Essay #20: Socialism is Evil — Why? It’s Regression to the Primitive
I’ve been running a mini-series of essays detailing the evils of Socialism as a governing philosophy. This is the twentieth installment in that series.
Socialism — Regression to the Primitive
As those of you who’ve read my various essays critiquing Socialism know, I have little love for the ideology, and no respect for the intelligence, honesty, or integrity of the prominent supporters of that bloody belief system.
However, if you had read those essays thoroughly, you’d see that I scattered some assertions in there that seem entirely incongruous, even contradictory. Things like, “I don’t mind experimentation with Socialism on a local level.” Or: “I’d support some Socialism, if it could be implemented with an expiration date, and if the people had clear and easy ways to escape freely from it, without penalty.“
Of course, all that last would mean that I’d support Socialism if and only if it were to ACT like the free market… by allowing individuals to experience it entirely voluntarily. I meant that, and I STILL mean it. And Socialists are CRAZY if they don’t take me up on that very idea! After all, don’t they sincerely WANT to know whether they’re right? My idea is a way to make that happen.
Socialist countries and institutions ALWAYS, however, establish extensive curbs on the individual’s ability to extricate himself from the institution or entity in question, AND on his ability to interact voluntarily with anyone. With vendors; with buyers; with the government; even with each other. This is true in every instance. This is, at least in part, due to Socialism’s doctrinaire insistence on overall equality (within a constricted range, of course) of circumstances for all people.
Neither the heart surgeon nor the plumber, the top leader nor the janitor, the head of an industry nor the most junior of administrative assistants, should live substantially better than anyone else. It’s significant to note that: This Equality Imperative causes Socialist institutions, departments, initiatives, countries ALWAYS to underperform free market entities tasked with the same goal. Because there are no incentives to excel, or to innovate, or to grow. There’s never an exception to this. Some examples? Sure:
- In Great Britain, the only way to escape the increasingly deadly clutches of the decrepit and incompetent National Health System is either to leave the country, or to be fabulously wealthy so you can purchase private healthcare elsewhere… or, of course, you could just die. (As an American Socialist recently suggested)
- In America, the only way to evade the deeply corrupt American educational system is, again, to spend fabulous sums on a private education. Escape from these Socialist institutions is available only to those with sufficient wealth to avoid them entirely. That’s becoming true of the American healthcare system as we speak.
- In Social media, do you have untrammeled freedom of speech? Of course not! Say the wrong thing, and out you go. Permanently! And these constraints are very tight. The “wrong thing” that you say might be nothing more offensive than, “the free market is superior to Socialism.” A simple expression of an opinion! (though it sure APPEARS like a basic truth!) More to the point, you can be permanently banned from Social Media if you utter simple scientific fact! Something scientists overwhelmingly assert as Scientific Truth. Something like: There are only two sexes. That’s a truth with which almost no scientists disagree, yet it will get you banned from Social Media.
- In Hollywood, any content you produce must never run afoul of a very rigid, leftist political line or else you face ostracism and shunning.
- In American academia, you face the same — even stricter — limitations on your freedom to express yourself as in Hollywood and Social Media.
What’s the difference between these Socialist institutions and the diminishing number of institutions that could be characterized as “Free Market” entities? Easy: Your interactions with the Socialist institutions are not voluntary, but constrained. You WILL interact with these entities, industries and organizations on THEIR terms, or not at all. Whereas your interactions with any and all Free Market institutions of any kind are completely under YOUR control. YOU define the terms under which you’ll interact with any free market entity. YOU define the things you will say, the products or services you’ll buy, how much you’re willing to pay for them. Finally, just as importantly, YOU define when and how you will NOT interact with them.
Built into the very concept of “Free Market” is competition. Socialism can’t permit competition, because that would mean that all the things built into the notion of Socialism — coercion, constraint, lack of individual control — would make a Socialist entity of any kind lose the competition and disappear.
This is why, in Great Britain, the Socialist, and laughably misnamed, National Health System has no meaningful competition. The lack of competition is enshrined in British law. This is why in America, the Socialist monopoly public education system is dead set against school choice. Teh lack of competition for the American school system is enshrined in American law. This is why in America, the giant increasingly fascistic Social Media oligarchies are working aggressively to eliminate any competition. Soon enough, the Social Media oligarchs will demand that this lack of competition be enshrined in American law.
