Todd Weber's Random Thoughts

March 25, 2009

Why Socialism is Bad for America

Socialism is a socioeconomic philosophy which has failed everywhere it has been tried, yet for decades has been slowly and steadily creeping into American society.  Many contemporary Americans, including some prominent and high-level politicians, hold socialist views and continually press for the implementation of socialist principals and programs in the United States.  Socialism is bad for America because it results in large, intrusive and controlling government that diminishes the role and value of individual citizens; it is largely based on “false compassion” that promotes victimhood and big government solutions; and it offers a false hope of utopian brotherhood and equality, resulting in the loss of freedom and the rise of governmental tyranny.

To begin, we must first define socialism.  The New Encyclopedia Britannica (2007) states: “Socialism refers to both a set of doctrines and the political movements that aspire to put these doctrines into practice…there is no precise canon on which the various adherents of contemporary socialist movements agree…the most that can be said is that socialism is, in the words of Anthony Crosland, a British socialist, ‘a set of values, or aspirations, which socialists wish to see embodied in the organization of society.’” (393)

There is a wide variety of socialists in America today, ranging from the neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic National Socialist Movement on one end of the spectrum to the Socialist Party U.S.A. on the other end.  Other socialist groups include the Democratic Socialists of America, National Alliance, Young Democrat Socialist, and the Democratic Progressive Party (Socialism in America, 3).  While there is a wide range of beliefs and goals among these groups, some elements are common to all of them.

According to British scholar and socialist Alec Nove (1987), “a society may be seen to be a socialist one if the major part of the means of production of goods and services are not in private hands, but are in some sense socially owned and operated by state, socialized, or cooperative enterprises” (Buchanan, 1).  Professor Heinz W. Arndt of Sydney University (Australia), a former socialist, listed the main planks of the socialist platform as: nationalization of industry, central planning and direct controls (Kasper, 1).   

Gerard Radnitzky, Professor Emeritus in Philosophy of Science at the University of Trier, Germany, describes the evolution of modern socialism as a transformation from the 1920s-version of “hard socialism with coercive central planning and state capitalism” to the “milder form of creeping socialism, which comes gradually and softly, masked by the sweet poison of the welfare state” of the 1960s (45-46).  This is the insidious, incremental socialism which intrudes upon us today.

Michael Novak, the George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute, describes modern socialists, whom he calls “economic reds,” as being different from fundamental socialists in some ways, but characteristically “gripped by three seductive fascinations – the views that 1) government is motherly and warm, 2) a halo attaches to the ‘leveling’ of economic differences, and 3) there exists in corporations and in those who profit from commerce a residual stench of evil.” (1)

Since the history and philosophy of socialism and all its effects and ramifications is far too large a subject for this discussion, we will address only three broad reasons why socialism is bad for America.

First, socialism results in large, intrusive and controlling government that diminishes the role and value of individual citizens.  It is a form of statism, which sees the state as all-powerful, all-wise, and more capable of determining and supplying the needs of its citizens than the citizens themselves.  Socialism empowers government, through its bureaucrats, to act as a great benevolent mother caring for her people by appropriating and redistributing the fruits of the people’s labor, as it sees fit, through high taxation and generous social welfare programs. 

Socialists believe that all the ills and inequities of society can be remedied by government programs that require ever more tax dollars to fund them.  Professor Arndt stated that the belief that government intervention was needed to correct “market failure” and protect the weak resulted in “big government, widespread government failures, excessive bureaucratic regulation of business and the lives of citizens, and a ‘political market’ which dispenses protection, subsidies and welfare expenditures in response to organized lobbying.” He contended that such ambitious spending and redistribution triggered inflation, increased unemployment and enlarged the government. (Kasper, 25)

Ever-increasing levels of taxation, social welfare programs, and restrictions on business result in numerous unsustainable consequences, such as deep national debt, unfunded liabilities, wasted capital and loss of productivity, creativity, innovation and consumer choices. F.A. Hayek, author of The Road to Serfdom (1944), showed that “soft socialism–social democratism-will in the long run produce the same results as hard, fundamentalist socialism, namely the bankruptcy of government and enormous opportunity costs: the prosperity that society misses out on as compared to a genuine free market order.” (Radnitzky, 46)

