“Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, have no privacy, and life has never been better". That is the title of an article from the World Economic Forum in November of 2016. The title is basically socialism in a nutshell: no private property, no self-ownership, and no privacy, but somehow, they contend, life will be better. This is the budding trend in America, away from freedom and capitalism in favor of government and socialism; and the data bear this out. Decades after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and dismemberment of the Soviet Union, socialism has reemerged as ungracefully as bellbottom jeans in the classroom and public conscience. According to a 2015 Reason-Rupe survey, 53 percent of Americans under 30 have a favorable view of socialism. Likewise, Gallup has found that an astounding 69 percent of millennials say they’d be willing to vote for a “socialist” candidate for president. Among their parents’ generation, only a third would do so. In 2016, national and exit polls revealed about 70 to 80 percent of young Democrats cast their ballots for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed “democratic socialist.” No matter where you stand on today’s political, social, and economic issues, you have probably heard about this. And for those unaware of this trend, it’s time to heed this warning and learn of the risks. Socialism threatens liberty, as Satan appears disguised as an angel.
In this article, we are going to uncover the identity of socialism, its various disguises, and the continual threats posed to us and any free society. Finally, we'll embark to prescribe the antidote and the lifeblood to our freedom. First, let's talk about socialism.
Socialism is traditionally defined as collective ownership over the means of production. Its admirers regard it as a form of compassion, moral by definition, virtuous by fiat. Yet this betrays the truth about socialism, a dynamic despotism that adapts to its environment and the technologies available to it. Whatever its motives, whatever its definition, it amounts to force, and ultimately oppression, in execution. At its core, socialism is truly whatever its defenders want it to be, tailored to suit any hot topic and conveniently aligned with anything perceived as kind, compassionate or sensitive to the plight of the citizenry and the so-called “general welfare”. Whether it is an ambitious plan to end poverty or world hunger, or to eliminate inequality in our midst, socialism is merely a specious device for social control and, invariably, social ruin.
In vying for control, the socialist must pry the people from their scruples, their time-tested traditions and values, to bring them under control of the new dominion and social order. Indeed, the socialist must inoculate the public to reason, convincing some significant fraction of them that, as one Samuel Clemens may have put it, "what they know ain't so" or that, alternatively, they can't possibly "know" anything at all, that truth is rather a function of one's personal feelings or "lived experience". This kind of subjectivism effectively enables pundits and politicians to get away with the absurd; after all, as Voltaire once proclaimed, "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." In this, the socialists aim to create their own convenient "truths" and doctrines by which people are to be guided and governed, albeit with the popular support of people who've since come to accept this school of thought and, indeed, prefer it over the rigors of reality, logic and reason. As the old phrase goes, “Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.”
One vital aspect of socialism, and broadly any form of Leftism, is the art of rendering the world confusing and unintuitive, such that the political elite assume authority as the final arbiter in political as well as social and moral issues. In this way, the constituents, in their attempt to conform or appear “educated”, will heed the instruction voiced from high atop the ivory tower, where judgments, pronouncements and gestures are made daily, weaving one falsehood, embellishment or contradiction into the next. This ultimately witnesses the last gasps of humanity, whereupon the masses, fighting desperately and perilously for their survival, and for the survival of their traditions, descend into social unrest, economic depression, total war and, ultimately, utter ruin in the wake of some fantastical dream.
Henry Grady Weaver eloquently articulated this point in his 1947 work The Mainspring of Human Progress:
“The truth of the matter is that the American revolution for human freedom is the only thing that’s really new, and it did not end with the surrender of Cornwallis nor with the signing of the Constitution. It’s still going on, and the counterrevolutionists — the enemies of freedom — are on the march. Their major attack is not on the open battle field. It is in the fifth-column technique of skillfully boring from within — a program of infiltration and attrition. The principal secret weapon is traceable to Lenin, who allegedly instructed his followers to first confuse the vocabulary. Lenin was smart. He knew that thinking requires words of precise meaning. Confuse the vocabulary, and the unsuspecting majority is at a disadvantage when defending themselves against the small but highly disciplined minority which knows exactly what it wants and which deliberately promotes word-confusion as the first step in its efforts to divide and conquer.”
The advantages enjoyed by the tyrants through word-confusion are twofold: the confusion affords the tyrants exclusive authority as the final arbiters of truth, or rather their distorted form of it; and the wordplay enables the tyrants to continually manufacture their own convenient truths, to condemn their subjects to their alluring fantasies. Ironically, those fantasies enjoy the advantages bestowed upon them by the market economy, and in turn they form the basis for the assault upon it. In the United States, Hollywood and mainstream media are always eager to lead the charge and share in the spoils. As Samuel Adams once put it, "How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!"
In their assault on virtually everything American, Hollywood not only denounces capitalism and traditional family values, but it routinely blacklists people who stand in their way. Actor Kevin Sorbo is one such actor who met this fate as an outspoken conservative Christian. Referring to Hollywood, Sorbo has said that being a conservative Christian is "like being a double leper." In an interview on the subject, he went on to point out some of the blatant contradictions of the Left:
"They're the ones who say, 'We need to be tolerant; we need to have love,' but they’re the most anti-tolerant people… Every movie, every TV show… there's always some point, someplace, where they'll pretty much degrade anybody who’s conservative or Republican."
This is because Hollywood doesn't really care about anything or anyone other than whatever sells. They don't care about "diversity" or "tolerance" or any number of political buzzwords that have come into vogue just as suddenly as they've been rendered meaningless. They care about selling their stories; and it just so happens that, in the world of cinema, pretending to care is just as good for sales as actually caring. Fortunately for Hollywood, pretending is quite akin to acting, so you might say they're fairly well-rehearsed in it.
For Hollywood and the political Left, they're a marriage of convenience: they share a common vision, but only insofar as their ideas intersect with some measure of popularity and control; not just control over the space, but over the minds and matters of the people. They don't care about truth or righteousness, nor "diversity" or "tolerance". They might celebrate those terms, but only selectively whenever they serve their own specific interests. Indeed, they have no respect for diversity or tolerance where it actually counts, which is to say they have no respect for it at all.
Diversity is entirely irrelevant in the context of gender and ethnicity, which are at front and center of every Leftist's application of the term. The only relevant forms of diversity are those of skill and character: not the manner in which one is born, but the manner in which one conducts himself and presents his opinions. Likewise, tolerance is just as irrelevant in the space of agreement. True tolerance is found in the face of dissent, and that is precisely where it is tested.
However, the Left has no patience for this kind of diversity or tolerance, because it cannot rally unthinking political support around it. What's more, that kind of diversity and tolerance would effectively dismantle the entire premise of the Left overnight, as the people would finally stand to learn the truth as Ayn Rand once put it: "The smallest minority on earth is the individual." Of course, the plight of the individual is a non-starter in politics, because the concept invariably arrives at the conclusion that government is, as Thomas Paine rightly proclaimed, even in its best state, but a necessary evil; and in its worst state, an intolerable one.
