During the 2008 election campaign, socialism was branded as a deviant philosophy marked by "Peter taking from Paul", quasi-communist morals and utter rejection of all things capitalist. I'm inclined to think this was not a fair representation of the philosophy. Socialism is not evil, nor should it be shunned as something "anti-American" or "anti-capitalist".
Socialism at its roots depends on the willingness of each individual to contribute equally to the cause of progressing the entire society. In theory this is an admirable endeavor as it seeks to pool the skills and labor in a society to benefit all. The inherent weakness in this lies with human nature as humans can be lazy, unproductive or unwilling. Is this a flaw with socialism? No, because socialism requires all participants to be active and willing. This flaw lies with human nature itself.
The idea of Utopia is also regularly lumped in with socialism because the two have similar ideals. Utopia, like socialism, doesn't account for the flaws of human nature. The principle is a good one because who wouldn't want a perfect society? Although I think the idea of a Utopian society and the application of socialist values will never be valid for human beings, the foundations of the philosophies are noble. Humans are just not perfect enough to make them work.