Skip to comments.What is Wrong with Socialism?
Posted on 05/19/2012 11:44:48 AM PDT by CaptainKrunch
The American Dream used to mean an opportunity to achieve success through hard work, rather than being promised a free ride at others expense. Those of us who respect the former, rather than believe in the latter, have an instinctive disdain for socialism.
But mention anything untoward about socialist ideals in polite society nowadays, and one is likely to be greeted with the reply:
What is wrong with Socialism?
Socialism is a necessarily totalitarian ideology that seeks to synthesize the political, economic, social, and private life of individuals and places control over it all in the state. Indeed, capitalism makes the separation of life into separate spheres possible, because freedom of choice economically is necessary for freedom of choice in every other sphere.
Eventually you run out of other peoples money and then everybody hates it!.
Socialism discounts the contributions of the individual in favor of the comfort of the community. And that’s where it always fails. Once you eliminate individual accomplishment, you cut any incentive to ever rise above, and look to others for solutions. Eventually, most everyone is looking at everyone else to provide the solutions, and it falls apart.
Or to put it another way, eventually you run out of the spoils of the accomplishments of others.
“What is Wrong with Socialism?”
What is wrong with this stupid question?
(Sorry. I couldn’t help myself. Please forgive...maybe.)
Richter's work illustrates the fact that in every century throughout human history there have been those who, like Obama, envision a sort of utopian future in which persons like themselves get a shot at ruling the society by fooling others into becoming dependent upon them and their "superior" wisdom (sarcasm).
When one looks around at what has happened to America already, and the degree to which the backward "forward" ideas of "progressives" have dimmed the light of liberty which once beamed from America, then Richter's pages take on new meaning.
Click on any of the segments and find something relevant to today's discussions. Please note that this exquisite bit of satire by Richter was written in 1893.
Coincidentally, in "The New Laws" section, he satirically comments that the "organ" (i. e., "Pravda") under the new order is called "Onward." How interesting is that?
Other sections describing family, work, etc., in a world centered around a philosophy devoid of religious or spiritual thought, as well as individual freedom, ought to stir deep feelings in the hearts of most who have memories of a different time.
Had most of us read this writer's work twenty years ago, it might not have the chilling effect it does today. After the last 3 years, however, the descriptions of life in a "socialistic future," as described, even in satirical terms, is current as today's news, and too realistic to be amusing.
On another thread, there is a discussion of Obama's "Julia." We should note that this "Julia" "dreamed" into existence by Obama's staff is not the kind of girl or woman who helped to form the new American nation, forging her way through untamed wildernesses, independent and free, climbing mountains, maintaining hearth and home, owning and managing businesses, teaching in schools, helping students learn how to live in a free society, and truly partnering in "transforming" America from a small group of colonies using ancient tools to the greatest place of freedom and opportunity in all the world.
There is a long line of such strong and influential women who precede Julia, perhaps beginning in the 18th Century with Abigail Adams, encourager and advisor/wife of the primary advocate for adoption of our Declaration of Independence and second President, and mother/teacher of John Quincy Adams, another early President. On they went, through the 19th Century, proudly contributing to the nation's growth and development. Later generations worked in shipbuilding plants in WWII, served as WAC's, WAVES, etc., alongside their fellow soldiers and sailors, and later went into business careers in the 50's and 60's, many achieving success in the changing work force.
No, "Julia" may be a good political tool for convincing women to voluntarily submit to slavery and dependency upon government by voting to extend the presidency of Obama and the so-called "progressives," but she does not represent a symbol of individual freedom, independent thought, and liberty for future generations of her kind. Obama's "Julia" is a slave, whose master is the very government the Founders intended to be her own servant.
[ What is wrong with Socialism? ]
Our Declaration stated in Lockean terms that the purpose of government was to secure our Natural Rights. It also asserted that government can have no powers except such as are compatible with the end for which it was established; and it cannot act arbitrarily, depart from its own laws.
Our Constitution went further. Government may not violate these Natural Rights, nor assume powers it was not granted, nor delegate the law making power to other hands. If government violates these structures, it ceases to be legitimate and can, under certain conditions, be legitimately overthrown.
These Lockean, Jeffersonian ideals stand opposite to socialism.
