The Scourge Of Socialism
The Scourge Of Socialism
Tyler Durden’s pictureSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/15/2016 20:30 -0400
Authored by StraightLineLogic’s Robert Gore, via The Burning Platform blog,
Every socialist is a disguised dictator
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action
Human progress has been three steps forward, two steps back. That a non-fringe candidate of a major political party in the United States can call himself a socialist constitutes a leap backward. That it can happen after a century of socialistic horrors: impoverishment, ruination, tyranny, war, and tens of millions dead, bespeaks not just deadly ignorance and delusion, but depravity.
Socialism is a political system whereby the state owns or controls the means of production for goods and services. It can be partial—government control of some industries, or total—government control of all industries. According to Marx, who advocated the total version, the goods and services would be produced by each according to his or her ability, and distributed according to each individual’s need: production severed from distribution. No particular acuity is necessary to see the fatal flaw. The “needy”—and those who garner political power by distributing goods and services to them—are all for this system, but what’s in it for the able? They have to be coerced to produce, and something has to be done with those who object or refuse to submit.
Coercion sounds like slavery and that something has to be done sounds like repression. That is what socialism has produced—slavery, concentration camps, and slaughter—on a scale unimaginable prior to the twentieth century. Once you reach 10 million killed you’ve plumbed the depths of evil. Additional deca-millions are redundant blood on your hands, but the Titans in the Socialist pantheon—Lenin, Stalin, and Mao—killed around 100 million between them, while lesser lights like Pol Pot and the Kim dynasty in North Korea killed single digit millions. The numbers are exclusive of war dead.
What about Adolf Hitler? The full name of his political party was Nationalsocialistiche Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or Nationalist Socialist German Workers’ Party, which sounds like a group of socialists. However, modern socialists try to distance themselves from Hitler by arguing that the Nazis allowed private ownership of the means of production, were supported by wealthy German industrialists and bankers (wealthy Brits and Americans, too), persecuted Communists, and fought the Soviet Union. Once the Nazis assumed full control, especially after Germany began waging war, the owners of businesses had to comply with their directives or else. Under the circumstances, full government ownership of the means of production versus full government control that allowed nominal private ownership was a distinction without a difference. However, to give today’s socialists their best case, exclude Hitler’s deca-millions from the tally.
The case the socialists aren’t allowed is the one they always make: comparing purely hypothetical, daydream, visionary socialism with real life socio-economic-political systems. Either fantasy socialism gets measured against fantasy capitalism or fantasy welfare-statism or some other fantasy, an obvious waste of time, or the real life socialism gets measured against other real life systems. SLL is partial to capitalism, so let’s take as real life capitalism the closest the world has ever come to laissez-faire: Industrial Revolution America from 1865 to 1913. It is indisputable that the Industrial Revolution produced the greatest economic growth and rise in living standards, as measured by per capita income (which was not subject to an income tax—Happy Tax Day!), in America’s history. It also produced the biggest scientific and technological explosion in human history. It is true that millions worked for very low wages while others made vast fortunes—income inequality. However, jobs were plentiful and upward mobility the norm.
Whatever its flaws, there was no deca-million body count in Industrial Revolution America. A telling detail: millions of immigrants came to America to be “exploited” (they didn’t come for the government benefits; there were none), and laws were passed to restrict immigration, while real life socialist countries built walls and otherwise made it difficult and dangerous to try to leave their workers’ paradises. Many have died trying.
The coercive foundation of socialism leads to slavery and slaughter. Capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production of good and services are privately owned, characterized by voluntary exchange and the state’s protection of contract and property rights. It is the economics of freedom. That conceptual foundation leads to progress and prosperity.
In a political order where individuals and groups cannot forcibly or fraudulently take what others have produced, capitalism will be the natural evolution. If you can’t take, you must produce and exchange. You own the ultimate means of production—your talents, aptitudes, training, experience, ingenuity, capacity for work, and intelligence—and if you want something you haven’t produced, you must exchange for it with someone else on mutually advantageous and agreeable terms. Capitalism’s extraordinary results when it has been given anything approaching full reign are unsurprising. Humans accomplish extraordinary deeds…when they are free to do so.
Modern education has for the most part abandoned teaching history, facts, or concepts, replacing them with toxic goo. The zombie minds at colleges and universities (both students and professors) fail or refuse to grasp the conceptual and ethical distinctions between capitalism and socialism. They are unaware of, indifferent to, or deny the yawning chasm between Industrial Revolution America and the twentieth century’s socialist horror shows.
What they do know is that avuncular Bernie Sanders is promising free university education and lots of other free stuff, paid for by someone else, just like in those European welfare states, which by the way, is what they really mean by socialism, or to use the popular euphemistic moniker, “democratic socialism.” And they intend to be either the “needy,” or better yet, running the government that “cares” for the needy. Only fools raise their hands when the call goes out for the able to pull the load, although someone has to.
Welfare states are on a fiscally and demographically unsustainable course, de facto bankrupt. You do run out of other people’s money to spend, especially when the load-pullers get tired of working for you. Welfare states are unstable ideological halfway houses between capitalism and socialism, inexorably sliding towards the latter.
Banking offers an example. Banks have been both captured and have captured governments, and when they run into trouble they become wards of the state and its taxpayers. Modern banking is more socialist than not, yet Sanders’ critique condemns it as capitalism. The problems of banking—regulatory capture, cronyism, excessive leverage and concentration, borrowing at preferential, below market rates, too big to fail, and taxpayer-backed speculation—flow directly from banks’ involvement with the government. Yet Sanders’ reforms entails more government. Real reform would go the opposite direction: elimination of the Federal Reserve, too big to fail, and deposit insurance.
It’s easy to be the great guy in the bar when you’re buying rounds on someone else’s dime.
Uncle Bernie is peddling poison and calling it craft brew. If you encounter someone who’s feeling the Bern, listen patiently as they wax enthusiastic about the coming socialist utopia…if only we’ll all wise up and elect him. When they’re done, offer to buy them a one-way plane ticket to North Korea, Cuba, or Venezuela, but only if they’ll stay there for a year. That, of course, is not what they have in mind, and those nations are not, of course, the intended models for the United States. Intentions, of course, don’t mean squat. You shall know socialism by its dark deeds. Nothing would be more gratifying than seeing its proponents discover darkness the hard way. Unless, of course, they take the rest of us with them.