The Problem with Socialism Almost Nobody Considers

The problem with socialism? It’s based on self-sacrifice. When self-sacrifice becomes the law of the land, people stop producing. Why? Because there’s no incentive. You can’t keep your profits. What’s the point of doing something great, innovative or productive if there’s nothing in it for you? Also, without profits, you cannot build capital and expand your production. So productivity stops. Suddenly, there’s nothing to buy, sell or trade. If there are no profits, there’s no wealth. There are no jobs. There’s nothing to spend money on. The government freaks out and starts generating more currency — which devalues the money. Jobs start to disappear because again, there’s nothing to produce. The surplus of material goods we take for granted in capitalist societies dwindles and eventually disappears.

America has been inching this way for decades. But now ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING we’re doing is socialist, Marxist, fascist. And you see what’s happening: inflation, supply chain breakdowns. America has a much longer way to fall than poor countries that become socialist. But the same thing will happen to us, on our present course. Our lives are going to change and difficult, personal dilemmas are going to confront us. I don’t know if it’s too late to reverse course or not. But I don’t trust Republicans to reverse course for us, and I don’t trust elections to deliver us authentic results. If you do, then I hope you’re right. But almost all of the evidence points in the other direction. We are being destroyed like an occupied country is being destroyed. Socialism is the wrecking ball. Freedom — the economic freedom of unfettered capitalism, and the inalienable individual rights of our Constitution — is the only thing that can save us. Will anyone who really means it come to our defense? Are we willing to do what’s required to save ourselves?

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

Fascism and Communism are Fighting for the Same Thing: Control

AYN RAND: “Fascism and communism are not two opposites, but two rival gangs fighting over the same territory . . . both are variants of statism, based on the collectivist principle that man is the rightless slave of the state.”

“Modern collectivists . . . see society as a super-organism, as some supernatural entity apart from and superior to the sum of its individual members.”

The philosophy of collectivism upholds the existence of a mystic (and unperceivable) social organism, while denying the reality of perceived individuals—a view which implies that man’s senses are not a valid instrument for perceiving reality. Collectivism maintains that an elite endowed with special mystic insight should rule men—which implies the existence of an elite source of knowledge, a fund of revelations inaccessible to logic and transcending the mind. Collectivism denies that men should deal with one another by voluntary means, settling their disputes by a process of rational persuasion; it declares that men should live under the reign of physical force (as wielded by the dictator of the omnipotent state)—a position which jettisons reason as the guide and arbiter of human relationships. From every aspect, the theory of collectivism points to the same conclusion: collectivism and the advocacy of reason are philosophically antithetical; it is one or the other.”

My Mind, My Body, My Choice

We are told by EVERYONE that self-sacrifice is the ideal; and that self-preservation is wrong (or, at best, a necessary and occasional evil).

The basis for our entire welfare state, and the basis for the next step after the welfare state — all-out Communism — is the idea that self-sacrifice is the ideal.

The idea behind mask-wearing and the so-called vaccine isn’t self-preservation. The idea is self-sacrifice, for the sake of your fellow man.

None of it makes sense, on its own terms. If self-preservation were the point of mask-wearing and experimental vaccines, then no self-sacrifice would be necessary. Nobody ever points this out. We wouldn’t need to be threatened, shamed, intimidated, censored or coerced into doing something if it were self-evidently in the interest of self-preservation to do it.

I have even heard Karen-types argue (actually, scream) that, “Even if the vaccine doesn’t harm you, that’s not the point. The point is to sacrifice for your fellow humans!” But why should we sacrifice for our fellow humans? If something is good for us, then it doesn’t require a sacrifice. And if the thing we’re being commanded to do will result in our own self-destruction, then it will surely harm others, too. And if someone is telling me to do something that I believe or know will destroy me, even while supposedly benefiting others, then that person better have a good explanation for why I should do it (hint: there is none).

This isn’t a comment on whether you should or should not wear a mask, or whether you should or should not take the vaccine. I am making a comment that whatever you do, it shouldn’t be an act of self-sacrifice. You should make important, risky decisions only because you believe — or preferably, because you KNOW — that whatever you’re putting into or on your body is good for you, and necessary for your survival.

The same goes for the Communism, socialism and fascism now being foisted on us by our schools, corporations, media establishment and government. Communism, if it’s so great, would not require an act of self-sacrifice to endorse it, as advocates of Communism (AOC, Bernie Sanders, etc.) so readily brag that they do (while living in huge houses and wearing the most expensive clothes). Unfortunately, Communism destroys ALL that is worthwhile about life, all that makes the life of the mind and the body comfortable, happy and survivable; it’s an act of simultaneous suicide and murder to support any kind of collectivism or socialism. Communism breaks the spirit and decimates the material prosperity that only freedom can provide.

Without the false idea that self-sacrifice is good and self-preservation is bad, Communism would never have come this far.

