Essay #9: A Longish, Slightly More Theoretical Essay About Socialism Today.
Here’s the key fact: Misery does NOT require the cooperation of the people in making themselves miserable. Happiness DOES require the willing participation of the people — actively taking advantage of opportunities to make themselves happier.
After all, only YOU know how to make YOU happy. But, the government DOES know how to make you miserable.
First, some High-Level, but still Bottom Line observations.
Socialism’s general outlook: A Socialist sees misery and poverty, and believes that those things are bad. He believes that things will be good only when everyone shares as equally as possible in the misery. So, the Socialist takes from those who have more, and gives a little of it to those who have less (keeping most for himself, to support his continuing good works of course!) and he believes he’s done a good thing. He calls this “Justice,” and “Fairness,” and “Income Equality,” and “Progress.” The downside of this system is in its basic nature. Socialism is a system of REDUCTION; of TAKING from those who have accomplished things; and of therefore DISincentivizing the accomplishment of things. In this way, and others, Socialism is deeply ANTI-progress, fundamentally ANTI-progressive. Hence, the natural adoption of the term “Progressive” by Socialists.
Because Socialism is a system based on confiscation (their euphemism is “Redistribution”) it is deeply ANTI-democratic — the people rarely CHOOSE to be dispossessed, so the people’s will must be ignored or quashed. Hence, the natural adoption of the term “Democratic” by Socialists.
In the Soviet Union — the first country where Socialism was given free rein to make over the nation completely — the leaders implemented something called “Democratic Centralism.” It was a process wherein there was supposed to be debate over the nature and form of policy, and then there was a vote in the Central Committee to determine the actual policy decision. At that point, those who had originally opposed the decision were expected to sign on fully. This was what the Soviet Union meant by “Democratic,” and it’s important to note that it had nothing to do with consulting the actual people.
Because Socialism is a system of centralized government and planning, it is deeply anti-republican (small “r”). “Republic” implies the notion of government — or control over the people — close to the people themselves. Hence, the natural adoption by Socialists of the terms “Republic,” and “Democratic.” Ex.: The Union of Soviet Socialist REPUBLICS, The People’s REPUBLIC of China; The DEMOCRATIC People’s REPUBLIC of Korea (North Korea), the German DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC (the former East Germany), and so on. These were nations whose best description was the exact opposite of what their names implied. By design. The Socialist understands that we the people LIKE our notions of things like “Democracy,” and “Republics,” — ideas that suggest we’re governing ourselves, even if it’s mostly illusory.
There ARE, however, OTHER visions of how best to order society.
A Free-market Capitalist, for example, ALSO sees misery and poverty and recognizes that those things are bad. He believes that things will be good only when no one is miserable. His aim is to remove the obstacles he sees in the path of the people’s happiness, and believes that would be a good thing. He calls this “Opportunity,” and “Freedom,” and “Individual Responsibility.”
The Free-market Capitalist recognizes that throughout history, oppression has almost always come from a central government, the very thing Socialists try to increase and centralize further. He, therefore, endeavors to dismantle unnecessary government restrictions on the people, and to DE-centralize what he views as the necessary but very much limited functions of the government.
Why is there such a sharp contrast in the two visions? The answer’s fairly simple: It’s EASY to make everyone miserable. And equal. It’s not AT ALL easy to make everyone happy! You can conjure misery out of thin air — enact massive taxes, confiscate businesses and industries, “collectivize” land and property, dispossess, deport and despoil peoples and regions, and so forth — you can NOT produce happiness out of thin air.
Here’s the key fact: Misery does NOT require the cooperation of the people in making themselves miserable. Happiness DOES require the willing participation of the people — actively taking advantage of opportunities to make themselves happier. After all, only YOU know how to make YOU happy. But, the government DOES know how to make you miserable.
The Socialist scolds, harangues, browbeats, accuses, extorts the country into making everyone miserable, and calls that “justice,” while the free-market capitalist works to remove obstacles to people’s success and calls that “freedom.”
The two visions are in open warfare in America, and the “Make America Miserable Again” vision has a pretty good lead.
The worst thing is that America is the last stronghold in the world of the “Remove Obstacles to Success” vision; the only vision that makes people ACTUALLY free, the only vision that allows people to be ACTUALLY happy. I should note, that there ARE glimmers of hope across Europe, as people look to Greece, the moribund, impoverished product of long decades of Socialist rule, where people seek their next meal in the dumpster down the street, where an unemployment rate in the high teens is now considered “normal,” and unemployment for those under 25 is close to a third of all such people. Many Europeans are observing that and thinking, “No thanks!”