Socialism as it matures, and as it metastasizes into the inevitable system of all-powerful monopolies, ultimately devolves into oligarchy. Oligarchy is the ascension of these same monopolistic entities, headed by unimaginably wealthy, massively powerful industry titans working tirelessly to protect and expand their vast power and domains. Who doesn’t today recognize that Microsoft gazillionaire Bill Gates kind of views himself as a global Minister of Health?
An oligarchy is, by definition, a Socialist structure because it works aggressively to eliminate VOLUNTARY interactions with it. “Voluntary” is THE key component in the notion of a free market. It’s simple, really: If it ain’t voluntary, it ain’t free. Go ahead, try to implement a different operating system from Microsoft’s in your small to medium to large company. The barriers in your path will be all those you experience whenever you confront a monopoly. Go ahead, use a different search engine from Google’s. Same barriers. Go ahead, do your Social Media marketing without using FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube. You can, you know. Just don’t expect the same reach. Don’t expect the same results. And, as Parler found out recently, don’t even expect that you can continue to do so!
Now, think of other systems. When and where have you heard of countries or institutions with a powerful top leader, or group of leaders, an extensive and powerful management class, and a highly UNstratified bottom layer that, really, does all the work? Well, a good example of this might be, say, feudal serfdom. The lord was the top leader, his subordinate vassals were his management class, and they in turn oversaw those who worked the lands — land was the REAL currency of power in those times — while the serfs worked the lands.
It’s important to note that under serfdom, the management class was highly economically stratified, with some of the lord’s vassals controlling vast tracts of land, while others had far less land, and therefore, less power. All while, of course, the lord exercised control over all the land, and really held all the power. However, at the bottom, the teeming multitudes of the people were EXTERMELY UN-stratified; highly… “equal.” And entirely powerless.
How about slavery? Same thing: the slave owner is the top leader, the overseers the management class, and the slaves do the work.
Write up serfdom and slavery as org charts, and you’ll have diagrammed the Socialists’ view of the ideal society. Of course, you’ll have to rename the various boxes on your org chart. The lord or slave owner will have to become something like: “General Secretary,” or “Chairman,” or “Dear Leader.” The vassals and overseers won’t control land now, but will become creatures like, “Minister of Heavy Industry,” or “Minister of Transport.” Finally, the highly “equalized” masses — the serfs and slaves — will become, “The People.” In such a society, whose catchy slogan is “Power to The People,” the only people without power are… The People.
There are other systems like this throughout history, that had been in place for millennia. Monarchies and empires were like this too. The pharaonic empires of Egypt; the Greek and Roman empires; the Ottoman Empire… each represented by a massively powerful, often totemic, figure at the top, over a powerful managerial class, which rode herd on the mostly un-stratified mass of people comprising more than 99% of the population of the country.
THESE societies, which we now view as primitive, were nothing more than copies of the even MORE primitive societies that existed before mankind learned to till the land, and domesticate livestock, so that he could settle down to occupy vast tracts of land permanently.
The caveman was ruled by the Law of the Jungle. His society’s structure was the result of primitive peoples’ very clear understanding that they needed to be decisive in the face of danger, that they needed to act quickly, that they needed to act as a united whole at all times, or else perish. This resulted, quite logically, in a hierarchy headed by a chief, or head man, with managers under him, and people ready to do their bidding at a moment’s notice.
When man learned to use the land, though, and establish territories and borders, he simply “evolved” the Law of the Jungle into its next natural condition: a monarchy. Instead of roving clans criss-crossing the lands now, one head man ruled over all the clans, and the people began to call themselves: Egyptians, or Romans, or Greeks. Society’s basic structure, though, was not that different from the caveman’s society, when the Law of the Jungle was the overarching way of life. Early monarchies were REALLY little more than that same Law of the Jungle, now controlled and codified into the Law of the Land. And the PEOPLE were hardly more secure in their persons than they had been in cave times. Only now, the threats to their security came mostly from the capriciousness of their overseers.
Fast forward to the Twentieth Century: This primitive structure is perfectly duplicated in all the Socialist countries of the last and current centuries. In the former Soviet Union; in Nazi Germany; in Communist China; in Cuba; in Venezuela; in Vietnam; and probably most thoroughly of all, in North Korea.
In America today, Socialism represents the people’s acceptance of their own inadequacies; an admission that they believe themselves to be either unable to exercise control over their own affairs, or unwilling to do so. That they WANT an authority figure to do it all for them. It’s Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez telling you and me that we’re inadequate to the task of managing our own affairs. And it’s the people who support those primitives saying they WANT to regress to the primitive. It’s the same as when, as adults, we find outselves wishing Mom and Dad were still there to manage our affairs, to pay our bills, to put a Band-aid on our scraped knee, and make our decisions for us.