Fortunately for Hollywood, the plight of the people is always at their disposal, and so are their minds as clay ready to be shaped and hardened; and wherever that plight fails to meet their ends, Hollywood is happy to embellish or to invent one out of thin air. As it turns out, in a society progressively stripped of its principles and any sense of personal responsibility, there are more willing victims all the more eager to entertain their message. By their designs, the people are left to dream and fantasize, paying little mind to the truth; after all, it's a costless exercise for those who haven't the gumption nor the liberty to afford much else.
As Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov stated, “Socialism will always be an alluring dream, even in the freest and richest countries in the world.” Of course, it's not the dream itself which is so dangerous and deadly, but rather the dastardly attempt to forge it into reality at all costs. As economist Thomas Sowell once wrote, “The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”
In its more nuanced forms, such as in the United States, socialism lays claim to some fraction of business or property, cleverly leaving the main of business in the hands of those who know better how to manage it. This, however, is not a benefit of socialism, but rather a clever disguise by which it cons its subjects into believing that they’re free, in effect leveraging some vestige of capitalism for the advantage of the bureaucracy and the furtherance of socialism, albeit in its modern incarnation. It preserves some semblance of private property, whereby the bureaucracy assumes authority in deciding how much belongs to it; only thereafter does the remainder stay in the hands of the so-called "owners." Of course, under this arrangement, it is the bureaucracy that truly owns the business and the property, but it cleverly allows for the illusion of private ownership, whereby those so-called "owners" are left to manage the business for the benefit of the bureaucrats. After all, the bureaucrats will enjoy a much larger take with this arrangement, as there will be a greater pie for the politicians to enjoy so long as those businesses still believe that they are their rightful owners.
Suffice it to say, the sustainability of this system depends squarely on the maintenance of that illusion and the hope that the people never grow wary of it; as soon they’ve become aware of the system to truly appreciate their relationship with their government and their society, they will want nothing to do with it. They will have finally awakened to the truth about their enslavement, and they will invariably determine that the effort and the risk of their daily toil are inadequately offset by the limited advantages and future prospects, pecuniary or otherwise, inherent to this kind of arrangement. At this juncture, only force and coercion will stave off the mass exodus, and this can only slow the death of a system destined for its demise, but not before it spills some blood and drags its opponents, and even many of its supporters, down with it. This is precisely where socialism grows violent, either in response to or in anticipation of this exodus, because it cannot possibly endure without the subjects whom it enslaves. For this reason, the masters of deceit are always clever in their methods and their disguises, consistently keeping their subjects at bay as they claim an ever greater share of the pie for themselves.
Interestingly enough, through central banking and bills of credit, whereby government monopolizes the supply of money, or currency, that bureaucracy can get away with taking an even greater share of that pie without raising the official tax rate. This is truly the modern form of socialism, whereby ownership over the means of production has been replaced by ownership over the form of money. This is, by appearances, less invasive, but it is truly more pernicious than the forms which preceded it. As the outspoken legislative aide Harold Wallace Rosenthal stated in a 1976 interview, "Money power was essential in carrying out our master plan of international conquest through propaganda."
Indeed, under this arrangement, the socialists get away with sounding charitable while convincing the public that their initiatives will impose no additional costs. Moreover, they claim that the additional money, which they merely print off the presses, makes us richer in the process. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, the printing of money only makes us poorer, transferring purchasing power and real goods and services from those "owners" into the hands of the bureaucrats, or those connected to them. Whereas the bureaucrats contend that society will be richer for it, the truth is that the bureaucrats will have successfully stolen more stuff while leaving society with more paper, or its equivalent. So, while people will predictably feel wealthier, and maybe even more "progressive" upon their government's imposition, they will all be worse off because of it.
This is hardly accidental but rather another demand of Leftism, which, through a vicious cycle, breeds progressively more poverty and, in turn, broader support for its empty promises. This induces a kind of circling-the-drain effect, whereby poor people and their sycophants, through their approbation, encourage the implementation of countless welfare programs which, in turn, reinforce their further impoverishment; this consequently bolsters their ranks as more people are drawn into poverty and predictably call for more of the same.
The political elite are fully aware of this phenomenon, which is why they rally to fill their constituencies with the dregs and the most gullible of society, among them refugees and immigrants; they are easy to deceive and to control, and they will scarcely put up a fight when met with the force of government.
Desperate for their survival or otherwise seeking a steady paycheck, they will dispense with virtually any principle to pay their bills and satisfy their government; in their desperation, they will even collaborate with the government as it subverts the law and subjugates the people. The Leftists endeavor to fill their constituencies so that they will outnumber or drown out the others who remember the laws, traditions and principles which keep the government at bay; this population is the enemy of government, which seeks to dispense with them for further power, influence and control.
In this way, the people who once fought for their liberty, who once framed their government, and the heirs who thereafter inherited it, are soon replaced by constituents who know nothing of it, who are instead concerned with their mere survival or their own enrichment. Soon enough, the ties are completely severed between the people and their forbears, as they are eventually brought under the spell of Leftism. In this particular case, it is the spell of diversity and multiculturalism, popular buzzwords used to conceal the government's primary objective: control.
Leftist politicians aggressively describe these ideas as progressive, inclusive, and indispensable to any humane and civilized society. However, the truth is this: the Leftists in charge understand that this kind of policy drives social discord and instability, through which they are the chief beneficiaries.
Always eager for more control, and ready with a whole host of measures, their governments relentlessly pursue a policy of multiculturalism to ensure that the citizenry will cede progressively more power to them to resolve their disputes. Whereas a people sharing mutually in their culture might otherwise have fewer disputes and more reasonable ways to resolve them, multiculturalism introduces a myriad of challenges, stokes resentment, and keeps the people busy fighting each other, vying for control over government in an effort to solve their problems. It is especially useful in the erasure of any culture and civilization born of liberty and independence; from the government's point of view, any such culture or civilization stands in the way of government and serves as a reminder of its historical record. It is in just this way that chaos is in the interest of government; not too much chaos that the people will unite to overthrow their government, but just enough to keep them busy bickering amongst each other and ready to deploy their government against their enemies.
Multiculturalism is just one of many tricks employed by governments to subvert the public liberty; it is just one of the many devices used to subtly and inconspicuously control a populace, to keep them begging their government for answers while none the wiser to the ploy. Fortunately for government, they have an ally in democracy, which presents the illusion that the majority are winning, and that the minority stands a chance at reversing things if only they can rally enough support; but the Leftists are always ahead of them, tilting the scales in their own favor.
As the Leftists reform the ranks of their constituencies, they enjoy the further benefit of the continued illusion of consensus, ensuring that a growing segment of society will approve of their agendas; in turn, their constituencies will predictably do their bidding, pressuring their peers into silence or conformity, and in most cases condemning their history and demanding that their peers do the same.
It is in just this way that a civilization circles the drain. As opposed to gravity, however, it is the lure of Leftism which pulls the people down; and it will pull them down until it's emptied the tub. That is, of course, if the tub doesn't give out first.
