From the Right: On Socialism: We’ve read your silly theories, we still aren’t interested
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
What is socialism? This seems a silly question now. The Soviet Union was dead and buried before most students on this campus were born, the Berlin Wall has been rubble for two decades, and the greatest generation smashed the Nazi war machine when our grandparents were but a twinkle in their collective eye. Today, those governments which continue to publicly embrace socialism are some of the most egregious violators of human rights.
Despite this, many intellectuals, and those who regurgitate their rhetoric, continue to embrace socialism. They insist that those socialist regimes that took the lives of hundreds of millions of innocents in the last century do not represent “real, genuine, unfettered socialism.” It is too bad that ivory tower utopians never take an interest in the nature of man or the realities of economics.
But let us return to the beginning. What is socialism? Socialism is a system in which the government plans the economy and controls major industries. It is a stage of Marxist economic development in which the “bourgeois rights” of the individual (life, liberty, property, self-defense, speech) are subordinate to the whims of the state. Socialism is dependent upon a centralized state to enforce (emphasis on “force”) economic and social policies conducive to a socialist utopia. By necessity, these policies include silencing dissent via media control and systematically intimidating and killing those who refuse to cooperate. Decentralized national socialism is a contradiction in terms because a powerful central government is necessary to coerce participation.
Socialism has only ever succeeded (and only then for a very short time) in the form of small communities and compounds, i.e. Oneida, Brook Farm, and New Harmony. Those interested should research why these voluntary socialist societies ended in failure. Additionally, consider the fact that the only successful socialist communities ever to exist only existed as a subculture in the context of an open society that embraced free market capitalism.
What, then, is capitalism? Free market capitalism is an economic system based on the concepts of individual rights, voluntary association, and contractual agreement. In this system, the primary role of government is to facilitate an impartial legal system that holds citizens accountable for violating the rights of others and breaking their contracts. In a free market economy, social mobility is commonplace and class structure is flexible. As author John Steinbeck opined, “socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”
What we have in the United States today is no longer free market capitalism, but a mixed economy. Here, the government interferes in the economy while attempting to respect the individual rights of its citizens enshrined in the Constitution (this becomes more difficult as the size of government escalates). While the United States does facilitate an impartial legal system to protect rights and enforce contracts, this same legal system has continued to consolidate power in the hands of the federal government while justifying intervention into the economy on the basis of a delicate jurisprudence.
Is state capitalism (“crony capitalism,” “corporatism”) the same as free market capitalism? No, it is socialism via a different route. As Soviet Premier Nakita Khrushcev once said, “...it doesn’t depend on whether we (the Soviet Union) exist… history is on our side. We will bury you.” What are some examples of the results of state capitalism? They are the installation of CIA backed dictatorships in the third world (following the KGB’s lead), preemptive military invasions, and corporate oligopoly. Even if some of these occurrences are a product of their time, one must concede that they were only made possible through the centralized power structure characteristic of a socialist state.
The United States adopted a centralized power structure in the twentieth century for two reasons: to defeat the Nazi and Soviet regimes in World War II and the Cold War, respectively, and to appease the Progressive Movement with its origin in the infiltration of Hegelianism into the American university system and its continued political reincarnation in the avatars of the New Deal, the Great Society and ObamaCare. It is ironic then that advocates of socialism use problems created by the integration of socialist policies into a free market economy to conclude that the free market is immoral.
If a man wanted to ensure that the aforementioned characteristics of state capitalism were permanent features of the American regime, what policies might he support?
First, he would desire to give the federal government as much wealth and power as possible. He would call for the nationalization of major sectors of the economy. He would find need for the implementation of further draconian regulatory measures on the private sector. He would prefer that the government choose which businesses succeed and fail through a policy of corporate bailouts and loans. He would advocate the pursuit of a foolish interventionist foreign policy. He would look on with approval as billions of dollars from poor people in this country were transferred to rich people in other countries. He would remain silent when his government sold firearms to Mexican drug cartels, but he would be the first to exploit a tragedy in order to call for restrictions on the Constitutional rights of his fellow citizens to bear arms. In essence, he would support everything Barack Obama has done as president.