It’s a Regression to the Primitive on the individual and societal scale. It’s the fatal bargain we make with society’s authority figures to relinquish basic freedoms for some level of desperately hoped for economic security. We know what Ben Franklin said about exchanging liberty for freedom, don’t we? To refresh: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” It should be noted that in the context of the quote, “Safety” meant economic security.
But each of us knows, deep down — even the Socialist! — that Socialism is the primitive state OUT of which we must evolve. We further know that it’s the condition we must GROW from, IMPROVE from, MATURE out of… into a condition in which WE seize control over who and what we are, in order to place our own stamp on the world around us, and not the imprint that someone else has told us to make. We realize also that we must raise our children to escape from our influence, to be their own people, and to live their lives as THEY see fit. It ain’t easy, but we all know that the OTHER state is… primitive.
Socialism, far from being a progressive, new thing, is nothing more than that same regression to the primitive. Granted, it’s the primitive all gussied up in fancy words like “income equality,” and “social justice,” and “equity,” but it’s still the same, old, mouldering, archaic, uncivilized toxin that has one person lording it over another, and that’s been in place for millennia. It’s the Law of the Jungle from caveman days, when might made right, and the people/serfs/slaves obeyed their powerful overseers… or else.
Now, all the way at the top of this essay, I said that I’d support SOME Socialism with the caveats that it be implemented with an expiration date, and that the people could escape freely from it without penalty. What on EARTH do I mean by this? Why on EARTH would I support experimentation with something I view as deadly poison? Well, I happen to know that no one died and made me God. No one retired and made me the Holder of Absolute Truth. In other words: I could be wrong. I’m confident I’m right, but I’ve been confident of THAT before, too!
The only way to find out is to… try it. But, there’s only one legitimate way to try it, and that’s to implement it in the ways I mentioned above; in such a way as to minimize the damage it can do to anyone in case I AM right.
Also, the only legitimate way to try ANY idea is to allow it to compete mano-a-mano with other ideas, and see which ideas come out on top. I believe strongly that if you allow Socialist entities and organizations to compete honestly with free market entities and organizations, the free market will produce the highest quality products and services, at the best prices… every time.
We already DO this in select circumstances in society today, by the way. Private American schools and universities far outperform the Socialist American educational system. And home schooling, the ultimate in free market education, produces even better results. Furthermore, as time goes by, and healthcare system after healthcare system after healthcare system succumbs to government interference — including here in America — each of these systems has deteriorated, and has had to resort to increasingly drastic dishonesty and corruption to justify its continued existence.
It’s ironic how, the more primitive, the more regressive, the more reactionary the system, the more those who support it insist that we all call it “Progressive.”
When you ride a bike, one of the ways to become a better bike rider is to… fall off. When you do anything requiring advanced skills — one of the best ways to learn to do better is to make mistakes and learn from them. We often hear of the entrepreneur who failed once, twice, five, even ten times, before he hits it big. Or: often the best way to learn how to succeed at something is to fail at it, and to learn from those failures. Why would Economics be any different? One important note: Socialism HAS been tried time and time and time again, and has always failed. There has never been a successful society based on Socialism in the history of the world.
As I said above, though, I could STILL be wrong.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have spent my life observing the worst depredations of Socialism from the outside. Therefore, what I say has no choice but to be far more theoretical and abstract than, say, “The Gulag Archipelago” of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
The great Russian author experienced Socialism up close and personal, when the system slammed him into the Soviet Gulag during the Second World War. The point: Very, VERY few Americans have experienced Socialism up close and personal, and they’ll view what I say, correctly, as theory. It’s theory heavily supported by accepted facts but, nonetheless, it’s still theory. I propose to bring it about in fact… so we can KNOW. Only, let’s bring it about as I described it above.
We all like to regress to the primitive from time to time — it’s called “camping,” or “hiking,” or “roughing it.” But very few of us want to make that a permanent way of life. We STILL want to come home to our warm condo, our apartment, our house; we STILL want to turn on the tap and climb into a warm bath; we STILL want to open the fridge door and pull out the pizza from the party two days ago, chuck it into the microwave, and make ourselves a delicious snack.
When we return from the camping trip, rub salve into the mosquito bites, and pull the ticks out of our clothing, while we ruminate on the simple delights of modern plumbing, we say to ourselves, “That was fun! But thank goodness it’s over, and I won’t be doing THAT for another year!” This is how people OUGHT to be able to experience Socialism.
But I could be wrong.