By the time Leftism gets a hold of the people and their imaginations, it turns the people and their lives into the instruments of their own enslavement; and by its own designs, the people are so busy keeping up, so distracted by cheap entertainment and propaganda, so preoccupied in their petty disagreements, and so fearful of bucking the conventions, that they live merely to survive. All the while, little did they know that, in their quest to survive they were erecting or otherwise condoning the very institutions that would continue their own subjugation. Whatever the means, and whatever their disguise, their ends are always the same: the achievement of further control through the concealment of their motives.
Gradually, through its clever and convoluted network, the bureaucracy will succeed in influencing every aspect of commerce and daily life, not merely at the hands of the state, but by private enterprise genuflecting to false idols, repeating their mantras and pressuring their own peers, customers and employees to comply. This is yet another disguise of socialism, a mutilated form of a market economy and an outgrowth of a government wielding too much power and influence. Of course, this is no coincidence.
As Henry Grady Weaver wrote in 1947, in his Mainspring of Human Progress, “[Marx and his followers] believed industrial capitalism to be the natural forerunner of socialism; that to bring about the world millennium they must concentrate, first of all, on highly developed capitalistic countries — using the processes of attrition, boring from within, fomenting dissension and class hatred, and promoting collectivistic measures through existing governmental agencies.” Weaver continued, “This is something like jujitsu, which has been described as the technique of defeating an opponent by turning his own strength against him.” Weaver concluded, “In other words, it was a program of inducing capitalism to commit suicide, then stepping in and taking things over.”
Socialism feeds on prosperous capitalist societies not only out of economic necessity — for it couldn’t possibly survive, let alone advance, for any meaningful period of time over any other — but for the advantage enjoyed over the kind of public which has grown comfortable and generally unwilling to risk that comfort by any effort which might cost them financially, a night’s rest, or some time behind bars. In becoming comfortable, they are more susceptible to any soft despotism, for they have more to lose, and they have long been spared the need to fight. Ironically, unbeknownst to them, they have everything to lose in their complacency and their unwillingness to take up the mantle in defense of liberty. In one of the great tragedies of the human experience, we find that comfort breeds a form of cowardice which leaves the people unwilling to defend the very principle which gave rise to those unrivaled comforts in the first place: liberty. As Fyodor Dostoevsky famously wrote in his 1866 novel Crime and Punishment, "Man has it all in his hands, and it all slips through his fingers from sheer cowardice."
This takeover happens gradually and surreptitiously, under the most clever of disguises, often advertised under the banners of equality, the common good and the the general welfare. Of course, the socialists are always clever enough to have their unwitting victims celebrating their own sacrifices; indeed, in many cases their victims encourage or join them as they chisel away at the foundations of their liberty.
The socialists, at least the ones leading the charge, are often shrewd enough to pace themselves in their advance upon the public liberty, as they require the assent, or the acquiescence, of the people as they continue their siege; the other advantage of this strategy, of course, is that it affords the people time to adapt to their new circumstances, in which the socialists and their useful idiots, otherwise termed korisne budale, celebrate a new form of liberty or freedom, enabling only further usurpations. As the Scottish philosopher David Hume once observed, "It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once."
For this reason, the people must contest every margin of government. They must remember that, where their political bands have been corrupted, they are the last stand for liberty; they must jealously defend it at all costs.
This means that, in the face of absolute despotism, the public may be thrust into resistance for their own preservation and the preservation of liberty. After all, once a people have been brought under such a despotism, it will have been so corrupted that no mere political process would stand to dismantle it.
The final check against this kind of despotism is the man who is willing to fight, who is ready to throw his body upon the gears in order to finally bring the machine to a halt. Unsurprisingly, tyrants don’t take kindly to resistance, and so they use clever language in their attempts to discredit their opposition.
Where the public poses any resistance, the tyrants term it insurrection. In the tyrants' view, insurrection is anything that threatens the establishment; and, conveniently for them, they claim that the establishment is founded upon democracy.
In truth, democracy is merely their shield, their illusion, and the pressure relief valve which keeps most of the public at bay as the establishment grows more tyrannical. So long as it claims to be democratic, any other means of accountability, wherever the establishment has failed to effect it, is deemed insurrectionist by the establishment.
The establishment, in turn, plays victim and claims that the whole institution of democracy is under attack, when it’s actually the failure of their institutions which has impelled the resistance.
It is worth noting that the value of democracy, insofar as it possesses any value at all, is as the means; it is not the end in and of itself. Wherever it fails to secure the safety and happiness of the people, and wherever it fails to protect life, liberty and property, and wherever it evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, as the Declaration of Independence states, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
Ultimately, the survival of liberty depends upon the people who are willing to stand in its defense. The people must remain vigilant, for, in the case of socialism, despotism comes to assume a wide variety of disguises.
Whether through non-profit organizations or non-governmental agencies, whether sponsored or subsidized by government, or whether a public school indoctrinating the youth or a private company promoting some political agenda or condemning its critics, the tentacles of socialism are upon us, manipulating nearly every aspect of our lives, even the very thoughts that occupy our minds. The pressures around us, sponsored or certified by the beast, evidence its pervasive influence, yet leave little trace of it. Instead, the unthinking and unsuspecting pay little mind to the building pressures, the trenches carved around them, and the masses preparing to lay siege. By taking over and controlling their media, they’ve controlled their minds, and by controlling their familiar businesses and their neighbors, they’ve limited all that they are permitted to do or say. In this way, socialism is not just about determining how to achieve control or justify corporal punishment, but how to limit access exclusively to those who might grow to accept it; in turn, whether for some business interest, self-preservation, or some sense of duty, those who have been granted access will do the bidding of the bureaucracy, whether by encouraging compliance, reporting violations, supporting further impositions, or even enforcing its edicts. While not expressly the work of government, the people and their businesses, succumbing to the pressures around them, do their bidding as agents on their behalf. All the while, of course, the beast keeps its hands clean, rejoicing in the decisions of the public, taking credit while assuming none of the blame.
In this manner, socialism always emerges in clever ways, making life easier for those who acquiesce, yet excruciatingly difficult for those who wish only to continue living as freely as they once did. In this way, the scales predictably tilt in favor of socialism once the people figure out how to comply, intensifying the peer pressure upon the diminishing ranks of the few bold enough to stand on principle and defend their liberty. Once the scales have tipped, it’s almost impossible to recover. Once it’s become easier to comply than to defend liberty, the people mustn’t shrink in cowardice. They must stand together, shoulder to shoulder, decrying passionately and unequivocally every injustice upon their liberty. This is their final defense against tyranny of any form, and their highest obligation to their heirs and posterity: to stay vigilant to every threat, to unveil tyranny in its various forms, and to strip it to the bone in utter humiliation as a reminder of the cost of any threat posed to liberty.
Unfortunately, this is an endless battle of vigilance, as it is in our nature to survive, not to be free. All too often, compliance makes it all too easy to survive, but we must remember that it’s liberty that makes life worth surviving.
