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.
  2. Some definitions include the 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


Now, the use and meaning 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 proposed socialism as a violent takeover and transition to forcefully-imposed communism.

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.

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,” like the way Catholics turn wine into Christ’s blood.  And they are, in their clearer moments, advocating communism without the inevitable bloodshed.Atheists

In other words, today’s socialists dismiss the inevitably 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 despot.

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 say it; 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 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.
  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.

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.


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17 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. People that read the ratified 1788 U.S. Constitution with comprehension are Americans.

    People that read the Holy Bible with comprehension are Atheist.

  2. I’m not getting your point.
    Why do you say this? How do these statements go together? How are they relevant here? How are they even true?

  3. People that read the ratified 1788 U.S. Constitution with comprehension are Americans. …………. period (.) stop.

    New sentence; “People that read the Holy Bible with comprehension are Atheist.” ……. period (.) stop.

    Web site, check it out.

  4. No. A Czech who reads our constitution, loves it, and wants it for his homeland is still a Czech.
    An evil USA politician who comprehends the constitution, and wants to destroy it is an American.
    A Mexican who’s never read the constitution is still an American.

    Your second statement is as annoying and insulting as it is false. They can be Hindu, Christian, Muslim, agnostic…whatever they choose.

    And none of this is relevant to the post, is it?

  5. People that read the 1788 Constitution with “comprehension” (capability of understanding) support the 1788 Constitution, and, therefore, are Americans.

    People that read the Bible and “understand” what they read are Atheist.

    It is relevant to your post, that you do not comprehend the ratified 1788 U.S. Constitution.

  6. Allan, you sometimes make excellent comments. Today your logic is broken. You’re not making any sense at all. And that was quite a streeeeetch to relate your strange/false comments to this article.
    If you claim that I’m wrong about something, say what it is, and prove it.

  7. Naturalized immigrants are U.S. citizens but are not we the people as mentioned in the Constitution. Naturalized citizens take an oath to support the Constitution and we the the people take no such oath to be a citizen. Also, your article mentions two Presidents, why? Do you not comprehend Article I, Section 1, Clause 1?

  8. What the heck are you talking about? Did you even read this post?
    You’ll have to tell me what you’re trying to say about the POTUSes mentioned, and how that relates to this.
    And this post certainly isn’t about immigration, aliens, whatever. Never mentioned.
    Did you read another blog and comment on this one by mistake?

  9. In this article two presidents name is written, why; the president can’t legislate, so alone what can a president do about socialism? (or anything else for that matter)

    Also, how did “our Presidents T. Roosevelt and W. Wilson make war”? ………… Isn’t only Congress delegated the power to declare war?

  10. Oh come now, you know better than that. Even then the USA wasn’t under constitutional rule of law.
    Up until Teddy Roosevelt, Grant signed the most Executive Orders…217 – almost three times as many as the next most prolific EO POTUS. Adams I, Madison and Monroe issued only one apiece. Adams II only three.
    Teddy Roosevelt wrote 1081; almost all of which abrogated constitutional presidential authority.
    Woodrow Wilson beat that with 1803.
    Nobody beat that number until FDR, with 3728.
    Nobody’s come close to even a third of that ever since.
    And surely you know how TR and Wilson changed the justification of war from defense to “Spreading Democracy.” Their rhetoric, dealmaking, and unconstitutional action was very powerful in shaping where we are today.

  11. That is correct because a majority of U.S. citizens do not read and understand the 1788 Constitution! Atheist read and understand the Bible, that’s the reason Atheist are Atheist. Atheist are better Americans than Christians, at least Atheist support the Constitution’s separation of Church and State (separation Sin and Crime, if you wish).

  12. I’ve got no idea why you’re bringing in atheism. I think you’re on thin ice here.

    Pol Pot was an atheist. The most savage, ruthless and evil mass-murderers of the past century were atheists. Democide has been a mostly atheist/socialist phenomenon.
    So in reference to this post, you’re on the wrong side of the facts. Atheism and socialism/communism are kissing cousins.

    I’d never say that there aren’t constitutionalist and libertarian atheists. There are lots, of course.
    But your correlation and causation is badly off.

  13. Pol Pot was not a U.S. citizen. U.S. citizens have reelected a majority of Incumbents of the House in Congress every two years for over one hundred years. Atheist that I hear support the Constitution, at least support the separation of church and state. Do you support the separation of church and state?

  14. I’ve got no idea what you’re going after here, but we’re not making progress…especially since it’s becoming obvious you’ve got a very wrong idea about what the first amendment says, and how all those freedoms listed in it are related.
    I suppose you want to prohibit, not just separate, religion from politics.
    Do you support the separation of speech and state in exactly the same way? Prohibit press from politics? Are we to prohibit peaceable assembly, or petitioning the government for a redress of grievances?
    And back to Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Lenin…lots of murderous atheists.
    I’m talking about socialism/communism…not just USA citizens. That’s all you.
    Your claim that only atheists understand the Bible is totally baseless and totally off the point and subject of this post. I’d never say that all atheists are like Jeffrey Dahmer or Jim Jones; but your claim that they make the best citizens is pretty bizarre given the point of this post…and that socialism/communism/atheism really do go hand-in-hand. Show me a Christian Communist. I can show you plenty of atheist communists.
    And that should be point, game, and match, unless you can go back and prove that anything you’ve said up to now is either relevant to the post, or true.
    I don’t mean to be snippy, but it sure seems to me that you’ve gone off the rails with this one.

  15. After I replied I found this list that maybe you should peruse. Lots of your fine American Citizens here:

  16. Rights: only one Right is written in the ratified 1788 U.S. Constitution and U.S. courts are obligated to enforce that citizen Right, Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, (applies only to Authors and Inventors).

    U.S. citizen’s Rights have no power to force government compliance to citizen wants, needs or demands, because citizens cannot legislate (Article I, Section 1, Clause 1), and citizens cannot amend the Constitution to tell, or order, government Officials what to do Officially.

    Amendment 10, articulates powers, not Rights, and reserves powers, in government, to the people; what are those Powers reserved to the people (those reserved Powers are written in the 1788 Constitution)?

  17. OK, I give up. Whatever it is you’re trying to say…you win.

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