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

The Soviet Union Is Gone, but the Young Yearn for Socialism

This August marks the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the end to the Soviet Union. During August 19-21, 1991, hardline members of the Soviet Communist Party and the KGB attempted a coup d’état in Moscow to prevent the political and economic reforms introduced over the prior five years from going any further. The coup failed, and on Christmas Eve, 1991, the Soviet Union was dissolved and disappeared from the political map of the world.It is as if the last hundred years of the socialist chamber of horrors, not only in the Soviet Union but in all other places around the world in which governments have widely nationalized the means of production and imposed forms of centralized planning, has practically never happened.
[Click to Tweet]

The events of those days are especially imprinted on my mind because I was in Moscow at the time, watching and, indeed, even participating in those August 1991 events. Frequently traveling to the Soviet Union on privatization and market reform consulting work, especially in the, now, former Soviet republic of Lithuania and in Moscow, I witnessed the failed coup attempt and its immediate aftermath.

The Soviet regime had ruled Russia and the other 14 component republics of the U.S.S.R. for nearly 75 years, since the Bolshevik Revolution in November 1917 led by Vladimir Lenin and his communist cadre of Marxist followers. During that almost three-quarters of a century, first under Lenin and especially Joseph Stalin and then their successors, historians have estimated that upwards of 64 million people – innocent, unarmed men, women and children – died at the hands of the Soviet regime in the name of building the “bright, beautiful future” of socialism.

Mass Murder and Slave Labor Under Soviet Socialism

The forced collectivization of the land under Stalin in the early 1930s, alone, is calculated to have cost the lives of nine to twelve million Russian and Ukrainian peasants and their families who resisted the loss of their private farms and being forced into state collective farms that replaced them. Some were simply shot; others were tortured to death or sent to die as slave laborers in the concentration and labor camps in Siberia or Soviet Central Asia known as the GULAG. Millions were slowly starved to death by a government-created famine designed to force submission to the central planning dictates of Stalin and his henchmen.

Millions of others were rounded up and sent off to those prison and labor camps as part of the central plan for forced industrial and mineral mining development of the far reaches of the Soviet Union. In the 1930s and 1940s, Stalin’s central plans would include quotas for how many of the “enemies of the people” were to be arrested and executed in every city, town and district in the Soviet Union. In addition, there were quotas for how many were to be rounded up as replacements for those who had already died in the GULAG working in the vast wastelands of Siberia, northern European Russia and Central Asia. (See my article, “The Human Cost of Socialism in Power.”)

By the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s the Soviet system had become increasingly corrupt, stagnant, and decrepit under a succession of aging Communist Party leaders whose only purpose was to hold on to power and their special privileges. In 1986 a much younger man, Mikhail Gorbachev, who had worked his way up in the Party hierarchy, was appointed to the leading position of General Secretary of the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R.

Gorbachev’s Attempt to Save Socialism

Gorbachev believed that the Soviet Union had taken several serious wrong turns in the past. But he was not an opponent of socialism or its Marxist-Leninist foundations. He wanted a new “socialism-with-a-human-face.” His goal was a “kinder and gentler” communist ideology, so to speak. He truly believed that the Soviet Union could be saved, and with it a more humane collectivist alternative to Western capitalism.

To achieve this end, Gorbachev had introduced two reform agendas: First, perestroika, a series of economic changes meant to admit the mistakes of heavy-handed central planning. State enterprise managers were to be more accountable, small private businesses would be permitted and fostered, and Soviet companies would be allowed to form joint ventures with selected Western corporations. Flexibility and adaptability would create a new and better socialist economy.

Second, glasnost, political “openness,” under which the political follies of the past would be admitted and the formerly “blank pages” of Soviet history – especially about the “crimes of Stalin” – would be filled in. Greater historical and political honesty, it was said, would revive the moribund Soviet ideology and renew the Soviet people’s enthusiastic support for the reformed and redesigned bright socialist future.

However, over time the more hardline and “conservative” members of the Soviet leadership considered all such reforms as opening a Pandora’s Box of uncontrollable forces that would undermine the Soviet system. They had already seen this happen in the outer ring of the Soviet Empire in Eastern Europe.

The Beginning of the End in Eastern Europe

In 1989 Gorbachev had stood by as the Berlin Wall, the symbol of Soviet imperial power in the heart of Europe, had come tumbling down, and the Soviet “captive nations” of Eastern Europe – East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria – that Stalin had claimed as conquered booty at the end of the Second World War, began to free themselves from communist control and Soviet domination. (See my article, “The History and Meaning of the Berlin Wall”.)

The Soviet hardliners were now convinced that a new political treaty that Gorbachev was planning to sign with Boris Yeltsin, president of the Russian Soviet Federative Republic and Nursultan Nazarbayev, president of the Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, would mean the end of the Soviet Union itself.

Already, the small Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were reasserting the national independence they had lost in 1939-1940, as a result of Stalin and Hitler’s division of Eastern Europe. Violent, and murderous Soviet military crackdowns in Lithuania and in Latvia in January 1991 had failed to crush the budding democratic movements in those countries. Military methods had also been employed, to no avail, to keep in line the Soviet republics of Georgia and Azerbaijan. (See my article, “Witnessing Lithuania’s 1991 Fight for Freedom from Soviet Power”.)

Communist Conspirators for Soviet Power

On August 18, 1991, the hardline conspirators tried to persuade Gorbachev to reverse his planned political arrangements with the Russian Federation and Soviet Kazakhstan. When he refused he was held by force in a summer home he was vacationing at in the Crimea on the Black Sea.