In its various disguises, socialism seeks to discredit liberty and erase it altogether from the collective memory. It is the duty of the people to remember the cost attending too little liberty, the countless hundreds of millions of lives lost in its absence, and the means by which it’s threatened today.
Ironically, socialism is often praised for its provision of social services and its poetic promises of welfare and equality. However, these initiatives operate from the middle of the story, a fabricated premise which highlights the plight of individuals or demographics mired in some kind of adversity, and which predictably fails to evaluate, or even remotely acknowledge, the attending factors or plausible causes. Instead, the socialist flatly assumes and boldly asserts that each instance is merely another example of inequality and injustice. Of course, the socialist pays little mind to the fact that inequality is the rule, the organic state of all things in nature; instead, the socialist leverages that inequality to rally unthinking masses around the political cause, rooted inextricably in covetous greed and envy.
What's more, the socialist assumes that wealthy people have succeeded only insofar as they have exploited or stolen from those among them who are purportedly struggling daily to survive, living paycheck to paycheck, or having a hard time making ends meet. Irony is hardly lost here, however, where we find the latter typically carrying an expensive handbag or cellphone, cruising around town in a brand new vehicle. Interestingly, despite the many among them clamoring about their struggle, one scarcely finds any of them burglarizing grocery stores.
In still other cases, we find those struggling actors joining in "protests" burglarizing designer clothiers and electronics stores; ironically — or perhaps not so ironically, given an adequate understanding of their worldview — it is the socialists who are found mugging people and robbing their stores; it is the socialists who seek equality, not under the law but for their own personal advantage, through theft, violence and intimidation. As proclaimed in Psalm 37 of the Old Testament, "The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them... The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken."
In any free market, however, it is the capitalist and the entrepreneur who must necessarily add value in any transaction to entice any person to willingly do business with them: they give generously while "the wicked borrow and do not repay." It is the capitalist and the entrepreneur who invest in plant and equipment to enable their workers to gain in their productivity; and it is this gain in productivity, and the attending benefits that accompany a stable, and often safe, work environment which entice people to abandon their lives as individuals in order to accept the terms of their employment. In any free market, people are free to use, or to not use, their property; they are free to offer their labor or services, just as they are free to withhold them. In a free market, no one sacrifices any of these rights upon launching a business. Just as every worker is entitled to his wage and the total terms of his employment, so too is the employer entitled to retain the right to his property, which includes the revenue generated by that property and by the contracts negotiated upon the use of that property.
Socialists plainly have no interest in private property, which is to say that they have no interest in freedom. The right of private property is not just a benefit of freedom, but a necessary condition for it. Wherever this right is withheld, there is slavery. After all, wherever man is without the right to his property, or to the product of his labor, he is left without the right of self-ownership; and wherever man is said to not own himself, he is owned by someone else or, by the claims of the socialist, by his society. The only difference here, as it turns out, is one between a conspicuous form and another which is more abstract.
The socialists are everywhere armed with slogans and compassionate-sounding pleas, ranging from scaremongering, in the form of manmade climate change, to a false premise which contends that certain people are doomed to their stations in life, that there is no economic mobility, and that their only salvation can come in the form of government. Ironically — admittedly, the most clever of socialists understand this — these activities predictably result in only greater adversity, poverty and, in many cases, inequality. Conveniently for the socialists, this only bolsters their ranks as confusion and despondency leaves them desperately searching for quick fixes and easy solutions.
In truth, unfortunately, the socialist agenda destroys every aspect of human existence, beginning with its economic ramifications. In setting out to achieve nirvana, which proves everywhere elusive, the administration will invariably require prohibitively-high taxes and inflation which decelerate economic growth, which impair society’s ability to sustainably meet the proposed ends. In truth, as the author George Orwell once quipped, Leftists are motivated not by some love for the poor, but by their hatred for success.
A twisted form of envy and greed, they seek to pillage and plunder, to tear down society and any among them who’ve enjoyed any measure of success, to foment revolution. Under the banners of socialism and equality, they are more appropriately termed agents of violence and coercion. In seeking “equality” over freedom, the socialist, unwittingly or otherwise, prioritizes a kind of “equality” at the expense of prosperity and liberty.
Where society otherwise enjoys higher standards of living, the socialist, in most cases, insists that we dispense with it in favor of “equality”; in other cases, he even admits that equal suffering is preferable to the kind of prosperity that yields inequality. For the socialist, in this sense, it’s not important that the member of society have the opportunity to improve his lot in life, or that he enjoy a higher standard of living; on the contrary, the socialist prefers that every member of society be spared the agony of witnessing others with greater success.
Even the egalitarian view, which seeks equality or, more correctly, which seeks to condense life into this context, serves either incidentally or intentionally to bring the proles into equal standing under the dominion of the state. Their equal standing, as characterized, breeds subservience to a vaunted state which has succeeded in bringing about an equality between the peoples, despite their progressive suffering which invariably finds its justification in the state they have all been made to serve. In this way, they are brought under the dominion of their state as fungible soldiers or slaves, not one of whom could possibly conquer their master; after all, they are all equals in dress, appearance, strength and competency, or so they’ve been conditioned to think. In this supposed state of equality, anyone who might dare to counter the convention is thus made a lunatic or a heretic. In this way, the subjects of the state are fooled into perpetual slavery under the banner of equality, which serves only to bring the people into a nearly equal form of misery. Meanwhile, the state basks in the bounty laid at its table by those who wouldn’t dare to suggest that they are anything more or less than equal.
So why do people still think that socialism is "progressive"? That’s the subject of the next point.
As Winston Churchill stated, “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
Recent history demonstrates the ease with which clever politicians have successfully attached the label "socialism" to several causes. When considered seriously, they have virtually nothing to do with socialism. For example, human rights, welfare, environmentalism, and the end of poverty and racial prejudice, are initiatives often associated with socialism. These causes, as advertised, come to form the pretext by which the people are made to relinquish their freedoms; however, they are generally unrelated, or merely incidental to, socialism, a kind of specious humbug designed to conceal its greater desire for economic control. As the French author Albert Camus once wrote, “The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.”
Whether a form of regulation, a series of subsidies, or the construction of forced labor camps, socialism ultimately seeks to broaden its control; of course, it has achieved this objective diplomatically and with pretense, scarcely admitting of its desired ends in its promise of various benefits and so-called "social safety nets" along the way. Timothy Mellon, businessman and grandson of former Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, aptly characterized these "safety nets" as "Slavery Redux," whereby Americans have been made "slaves of a new Master, Uncle Sam." Writing in his 2015 autobiography, Mellon described this arrangement as an exchange of votes for "freebies," all at the expense of freedom and honest, hardworking Americans:
"For delivering their votes in the Federal Elections, they are awarded with yet more and more freebies: food stamps, cell phones, WIC payments, Obamacare, and on, and on, and on. The largess is funded by the hardworking folks, fewer and fewer in number, who are too honest or too proud to allow themselves to sink into this morass."