The problem with Socialism is not that it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work because it is an assault on our Nature. Imagine an engineering design based on F=MV. It won’t work no matter how deeply the engineer wishes it to. Likewise, socialism cannot be forced to work in the civil society under our Declaration and Constitution.
Socialism seeks to level--to wipe out the different paths of achievement & failure that individuals follow, and force all into a utilitarian collective, that redefines our lives, to satisfy a neurotic compulsion for uniformity of condition, etc. It is ultimately based upon that Egalitarian/Collectivist compulsion, and tends to bring out the worst in a population afflicted by it, in part for reasons discussed in The Greatest Mischief Ever Wrought.
While Conservatives sometimes, mistakenly, believe that the greatest damage from Socialism is on the high achievers, the effect from appealing to all that is base among the population at large, offers the potential for even greater damage to a people, community or nation, in general.
Anyway, cheers Here is a little squib, where Edgar Allan Poe offers his insight into the fallacy of the British Utilitarians, who postulated a view of societal purpose more akin to that of that (utilitarian), which is basically assumed by Socialists: Poe On Mill & Bentham. (While Capitalism is actually more utilitarian than Socialism, the argument you employ, based upon Natural Rights, is by far the better argument for our side.)
You may want to check out Igor Shofaravich's (hope I spelled that correctly) fabulous book titled, "The Socialist Phenomenon," which is out-of-print, but I found it translated into English on the Web. Has a forward by the Gulag Archipelago author's name which I can't spell (sorry).
Anyhow, it demonstrates what it sounds like Richter's work does -- that socialism has brought cruelty and tyranny throughout human history. We ignore it's immutable characteristics at our own risk.
It fails to utilize the instincts of man to acquire, protect, and enhance private property, and therefore create wealth for the society as a whole.
Oh, and lots of people die.
Tyranny is a vital component of socialism.
Socialism is one giant bait-and-switch game. . . they promise you one thing, and ultimately you get another. Coaxing a small child into a car with a piece of candy to take advantage of them . . . evil through and through.
Well, cheers back to you!
A bit off topic now. More conservative philosophy has been expressed at this single thread than the entire Romney campaign to date. Absent American fundamentals with which to inspire the American people, Romney will not only have a tougher time beating Hussein, but his reforms (business reforms if any) will find more difficult going in even a GOP Congress.
Hussein slithered into office on hope and change and brought us the edge of outright tyranny. I just don’t see Romney doing anything other than manage our decline, maybe delay the end of our republic for a few years.
What is inherently wrong with socialism:
By the way, I believe you also referred to Solzhenitsyn, which reminded me of this: In the course of his research for "Solzhenitsyn: A Soul in Exile" (Harper Collins), Joseph Pearch traveled to Moscow to interview the writer. The excerpt below is from that interview:
"Solzhenitsyn: In different places over the years I have had to prove that socialism, which to many western thinkers is a sort of kingdom of justice, was in fact full of coercion, of bureaucratic greed and corruption and avarice, and consistent within itself that socialism cannot be implemented without the aid of coercion. Communist propaganda would sometimes include statements such as 'we include almost all the commandments of the Gospel in our ideology.' The difference is that the Gospel asks all this to be achieved through love, through self-limitation, but socialism only uses coercion. This is one point.
"Untouched by the breath of God, unrestricted by human conscience, both capitalism and socialism are repulsive."
His is a point which has been missing in much of current political debate.
To other posters: Jacquerie is correct that the clear points being made on this thread, complete with references which could help to educate citizens prior to November, are not being made by the nominee-elect. Unless he can find a way to make this argument for voters, then Obama will continue to "change" America from a place of liberty and opportunity to a place of tyranny and oppression.
Plain and simple, Obama's world view, derived from the ideas in which he immersed himself earlier, is at odds with the Constitution's strict and severe limits on the power "the People" allow its elected representatives to possess.
"The People," who, according to Justice Story's "Commentaries on the Constitution. . . ," are the "only KEEPERS", of that Constitution must, themselves, understand those limits and bounds on coercive power in government, or they may be hoodwinked into temporarily yielding up their constitutional rights to what George Washington described as a leader "more artful" than the rest.
In this President, we see an "artful" individual who is using every semantic and ideological maneuver he can come up with to extend his "reign" and to break the "chains of the Constitution" (Jefferson) on his power.