Early on the morning of August 19, the conspirators issued a declaration announcing their takeover of the Soviet government. A plan to capture and possibly kill Boris Yeltsin failed. Yeltsin eluded the kidnappers and made his way to the Russian parliament building from his home outside Moscow. Military units loyal to the conspirators ringed the city with tanks on every bridge leading into the city and along every main thoroughfare in the center of Moscow. Tank units had surrounded the Russian parliament, as well.

But Yeltsin soon was rallying the people of Moscow and the Russian population in general to defend Russia’s own emerging democracy. People all around the world saw Yeltsin stand atop an army tank outside the parliament building asking Muscovites to resist this attempt to return to the dark days of communist rule.

The Western media made much at the time of the apparent poor planning during the seventy-two-hour coup attempt during August 19th to the 21st. The world press focused on and mocked the nervousness and confusion shown by some of the coup leaders during a press conference. The conspirators were ridiculed for their Keystone Cop-like behavior in missing their chance to kidnap Yeltsin or delaying their seizure of the Russian parliament building; or leaving international telephone lines open and not even jamming foreign news broadcasts that were reporting the events as they happened to the entire Soviet Union.

The Dangers If the Hardliners had Won

Regardless of the poor planning on the part of the coup leaders, however, the fact remains that if they had succeeded the consequences might have been catastrophic. I have a photocopy of the arrest warrant form that had been prepared for the Moscow region and signed by the Moscow military commander, Marshal Kalinin.

It gave the military and the KGB, the Soviet secret police, the authority to arrest anyone. It had a “fill-in-the-blank,” where the victim’s name would be written in. Almost 500,000 of these arrest warrant forms had been prepared. In other words, upwards of a half-million people might have been imprisoned in Moscow, alone. The day before the coup began, the KGB had received a consignment of 250,000 pairs of handcuffs. And the Russian press later reported that some of the prison camps in Siberia had been clandestinely reopened. If the coup had succeeded possibly as many as three to four million people in the Soviet Union would have been sent to the GULAG, the notorious Soviet labor camp system.

Another document published in the Russian press after the coup failed had the instructions for the military authorities in various regions around the country. They were to begin tighter surveillance of the people in the areas under their jurisdiction. They were to keep watch on the words and actions of everyone. Foreigners were to be even more carefully followed and surveilled. And their reports to the coup leaders in Moscow were to be filed every four hours. Indeed, when the coup was in progress, the KGB began to close down commercial joint ventures with Western companies in Moscow, accusing them of being “nests of spies,” and arrested some of the Russian participants in these enterprises.

Fear Underneath the Surrealism of Calm

During the coup attempt Moscow had a surrealistic quality, as I walked through various parts of the center of the city. On the streets around the city it seemed as if nothing were happening – except for the clusters of Soviet tank units strategically positioned at central intersections and at the bridges crossing the Moscow River. Taxi cabs patrolled the avenues looking for passengers; the population seemed to go about its business walking to and from work, or waiting in long lines for the meager supplies of everyday essentials at the government retail stores; and motorists were as usual also lined up at the government-owned gasoline stations. Even with the clearly marked foreign license plates on my rented car, I was never stopped as I drove around the center of Moscow.

The only signs that these were extraordinary days were the grimmer than usual looks on the faces of many; and that in the food stores many people would silently huddle around radios after completing their purchases. However, the appearance of near normality could not hide the fact that the future of the country was hanging in the balance. (See my article about everyday life under Soviet socialism, “Socialism-in-Practice was a Nightmare, Not Utopia”.)

Russians Run the Risk for Freedom

During the three days of that fateful week, Russians of various walks of life had to ask themselves what price they put on freedom. And thousands concluded that risking their lives to prevent a return to communist despotism was a price they were willing to pay. Those thousands appeared at the Russian parliament in response to Boris Yeltsin’s appeal to the people. They built makeshift barricades, and prepared to offer themselves as unarmed human shields against Soviet tanks and troops, if they had attacked. My future wife, Anna, and I were among those friends of freedom who stood vigil during most of those three days facing the barrels of Soviet tanks.

Among those thousands, three groups were most noticeable in having chosen to fight for freedom: First, young people in their teens and twenties who had been living in a freer environment during the previous six years since Gorbachev had come to power, and who did not want to live under the terror and tyranny their parents had known in the past. Second, new Russian businessmen, who realized that without a free political order the emerging economic liberties would be crushed that were enabling them to establish private enterprises. And, third, veterans of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, who had been conscripted into the service of Soviet imperialism and were now determined to prevent its return.

The bankruptcy of the Soviet system was demonstrated not only by the courage of those thousands defending the Russian parliament, but also by the unwillingness of the Soviet military to obey the orders of the coup leaders. It is true that only a handful of military units actually went over immediately to Yeltsin’s side in Moscow. But hundreds of Russian babushkas – grandmothers – went up to the young soldiers and officers manning the Soviet tanks, and asked them, “Are you going to shoot your mother, your father, your grandmother? We are your own people.” The final act of the coup came when these military units refused to obey orders and seize the Russian parliament building, at the possible cost of hundreds or thousands of lives.

Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!

On the clear, warm Thursday of August 22, the day after the coup attempt collapsed, thousands of Muscovites assembled in a large plaza behind the Russian parliament stood and listened as Boris Yeltsin told them that that area would now be known as the Square of Russian Freedom. The multitude replied in unison: Svaboda! Svaboda! Svaboda! – “Freedom! Freedom, Freedom!”