Radnitzky noted that redistributing wealth from the productive segments of society (industry, commerce, etc.) to the non-productive (the political class, bureaucracy, social welfare recipients, etc.) “reduces the rewards for enterprise and production and cuts innovation and employment.” (46)  Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises explained that the slowing of capital accumulation due to redistribution halts economic improvement, technological progress, and the rise of average standards of living. (63)  In other words, soaking the rich doesn’t only hurt the rich, it hurts everyone.  The best way to raise average standards of living, foster technological innovation, and decrease unemployment is to lower taxes (removing the success penalty), which will allow producers to keep the rewards of their labor and encourage further investment.

Another reason why socialism is bad for America is that socialism is largely based on false compassion, which results in a host of serious, though unintended, consequences. The term “false compassion” is used for two reasons.  First, because socialism takes the care of those in need out of the willing hearts and hands of truly compassionate individuals, and places it in the hands of the impersonal bureaucracy of government, which then takes by force from those who have, via taxation, and redistributes it, often with great inefficiency and waste, to others who have not, the recipients have no connection to the source of such benefits (the taxpayer).  Secondly, this involuntary benevolence often results, not in good will, gratitude, and a sense of community, but rather resentment among those who are taxed, and a sense of entitlement and continuing dependency among those who benefit. This false compassion is seen in the socialist obsession with equality and fairness accompanied by the conviction that capitalism and those who espouse it are inherently unfair, insensitive and cruel.

Joshua Muravchik noted that the French innovation with regard to democracy was to include equality among the mandatory pursuits of government, to which was then added the objective of brotherhood, “so that the enduring slogan of the [French] Revolution became ‘liberty, equality, brotherhood.” (1)

Expressing the same ideal, Theodore White (1953) wrote that, “Socialism is the belief and the hope that by proper use of government power, men can be rescued from their helplessness in the wild cycling cruelty of depression and boom.” (Socialism in America, 1).  According to Novak, this is why modern socialists “strive mightily to instill victimhood in fellow citizens, and to picture them as helplessly in need of government’s assistance.” (2)

Socialists believe that by heavily taxing the rich and productive of society, whom they believe have achieved their wealth and prosperity by exploiting the less fortunate, and redistributing it to the poor and disenfranchised, they will bring about social equality for the betterment of mankind.  This sounds nice in theory, but it doesn’t work in the real world.

Socialists consider inequality in wealth and incomes as injustice; and the greater the disparity, the greater the injustice. Mises observed that this view then justifies the confiscation of wealth from the rich in order to provide for the poor, presumably resulting in a more equitable situation. (1)  However, this always proves to be a slippery slope of never-ending redistribution.  Mises noted:

The history of the taxation of profits, incomes, and estates in all countries clearly shows that once the principle of equalization is adopted, there is no point at which the further progress of the policy of equalization can be checked…As long as any degree of inequality is left, there will always be people whom envy impels to press for a continuation of the equalization policy. (1-2)

In the end, socialist efforts toward economic equalization result in universal poverty, except perhaps among the ruling class. Rather than achieving a higher quality of life for all, the forces of socialism invariably push everyone down to equal impoverishment and misery. This has been demonstrated everywhere that all-out socialism has been practiced, most notably in the former Soviet Union, North Korea, and China, among many others.  Muravchik astutely observed, “There is no escape from inequality, except through uniform poverty.” (5) 

The final reason we will note as to why socialism is bad for America is that it offers false and empty hope in an idealistic fantasy that has never succeeded in practice, and which has repeatedly resulted in tyranny and terrible human suffering.  Those who would implement socialist or quasi-socialist policies in the United States of America are either unaware of the bleak history of socialism and have not considered the long-term consequences of their aims, or they are so enamored of their ideology that they don’t care.  Ludwig von Mises wrote that politicians who recommend socialist policies while claiming that they want to preserve the market economy and economic freedom are “either hypocrites who want to bring about socialism by deceiving the people about their real intentions, or they are ignoramuses who do not know what they are talking about.” (63)

Clive Hamilton, author of Growth Fetish and Affluenza, and executive director of the Australia Institute, a green socialist think tank, admitted, “It was not socialism that broke down the barriers of poverty and class, it was capitalism.” (Saunders, 6)

