This will be my token political post for the month. I'm not going to tell you who to vote for, or even who I voted for. That's beside the point.
I consider myself a socialist (little s). I am not a Socialist party member or someone likely to be. This isn't a unique issue; the distinction between libertarian versus Libertarian has threads in common. Nor is libertarian strictly opposite socialism. It is possible to be in favor of individual rights without expecting that all will be able to provide for themselves.
Do you share the air with everyone else? Want people to not asphyxiate you by stamping the oxygen out of the atmosphere? Guess what? The atmosphere is a socialized resource. You share it with everyone else. Do you believe it's reasonable to pay for the police if you've not been robbed? The fire department if your house hasn't burned? All of these are socialism. John McCain has been beating the drum of "socialism bad". He hasn't proposed to make the war efforts in Afghanistan or Iraq be paid for by only people who wish to pay for it. He also is a socialist. Any time you expect people to pay for things which they won't use themselves, that's socialism.
Social welfare is a specialized instance of this. People who rail against socialism generally are referring to this. They mean they don't want welfare, state-subsidized healthcare, or things of that ilk. It's possible to be socialist without wanting these services to be socialized (in my opinion anyway) though every way I read the bible suggests as long as there are hungry, sick or homeless people it's not possible to be Christian and not in favor of social welfare.
None of this is to condemn or castigate anyone. I just needed to get it off my chest.