A huge flag of pre-communist Russia, with its colors of white, blue and red, draped the entire length of the parliament building. The crowd looked up and watched as the Soviet red flag, with its yellow hammer and sickle in the upper left corner, was lowered from the flagpole atop the parliament, and the Russian colors were raised for the first time in its place. And, again, the people chanted: “Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!”

Not too far away from the parliament building in Moscow, that same day, a large crowd had formed at Lubyanka Square at the headquarters of the KGB. With the help of a crane, these Muscovites pulled down a large statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Soviet secret police that stood near the entrance to the KGB building. In a small park across from the KGB headquarters, in a corner of which rests a small monument to the victims of the Soviet prison and labor camps, an anti-communist rally was held. A young man in an old Czarist Russian military uniform burned a Soviet flag and played pre-revolutionary patriotic songs on an accordion while the crowd cheered him on.

The seventy-five-year nightmare of communist tyranny and terror was coming to an end. The people of Russia were hoping for freedom, and they were basking in the imagined joy of it. Russia’s history since then has not met any of those euphoric hopes of August 1991, yet, it nonetheless stands as an important moment marking a symbolic end to the collectivist nightmare of the 20th century.

American and British Young Know No History and Want Socialism

Fast forward to today, thirty years later. It is as if the last hundred years of the socialist chamber of horrors, not only in the Soviet Union but in all other places around the world in which governments have widely nationalized the means of production and imposed forms of centralized planning, has practically never happened. The brutality and barbarity of the National Socialist (Nazi) regime in Hitler’s Germany has been rightly highlighted in many movies and documentaries in the decades since the end of the Second World War. But compare these with the paucity of similar films and documentaries about the Soviet Union and similar socialist regimes and their disastrous central planning systems, with all their tyranny, cruelty, mass murder, corruption and gradations of privileges and perks for the huge network of Party members and elite bureaucrats who ran all facets of the command and control economy.

Recent opinion surveys by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in the United States on, “U.S. Attitudes Toward Socialism, Communism, and Collectivism,” (October 2020) and by the Institute of Economic Affairs in the United Kingdom in a report, Left Turn Ahead? Surveying Attitudes of Young People Towards Capitalism and Socialism (July 2021) about people’s views about the socialist and capitalist systems, especially among the younger segments of the population, make it clear that knowledge and understanding about what socialist reality has been like has gone down an Orwellian memory hole.

In the United States, a quarter of those surveyed, 26 percent, said that they would like to see the end of the capitalist system and its replacement with a socialist economy. Among those under 40 years of age, the number preferring a socialist society rose to between 31 and 35 percent. Ten percent in this age group consider the ideas in Marx’s Communist Manifesto to be a better guarantor of a free and equitable society than the ideas in the Declaration of Independence. About 30 percent of those below 40 said that Marxism is a “positive” movement against injustice and for management of the economy for the good of all.

When asked, “What is a socialist system?” 31 percent said it involves government ownership of the means of production, while another 32 percent said private enterprise plus government regulation and the welfare state. Six percent said that socialism is a “new system” that has never been tried.

In the United Kingdom, 67 percent of those in the younger categories of the British population said they would like to live under a socialist economic system, and identified socialism with the words, “workers,” “public,” “equal,” and “fair.” Capitalism was identified by 75 percent in the survey with global warming, destruction of the planet, and racism, and 73 percent said that capitalism fosters “greed,” “selfishness,” and “materialism,” compared to socialism, which cultivates “compassion, cooperation, and solidarity.” A large majority said that socialism had never really been tried and that places like Venezuela have been instances in which the socialist idea was simply poorly implemented and therefore not a real test of a socialist system.

These attitudes and beliefs among the younger generations on both sides of the Atlantic do not bode well for the future of freedom. The ideas of one generation often become the implemented policies of the next one. If neither knowledge of, nor appropriate lessons from the reality of socialism-in-practice over the last one hundred years are learned, we may very well be condemned to repeat the past with all of its social, economic, and politically damaging consequences. (See my article, “Socialism: Marking a Century of Death and Destruction”.)

Richard M. Ebeling

Socialism Sells–in a PROSPEROUS Country

Marx always wrote that before you have a Communist state, you must first have capitalism. Even Marx understood that without the loot, looting and redistribution are impossible.

However: Once the system of capitalism that creates all the loot is destroyed, what will be left to loot? Marx didn’t address this question, other than to claim that once everyone was forced to live in a collectivist utopian paradise by force, all would accept and embrace it.

Seriously? Do you see the typical woke young person voting for Biden while screaming for President AOC ever really tolerating the conditions of miserable self-sacrifice inconceivable to even the poorest American today?

Clearly, we are in the looting and redistribution phase of American Marxism now. Under the Biden regime (unaccountable due to election fraud, remember), it will accelerate. The bipartisan “infrastructure” bill is nothing more than a way of saying to people, “Hey, we’re going to nationalize most of private industry, call it saving the planet, and pretend we’re building new roads, bridges and airports”. The “infrastructure” bill is just the prelude to all that’s coming. True to form, most Republicans can be paid off to play along with it.