According to Muravchik, socialism has “proved to be mankind’s greatest mistake since the serpent beguiled Eve.” (5)  “After World War Two, new varieties of socialism were created in…Africa, Arabia and elsewhere,” including Cuba and Vietnam which adopted more standard Communist systems. By the late 1970s, socialism had come to dominate over sixty percent of the world. (3) Recounting the history of scores of socialist experiments, he reports that all of them have failed, utterly and disastrously. (2) 

Many countries that have tried socialism and found that it didn’t work are turning toward capitalism, to one degree or another, even as the United States seems intent on pursuing socialism.  China, Britain, France and Tanzania are a few such examples.

In 1978, China’s Deng Xiaoping announced a “second revolution,” which was to move away from hard communism toward “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” Many of the ensuing changes “bore greater resemblance to capitalism.” (Muravchik, 4)

Within a year of China’s move away from communism, Britain’s Margaret Thatcher “set out to ‘kill’ socialism, which she believed was the true cause of the so-called ‘British disease’ that others saw as a mysterious and irremediable decline of national culture.” (ibid)

A year after France’s Socialist Party, led by Francois Mitterand, took power (1981) and began to “implement measures creating new public sector jobs, nationalizing industries, and mandating increases in wages, pensions, and welfare…the economy was in such a tailspin that Mitterand ordered an abrupt reversal.” (ibid)

Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere, “once the avatar of African socialism, confessed: ‘If I call back the British to look at their old plantations, they will laugh at us because we ruined them.” (ibid)

Besides the economic costs and consequences of socialism, there is also the inevitable loss of freedom and the concurrent rise of governmental tyranny which are its natural products.  Muravchik noted that “the totalitarian impulse” in socialism is not an aberration, but has been present from the earliest days of socialist philosophy. (ibid)

While the term “fascist” is regularly used by liberals as a derisive epithet against conservatives, it is actually a beast which arises from the waters of socialism. In Liberal Fascism, Jonah Goldberg argues that “In reality, international fascism drew from the same intellectual wellsprings as American Progressivism.” (Hayward, 1)  According to Goldberg, fascism should be understood as supercharged nationalistic statism. He noted the bold incursion of fascism under President Woodrow Wilson who “disparaged ‘individualism’ and the market economy, and advocated ever more powerful government and economic planning.” (ibid 2)  This path was trod further by Hoover and then by Franklin D. Roosevelt and company who authored the New Deal and:

understood their project as wholly congruent with what they saw approvingly in Italy and Germany. Waldo Frank declared in 1934 that Roosevelt’s National Recovery Administration “is the beginning of American Fascism” and the Nazis expressed their admiration and enthusiasm for FDR’s program…The New York Times reported in 1933: “There is at least one official voice in Europe that expresses understanding of the method and motives of President Roosevelt. This voice is that of Germany, as represented by Chancellor Adolf Hitler.” (ibid) 

Goldberg also noted that the liberal penchant for regulating people’s lives for their own good (smoking bans, healthy eating mantras, etc.) or “for the children” represents “the still-vibrant residue of the last wave of fascist enthusiasm.” (ibid) He documents in copious detail many disturbing parallels between European fascism and modern liberalism, which is consonant with socialism.

Thus, socialism poses not only a threat to the economic principles and practices which have led America to a level of prosperity and power unprecedented in human history, it also threatens the very freedom that is both the incubator and protector of that prosperity.

In conclusion, I have shown that while socialism seems to have run its course in virtually every other nation in which it has been tried, it still represents a clear and present danger to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in America.  Socialism is bad for America because it leads to large, intrusive and controlling government that diminishes the role and value of individual citizens; it is largely based on false compassion that promotes victimhood and big government; and it offers false hope of utopian brotherhood and equality, resulting in the loss of freedom and the rise of governmental tyranny.

 

References

Buchanan, James. Socialism is Dead But Leviathan Lives On. (1990, March 27). Center for Independent Studies. Retrieved February 9, 2009, from http://www.cis.org.au.

Flynn, Daniel. (2008). A Conservative History of the American Left. New York: Crown Forum.

Goldberg, Jonah. (2007). Liberal Fascism. New York: Doubleday.

