Sunday, January 24, 2016

Who would want Socialism?

From the time you were a small child, you were told to share.  You might've even been disciplined for not sharing as a child.  From what some in the media tells us, Capitalism rewards the rich & greedy, while it abuses the disadvantaged in society.  Following this logical thinking then, wouldn't socialism be the solution to most of our modern-day inequality and cure all of our poverty?

And, if we had free healthcare, free college -- like we already have free public schools, and free everything else, wouldn't we be a healthier and happier culture.  Let's come back to this question.

Most of the people I talk with who favor Socialism do not really seem to know what they are in favor of.  It seems that most of the people in favor of Socialism think that all of the "free" stuff comes from a limitless supply of abundance, but they don't stop to ask from where would these resources flow.  

Socialism is an ideology, it's a perspective that endorses the government's control over the production of goods & services, and the distribution or redistribution of said goods.  Socialism, really is about a collective ownership where no one really has personal property, and it removes the need for individualism, giving the government total control over all material wealth.  And, it's a system that generates the highest taxation of its people.

One of the disadvantages of Socialism is the government has to increase exponentially to take over control of the private sector.  This is interesting to me since most of the younger voters who are on the side of Bernie Sanders do not embrace the idea of the government telling us the people what to do.  One of Bernie's platforms is legalizing marijuana, a removal of governmental control over it.  This is interesting, because on the one hand it seems like the voice of the people wins, but in reality, it's just another way to increase tax revenue on a commodity that people who want to consume it will consume it regardless of its legality.

Another disadvantage to Socialism is the reality that it removes the incentive of hard work.  In the real world, people do enjoy the fruits of their labor, not someone else's labor.  Yet, if you lived under the control of a Socialistic government, there would be people who simply would not be motivated to work hard, because they would know that the benefits of all of their hard work would be shared with the many able-bodied people who have never had to work for anything (who in turn, aren't motivated to work at all...).   Think of this example, if you could receive a college degree just for enrolling in college, but you didn't have to attend classes, would you do it?  Who wouldn't?  But, what would that do to the value of higher education?

But what about generosity and philanthropy, wouldn't those ideals override the weakness of character that would demotivate the hard worker who didn't want to give away his spoils?  Generosity only works on a volunteer basis.  If you can't willingly give from the heart, but you are made to share anyway, then it means what was yours was forcefully taken from you.  And, the only people who can't understand this, are people who have never had to work for anything, they've had everything handed to them already.

Margret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister, once quipped, "The problem with Socialism is you eventually run out of other people's money."   Maybe that's not entirely accurate, maybe the problem with Socialism is, you run off other people who would work hard to earn money.  Instead of a redistribution of wealth, what we need is a redistribution of a healthy work ethic.

I'm not saying Capitalism is perfect, nor would I say our world is perfect now, not by a long shot.  We have a long way to go towards improving equality in our culture, but Socialism isn't even close to the answer.  I would say with confidence that Socialism has failed everywhere it's been tried.  More people starved to death in the 20th Century under Socialist governments than those who died fighting in wars during the same time period.  In present-day countries under the control of socialism, the middle class has been taxed so heavily, there is almost no middle class, thus leaving a wider gap between the wealthy and the poor, resulting in the bankruptcy of several European countries.

Now, back to the question of Socialism increasing our happiness through giving us free stuff.  Please go and ask people who work hard for their for the money how happy they are, and then ask someone who lives off of welfare how happy they are, preferably asking someone who is a second or third generation family member that depends on welfare.  Please let me know who seems to be the happier of the two to you.  Better yet, ask a refugee from a Socialistic country who has fled their homeland to come to the land of opportunity how happy they were under Socialism...

You see, Socialism isn't really about sharing, it's ultimately about taking.  It's legalized confiscation and a bureaucratic method of deciding who gets what, not based on sharing your own sweat equity or how well you contribute to the whole, but it's based on what the government deems appropriate for you to consume and enjoy.  In the end, the only thing Socialism is good for, is for providing material for dystopian stories.