Thus, the use of that powerful and destructive appeal to the human capacity for "envy" and division of the voters, pitting those who have less against those who have more material possessions, because he understands that the numbers of potential votes among those of the former exceed those of the latter.
All the while he is pulling this magic trick in the media, he is, himself, especially enamoured of the very "rich" "millionaires and billionaires" he castigates for vote-getting purposes to the general public. Check out his black tie fund-raising parties. They are not conducted among ordinary people, even though he "envies" the poor people's "contributions" to his power grab also.
"Equality before the law" is the great principle underlying America's Constitution.
The President's utopian view is of a forced equality which reduces all to a level of mediocrity well known throughout history and in the modern world.
Americans should hold fast to the Founders' ideas of liberty instead of allowing its leaders to plunge it into European-style socialism.
From the Liberty Fund Library is "A Plea for Liberty: An Argument Against Socialism and Socialistic Legislation," edited by Thomas Mackay (1849 - 1912), Chapter 1, excerpted final paragraphs from Edward Stanley Robertson's essay:
"I have suggested that the scheme of Socialism is wholly incomplete unless it includes a power of restraining the increase of population, which power is so unwelcome to Englishmen that the very mention of it seems to require an apology. I have showed that in France, where restraints on multiplication have been adopted into the popular code of morals, there is discontent on the one hand at the slow rate of increase, while on the other, there is still a 'proletariat,' and Socialism is still a power in politics.
"I have put the question, how Socialism would treat the residuum of the working class and of all classesthe class, not specially vicious, nor even necessarily idle, but below the average in power of will and in steadiness of purpose. I have intimated that such persons, if they belong to the upper or middle classes, are kept straight by the fear of falling out of class, and in the working class by positive fear of want. But since Socialism purposes to eliminate the fear of want, and since under Socialism the hierarchy of classes will either not exist at all or be wholly transformed, there remains for such persons no motive at all except physical coercion. Are we to imprison or flog all the 'ne'er-do-wells'?
"I began this paper by pointing out that there are inequalities and anomalies in the material world, some of which, like the obliquity of the ecliptic and the consequent inequality of the day's length, cannot be redressed at all. Others, like the caprices of sunshine and rainfall in different climates, can be mitigated, but must on the whole be endured. I am very far from asserting that the inequalities and anomalies of human society are strictly parallel with those of material nature. I fully admit that we are under an obligation to control nature so far as we can. But I think I have shown that the Socialist scheme cannot be relied upon to control nature, because it refuses to obey her. Socialism attempts to vanquish nature by a front attack. Individualism, on the contrary, is the recognition, in social politics, that nature has a beneficent as well as a malignant side. The struggle for life provides for the various wants of the human race, in somewhat the same way as the climatic struggle of the elements provides for vegetable and animal lifeimperfectly, that is, and in a manner strongly marked by inequalities and anomalies. By taking advantage of prevalent tendencies, it is possible to mitigate these anomalies and inequalities, but all experience shows that it is impossible to do away with them. All history, moreover, is the record of the triumph of Individualism over something which was virtually Socialism or Collectivism, though not called by that name. In early days, and even at this day under archaic civilisations, the note of social life is the absence of freedom. But under every progressive civilisation, freedom has made decisive stridesbroadened down, as the poet says, from precedent to precedent. And it has been rightly and naturally so.
"Freedom is the most valuable of all human possessions, next after life itself. It is more valuable, in a manner, than even health. No human agency can secure health; but good laws, justly administered, can and do secure freedom. Freedom, indeed, is almost the only thing that law can secure. Law cannot secure equality, nor can it secure prosperity. In the direction of equality, all that law can do is to secure fair play, which is equality of rights but is not equality of conditions. In the direction of prosperity, all that law can do is to keep the road open. That is the Quintessence of Individualism, and it may fairly challenge comparison with that Quintessence of Socialism we have been discussing. Socialism, disguise it how we may, is the negation of Freedom. That it is so, and that it is also a scheme not capable of producing even material comfort in exchange for the abnegations of Freedom, I think the foregoing considerations amply prove." EDWARD STANLEY ROBERTSON
If all of us here today understand Robertson's 1800's conclusions about socialism's absolute "negation of freedom," then other Americans are capable of understanding them too--if they were clearly articulated to them by a presidential candidate!
See my tagline for clues.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.