowledge of their own motivations, so there is plenty of wiggle room in this picture, but within a given context nature defines our choices.
And the people who run the Republican Party have pretty much the same attitude in the opposite direction, though far less articulate: Their instinct is predatory and selfish. They do not agree, and cannot comprehend, that any other living thing is as worthy of survival and happiness as they are. They do not consider you equal, and do not believe in any such thing as humanity. Their every feeling tells them so. What most human beings consider the definition of evil, they consider the most fundamental truth - too basic and absolute for any intellectual argument or appeal to principle to possibly penetrate. And so even if you could prove to them that chasing that extra dime would doom them because of global warming, political instability, or crime, they simply would not care: They chase that dime with unfettered sexual urgency, and they will dive into the abyss screaming in orgasm while everyone else they're dragging down is screaming in terror.
This is why everywhere they control - everywhere that the word "Socialism" is spoken like an invocation against the devil - is increasingly dilapidated, poverty-stricken, weed-choked, violent, and ignorant. They use the word to describe human civilization as a whole: When they call you a Socialist, they are saying "You care about other people, and consider them your equals. You are weak. You must be destroyed." That is why they attack education and healthcare with the same moral determination that a sane person would attack the absence of these things - they are offended that someone who is not them has anything at all, let alone that governments are implicitly condoning the view that people are equal and owed the same opportunities. It's not just a Simpsons episode - these people would literally deny you access to the Sun just out of spite, and feel like victims every moment that you share in it with them as equals.
Listen to the fury with which these psychopaths condemn people who have nothing - it's the outrage of one whose very soul is being assaulted. They cannot stand the fact that people who are weaker than them are even allowed to exist without their permission, let alone that they are compelled through taxation to offer them some paltry level of opportunity. And the true insanity of these people is not that they believe their attitudes will produce a better world, it's that they don't even care whether or not that happens - power and violence without consequence is an end in itself to them, as justified and desirable to them if it resulted in human extinction as it would be if it brought about paradise. This is why the culminating act of so many people who think like this is murder-suicide: When they are trapped, and have nothing left but to express who they are in the most honest way possible, they do exactly that - and exterminate every bit of life they can get their hands on.
So whenever someone invokes the word "Socialism" in that belligerent, moronic, conversation-ending way conservatives now do almost on a minute-to-minute basis, you know how to describe them: Sociopaths. And you know what they're preaching: Sociopathism - the total dissolution of all morality, society, and human civilization. "Nihilism," "anarchism," etc. are merely technical terms, and miss the basic the human motivations that underly them. You also know what future they're offering, because the murder-suicide massacres we see from time to time are the purest expression of the conservative mentality as it now exists in this country. Ironically, even though conservatives aren't self-aware enough to be capable of explaining it, they hit the button when they describe law-based society and democracy as "socialism" because these things are indeed consequences of human beings relating on some level more advanced than violence.
But so far we haven't articulated the other side of the coin, and that is that the opposite of Socialism is not capitalism; or plutocracy; or feudalism; or any of these other highly specific and intellectually-quibbling terms. The real term, encapsulating the essence of the alternative viewpoint - as depressingly simple and banal as it is - is just Sociopathism: The ideology of total denial of common humanity, morality, and the logical consequences of actions. For all the constellation of other neurotic attitudes, idiotic opinions, and ignorant beliefs that surround Republican politics, this is its driving force - its anima. They will have tenfold revenge on the world for every minor inconvenience and irritation they suffer in life, even if "suffering" to them means Daddy bought them a Porsche instead of a Ferrari.
So now you know what to say whenever one of these degenerate animals comes at you with "Socialism," thinking they're saying something profound: Tell them "Yes, I support human society. Sorry to hear you're a sociopath who hates every living thing but yourself." They weren't interested in a real conversation to begin with, so don't bother conceding complex realities in their favor that they will never appreciate or acknowledge.