By any name, it kills

First, here are the classical definitions of socialism:

  1. Government (not “communal”) control of property, and ownership of the means of production.  That means politicians control property…not you.  Politicians own the means of production…not you.
  2. Some definitions include the complete elimination of private property, but this overlaps with communism, and somewhat contradicts Marx’s definitions.
  3. In Marxist theory, an intermediary/transitional form of government between capitalism and communism distinguished by unequal distribution of property and income. “Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.” – Karl Marx

Socialism

Now, the use and public, common intention of the word “socialism” has changed a LOT recently.  So I’ll contrast it to communism, as defined by Marx:

  1. The state is eliminated (true anarchy) and all property and means of production is owned equally by the people as a collective.
  2. No private property. “The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property.” – Karl Marx
  3. Distribution of goods and services by: “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” – Karl Marx

People can of course believe whatever they want.  Marx was vague and contradictory in his use of terms (surprise?), but mostly, he proposed socialism as a violent takeover and transition to forcefully-imposed communism.  And generally it’s useful to consider communism an endpoint, since the theoretical social arrangement could be theoretically achieved by either libertarian or socialist means.  Opposite means to get to the same political-government-free, self-governing society.
Theoretically.

But if people want to call themselves “socialist” and then redefine socialism to be something they like better than the old definition…well, who am I to argue?

Words change all the time. The English language hardly resembles what it did before the Vikings and French and Shakespeare started messing with it.  Marx himself redefined what the earlier New Harmony socialists called socialism.

But let’s not fool ourselves with our words, either.

Words are extremely powerful.  It’s by words, and the actions we apply to words, that we turn corporate abstractions like “tribe,” “gang,” “army” and “nation” into deadly forces of oppression, slavery, genocide and war.

I know a lot of decent, well-meaning, well-educated and very intelligent socialists.  But they all perform the same, subtle, self-deluding linguistic/mental alchemy:

They trans-substantiate politicians/rulers into “The People,” the way Catholics turn wine into Christ’s blood.  And they are, in their clearer moments, advocating communism without the inevitable bloodshed.  They fail to understand, however, that the stateless dreams of felicity, equality and peace invariably come in the person of a despot. Atheists

In other words, today’s socialists dismiss the inevitably corrupt, violent and impoverishing despotism of an almighty government, and transmogrify the realities of authoritarianism into the detached dreams of a Marxian Kumbaya.

Now, to a degree and in a way, we all do that.  We like to imagine a nice utopia and don’t care about how to actually get there.

That’s a problem.

All government is by consent of the governed.  Politicians, elites and even the legions of bureaucrats all put-together, are vastly outnumbered by the people who in one way or another consent to be ruled.  So even the most oppressive tyrants reflect The People’s willingness to submit, if nothing else.

We’re tribal, pack animals, and we tend to Follow The Alpha.  But even the most well-armed and entrenched ruler can be thrown down when the actual human populace (and not an abstraction like “The People”) get mad enough to finally act.

So it’s true, though we act like it’s not: ALL government is by consent of the governed.  ALL government is a reflection of the people.  Politics/government is the collective’s avatar.

But socialists aren’t thinking of We The People as a republic with representative politicians.  Even more strangely, when they’re asking politicians to take over every aspect of life, they’re imagining this will lead to freedom, not being subjugated by an authoritarian poobah.

I really do understand this.  It sounds great.  In fact I used to do this mental trick on myself, and I fell for a good bit of Marx and Engel’s rhetoric:

If you’re unhappy with the way things are in general, or the way your life is working in specific, doesn’t this sound appealing?  “We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. …Both for the production on a mass scale of this communist consciousness, and … the alteration of men on a mass scale is, necessary, … a revolution; this revolution is necessary, therefore, not only because the ruling class cannot be overthrown in any other way, but also because the class overthrowing it can only in a revolution succeed in ridding itself of all the muck of ages and become fitted to found society anew.” – Karl Marx

And how about this one: “Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution.  The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.  They have a world to win.  Workingmen of all countries, unite!” – Karl Marx

And this one from Marx is absolutely true: “A nation cannot become free and at the same time continue to oppress other nations.

I’m not sure why “socialists” don’t just come out and openly announce what they really want.

Again, here’s Karl Marx: “It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Specter of Communism with a Manifesto of the party itself.

But let’s consider the label “Democratic Socialist” (which is itself very Marxian: “Democracy is the road to socialism”).

