Skip to comments.Socialism is evil
Posted on 10/21/2004 7:38:23 PM PDT by vannrox
Socialism is evil
Walter E. Williams (back to web version) | Send
July 28, 2004
What is socialism? We miss the boat if we say it's the agenda of left-wingers and Democrats. According to Marxist doctrine, socialism is a stage of society between capitalism and communism where private ownership and control over property are eliminated. The essence of socialism is the attenuation and ultimate abolition of private property rights. Attacks on private property include, but are not limited to, confiscating the rightful property of one person and giving it to another to whom it doesn't belong. When this is done privately, we call it theft. When it's done collectively, we use euphemisms: income transfers or redistribution. It's not just left-wingers and Democrats who call for and admire socialism but right-wingers and Republicans as well.
Republicans and right-wingers support taking the earnings of one American and giving them to farmers, banks, airlines and other failing businesses. Democrats and left-wingers support taking the earnings of one American and giving them to poor people, cities and artists. Both agree on taking one American's earnings to give to another; they simply differ on the recipients. This kind of congressional activity constitutes at least two-thirds of the federal budget.
Regardless of the purpose, such behavior is immoral. It's a reduced form of slavery. After all, what is the essence of slavery? It's the forceful use of one person to serve the purposes of another person. When Congress, through the tax code, takes the earnings of one person and turns around to give it to another person in the forms of prescription drugs, Social Security, food stamps, farm subsidies or airline bailouts, it is forcibly using one person to serve the purposes of another.
The moral question stands out in starker relief when we acknowledge that those spending programs coming out of Congress do not represent lawmakers reaching into their own pockets and sending out the money. Moreover, there's no tooth fairy or Santa Claus giving them the money. The fact that government has no resources of its very own forces us to acknowledge that the only way government can give one American a dollar is to first -- through intimidation, threats and coercion -- take that dollar from some other American.
Some might rejoin that all of this is a result of a democratic process and it's legal. Legality alone is no guide for a moral people. There are many things in this world that have been, or are, legal but clearly immoral. Slavery was legal. Did that make it moral? South Africa's apartheid, Nazi persecution of Jews, and Stalinist and Maoist purges were all legal, but did that make them moral?
Can a moral case be made for taking the rightful property of one American and giving it to another to whom it does not belong? I think not. That's why socialism is evil. It uses evil means (coercion) to achieve what are seen as good ends (helping people). We might also note that an act that is inherently evil does not become moral simply because there's a majority consensus.
An argument against legalized theft should not be construed as an argument against helping one's fellow man in need. Charity is a noble instinct; theft, legal or illegal, is despicable. Or, put another way: Reaching into one's own pocket to assist his fellow man is noble and worthy of praise. Reaching into another person's pocket to assist one's fellow man is despicable and worthy of condemnation.
For the Christians among us, socialism and the welfare state must be seen as sinful. When God gave Moses the commandment "Thou shalt not steal," I'm sure He didn't mean thou shalt not steal unless there's a majority vote. And I'm sure that if you asked God if it's OK just being a recipient of stolen property, He would deem that a sin as well.
©2004 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
Contact Walter E. Williams | Read Williams's biography
August 17, 2004
Positive reader response to "Socialism Is Evil" was quite surprising.
That column argued that it was an immoral, not to mention unconstitutional, act for Congress, through the tax code, to confiscate the earnings of one American to give to another American in the forms of prescription drugs, Social Security, food stamps, farm subsidies or airline bailouts. It's immoral because it forcibly uses one person to serve the purposes of another. Indeed, that's one way to define slavery and other forms of servitude.
Several letters of disagreement interpreted my argument as being against taxation. They used the sleight-of-hand approach saying that we need taxation for national defense, the courts and other constitutionally authorized purposes as if that observation meant that taxation for any other purpose was just as legitimate. Let me be explicit. Taxes to finance certain federal activities are indeed legitimate as well as constitutional.
Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution enumerates just what federal functions Congress has taxing and spending authority. Among them are national defense, post offices and post roads, courts and a few other activities. Or, as James Madison, the Father of our Constitution, explained in Federalist Paper No. 45, "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.
?Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected."
Nowhere in our Constitution is there even a hint of authority for most of what Congress taxes and spends for today. Don't be tricked by those who'd argue that Congress has such authority under the Constitution's "general welfare" clause. James Madison explained, "With respect to the two words ?general welfare', I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them ?" Thomas Jefferson said, "Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated." The "detail of powers" or those "specifically enumerated" refer to what's actually laid out in the Constitution. The Framers had the foresight to see that these powers might need modification. That's why they gave us Article V as a means to amend the Constitution.