Whether central banking, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, subsidized housing, environmental or consumer protection, tariffs, price controls, taxes on income, property, wealth, capital gains or any transaction, the means are always justified by their higher ends; and those means, offset in theory by their motivations, invariably transform any civilization into one massive forced labor camp, where freedom goes virtually extinct as its subjects, one after another, lose their freedom to choose the form, frequency and purpose of their labor, shortly after they’ve conceded the product thereof.
In this way, the people are made to work for the benefit of the administration, the elite and the institutions erected around them; of course, they're made to work for select "victims" as well, namely the elderly, the "underserved" and the "most vulnerable" among us, but only insofar as this arrangement serves to superficially corroborate the true interests and ulterior motives of the administration and the elite. Without fail, their interests are secured by their control over the people, where personal freedom stands, as they see it, only to impede their "progress" and their enjoyment of the spoils.
For this reason, they invariably exploit every imaginable excuse, every social weakness and sensibility, to diminish the public liberty. In this way, the Leftists wrest away every last freedom in their unending crusade against every last sorrow, hardship and inequity inherent to life on their planet. Whatever their cause, it is always fleeting, enduring only so long as it serves to accomplish their true objective, and always changing to keep the public dazed and confused. After all, in the chaos brought upon them, the people are all the more likely to bicker among themselves as the masters of deceit continue to realize their plans.
Nevertheless, that sole objective, control, is always concealed by claims which purport to advance the “general welfare” or “common good” of the people. This is, perhaps, the most pernicious aspect of socialism: it is all too often appraised for its purported intentions instead of its predictable results. Appraised at first for its intentions, the new status quo eventually becomes its own justification into the future.
Socialism then, born at once from popular intentions, sets into stone as convention or tradition, taking on a life of its own. Beyond the intentions and the lives of those who once advocated for it, which inevitably perish, a new generation invariably inherits the tools of its forbears. In this way, socialism outlives the banners, the celebrants, the intentions and the designs from which it was born, leaving newfound power in the hands of fallible human beings progressively ignorant to the original intentions and singularly motivated by personal or political gain.
Even in the wake of its most abject failures, the Leftists never admit that government has become too powerful. Even where government has committed such heinous atrocities as genocide and assassination, they claim that the wrong people were merely in charge or that government wasn't powerful enough to prevent the atrocities.
As they see it, government can never be powerful enough; even where it proves powerful enough to destroy, in their estimation it should be rendered even more powerful in order to mitigate that destruction. All the while, of course, government becomes progressively more powerful, more uncontrollable and destructive upon assuming an ever wider scope of control. After all, its justifications are just that: justifications for more power and control.
From their point of view, freedom is never a plausible alternative. It is here that we find the primary objective of every Leftist, which is to pry away every last freedom, every last penny, and every last right from the grasp of the people. All the while, their clever disguises and noblest of intentions keep the public from ever taking notice.
The intentions and the designs of socialism serve merely to advertise on its behalf; upon the acceptance of socialism within any civilization, the people are brought indefinitely under the authority of the new regime, which can be made to work for any period of time only by the powers of force and coercion. The socialists claim that the dictatorship will eventually wither away, but history decrees that it never withers away; that, on the contrary, the force and coercion necessary to get things started become progressively necessary to support a system that simply cannot be made to work. This is precisely why Leftist states are constantly mobilizing for war.
Of necessity, Leftist regimes must, for their own survival, mobilize for war; this is an endless state of existence, a necessary condition for Leftism and one of its many features. Their policies lacking the abundance and scalability of the free market, they must wage endless wars for resources, keep their citizens from fleeing, and force them to work for the establishment. This often results in internal conflict, between the oppressed and the oppressors, and international wars between despots fighting over resources to fuel their own empires and eliminate their competition. In many cases, warring nations might even share in their ideologies, but they fight nonetheless, not necessarily over ideological differences, but to secure resources and their alliances which guarantee them a share into the future. In mobilizing for war, the regime additionally succeeds in distracting the public, rallying support around some manufactured cause, and engendering a warped sense of loyalty to the state. In developing their armies for this endeavor, they enjoy still another crucial advantage: more power over the people, and thus the equipment, logistics and manpower to lay siege upon them, to bring them into conformity, and to quell even the faintest hint of resistance.
This is where progressivism and progressivists reveal their true colors. Indeed, they’re “progressive” only in the amount of force they will ultimately require to take their experiment to the very end, with regard for neither the costs nor the casualties left in their wake.
Conveniently for the socialists, by the time their experiment has irrevocably failed, they're either already dead or otherwise incredulous to the results and their part in all of it; in the latter case, they've already prepared their excuses ahead of time, readying their defense by blaming other factors that are, as it turns out, inseparable from any system careening toward socialism.
As for its victims, they’re all too often more informed than educated; that is to say, under socialism they’re trained to know what to think instead of how to think. As it is, by the time all of this finally reaches a head, most of the people are simply too far removed from its origins to truly appreciate the sinister sequence of events which put all of this in motion. As such, in their failure to sound the alarm for all of posterity, they confess their ignorance in condemning their heirs to the same, and the cycle of statism continues unabated.
Not only are their heirs unprepared to articulate the case for freedom, due to fear or incompetence, but they are wildly ill-equipped to physically defend themselves against the monster empowered by their parents to regiment every conceivable aspect of their lives. Whether in their silence, their acquiescence or their activism, the monster lays waste to their freedom, and that of their heirs, with the benefit of their approval, implied or otherwise.
Under socialism, the individual is not only the single greatest threat to the establishment, but he’s a threat to himself if he lets his comrades in on his secret. Under socialism, the individual is best served by keeping his mouth shut or otherwise suppressing his own thoughts, lest he risk life or limb by suggesting that he might dare to think for himself.
There is simply no place for an individual under socialism; as the socialist sees it, the individual stands only to threaten the new status quo. Under socialism he is met swiftly with force which reminds him of his place in society, and which keeps him from disturbing the gears of the great social machine.
Socialism is either a fantastic dream, a palatable lie, or a great deceit, but it is not and never will be progressive. Despite the compassionate packaging of socialism, it is effected and maintained only through force, democratic or otherwise. After all, the "democratic" means are just that: the means to sweeping social control. Once those means are secured, the administration remains democratic in name only, beyond reproach because of its stated intentions and the people who've come to depend on it, unconquerable due to its insurmountable power, unaccountable to the public whom it purports to represent, and yet unassailable for the assumed consensus which theoretically corroborates its very existence.
Wherever "democracy" either dominates or condones oppression, it invariably prevails over a people devoid of principle, aptitude and ambition, or otherwise lacking the profound desire to truly live. Indeed, even in the presence of some semblance of the latter, it's ultimately in service to some ulterior motive.
Oppression by consensus, implied or otherwise, is oppression all the same. Oppression by the designs of democracy is merely more insidious, serving to pit the public against each other instead of their rulers; serving to distribute the guilt such that no one person is accountable; serving to operate from the presumed approval of the masses, and to likewise enjoy the benefit of their conscience in continuing the oppression. Ultimately, the risk of democracy is in the illusion of consensus, and in the legalization of plunder and suppression under its auspices. Indeed, this is one of the many advantages enjoyed by the rulers of any system stylized as a democracy: it keeps the public at bay and in their pockets, as they employ them to do their bidding and to fund every conceivable political agenda, even if that means suppressing the very people who seek to preserve the public liberty.
