Essay #19: Socialism is Evil — Why? The BASIC Difference
I’ve been running a mini-series of essays detailing the evils of Socialism as a governing philosophy. This is the nineteenth installment in that series.
The BASIC Reason Free Market Capitalism is Way, Way Better Than Socialism
After decades of studying the two “systems,” I think the distinction is widely overthought, and can be distilled down to a very simple, yet crucial one:
Free Market Capitalism: Any ideal exchange or interaction meets this base requirement: After any voluntary exchange has happened, both participants are better off.
Socialism: Any ideal exchange or interaction should, by definition, improve society as a whole, while the condition of each individual in the exchange must remain nearly unchanged.
Below are some additional thoughts and comparisons of the two “systems.” (Quotes, because Capitalism isn’t really a “system,” but more a lack of system. It’s more like leaving people alone to pursue their lives and interactions as they see fit.)
If only a bare majority of all exchanges in society meet the base requirement — that both voluntary participants believe they are better off for having engaged in the exchange — then by definition, the condition of society as a whole umproves continously.
Since no exchange can be perfect, one must hope that a majority are at least ideal, or even close to ideal.
Furthermore, since as human beings, we engage in thousands of voluntary exchanges every week (commercial or otherwise), and since in most cases, the people involved are glad they participated in those exchanges, we can logically conclude that, left to their own devices (a definition of “free market”), people will execute mostly exchanges — again, commercial or otherwise — that are close to ideal.
Needless to say, if all exchanges, really, all activities, are viewed this way, then there exist only incentives for exchanges and activities that improve the condition of society as a whole.
Ipso facto: Society as a whole will improve steadily in a Capitalist society.
As stated above: Any exchange or interaction that can be considered ideal is supposed, by definition, to improve society as a whole, while the condition of each individual in the exchange must remain nearly unchanged. This is crucial, since Socialists revere the concept of the highly unstratified, highly “equal” society, where no one is significantly better off than anyone else.
It’s important to understand also that the understanding of the notion of “improve society” in a Socialist society or entity is vested in some ruling authority, and not in the people involved in making exchanges. In a Socialist society or entity, you will manage your daily life as the governing authority of that entity requires you to, or risk punishment ranging from the very mild, to expulsion from the entity, to imprisonment or death.
More: If the Socialist ruling authority gets the notion of “what will improve society” wrong then, by definition, all interactions between people will serve to degrade the condition of the society, and therefore of the people themselves.
While the notion of the ideal Socialist interaction makes theoretical sense, it requires several things that are not self-evidently going to happen: (1) that people act entirely selflessly to make all, or at least the bare majority of, their activities benefit society as a whole, while (2) expecting nothing in return for themselves. (3) It requires that the ruling Socialist authority always get the definition of “what will improve society” right.
By contrast, in a Free Market society or entity, the nature, form and value of all interactions is entirely up to the participants in those interactions.
If, for example, a person wishes to sell his thingy for $10, he is perfectly free to do so… whether most of the rest of society would value that thingy at only $1 or at $10,000.
More importantly, if the thingy sells for $1, then the seller still believes he’s better off for having sold it, and the buyer still believes he’s better off for having bought it. Same for the $10,000 price.
This means that, in a functioning Free Market, there’s room for all manner of exchanges, even those which onlookers might deem ridiculous, or bad for one of the participants. If, again, the basic requirement is met — both participants feel better off — then the exchange is valid.
Why is this hugely important? Easy: this means also that hyper-esoteric exchanges; exchanges that most people — especially governing authorities — might not understand, are possible. Exchanges like investing early on in Microsoft or Amazon.
How incredibly bizarre that the founders of these two Capitalist giants, who made hundreds of billions of dollars from voluntary, Capitalist-type exchages that resulted in the explosive expansion of their two companies, would later become Socialist-leaning, authoritarian cranks! (more nuanced with Bezos, I admit)
Needless to say, most people need either to be persuaded to act in such a manner that they receive no benefit from their actions… or they need to be forced to do so.
This is the reason why in all — no exceptions — Socialist countries, societies, organizations, institutions, or entities of any kind, there are always extensive curbs on individual freedoms, on individual speech, action, initiative, creativity, activity, or, yes… thought of any kind.
Go ahead… watch the American Socialist Party in action on YouTube and see the extent to which they allow dissident speech. Look at the highly Socialist academic institutions, and see what kind of speech or activities they allow. How much pro-life speech is allowed in the American Democrat Party? Yet pro-life belief is very widespread within that party.
Now, think about how much freedom of expression is available to any individual in America. (That is a trick question, by the way.) Were there, for example, any curbs on the freedom to criticize the supposedly most powerful “fascist” man in the world, Donald Trump? Obviously not.
Trump must have been the worst at being a fascist ever! I couldn’t name for you a single, solitary person who considered him or herself in the slightest peril for criticizing Trump as vehemently and over-the-toply as he wished. The case could be made that Kathy Griffin lost some gigs early on after her picture holding what looked like the severed head of Donald Trump. #1: that didn’t last long, and #2: I’ll wager she’s more than made up for it in the meantime.
Are there, however, any limits on your ability to speak your mind in Social Media? In academia? How about in Hollywood, or pop culture? How about in the legacy media?
I think we know the answer to those questions! Though, they might be best answered with some negative answers:
• There are no leftist people being denied a platform to express themselves anywhere in America.
• No leftists have been violently denied the right to speak on any college campus anywhere.
• No leftist organization or person has been “deplatformed” from any Social Media outlet anywhere.
• No leftist speaker, no matter how lunatic or outlandish his speech, has been denied the right, or more importantly, the platform from which to say it.
• No prominent leftist politician or celebrity has been “permanently banned” from Twitter.
These are all very much Socialist institutions — Social Media, academia, Hollywood, pop culture, the legacy media — interacting in a nominally Capitalist country, that have taken on all the trappings of the most primitive totalitarian, Socialist countries of the past century.
The only thing these institutions can’t do (yet) is kill you.
But, silence you? Absolutely. Ostracize you? Yep. Deprive you of your ability to make a living? Yessirree! “Deplatform” you? All the time.
Finally… can these institutions “Unperson” you, as they used to do all the time in the primitive old Soviet Union? Yep. They sure can, and they do… all the time. Look up Brendan Eich some time. Founder of Mozilla.
Needless to say, I welcome all comments and disagreements. Just try not to be a rude, name-calling, discourteous chowderhead when disagreeing. 🙂
In fact, just one ground rule: In any disagreement, between any two or more people, the first one to resort to name-calling or slurs of any kind automatically loses the argument.