There already is an American Socialist Party, but there’s no reason for its continued existence. After all, the Democrat Party absorbed the Bernie Sanders zombies into this election cycle and the previous. Does anyone think they’ll leave now that they have much more than their foot in the door?
These are high-level observations, so we’ll stick to the high-level vision of Socialism.
Continuing with how Socialists see things.
- Believe the greatest evil is only: what stands in the way of their obtaining and retaining power. If it’s a foreign power doing that, then they’ll oppose that foreign power, but only for that one reason. However, if it’s some kind of domestic threat to their power, Socialists will squash it mercilessly. Socialists will fabricate BOTH foreign and domestic threats if they see popular discontent with their rule.
- They care not at all about freedom. Freedom of anything. Look at the Bill of Rights. Those famous freedoms — of speech, assembly, press, worship, expression — are all disposable if any of them allow ACTUAL people to stand in the Socialists’ path to power.
Even TODAY, there are top Democrats who inexcusably support the elimination of the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech! This is the Socialist position. Just a few short years ago, no top Democrat would EVER have allowed himself to suggest that he supported the elimination of free speech! Now, it’s commonplace in the party. Furthermore, who would EVER have imagined that a major AMERICAN political party would have a strong current within it supporting the abolition of free speech?
There’s historical precedent for all this. Socialists DO abolish free speech, along with the other freedoms. Josif Stalin, an important historical Socialist figure, and one of history’s most prolific mass murderers, once said, “We don’t let them have ideas. Why would we let them have guns?” Ignoring the “guns” part, the “We don’t let them have ideas” part should chill everyone to the core. Because it IS Socialism to ITS core. Since Socialism is an ideology of coercion, confiscation and compulsion, you have to figure that there might be some opposition among those being dispossessed. The Socialist MUST shut them up.
That’s what EVERY Socialist country has always become: a place where they remove your freedoms of speech, assembly, worship, or expression of any kind, all in order to remove your freedom to have ideas… your freedom to think.
In America, Socialism is here and it’s rising in popularity. Socialism has pretty much taken over all of academia. Colleges and universities are the most powerful bastions of Socialist thought and expression — and OPPRESSION — in America today. It’s where there are drastically reduced freedoms of speech, of assembly, of expression, even of thought.
Also, In vastly powerful social media, there is ACTIVE, open suppression of speech, of self-expression… of any kind of thought that deviates from the accepted view of a tiny cadre of élite billionaires who run the social media outlets. This anointed élite, who determine what viewpoints other will and won’t see, who determine what is right to think, who determine what political content will be seen by more than 300 million Americans, and hundreds of millions overseas… this minuscule, incredibly powerful oligarchy numbers… a couple dozen or so. It’s the ULTIMATE Socialist institution!
Even in the legacy media! That special institution with its OWN Constitutional guarantee of freedom enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution! The legacy media engage in active suppression of what they deem unacceptable speech. Where’s Greta Thunberg and her “How DARE you?!?” when you REALLY need her? I know, I know… she’s out cruising around the world on her yacht, whining about how put upon she is.
The media! If THAT doesn’t leave you shaking your head, nothing will! It SHOULD be impossible to imagine that this incredibly powerful institution with its special constitutional freedom carve-out, could even THINK of establishing aggressive suppression of ANYONEs free speech in their enterprises! Yet that’s what they do. Openly. In this era of the cell phone camera, there are numerous recordings of top media executives telling their employees to violate basic journalistic ethics, to pursue ideology-driven stories instead of the news… to fake the news. Nowadays, we see such recordings, and go, “Ho hum… who didn’t already know THAT?”
The goal of Socialists is not only to control the economic, social and political activities of the citizenry, but also to control their thoughts. It’s not by accident that all Socialist countries, no exceptions, engage heavily in highly structured, rigid propaganda and indoctrination. Socialists can’t allow freedom of speech, assembly, worship or expression, because Socialists can’t tolerate freedom of thought.
Propaganda and indoctrination: the two words that best describe American academia, social media, Hollywood and pop culture today.
Now, look further at history, even AMERICAN history! Every policy of the Left — every one, without exception — has as its unsubtly expressed goal: propping up the miserable in their misery, so that they can continue in their misery… just not quite as miserably. No policy of the left has ever been designed to show the miserable how to become NOT miserable.