Hayward, Steven. Who’s Fascist Now? (2008, Jan. 22). American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. Retrieved February 9, 2009, from http://www.aei.org.

Kasper, Wolfgang. The Art of the Economy: Stability Growth and Philosophy. Interview with Heinz W. Arndt. (2000, Spring) Policy. Center for Independent Studies. Retrieved February 9, 2009, from http://www.cis.org.au.

Mises, Ludwig von. Inequality of Wealth and Incomes. (2000, Spring) Policy. Center for Independent Studies. Retrieved February, 9, 2009, from http://www.cis.org.au.

Muravchik, Joshua. The Rise and Fall of Socialism. (2000, Jan. 1) American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. Retrieved February 9, 2009, from http://www.aei.org.

New Encyclopedia Britannica, Macropaedia, The. 15th Edition, Volume 27. (2007) Chicago.

Novak, Michael. Economic Reds: A Diagnosis. (2007, June 25) American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. Retrieved February 9, 2009, from http://www.aei.org.

Radnitzky, Gerard. Ludwig von Mises on His 120th Birthday.  (2001, Spring) Policy. Center for Independent Studies. Retrieved February 9, 2009, from http://www.cis.org.au.

Socialism in America. Retrieved February 5, 2009, from http://www.u-s-history.com.

Saunders, Paul. Why Capitalism is Good for the Soul. (2007, Summer) Policy. Center for Independent Studies. Retrieved February 9, 2009, from http://www.cis.org.au.

Waldron, Arthur. China’s Disguised Failure. (2002, July 1) American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. Retrieved February 9, 2009, from http://www.aei.org.

 

 

© copyright Todd K. Weber, 2009. No part of this may be used or reproduced without permission from the author.

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25 Comments »

  1. Hi there,
    Thank you! I would now go on this blog every day!
    Have a nice day

    Comment by GlenStef — April 29, 2009 @ 10:15 pm

  2. Let’s see how horrible socialism is in Europe:

    – Free healthcare for all
    – Free quality education for all
    – Four weeks vacation
    – Labor laws which actually protect the common man
    – Fairer distribution of income
    – Decent working hours
    – Balanced lifestyle

    Socialism is not Communism, where civil rights and freedom are violated.

    Comment by mark — August 6, 2009 @ 7:43 am

    • Mark,
      Read my lips: NOTHING IS FREE! All of those things you are so fond of are paid for by taxes on the private and corporate earnings of citizens. How great is “free” when your healthcare decisions are made by some gov’t hack who doesn’t know or care about you? How great is “free” education when school administrators determine what you will study and what career you will have – for the rest of your life – based on your perceived aptitude without consideration of your desires or aspirations (as in France, for one)? Who needs a vacation if you’re working only 30-hrs a week and all your needs are supplied by the government? How beneficial are labor laws that limit the opportunities for employment by squeezing the profits out of business through excessive taxation and regulation? What is fair about having your hard-earned income taken from you and given to someones else who did not earn it? The beauty of free-market capitalism is that people – all people – are rewarded according to their productivity. Yes, that means that some get rich and others do not, but everyone has opportunity. Socialism leads to equality of misery, not prosperity. Do you really believe that government can provide you with a “balanced lifestyle”? Give me a break! They can’t even balance a budget, so how are they going to balance your life?

      Yes, socialism is not communism, but it is the precursor to it. History has shown repeatedly that big government does not guarantee civil rights and freedom, but rather diminishes them. The end result is tyranny and suffering.

      Comment by tkweber — November 12, 2009 @ 10:41 am

      • spoken like a true brain-washed citizen. If you think Capitalism is doing a better job, you my friend need to open your eyes. All that “free-market” is a bunch of crap and you feed into in, Capitalism is just a system created by the rich so they can stay rich.

        And since you’re downing “free” how great is free-market when it only benefits less than a quarter of the people.

        Comment by Kiara — July 11, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

  3. Hey, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work! 🙂

    – Marc Shaw

    Comment by Marc Shaw — October 15, 2009 @ 12:58 pm

  4. Todd – I would like to quote the last sentence in the first paragraph of the “why socialism is bad for america” weblog posting. It is a powerful summary of what America stands to loose and I would like the reference for my economics class in APA reference format. Can you email me at lockettm@msn.com if this request is acceptable?