America’s Communist revolution is psychological, as well. Psychologically, people are told to feel irrational, unearned guilt for having “privilege”, which means having money or property that the government intends to get its hands on. The best way to get your hands on what isn’t yours is to make the person in possession of it FEEL GUILTY. They try to get white people, who have the most money, to feel guilty for having money. “It means you’re a racist,” they insinuate. They hope this will get them to hand it over. Regardless, they WILL be handing it over.

But as Margaret Thatcher once famously put it, what happens when the looters and redistributors run out of other people’s money? Consumption and redistribution are not enough. Someone has to PRODUCE the wealth!

It’s easy to sell socialism to the more or less half of the population happy to stay home and get freebies. The lazy, gullible souls now at home living on “unemployment” benefits while small businesses face an unprecedented staff shortage, are easy to please while America still looks like America, and not like Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea or most of China. But what happens when the debt gets so large that the dollar loses its value? Or hyperinflation, which may have already started, ruins the purchasing value of the free money you’re getting? Or when enough people become so lazy and entitled that civilization, including the supply chain, totally starts to break down? What then?

And what happens when an increasingly, psychologically demoralized population starts to turn on each other? When people start to unleash all their hateful biases and prejudices under the pressure of severe economic strain, and the first generation of economic decline in all of American history?

What then, Marxist snowflakes and smug Democratic voters? What then?

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

Socialism’s Defenders: Their Stupidity May Cause Your Brain To Spasm

David Harbour, star of the hit movie Black Widow, said during an interview with The Guardian that he doesn’t think “there’s anyone who could disagree with socialist ideology.”

“If you work at Starbucks and you make the coffee, then you should own it,” said Harbour. “You’re the one making the coffee!” The actor went on to explain that his concept of ideal socialism is “a kindergarten-type society where we share things.”

Earth to David Harbour! Earth to David Harbour! The baristas at Starbucks do not “own” the coffee they serve to customers. The coffee is owned by the people who risked their savings to invest in a Starbucks licensed store, or other people who risked a portion of their savings by investing in the company’s stock.

Starbucks baristas are not slaves exploited by a greedy capitalist enterprise, as Democrats like David Harbour would have you believe — they are free at any time to seek employment elsewhere. They exchange their services for compensation that’s agreeable to both sides. Their only “ownership” in the company’s end product is dumping a bag of coffee beans into a coffee machine owned by someone else, and then serving a filled cup, which is also owned by someone else, to thirsty customers. Because they are not on the hook for rent, property insurance, legal & accounting services, utility bills, advertising, business license fees, corporate taxes or anything else, Starbucks baristas incur no financial risk in brewing and serving coffee.

Contrary to the kindergarten-like thinking of economically ignorant Democrats like David Harbour, socialism has never created a single free and prosperous society, but has destroyed many—if you doubt that fact, ask anyone who has fled Cuba or Venezuela or the former Soviet Bloc countries of Eastern Europe.

Socialism has an unbroken trail of failure wherever it has taken root. Each new generation of social utopians think they are smart enough to make socialism work for the first time in human history. But each new false start has led to nothing other than widespread depravation and ruthless oppression.

Despite its empty promises, socialism isn’t about creating a society that’s “fair to all.” Rather, it’s a cynical way for totalitarians to consolidate ironclad political power before a propagandized citizenry realizes what happened.

Finally, socialism is doomed to fail wherever it’s tried, because it is in eternal mortal conflict with the basic human instinct that those who work harder, educate themselves, employ their ingenuity and risk their capital have an inborn expectation to do significantly better than those who don’t. That is an immutable human trait that will never change.

More about socialism’s Big Lie can be found in my recent Blue State Conservative article “Bummer: Cuba’s Freedom Uprising Couldn’t Come At a Worse Time For the Party of Marx, Lenin, Alinsky and Obama.”

By John Eidson

John Eidson is a conservative political commentator, a patriotic American, and a regular contributor to The Blue State Conservative.

The Unimaginable Arrogance of Socialists

“Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society.

As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.

We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education.

We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all.

We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality.

And so on, and so on.

It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”

Frédéric Bastiat, “The Law”

Socialists are Children


Caring about the whole world is a fancy way of caring only about oneself.

In 1886, Henry James, who may be the greatest novelist of all, published what he considered at the time to be his greatest work—The Princess Cassamassima. Unfortunately, critics hated it. But it is an extraordinarily deep and penetrating novel, and it deals with a theme that is causing us a great deal of trouble at the moment—socialism.

It may be surprising that socialism was already a problem in the late 19th century, but of course Karl Marx, not to mention his spiritual predecessor, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, had already come and gone. A fresh generation of pseudo-intellectuals with too much free time on their hands was looking back on the Paris Commune of 1871 and even on the blood-soaked French Revolution with admiration, and looking forward to the time when they, too, would get to empower the underprivileged by exterminating the overprivileged.

It is difficult not to develop a deep and abiding hatred of the novel’s title character, an enormously wealthy and beautiful princess who, casting about for some meaning to the life she hates, becomes passionately devoted to social revolution and to elevating the lower classes. She is a greater destructive force than any deliberately evil character, combining her grandiose concern for the whole world with an almost limitless self-absorption.

She wants to see the worst slums of London. She wants to meet the lowest people in society—for the sake of their being low. She even wants to give up her money and luxury. And so she trades in her prime London residence for a vulgar little house with only one servant. She finds it disgusting that so many people work so hard and earn so little while others have so much more than they need.