Democracy destroys. It keeps the people busy fighting amongst each other, and it keeps them hopeful and believing that they're just one election away from redemption. As more and more people are seduced by the promises of democracy, the state wages every one of its efforts, however deplorable, with the help of its loyal benefactors who dutifully pay their tribute to escape the wrath of their rulers.
As their rulers impose more obligations upon the public, and as they raise taxes and plunder the public treasury, they fortify their defenses against a public that might finally awaken to the con. Unfortunately, by this time the public's efforts to reclaim their liberty are met with an insurmountable force: not only a standing army more than prepared to quell any resistance, but their fellow man who is reluctant to join in the fight.
By this time, that standing army will consist of familiar friends and family who've since developed a sense of duty to their rulers, and who are more interested in their jobs and their own personal welfare than that of the public, let alone posterity. What's more, unlike the resistance, that standing army will enjoy an endless supply of resources from taxpayers who will continue to fund their efforts, whether out of fear, loyalty, indifference, or acquiescence.
This is the uphill battle faced by the resistance, the veritable Sons of Liberty who are left, on every occasion, to wage the desperate and often futile fight against tyranny. In the case of democracy, or any system so stylized, it is not only a fight against tyranny, but one against theory. This is precisely why Leftism is so insidious.
While it could plausibly be theorized that a democratic socialism might arise from the consensus of a well-intentioned constituency, their ranks predictably wane over time in favor of a constituency which prefers socialism not for its stated intentions, but for its expedience in fleecing their contemporaries and silencing their opponents. For these reasons and others, once this apparatus is sent in motion, it becomes virtually impossible to stop. As economist Milton Friedman warned in his 1984 work Tyranny of the Status Quo, "Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program."
Ultimately, whatever the seemingly-virtuous or -noble ends, under socialism they are corrupted by the means. After all, the virtue of charity is found not in the regimentation of society, but in the voluntary will and compassion of individuals; the efficacy of charity is found there as well, as individuals are always better stewards of charity than any thoughtless system which seeks to replace them. As it turns out, through socialism, charity and compassion are gutted from society and replaced with the thoughtless and uncaring mechanics of tyranny, commonly corroborated on the surface by some agreeable "common good".
As told in the fabled story of Horatio Bunce in his speech to Congressman David Crockett during the congressman’s reelection campaign:
“It is not the amount that I complain of; it is the principle. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man. Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose.”
As the story goes, Bunce then stressed the living contradiction of so many in Congress:
“Money with [Congressmen] is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it.”
It is in just this manner that a soft despotism envelops a people, and even elicits their acquiescence or applause in the process. Once the state has convinced enough people to tolerate, accept or even champion its initiatives, it comes to support itself and assume further control with the vote of the people, and then, by force of arms, it fills its treasury for its own benefit and, to a lesser extent, the benefit of its constituents.
As Professor Alexander Tytler of the University of Edinburgh commented, in 1787, about the fall of the Athenian Republic some two thousand years earlier:
“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”
In his 1947 work The Mainspring of Human Progress, Henry Grady Weaver described socialism in just this way, warning of the pernicious threat of dictatorship in the very designs of socialism:
“In line with the teachings of Marx, the proponents admit the necessity but argue that it is merely a temporary measure — that the dictatorship will automatically ‘wither away’ just as soon as things get going. They contend that history decrees this withering away, but the facts do not bear out this theory. In all history, there is no evidence of any dictatorship ever withering away. Dictatorship always feeds on itself. The ruthless tactics necessary to get it started becoming increasingly ruthless in the efforts to conceal the errors and defects of a scheme that can’t be made to work.”
Socialism can’t be made to work precisely because of three defects inherent to it. First is the incentive problem, the failure of socialism to incentivize production, saving and investment. This, in turn, stifles innovation and atrophies industry. This deficiency comes in the abandonment of private property and, just as importantly, the repurposing of labor and, above all, the meaning of life. In the face of these troubling themes, the French economist Frédéric Bastiat published his own criticisms in his 1850 treatise The Law:
"And what part do persons play in all this? They are merely the machine that is set in motion. In fact, are they not merely considered to be the raw material of which the machine is made?"
Indeed, this begs of socialism an answer to these and other questions: What is the purpose of the individual? What is the meaning of life? Of course, these are questions that socialism universally fails to address; on the contrary, socialism hastens to assume that the individual and the family are unimportant, dispensable for the welfare of society or the utopia they can nearly imagine. In their lust for utopia, however, they fall short of approximating the very real risks and the predictable consequence of any such design which rejects the sovereignty of man.
As Russian philosopher Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote in his 1864 novel Notes from Underground, “Shower upon him every earthly blessing, drown him in bliss so that nothing but bubbles would dance on the surface of his bliss, as on a sea... and even then every man, out of sheer ingratitude, sheer libel, would play you some loathsome trick. He would even risk his cakes and would deliberately desire the most fatal rubbish, the most uneconomical absurdity, simply to introduce into all this positive rationality his fatal fantastic element... simply in order to prove to himself that men still are men and not piano keys.”
After all, despite waxing poetic about designs for nirvana, all that man naturally desires is in his struggle for the benefit of himself and for that of his family. The socialist, or any collectivist by any other name, seeks to rewrite the human condition. In this, he seeks first to convince his unwitting subjects of another world order, something distinct from the natural course just described. Upon convincing his followers, he rearranges the ends they serve in their daily toil. Eventually, they turn on their newfound system, either for sport or upon finally recognizing the value of their former traditions. After all, once a civilization has compromised its values, there is precious little that can be done in the way of politics to reverse its decline without somehow compounding its problems.
As the German philosopher Frederic Nietzsche wrote in his 1901 work The Will to Power, “nihilism represents the ultimate logical conclusion of our great values and ideals — because we must experience nihilism before we can find out what value these ‘values’ really had.”
Indeed, a disillusioned Marxist once wrote of his stint in Soviet Russia upon defecting from the United States in the fall of 1959. After nearly a year in the Soviet Union, he came to regard Russian Communism as yet another brand of slavery. He wrote the following in his diary near the end of summer in 1960:
“As my Russian improves, I become increasingly conscious of just what sort of society I live in. Mass gymnastics, compulsory after work meeting, usually political information meeting. Compulsory attendance at lectures and the sending of the entire shop collective (except me) to pick potatoes on a Sunday, at a state collective farm: A 'patriotic duty' to bring in the harvest. The opinions of the workers (unvoiced) are that it's a great pain in the neck.”
The same Marxist wrote in a letter dated January 4, 1961:
“I am starting to reconsider my desire about staying. The work is drab, the money I get has nowhere to be spent. No nightclubs or bowling alleys. No places of recreation, except trade union dances. I have had enough.”
