Atlantic Correspondent Hua Hsu unpacks reactions to the term "socialism" in America today:

[O]ne thing that seems somewhat exceptional about America nowadays is our tendency to lose our marbles at the mere mention of "socialism."

Even this seemingly innocuous NYT tech column on new LED-based light sources turned into a referendum on American socialism. From the Comments section:
    What we will bet is that like the Socialist Apprachniks of the hayday of Socialism, the members of the eco special interest groups will be insulated from the realities of what we will have to suffer under...thanks to them..
Which resulted in the obligatory "Hey dude--try living in Cuba" reply.

Which is actually a useful reply, in a way. Consider the ways in which Communist regimes (few of which are truly Communist) have co-opted the language of the non-Communist world. Words like "democratic," "market" and even "capitalist" have been re-claimed and re-articulated in ways that dull the impact of the ideas. China, for example, has been masterful at describing their national aims in terms of "Western" ideas.