    Comment by Mike Locket — November 14, 2009 @ 7:29 am

  5. I am British and the things you have inaccurately stated about British schools, healthcare etc are of course like what most say in the US – misleading lies. I have lived here for 10 years and I am going back to the UK – why because we are without healthcare and have a child who has a chronic illness, that will get free, good healthcare. Taxes are a little higher than here. Healthcare choices are not made for you – I am 38 and can attest to this, and have many friends and family who work for the NHS, who will say the same. Its funny I have seen people die of cancer here, some with and some without health insurance – whilst all my friends in England have all survived cancer. Funny that isn’t it. As for schooling, they do not determine what you will study – flat out lie. I studied till 22 years of age – all free, all my own choice, like friends and family alike. Please get the facts right, like most US citizens living here, you are misled by the media so as not to want what other countries have. I have many rich friends, who have made their own business etc and worked their way up the ladder – ooooh thought they couldn’t do that in the UK. I know that you want to write the truth, especially as you are representing God, so plese find out the true facts.
    On a side note, my Dad, who had a triple bypass (free of course), has a NEW car given by the government and they pay for the insurance aswell, because he cannot walk too far without getting breathless. He has diabetes and gets TOO MUCH INSULIN, keeps telling them he doesn’t need all that. He sends me diabetic test strips, as we can’t get enough for my daughter here – she has CHIP (government insurance). My Aunt had a pig valve put in her heart (free aswell), she is going strong. She would’ve been left to die here, aswell as my Dad. You get free, government housing if you need a house there too. My aunt and Uncle have a council house, very nice too, they paint it and decorate it, even do the lawncare for you. I could go on and on, but I won’t – I will finish by saying that if you are going to post this (which I doubt), please, make sure you do fair research and not biased research.

    Comment by LIndsey — March 17, 2010 @ 9:39 pm

    • LIndsey,
      First of all, I do not presume to represent God on this blog. My opinions are my opinions, period. Obviously, you have much more experience with the British healthcare system than I do, which is probably why you are blind to its downside. Regardless of how many services you receive from your government, nothing is free. Your government is confiscating the earnings of productive citizens (I don’t know if you are one of those or not) through taxation and redistributing it to everyone else. Kudos to those industrious souls who have managed to achieve wealth under such a system. If it wasn’t for them, there wouldn’t be anything to redistribute. The fact is that your nation is on the verge of bankruptcy and looking for ways to retreat on some of its social programs in order to balance the budget.

      Oh, and my reference to lack of choice in schooling had to do with France and was based on information from a former resident of France, not the media. I’m glad you were able to enjoy such a long and fulfilling education of your choice, but actually, that wasn’t free either. Someone paid the bill for you by surrendering their own earnings through taxation – earnings which they might have otherwise used to care for their own home, or invest, or take a vacation, etc. But, I guess those are probably all “free” too. Hmmm, if everything is provided by the government and the government gets its money from the citizens, what happens when the citizens run out of money?

      As for healthcare choices being made for you, it was only a few months ago that I read a report (yes, in the media, forgive me) about the British government considering limits on the amount of beer citizens could consume because the cost of alcohol-related illnesses was too high. You see, when the government pays the bill, they get to make the rules. And when you allow the government to supply all of your needs, it will soon be the one determining what are your needs. That is not freedom. It is slavery.

      I am not wealthy and probably never will be. I don’t have everything I want, and probably never will. Life is difficult at times, and my family has to set priorities and make sacrifices in order to achieve, possess and enjoy the things that are important to us. I would much rather live this way and enjoy the freedom to use the fruits of my labor as I choose rather than live as an indentured servant to the collective so that we may all share equally in mediocrity and misery. Freedom isn’t free, and it’s worth every penny. I hope that you and your great nation realize this before it is too late.

      Comment by tkweber — March 18, 2010 @ 7:28 am

      • what makes this comment funny is that you’ve completely ignored the fact that, the government and private corporations still regulate how we live and how much we make, this happens even without socialism.

        but the sad part about is it happens at the expense that people end up with less than equal or nothing at all. Life is difficult only when you live you life blindly.