Upon his return to the United States, he later delivered a speech on July 27, 1963, at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. In a speech before an audience of Jesuit priests and scholastics, he lamented the unsurpassed crimes committed by the Soviets, "the imprisonment of their own peoples, the mass extermination so typical of Stalin, and the individual suppression and regimentation under Khrushchev." He continued further in lamenting "the deportations, the purposeful curtailment of diet in the consumer slighted population of Russia, the murder of history, the prostitution of art and culture."
Regrettably, the Leftist, all too often consumed by designs of nirvana, can scarcely conceive of the harsher realities; incredulous to the misgivings of his opponents, he must first suffer the scourge of his own imaginings, but not before effecting the destruction of his country and their former traditions. After all, this destruction is an essential condition for the implementation of his wretched system.
Socialism, or any collectivism for that matter, must first endeavor to denigrate and then destroy the existing power structure and every authority ruling over it. Whether a god or a set of traditions, the new order must abolish the old. For the purposes of socialism, this means the disintegration of the family and erasure of the individual. Karl Marx writes plainly of this in Fundamentals of a Critique of Political Economy: "Society does not consist of individuals, but expresses the sum of interrelations, the relations within which these individuals stand."
According to Marx, the individual is nothing more than a member of an economic class, basically irrelevant without his society or the relations within which he stands. According to Marx, society is not a macrocosm of individuals nor the sum of individual decisions, but rather the expressed purpose of the individual, insofar as he is regarded as having any independent purpose or value at all.
According to Marx, or broadly any collectivist, it is the interest of society, however defined, which ought to limit the purpose and thence the labors of the individual. After all, it is the individual who poses the greatest threat to this kind of system. As H. L. Mencken once wrote, “The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos.”
It is not by accident nor incident, but by deliberate design, that the individual and the family are marginalized under socialism. Contrary to the interests of the individual or the family, it is the society that decides what is just and good.
This is precisely why the state seeks to preoccupy the people with endless work and designs of the common good. This is why the state seeks to undermine faith and family; to dumb the people down, and to bring them into conformity, through public schooling and political propaganda; to encourage them, through television sitcoms and sardonic rhetoric, to take their lives and their heirs less seriously. This is why the state seeks to maximize employment, celebrate equality and denounce greed; to busy parents with work as they condemn their children to "professionals" at daycare centers; to develop social welfare programs and entitlements to encourage individuals to live independent of their own families and their former traditions; and to, in turn, strip families of their inherent responsibilities and, thus, their influence over their own children.
In many such cases, the people are pleased to finally be free of their obligations and the demands of their faith and former traditions; in still other cases, they pretend to be, in service to some political, business, or social interest. In whatever case, however, they are often blissfully unaware of the tradeoffs. After all, where the state has succeeded in convincing some segment of the population of its merits, or otherwise the soundness of its intentions, the people are made to believe that each person serves a particular role within society; that one's obligation is to neither faith nor family, but to nothing other than his society; and that there are "professionals" for every task, who are, in the case of family and childrearing, essentially interchangeable with the parents and grandparents, or otherwise assumed better qualified to raise and educate their children.
In the planned disintegration of the family unit, women have even been conned into believing that they've been liberated from their domestic duties; yet, instead of laboring for the benefit of their own families, they now work for CEOs, stakeholders and conglomerates, and according to the politicians and political activists, they are all better off for it. According to them, this is progress.
This means that both parents are so busy working to subsist that their children are taken to daycare centers so that their parents can afford to shelter, clothe and feed them; this means that their children are brought under the care of "professionals" instead of keeping them in the care of the ones who are biologically predisposed to love and nurture them. It is a shame that so many parents have bought into this con, and that so many have been led to believe that they can both ignore nature and suppress their instincts without consequence.
This is all by the designs of Leftism, which requires the dissolution of the family unit so that the people can be made to work for the common good, a clever euphemism for the political elites who define it.
This is not for the good of the people or the family, but for the benefit of the state as the people are made to serve, and even worship, its interests; and they are often left so busy and utterly desperate for assistance that they hardly think twice about their sacrifice. From the state's point of view, this has the further benefit of presenting government in a positive light as a savior for some and a benevolent influence for others; this, in turn, has the effect of gradually anointing the state as the unquestioned authority over nearly every aspect of life.
Of course, by the time the government has succeeded in dismantling the family and convincing the public of their equality under the state, they will have already lost touch with the kind of love which might otherwise serve to defend their better interests; and they will have been left equally powerless against the state they've all come to support, condone, or to which they've even pledged their unconditional allegiance.
In this way, where the state succeeds in dismantling the family, their faith and their traditions, it ultimately succeeds in replacing those institutions with its own; and in replacing those institutions, the state expects the full faith, love and devotion of the people. Once the state has achieved this end as the ultimate authority and the final arbiter on all things, tyranny is a foregone conclusion, and one that will be suffered to the bitter end. After all, where society has been stripped of love and family, there is nothing left to stand in the way of tyranny; and so the end will come only upon its disastrous collapse and some unspeakable suffering, not from the triumph of love, reason or sound judgment.
Indeed, where the state succeeds there is hardly even a whisper of dissension in their midst, where every individual fears social rejection or upsetting the establishment which claims to prioritize the common good. In this way, as Mencken put it, such a critic becomes "the most dangerous man to any government," the enemy of the state, and a convenient example for any other who might dare to raise any questions.
From this and upon the dissolution of the family, the individual and the doctrine of their faith, Marx operates from the following premise: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Here, Marx makes no mention of free associations, ambitions, wants or desires; he makes no mention of any plausible method for determining ability or need; and he entirely omits the fact that one's abilities and needs are always subject to change as a consequence of circumstances and incentives. Above all, he neglects to describe the mechanism by which he seeks to realize his vision: force and coercion. In keeping with the countless other omissions, he avoids dealing with the question: why should any human being be held at gunpoint to perform any task at all just because he is believed to possess the ability? And why should anyone be entitled to hold another at gunpoint to meet a supposed need? Of course, Marx pays no mind to any of this because an honest assessment, from his point of view, would merely undermine his cause.
With this, and without any assessment of, or regard to, the purpose of life and the ambitions of man, Marx flatly surmises that society can be feasibly restructured in accordance with these subjective abilities and needs. In their rush to reject free enterprise and assume control over society, Marx and his fellow collectivists appoint themselves or their representatives to replace the knowledge of business and industry, as well as the calculated wisdom of the price system. This introduces the final two defects of socialism: the knowledge problem and the absence of prices. This brings us to the next and final point: the remedy.
Finally, in freedom and capitalism we find the remedy to the contagion. Capitalism, the economic arrangement whereby people own their property and the product of their labor, resolves the defects suffered under socialism.
Socialism advocates to place the means of production in the hands of the public. In this manner, property and capital tend to land in the hands of self-serving bureaucrats and politicians, and voters in theory, who personally stand to incur none of the direct costs and risks, instead defraying them collectively in such a manner which altogether conceals them from the public and the people assumed responsible for their management.
