by Steve McCann · August 7, 2018
With the unexpected success of Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primaries and Democrats swooning over the newest face in the crowd, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, socialism – or its latest euphemism, “Democratic Socialism” – is the new hot-button issue of the American left and its Millennial allies, who are enamored by its egalitarian rhetoric. Socialism has been ruinous everywhere it has been tried, yet this cabal is just the latest in a long line of true believers throughout the Western world, convinced that they are so exceptional that they can succeed where so many before them have failed. Their naïveté oozes from every pore as they mindlessly rail against capitalism and tout the theoretical benefits of socialism.
Why has socialism failed everywhere it has been tried – and why does it continue to do so – despite the best efforts of the die-hard true believers in the United States and the rest of the world? The original and current proponents of socialism fail to take into account one basic and immutable factor: the fundamental nature of the human race.
The most dominant trait mankind has, as do all living creatures, is an innate desire to survive and prosper.
While some may willingly choose to pursue subsistence on their own terms, to the majority of the human race, the path of least resistance is the most desired. Thus, mankind is susceptible to financial scams, gambling, crime, and resentment or violence toward those who may have more. Above all, far too many people are open to the concept of a central authority providing them with the means of livelihood.
A secondary characteristic of the human race, again shared by other species, is the need by some within the group to conquer or maintain control over their fellow creatures.
The mid-19th century saw the dawning of the Industrial Revolution and the rise in living standards and education for the populace in Europe. It was this same period that saw the advent of socialist-Marxist theory. In nations rapidly industrializing, those who considered themselves superior to the masses, and in the past may have achieved ruling status through the power of intimidation over the illiterate and unwashed, now had to look to other means to achieve control of the levers of government.
Following the basic blueprint as set out by Marx and Engels, by the early part of the 20th century, the easiest course to assume this power was to promise, in return for the support of the majority of the people, that the state, through a new ruling class, would provide the citizenry cradle-to-grave economic security. Thus, a Faustian bargain encompassing the desire by the majority for ease of survival, and others for the need to rule, would be entered into.
This arrangement contains the seeds of its own destruction. For socialism to succeed, it must have an economic underpinning that can provide the foundation for massive social spending. Following the guidelines as set out by Karl Marx, the Soviet Union as early as the 1920s and ’30s proved, beyond any doubt, that complete state control of the means of production was a colossal failure, as it could not begin to produce anywhere near enough wealth to support the population. Therefore, to have any chance of success, socialism would have to evolve into a parasite attaching itself to capitalism until the host eventually succumbed.
Only the capitalist economic system operating within an open and free society, which is anathema to a powerful central government and its attendant oligarchy, can produce sufficient wealth to underwrite a social safety net for the general public, provide employment for the populace, and finance the basic services provided by government at all levels.
Capitalism, reflective of that portion of mankind choosing to seek subsistence on their own terms, does by its nature celebrate the success of the individual, not the collective. Individuals, separately or together, driven by the motive of self-enrichment, produce goods and services desired by others. In the process, jobs and wealth are created, benefiting society as a whole.
A massive tension exists between those who adhere to central government control and swear fealty to socialist-Marxist philosophy and those who produce the wealth of a nation. The state inherently has more power than the individual, and once the left-wing or socialist element of the ruling class irretrievably assumes power, government becomes the vehicle to inexorably meddle in and manipulate the affairs and livelihood of the individual and producer class (which is always a minority in any society).
Those who believe they have a manifest destiny to rule and are faithful to socialist dogma have a predisposition to control the populace and economic activity through laws, regulations, taxes, and intimidation. Despite the lessons of the Soviet Union, Venezuela and Communist China and their state control of the economy, as well as many Euro-socialist nations rapidly turning away from statism, every new generation of adherents to socialist ideology believe that they can make this fallacious philosophy work and maintain their arrangement with the citizenry while, not coincidentally, enriching themselves.
The reality is that they cannot: the economic engine of capitalism will not continue to produce wealth if it is increasingly taxed and put under the thumb of bureaucrats and central planners inevitably attempting not only to institute state control of the economy, but also to regulate the day-to-day lives of all citizens. The motivation of the producer class will be stifled, and the producers will drop out, join the dependent class, or simply move to other more hospitable countries.
These governments, as history has shown, will then turn to excessive and unsustainable borrowing and inflation to finance their societal obligations. The implied contract between the statists and the citizens who were promised cradle-to-grave security cannot be maintained, as the economic underpinning of this arrangement quickly erodes. The standard of living will drop precipitously. Political upheaval and potential violence lie just below the surface. Thus the dire situation of the citizens in nations such as Cuba and Venezuela as well as other failed states in Africa and South America.
The Founding Fathers of the United States, one of the greatest confluences of brilliant minds in the history of mankind, understood the basic nature of human beings. They accordingly set forth a form of government and a written constitution to limit those who seek hegemony over the people, especially those seeking unlimited economic security from an all-powerful central government. They recognized that only the individual free to pursue economic happiness would result in a society wherein all benefit on a sustained basis.
The latest generation of the proponents of socialism in the United States have never endured any national adversity, as this country has experienced unprecedented peace and prosperity for nearly four generations. Far too many, because of a desire to be part of the in crowd as well as outright ignorance, are captivated by the egalitarian theory of socialism-Marxism without realizing that it is no more than a vehicle for others to seize power by exploiting the foibles of human nature in order to control and manipulate the people, including many of those currently and ignorantly espousing its so-called virtues.
americanthinker.com · by Steve McCann · August 7, 2018