One reader criticized, "The essence of democracy is that the will of the majority conveys legitimacy to actions of the state." That's a sad commentary on both understanding and education. The Founders didn't intend for us to be a democracy but instead a republic. But more importantly, majority rule often confers an aura of legitimacy to acts that would otherwise be deemed tyranny. Let's look at it:
Consider a few everyday decisions such as: whom we marry, what food we eat, where we live and what clothes we wear. How many of us would want majority rule to determine those decisions. For example, your family would like ham for Thanksgiving dinner and vacations in Mexico, but you're prevented from doing so because the majority of Americans decided on turkey for Thanksgiving and vacations in Canada. Were decisions actually made this way, most of us would agree that we'd be living in a state of tyranny.
Of course these particular decisions aren't made through a majority rule political process, but they do illustrate that there's nothing sacrosanct about majority rule; it can be just another form of tyranny. It's just as tyrannical for majority rule to determine other choices such as: retirement (Social Security), prescription drugs, health care and other unconstitutional uses of a person's earnings.
When the democratic process reigns in matters of constitutionally enumerated federal government matters, we have the liberty that the Framers envisioned -- anywhere else it most likely means tyranny.
©2004 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
Socialism is murder
this is a great article. thanks for the post.
williams mentions god and the bible in attacking socialism. socialism is a stab at trying to make things equal among men/women on earth. we know from the bible that equality among men on this earth is an impossibility. yet, democrats continue to want "heaven on earth" through big government. i contend that big government is evil, not just socialism.
remember too, that as a christian, we are to help our fellow human. big government robs us of the joy of helping someone -- we default to the gov't. in a sense, big gov't, by implementing too many social welfare programs, gets in the way of individuals doing god's work, and gets in the way of our relationship with god.
Socialism is for losers.
Excellent post. Socialism is evil and insidious too! : )
Socialism is evil I agree. I do think the leadership of the democrats have gone way beyond that, to total communism however. (and they of course, are the "state" who must be obeyed.)
You'll like this one, and I'm bookmarking it.
Communism, Nazism, and Fascism.
A socialist is merely a polite communist. A socialist believes himself moral because he only uses coercion instead of murder to gain his ends. (But the ends are ultimately the same.)
Typically for conservatives you are fighting yesterday's battles. Nobody proposes "socialism", nobody's "communist" any more. Today, they're "green", they're "progressive", they're for "choice", they're for "gaiety", labels that are pleasant sounding, acceptable to everyone, that you yourselves have cheerfully adopted ("gay" anyone?) Who's not for choice, who objects to being gay?
The Groton influence of Endicott Peabody showed in a speech Roosevelt gave at the People's Forum in Troy, NY in 1912. There he declared that western Europeans and Americans had achieved victory in the struggle for "the liberty of the individual," and that the new agenda should be a "struggle for the liberty of the community." The wrong ethos for a new age was, "every man does as he sees fit, even with a due regard to law and order." The new order should be, "march on with civilization in a way satisfactory to the well-being of the great majority of us."
In that speech Roosevelt outlined the philosophical base of what would eventually become the New Deal. He also forecast the rhetorical mode by which "community" could loom over individual liberty. "If we call the method regulation, people hold up their hands in horror and say un-American,' or dangerous,'" Roosevelt pointed out. "But if we call the same identical process co-operation, these same old fogeys will cry out well done'.... cooperation is as good a word for the new theory as any other."
The fruit of socialism is genocide.
The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name liberalism they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened. Norman Thomas co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union
Marx argued (so I have been told) that the evils of capitalism would necessitate communism, through the stage of socialism, as WEW points out.
Of course, the only time capitalism's "evils" triumph over its virtues is when capitalists ignore moral restraint. Marx's prophecy is thereby self-fulfilling when the state hinders morality by setting itself up as the moral authority to its citizens, in place of God.
It really highlights the genius of the founders that they insisted on the sort of liberty and responsibility that would be the only way to allow for true self-government, and that only in a nation under God could it be pulled off. What an experiment!
Socialism is murder
Socialism is murder, slavery and evil.
But hasn't socialism PROVED it's capacity for better living all over the world?
Stop laughing... Hey it's not that funny!...
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