The way the princess thinks is identical to today’s cutting-edge socialists. Except that a Bernie Sanders or an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez manages gradually to amass wealth rather than giving it away. But there exists the same condescending attitude towards those who must work for a living, and an idea of “saving” them, not through one’s own work, but through stealing the work of others.

Suppose this 19th-century socialist visited you today, and you told the princess about life in contemporary America: The working classes no longer go hungry. They can afford places to live. In America, people of the working classes own more than one set of clothes and can afford more than one pair of shoes—several, even. Ninety-three percent of households have access to their very own carriage, which can go ten times faster and ten times farther than the horse carriages she’s familiar with, which were reserved for the rich. Even the lowest income earners can keep their homes warm in the winter. Moreover, the working classes have access to on-demand, private entertainment—the equivalent of 100,000 plays, and 1 million concerts. Even the poorest homes can afford to light a candle—the equivalent of hundreds of candles—whenever they choose. All their children get to go to school until they’re 18, and anyone who wishes to can get a college degree.

Your 1890s socialist would be knocked off her feet by a society as wonderful as this one. It represents undreamt-of success: Bravo, our princess would think: The revolution has clearly happened, and has achieved everything. More than everything! We 19th-century socialists might have hoped to improve the conditions of the poor, but we never in our wildest dreams imagined we’d get this far, not even if we’d confiscated every penny from every wealthy person in the world. How did you do it?

Then we’d have to laugh a little and say, “Well, that’s capitalism, baby. And sorry to disappoint you, but we still have people who are wealthier than everyone else. It’s just that now our poor people are more comfortable than your wealthy people were. And they live longer, too.”

The princess furrows her brow: “How long did all this take?”

“A little more than 100 years. Less, for some important bits, like novocaine for example. But we’re actually so comfortable now that we can spend our time worrying about what gender we are.”

“Well,” says the princess, “100 years is a very long time. I’m sure a proper socialist revolution would have achieved all of this much more quickly!”

And then we’d have to break it to her—how all the socialist revolutions actually went, how well they succeeded. How they produced societies powered not just by oil but by millions of slaves in labor camps (labor camps that still exist in China, North Korea, and elsewhere to this day). How tens of millions of the working class were shot. How hundreds of millions were starved. How Trotsky’s “food armies” swept over the countryside to steal the farmers’ produce to feed the city elites. How the rebelling peasants went to hide in the forests and were exterminated with history’s first use of air-dropped chemical weapons (the Tambov Rebellion, 1921). How Chinese peasant families swapped children—so they wouldn’t have to eat their own (the Great Leap Forward, 1958).

At this point, the princess wouldn’t want to hear any more. She wouldn’t believe it, no matter what you told her. She would again be in exact harmony with today’s socialists, who, despite a century of experiments and counter experiments, despite the creation of extraordinary everyday comforts in America, and despite hundreds of millions of deaths elsewhere, still refuse to consider that socialism conceivably might not work.

A socialist you argue with today might as well have died in 1890, for all the history he’s learned. For a socialist, history has no past, it exists only in the future: History is simply what is about to happen. History is what he’s going to make.

Socialists don’t give a damn about the objective conditions of the working man. Any honest assessment would have to admit that the typical American enjoys an excellent and historically superior quality of life. During any given decade of the Soviet Union, Russian workers would be willing to die—as many did—for a chance to enjoy what every American gets as standard.

Socialists claim to give a damn about the relative conditions of the working man. That is, it doesn’t matter how comfortable the average person is. What matters is the inherent unfairness of someone else being more comfortable. So while any normal observer would be astounded at how much progress America has made, and how quickly it made it, a socialist today sees society exactly as a socialist from 1890 saw his own. And a socialist 100 years from now will look at his new world and see exactly the same thing: No progress whatsoever. Socialism is immune to progress.

And in the final analysis, socialists don’t care about the relative conditions of the working man either. What a socialist really cares about are conditions relative to himself: Specifically, he cares that no one seems to understand what a gifted, special, vitally important human being he is.

Caring about the whole world is a fancy way of caring only about oneself. A social crusader sees himself as a liberator, as someone who will become a great immortal by uplifting an entire section of society. This messianic attitude explains why Marxism is woven through all companion socialisms—like Black Lives Matter race socialism or trans-rights sexual socialism—movements which should, in theory, have nothing to do with Marxism but which always do.

Socialists need only an aggrieved class. It doesn’t much matter who that class is. The operative belief is the socialist’s belief in himself—his belief that the one thing all these people need is for him to save them.

The socialist’s chosen underclass, whether it be the proletariat or a minority group or all women—is really just a damsel in distress. The most old-fashioned, most chauvinistic, most anti-leftist cliché of all: that is how a socialist sees his chosen cause. A damsel in distress can do nothing on her own, and is capable of no independent action. The damsel can do nothing to improve her own lot. She is at a permanent disadvantage; she is a victim. She has nothing to say for herself, she is in fact of no value at all except as a token or symbol—she simply waits to be rescued. And in the act of rescuing, the socialist validates his own existence. By rescuing her, in other words, he feels less worthless.

Whether a youth or an adult, a socialist is really nothing but an unhappy child. A child with every sense of self-importance, but no sense of self-worth. And that is a sad reflection on the failure of our education system, and on society’s broader failure to give our young people projects worthy of their energy and devotion.