Capitalism, on the other hand, advocates to place the means of production in the hands of their rightful owners. In this manner, property and capital tend to land in the hands of those who are most productive, who stand to personally incur the costs of their management, and mismanagement, who are thereby directly incentivized to proficiently manage their resources. As Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith, known colloquially as the father of modern economics, wrote in his 1776 magnum opus The Wealth of Nations, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect to eat our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." Wherever any society or movement seeks to disregard this veritable law of human action, wherever any such movement aims in futility to enforce equal economic outcomes, these incentives will assuredly vanish. While the socialists will have, by then, successfully obscured the costs attending their mismanagement, the people are sure to shoulder those costs and suffer those setbacks, while the elite, who rule over them and purportedly champion their cause, continue to enjoy the spoils of their political victory.
Under capitalism, the individual and his liberty are restored, as well as his ownership over his land, labor and capital. In this, we find that self-ownership is also restored. After all, can one claim to truly own himself where he doesn’t even own his land or the product of his labor?
Through the ownership of his land, labor and capital, incentive is also restored for the individual to work for himself and his family, precisely where that incentive naturally exists and belongs. As economist Milton Friedman put it, "Nobody spends somebody else’s money as carefully as he spends his own. Nobody uses somebody else’s resources as carefully as he uses his own. So if you want efficiency and effectiveness, if you want knowledge to be properly utilized, you have to do it through the means of private property."
Capitalism harnesses the greed and the natural drive of the individual to succeed. Unlike socialism, which intends to change the reasons that people work, capitalism accepts their nature and the wisdom of the market. Through this, capitalism resolves the knowledge and calculation problems, all through the price system, as well as the inputs and decisions of countless numbers of businessmen and industries that no politician could even dream of replacing.
The beauty of capitalism is that the price system functions automatically, without any central authority requiring the knowledge or the wherewithal to coordinate land, labor and capital. Beyond the efficient coordination of resources, capitalism has expanded the reach and commerce of virtually all the countries of the world. Through prices and profits, it has succeeded in diminishing the influence of irrelevant factors and alerting business of failures in order to motivate change and redirect resources to more efficient and profitable uses.
The purpose of the price system is not the elusive common good, but rather the coordination of resources at the consent of their owners; in this way, the price system advances the interests of the people while preserving their every right to their property and the product of their labor. While not its express objective, its fruits are plentiful in advancing what some might term the common good. The price system, however, achieves this end merely as a byproduct, not by express design, whereas the alternative system, predicated invariably on force, deception and coercion, achieves this end merely in theory, and at virtually unlimited expense.
Whether it’s rising prices during an emergency or natural disaster, alerting industry of some desperate need, or it’s a failing, irrelevant or oversaturated industry, prices, profits and losses will afford workers and investors invaluable insight into the value and efficiency of their work. Under socialism, or any alternative system devoid of this benefit, the workers can only await judgment by the ruling class, who can’t possibly ever know enough about the changes that need to be made.
On balance, the major differences between capitalism and socialism revolve around the role of the government and the nature of economics, which is to say the nature of man. Capitalism affords economic freedom, consumer choice, and economic growth. Socialism, anathema to freedom and irreverent to choice, advertises social welfare and strict controls over social, personal and business activity.
The advantages of capitalism include consumer choice and economic mobility, which afford individuals choice in consumption and occupation, and this choice leads to more competition and better, more affordable products and services. Capitalism also affords workers the opportunity to save and invest, to hold a stake in life as in business, leaving them responsible for themselves and to enjoy the fruits and costs of their labor, as well as their risks.
This contrasts with socialism, which dictates to subjects what will be produced and consumed, regardless of consumer wants and needs; with this, the regime dictates the very purpose of their existence.
Of course, capitalism doesn’t singlehandedly solve all of the world’s problems; only individual people can aspire to do that. Capitalism is merely the most humane and practical means by which we can feasibly obtain the resources to solve as many of them as possible. What’s more, capitalism achieves this end while preserving the individual, his rights, and his choice in determining his own purpose in life.
The single greatest deficiency among the tenets of socialism is that which rejects the individual and presupposes an infinite and unbridled cooperation between people immune to their own self-interest. In this way, socialism seeks to achieve the most preposterous of outcomes, to radically transform the manner in which human beings work, exist and interact.
In their haste to regiment society, the proponents of the collective predicate their world order on the cooperative nature of humans condemned, or otherwise expected, to work for the benefit of others whom they don’t even know. This ignores the true reason that people work, save and invest the fruits of their labor: not for the many, but for the few who comprise their homes, their families, and the other associations they elect to keep. Of course, whereas the people are first expected to work for the benefit of people whom they don't even know, under socialism they are ultimately condemned to this expectation.
Socialism, often concealed by grandiose designs of "equality" and the "general welfare", ignores that people within society are naturally competitive and focused on personal gain, not on any of the generic principles or nebulous abstractions desired by the socialist.
Capitalism, on the other hand, harnesses the greed inherent in all of us for the betterment of society, while socialism pretends it doesn't, or shouldn’t, exist. In rejecting greed, self-ownership, and self-determination, the socialist supports yet another form of oppression aptly termed slavery, granting the benefits of greed exclusively to a select elite. The modifying distinction between this form of slavery and the more familiar form is that socialism is shrouded by intellectual justifications and popular intentions. These warped intellectualisms and hollow intentions have wreaked irrevocable havoc upon civilization, and their casualties are incalculable beyond the countless tens of millions sacrificed at the altar of Leftism over the course of the past century. As the economist Thomas Sowell once quipped, "Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good."
As a result, socialism enslaves the public to the “common good”; it eliminates choice, and with it quality; it fails to reward people for being entrepreneurial; and it denies people the unalienable rights with which Americans have long asserted that they are endowed. It struggles to innovate, as its subjects soon discover as they, like their counterparts of East Germany, inevitably flee to enjoy the enviable fruits of the freer and more innovative capitalistic society.
Simply put, the freest society will always be the most desirable, and the capitalist economy is not merely the only form compatible with that society, but they are mutual preconditions to one another: freedom is a necessary condition to capitalism, just as capitalism is a necessary condition to freedom.
As Henry Grady Weaver wrote in The Mainspring of Human Progress, “It is important to notice that trade — the exchange of material goods — is always an exercise of individual freedom. Production and trade are possible only to the extent that restraints upon personal freedom are absent.”
Incidentally, whereas socialism not only seeks to limit freedom, it must succeed in limiting freedom in order to endure; capitalism, on the other hand, operates exclusively from the protections of freedom, where one is free to enjoy freedom or otherwise free to leave. History shows that socialism, on the other hand, is a roach motel: once you've checked in, there's no checking out.
In this, the risk of socialism is found not only in the threats posed to freedom, but in the risk of having no alternative. The debate, then, is hardly academic, but rather one about whether any people anywhere should be free on this earth; not free from want or need, as the sophists might frame it, but free from government and oppression, free to choose, to associate, to enjoy the fruits of one’s own labor, and to define the terms of one’s own life.