Every policy of the left ALSO has as its unsubtly expressed goal: propping up the poor in their poverty, so that it’s not so miserable to be poor. No policy of the left has ever been designed to show the poor how to become… NOT poor.
And why is that? The answer is simple: If the miserable become NOT miserable, if the poor become NOT poor, then they don’t NEED the government anymore. That’s ANOTHER serious problem with Socialism… its strategy is to lock the status quo in place in order to maintain the need for Socialism, and… Socialists.
Socialist policies CAN BE possible answers — to the problems of the present. Starving people DO need to eat. They do need the basics of life at the moment. They DO need that fish.
Solutions for the problems of the present, though, are usually detrimental to the future… if, that is, those “solutions” don’t include resolutions to the fundamental problems themselves. Socialists will GIVE you that fish, but they will NOT teach you to fish. Because then YOU wouldn’t need THEM anymore. You’d be able to manage your OWN life, your OWN affairs, your OWN money, your OWN means of production, your OWN self. And you — and others who “learn how to fish” — wouldn’t need Socialism. Or Socialists.
In order to ensure that the Socialist vision becomes the law of the land, the Socialists need to have political power. For everyone else’s own good, of course!
Due to the anti-democratic nature of Socialism itself, Socialists are relentless concentrators of power. They’re like tapeworms. They feed on their host, gorging themselves on the host’s vitals until they either weaken it to the point of enervation, or kill it entirely, not understanding that their efforts might kill them too.
For the Socialist, the ends always justify the means.
How else could the American Left, now fully open about their Socialism, just shrug off the, obvious, unsubtle criminality and corruption of the Clinton machine, the Obama Administration, the IRS, the criminally cruel, DECADES-long administrations in most major American cities, without a pervasive conviction that the ends fully justify the means?
Look again at the places where Socialism has been allowed free rein to transform a society according to the Socialist rulers’ vision. Result: more than 140 million murdered, billions impoverished and imprisoned in the last century alone. Socialism has the distinction of being one of the leading causes of premature death in the planet’s history, since the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. In the last century alone, Socialists murdered more people than died in the Black Death; more than died in any natural disaster ever.
As in the above-mentioned American major cities, it’s THE cause of poverty for tens of millions of people. Likewise for billions around the world.
Socialists thrive in and on bad times; times of uncertainty and economic and social dislocation and instability, when the people are looking for something they hope is big and solid on which they can depend, to help them ride out the rough times. What could be bigger and more solid than the government, right?
The people’s prosperity is incompatible with the government’s power. The Socialist government’s most urgent need is to keep the people poor.
That’s when, in a misplaced impulse, the people often turn to Socialism, and then, of course, it’s too late. The political repression begins, human rights are promptly eliminated, and the bad times become permanent. How’s that, you say? Easy: It’s because freedom is a vital component of prosperity, and Socialism is NOT about prosperity, it’s about power. Another important lesson: the people’s prosperity is incompatible with the government’s power. The more prosperous the people become the less they need – or want – the government. The Socialist government’s most urgent need is to keep the people poor.
Socialists know that this state of affairs will not remain popular with the people for very long, and they will become restive before long. Hence, the requirement in all Socialist countries to eliminate free speech. To eliminate the freedom to assemble, to interact with friends and colleagues without government oversight of those interactions.
Karl Marx, one of the “Founding Fathers” of Socialism, understood this about the ideology he was naming and describing. He said that even if times were not bad, then the Socialist’s duty is to make the bad times happen! Times in which a country would be primed for takeover by Socialists. He said it was inevitable that Socialism would triumph via a violent overthrow of the existing bourgeois government.
In continuing to study where Socialism has been in place and fully in charge much more reveals itself. The VERY FIRST thing the Socialists did on taking power in those places was to abolish the basic freedoms you and I take for granted. Far too many of those very countries remain places where you speak out only at the greatest peril.
The countries where you are NOT at great peril of your life for speaking your mind are those that have undergone GENUINE revolutions — ANTI-Socialist revolutions. Revolutions that openly repudiate Socialism, and openly embrace the democratic norms that you and I take for granted.
The lesson: Socialism corrupts everything and everyone it touches. It leaves in its wake vast piles of dead and impoverished people. It resolutely blocks real human progress. Why? It’s an ideology of power. It’s merely a graphic piece of evidence supporting Lord Acton’s axiom. Want to improve the lives of BILLIONS upon BILLIONS of people? Simple: eradicate Socialism.