This is from the introduction to This Deception, a memoir by reformed Soviet spy Hede Massing: “Communism in the United States has little, if any economic base. It does not primarily appeal to the poor and the downtrodden . . . . During adolescence, when children are normally fighting parental domination to walk by themselves, when they are questioning traditional beliefs, Communists separate children from parents and beliefs, and substitute Stalin for father and Marxism for religion. The Ku Klux Klan should be more fully analogized in this respect to communism.”

That was written in 1951. Stalin is dead now. What else has changed.—Dan Gelernter

Let Us Be Clear Once and For All: Socialism Is Not at Root About Economics!

For the Conservatives, Capitalism is moral only to the extent that the capitalist lives to serve others. Self-interest can be smuggled silently in but not as a moral right or as a moral ideal. This means that “creeping socialism” always has the advantage and thus creeps unabated.

Over and over for decades, Conservatives have made the point that socialism does not “work,” that it does not create wealth but rather leads to poverty. This is true. Despite promising nirvana, “utopian” (socialist) communities and countries based on communism and socialism always failed economically.

Conservatives (including Wall Street Journal op-ed writers, right-wing think tanks, and pro-free enterprise economics departments) keep repeating the obvious and assert that people simply need better economic education to set them straight. Yet Conservatives keep losing every battle; the left repeatedly responds by ignoring their argument and rationalizing socialist failures.

The rationalizations run the gamut:

  • Previous socialist programs were not run correctly.
  • The moral ideal was right, but people are just too corrupt to practice it—there is a flaw in human nature.
  • The failure was caused by a plot by the U.S. (usually the CIA).
  • Socialism takes years to come to fruition and will triumph at some unspecified, future date….and so on.

What is striking is that no matter what the economic failures, true socialists rarely give it up. Why not. Because it has a moral base. Ayn Rand has made it clear that, “The power of morality is the strongest of all intellectual powers…men will not act, in major issues, without a sense of being morally right.” (quoted in Binswanger, 1986, p. 315).

Morality trumps economic facts if there is a conflict. This is true even if one’s accepted code of morality is objectively wrong. Millions have died fighting for Communism and Nazism (national socialism), including murdering millions of victims and keeping millions of others in hopeless poverty.

What is the problem with Conservatives (for more details, see Binswanger, 1986, pp. 95-100)? The Conservative argument is based on a contradiction: Capitalism is practical because most people want to live better, but morally it is defended by altruism, the premise that one must live only for the sake of others. Thus, Capitalism is only permissible so long as one lives, or claims to live, for “the public good.” For the Conservatives, Capitalism is moral only to the extent that the capitalist lives to serve others. Self-interest can be smuggled silently in but not as a moral right or as a moral ideal. This means that “creeping socialism” always has the advantage and thus creeps unabated. The hapless Conservative defense is routinely: “Hey, let us not overdo it. Let us have some capitalism. The welfare state will work better if capitalists have permission to function.” Socialists face no such internal contradiction; sacrifice for and of others is the morally right thing to do even when everyone stays poor, cf. Cuba and Venezuela. (See Locke, 2020, for a detailed discussion of Venezuela).

The socialist’s indifference to poverty reveals that there is a deeper moral (objectively anti-moral) layer than altruism which means sacrifice for the benefit of others. Since others do not actually benefit, the deeper standard is the destruction of economic freedom as an end in itself. This is pure nihilism, destruction for the sake of destruction: better to have everyone grovel in poverty than to let one person make a profit. Socialism is based on hatred for human life. In socialist societies, the worst people, power lusters, rise to the top, but they only rise because socialism gives them a moral sanction.

What then would change a socialist’s mind? Convincing them that socialism is anti-life and that Capitalism, which is based on individual rights, is morally good, i.e., that every individual has a right to their own life, which includes the right to trade freely with others, based on self-interest, and profit from it (i.e., without fraud or coercion). This would mean that capitalists would be admired, both practically and morally, rather than reluctantly tolerated as a necessary evil or totally forbidden. Economic education will only be embraced by people who think that Capitalism is not just practical but morally good. Moral education is needed as the proper base for economic education.

Some might ask about the puzzling situation of a Communist dictatorship, China, openly fostering Capitalism (though with numerous controls). This is a historically unprecedented event. So, what explains it? It is not based on respect for individual rights since communists deny them. It is based purely on power lust. For centuries China was backwards in relation to the west. Now they have decided to be imperialists, and they saw that the only way they could get the needed power was to create wealth which would give them the ability to intimidate or dominate other countries by using economic and military force together, e.g., massive exports, cyber-crime, building a large, military including a nuclear arsenal, trying to forcibly take over international waters in the South China Sea, threatening and harming fishing vessels from other countries, seizing islands they do not own to build military bases, stealing copyrighted and military technology from foreign countries, bullying countries which displease them (Australia), invasion (Hong Kong, Tibet), continual military threats (Taiwan), loaning money to poor countries, who will not be able to repay them, as a means of gaining power over them, cooperating with other dictatorships such as North Korea and Iran which are also building nuclear weapons to attack the U.S., etc.

