In explaining socialism, by extension you explain the entire body of economic thinking coming from the worldwide left.
What, you might ask, brought about this idea that one needs to explain socialism? Well, I drive my son Alex to work each weekday — ’bout a 20-minute trip. I use those 20 minutes also to have a brief moment of easy togetherness with him. Sometimes it turns into a Q & A session, or an opportunity to teach.
Alex is a typical 14-year old, filled with curiosity about the world around him, and fearless in asking me about it. So, with about 5 minutes to go in our trip to his school, he asked me, “So, How’s Greece?” It was germane to the general gist of the conversation at that time.
At that point I had about five minutes to explain “Greece” to Alex. Well, I gave him some background. Ancient country with lots of history; very few natural resources; one main industry: tourism; principal language: Greek; member of the EU. that kind of stuff. And… plagued by decades of socialism that have left much of the population — more even than the hot Greek sun could — lazy, indolent, feeling entitled and ready to sponge off the rest of Europe for the rest of their lives.
But, just to say that socialism brings about all this stuff is only the first part of the story. It’s imperative also to say why socialism inevitably brings about societal deterioration, decline and eventual destruction with it. Here’s how I did it (at this point, I had only about a minute to get it all in):
“Imagine,” I began, “you have an island country with 100 people in it. As in all groups of people, you have the rich, the not so rich, the poor and all points in between. If you also have someone who comes along and says, “Hey, you know what? The top 10% of this country have way more money than they’ll ever need, and that’s not fair! They need to come down a peg or two. If you make me your leader, we’ll have equality! If you make me your leader, I’ll make laws and rules and regulations so that those rich guys can’t take advantage of you, and we’ll put limits on how much they can have, and we’ll take the extra stuff they have, and we’ll give it to … you all.”
“How much support,” I asked Alex, “do you think that guy would get?”
My son instantly answered, “Well, 90 people would support him.”(1)
“Yep,” I said, “and he’d win and they’d get equality, and there’d be no such thing as that inequality that everyone seems to dislike so much these days.”
Alex then asked me, “But, the people who get the money from the rich people can never get rich now either! Because the guy they chose to lead them would take all the ‘extra’ and put limits on how much they get. What good is that, if nobody can ever get rich. That means that everyone’s poor with socialism.”
And, in one fell swoop, my son proved that you can explain how socialism works in less than five minutes!
Socialism does bring about equality of a sort. As long, that is, as you don’t mind a society of poverty, of deprivation, of despair and constant internal tension, as those who work hard, and struggle to achieve are slapped down by heavy-handed government intrusion ensuring “equality.”
And that is the principal reason why there has never been a successful socialist society.
Ironically, one important measure of a healthy society is the extent to which it’s generating rich people, in other words, the extent to which it’s allowing income inequality. Income inequality means one thing: a society of opportunity.(2)
In a socialist society, the people’s opportunity is managed, doled out, to people as the government sees fit. People being people, the socialist leadership will tend to horde the opportunity for itself(3). It’s for that reason that the real inequality in socialist societies has always been between the leadership — who lead extravagant lives of luxury — like the fattest billionaire fat cat ever — while the people scrabble to get from day to day.
Needless to say, socialist thinking is a characteristic that the entire world left shares. Whenever some idiot says something like “We must make the rich pay their fair share,” you know you’re listening to someone who wants to squash your success.
I get a kick out of all those people saying just how fair it would be to take from those who have earned more, not even realizing the true meaning of that: If they were to succeed, the government would take it and give it to someone else. Then they go out and buy a lottery ticket.
I’m not pretending that I’m a great teacher or anything, only that socialism is largely viewed as some complex system of government programs interacting with the hard-working citizenry to manage resources and people’s work, when it’s really nothing more than a tiny minority deciding that it wants power for itself, and needs some long-winded justification to hide the power grab. If you study socialism, you’ll find thousands of thick tomes like “The Communist(4) Manifesto.”
People trying to implement Socialism always lard their speeches heavily with thousands and thousands of words, and nonsense terms and phrases like “social justice,” fairness,” “income inequality,” investment.” Pretty words masking meaningless, or even sinister concepts. Who, after all, is really against “justice,” or “fairness” or “equality?” Really, though, it’s just a naked plan to take from those who have, and bribe those who don’t have with the stolen loot.
However, even the have-nots, the recipients of this false generosity, know that it’s simply wrong to take stuff from someone else. The pretty words let them feel better about receiving stolen goods. Socialist leaders ride that envy and the pretty-sounding tommyrot to lives of vast power and wealth, while putting in place a system that guarantees that the little people can’t have any.
(1) – One hopes that there would be at least a few civic-minded people who wouldn’t fall for the garbage!
(2) – As long as the opportunity does not consist mostly of opportunities to prosper via “government service.”
(3) – In every socialist society — no exceptions — Socialism has generated a two-tier society with the immeasurably wealthy on top, holding all the power and nearly all the wealth, and the rest of the people way, way, way below. The “Occupy” twits were all upset about “the 1%.” The socialist fantasy that most of the “Occupiers” hold inevitably brings about a society in which it’s really the 1% of the 1% of the 1% who hold the power and wealth.
(4) – Socialism is an umbrella term that encompasses the following: Democratic Socialism, Communism, Nazism, Fascism, and — as greater study reveals — Islam and feudalism.