Problem #1 – Democracy is majority rule.  Majority as opposed to any minority.   Another name for it could be “mob rule.”  Democracy is, as Benjamin Franklin asserted, “Two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.”  In both form and effect, this is not at all what any “Democratic Socialist” I’ve heard of actually promotes.  They really don’t want democracy.  They couldn’t, and still claim any concern for minorities.

Problem #2 – We’ve already got what they want, and they’re still not happy.  We may not admit that we have what we vote for, but I can easily prove that we do.  We may whine a single-digit-approval rate of our congress, but those politicians enjoy a >90% reelection rate every Election Day.  Constitutions don’t matter, we have what we vote for, so we’re much more a democracy than a constitutional republic.

And about the “socialism” part…

A few hours ago I read a rose-colored “Democratic Socialism” article that said “Socialism can be defined as ‘a system of social organization in which private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control.’

OK, fine. But what the heck is “social control” if we don’t have it already?

What doesn’t our government control right now, today?  Are socialists somehow saying that our government is not the social organization of our society?

You can argue all you want about the benefits of income redistribution and that mysterious ether “social justice.”

But if you’re using “social control” of property and income as the definition of socialism, then we’ve already got it, and socialists should be delighted.NoGun

But they’re not, are they?

So, what do they really want?

Well, actually, I think most want, in a broad sense, what I want.

  1. They may be angry at people, and even violent toward their political foes; but all the “socialists” I know say they want peace.  World peace.  As in …quit bombing people.  That’s a fine wish.  I’d be happy to work with them on this.
  2. They want prosperity, however they define it.  I may strongly disagree with their ideas on economics, but our goals are the same.  People should prosper.
  3. They know our current social order is corrupt, and want that to go away.  Me too! Oh man do I agree with them on that.
  4. They want something like “fair.”  OK, they do tend to categorize people and have special classes of rights and privileges for special people, and I hate that anti-individual, cliquish and racist tribalism.  But they still have a sense that things aren’t fair now, and that something has to be done.  I’m cool with that basic concept.
  5. While I think they’re calling oppression down on their own heads, they think they’re working toward freedom…personal freedom.  I’m totally for that goal…just not their means.

So, my problem with socialists isn’t their goals; it’s their chosen plan to attain their goals.  I don’t think they’re thinking straight about their “social control” versus authoritarian corruption, poverty and violence.  I think they’re grabbing onto the same, ancient snake-oil political promises and imagining that they’re the newest Get Rich Quick scheme.

lucy-charlie-brown-footballWe’ve done this before.  We’ve done it to death.  We keep believing the promises of dreams and ending up with the nightmares of yet another despot.

I know the arguments about western intervention in socialist nations like North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and other descendants of the Russian revolutions of 1917.  They have some merit.  Our lefty Presidents T. Roosevelt and W. Wilson did tremendous damage to the world in making war into a grand adventure of Empire instead of self-defense only.

But the arguments that socialism quickly tears itself to bits are much stronger, in my opinion.

Strong enough, I think, that the real peace, freedom and prosperity lovers among us should keep offering a much, much better way for a better life, and try to convince our fellows that what didn’t ever work as advertised before…still won’t work; and that the ideology responsible for the death of hundreds of millions, isn’t as good as it sounds.

ADDENDUM:
Since I wrote this just a couple of years ago, I’ve had to change my opinion of the average self-professed socialist.  I’m afraid our leftist indoctrination centers (K-12 and universities) have done their job well.

So now the silk glove has come off the iron fist, and socialism’s inherent violence is showing.  It’s not just AntiFa militarists who’re promoting (and using) violence as the means to their political aims.

There’s a whole generation of young people who’ve been raised in a militarized culture, weaned and jaded on violent games, movies and images, baptised in the faith and fealty to Caesar, and increasingly have less and fewer objection and qualms with beatdowns, silencing, using police to round up people of alternative views, and putting them in gulags and re-indoctrination programs.  …Feeling the Bern indeed.

This, more than our impending fiscal calamity, scares the +!#$ out of me.


I think we could fix this fairly quickly and easily
…if we wanted to.  But there’s the rub.  What people want, increasingly, is vastly worse than what we’ve already got.A society can pretty easily recover from financial meltdown.  But there’s only pain and suffering from a culture gone stupid.

We need a better vision for the future.  A much better vision.  Here’s mine.

Coversmall