China recently acknowledged that their use of Capitalism was only a strategic move until full socialism could be established. China, right now, is the single biggest threat to world peace and freedom. The old-line Marxists said capitalists would buy or make the rope that will be used to hang them. China wants to make their own rope and hang us with it. It remains to be seen how all this will turn out. Our weapons are:  the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, our military might, Capitalism, and our commitment to freedom as a moral ideal–if we can keep them.

Edwin Locke

Let Us Be Clear Once and For All: Socialism Is Not at Root About Economics!

For the Conservatives, Capitalism is moral only to the extent that the capitalist lives to serve others. Self-interest can be smuggled silently in but not as a moral right or as a moral ideal. This means that “creeping socialism” always has the advantage and thus creeps unabated.

Over and over for decades, Conservatives have made the point that socialism does not “work,” that it does not create wealth but rather leads to poverty. This is true. Despite promising nirvana, “utopian” (socialist) communities and countries based on communism and socialism always failed economically.

Conservatives (including Wall Street Journal op-ed writers, right-wing think tanks, and pro-free enterprise economics departments) keep repeating the obvious and assert that people simply need better economic education to set them straight. Yet Conservatives keep losing every battle; the left repeatedly responds by ignoring their argument and rationalizing socialist failures.

The rationalizations run the gamut:

  • Previous socialist programs were not run correctly.
  • The moral ideal was right, but people are just too corrupt to practice it—there is a flaw in human nature.
  • The failure was caused by a plot by the U.S. (usually the CIA).
  • Socialism takes years to come to fruition and will triumph at some unspecified, future date….and so on.

What is striking is that no matter what the economic failures, true socialists rarely give it up. Why not. Because it has a moral base. Ayn Rand has made it clear that, “The power of morality is the strongest of all intellectual powers…men will not act, in major issues, without a sense of being morally right.” (quoted in Binswanger, 1986, p. 315).

Morality trumps economic facts if there is a conflict. This is true even if one’s accepted code of morality is objectively wrong. Millions have died fighting for Communism and Nazism (national socialism), including murdering millions of victims and keeping millions of others in hopeless poverty.

What is the problem with Conservatives (for more details, see Binswanger, 1986, pp. 95-100)? The Conservative argument is based on a contradiction: Capitalism is practical because most people want to live better, but morally it is defended by altruism, the premise that one must live only for the sake of others. Thus, Capitalism is only permissible so long as one lives, or claims to live, for “the public good.” For the Conservatives, Capitalism is moral only to the extent that the capitalist lives to serve others. Self-interest can be smuggled silently in but not as a moral right or as a moral ideal. This means that “creeping socialism” always has the advantage and thus creeps unabated. The hapless Conservative defense is routinely: “Hey, let us not overdo it. Let us have some capitalism. The welfare state will work better if capitalists have permission to function.” Socialists face no such internal contradiction; sacrifice for and of others is the morally right thing to do even when everyone stays poor, cf. Cuba and Venezuela. (See Locke, 2020, for a detailed discussion of Venezuela).

The socialist’s indifference to poverty reveals that there is a deeper moral (objectively anti-moral) layer than altruism which means sacrifice for the benefit of others. Since others do not actually benefit, the deeper standard is the destruction of economic freedom as an end in itself. This is pure nihilism, destruction for the sake of destruction: better to have everyone grovel in poverty than to let one person make a profit. Socialism is based on hatred for human life. In socialist societies, the worst people, power lusters, rise to the top, but they only rise because socialism gives them a moral sanction.

What then would change a socialist’s mind? Convincing them that socialism is anti-life and that Capitalism, which is based on individual rights, is morally good, i.e., that every individual has a right to their own life, which includes the right to trade freely with others, based on self-interest, and profit from it (i.e., without fraud or coercion). This would mean that capitalists would be admired, both practically and morally, rather than reluctantly tolerated as a necessary evil or totally forbidden. Economic education will only be embraced by people who think that Capitalism is not just practical but morally good. Moral education is needed as the proper base for economic education.

Some might ask about the puzzling situation of a Communist dictatorship, China, openly fostering Capitalism (though with numerous controls). This is a historically unprecedented event. So, what explains it? It is not based on respect for individual rights since communists deny them. It is based purely on power lust. For centuries China was backwards in relation to the west. Now they have decided to be imperialists, and they saw that the only way they could get the needed power was to create wealth which would give them the ability to intimidate or dominate other countries by using economic and military force together, e.g., massive exports, cyber-crime, building a large, military including a nuclear arsenal, trying to forcibly take over international waters in the South China Sea, threatening and harming fishing vessels from other countries, seizing islands they do not own to build military bases, stealing copyrighted and military technology from foreign countries, bullying countries which displease them (Australia), invasion (Hong Kong, Tibet), continual military threats (Taiwan), loaning money to poor countries, who will not be able to repay them, as a means of gaining power over them, cooperating with other dictatorships such as North Korea and Iran which are also building nuclear weapons to attack the U.S., etc.

China recently acknowledged that their use of Capitalism was only a strategic move until full socialism could be established. China, right now, is the single biggest threat to world peace and freedom. The old-line Marxists said capitalists would buy or make the rope that will be used to hang them. China wants to make their own rope and hang us with it. It remains to be seen how all this will turn out. Our weapons are: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, our military might, Capitalism, and our commitment to freedom as a moral ideal–if we can keep them.

Edwin Locke, Capitalism Magazine