        Comment by Kiara — July 11, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

  6. I wish I could read your blog more often but the font is too small and cursive/italic.

    Comment by possiblymaybe — October 6, 2010 @ 9:12 pm

  7. It would have been nice to read a balanced account of the differences between capitalism and socialism. You seem to think socialism only means big government, you fail to see that socialism means power in the hands of workers, of unions, of consumers. There is a profoundly sophisticated humanist ethical philosophy beneath the layers of politics that we know as socialism, which you completely ignore.

    You seem to think that taking from the poor and giving to the rich, which is what capitalism does, is somehow morally superior to taking from the rich and giving to the poor. I do not see it.

    Also, when you have extremely high levels of marginalization, you have civil unrest. This is also part of Marxist philosophy, Marx was an observer of capitalism who studied it carefully and the Marxist discourse is ever-evolving and continues to this day.

    European standards of living are actually higher than US standards of living. Recently a study showed that the happiest country on Earth was Denmark. Denmark’s protection of freedom of expression of its citizens in the Muhammad cartoons side show: clearly these are not an oppressed people who thirst for freedom, but a free people who will defend their right to say whatever the hell is on their mind whereas fear-mongering is winning out here in the US.

    Perhaps the answer is not a socialist revolution but an injection of human values (read: socialist progressive reforms) into predominantly capitalist systems so that exploitation is not as rampant … oh, because explotation does take place and to deny this is madness. This is not about making people out to be victims. There ARE victims of exploitation whose labor is not valued by the almighty corporations. Just look at the thousands who got laid off in 2008-2009 (myself included).

    Your praise of British imperialism in Africa, and of how they are wishing they could go back to the days of British domination also raises eyebrows. Tanzania’s riches belong to the Tanzanians, not to the British who exploited them some generations back.

    Comment by Hiram — October 23, 2010 @ 7:56 pm

    • History has shown repeatedly (USSR, China, Cambodia, Cuba, North Korea, et al) that socialism/communism concentrates power among the ruling elite while the common people (workers) suffer. It is the very “humanist ethical philosophy” to which you refer that leads to tyranny and oppression.

      Capitalism is not about taking from one and giving to another. It is about private ownership of property. It is about workers and rulers having equal rights and opportunities to own property, produce goods and services, and reap the rewards of their own labor.

      Where would your European utopia be if not for the capitalistic USA coming to the rescue in TWO world wars, rebuilding the continent with the fruits of that capitalism, then continuing to guard and protect it for the last 70 years by providing the bulk of NATO forces at our own expense? How long would it have taken those countries to collapse under the weight of socialism if they had to also provide for their own national defense, instead of depending on the evil capitalists?

      Unfortunately, exploitation exists everywhere and in every system of men. It is the product of the human condition. The difference between the exploitation of capitalists and communists is that in capitalism, 1) everyone has opportunity to succeed and prosper, and 2) there is no threat of a gulag, re-education camp or firing squad. Yes, some successful capitalists have done bad things to the less fortunate, but they are truly the exception, and not the rule. Many, many more have used their success for good, such as building libraries, hospitals, schools, orphanages and more. The global history of socialism/communism is bleak, to say the least.

      Comment by tkweber — October 31, 2010 @ 4:00 pm

      • USSR, cuba, etc. were/are not socialist societies. If you replace a set of masters for another set of masters then that is not what Marx aspired to. There have been numerous attempts and most have failed. Maybe Karl Marx underestimated human nature and or susceptibility to personality cults / thirst for power.

        If you read up on Marx’s philosophy, his socialist utopia culminated in a communist society with no social classes and NO STATE. If you have huge militarized states, like Cuba or USSR, that cannot be denominated socialism. China is not socialist: if it was, the workers there would have some of the best working conditions in the world.

        There is ongoing dialogue as to what socialist ideals should consist of, and many people have abandoned socialist idealism while they’ve preserved socialist ideals. In other words, there is no utopia, just a constant struggle (or ‘constant revolution’ to cite Trotsky) to form a more egalitarian and humanized society. Maybe the idea is a combination of capitalism, tempered with socialist progressive reforms.

        Your assessment of capitalism IS profoundly dishonest. The fig fish eat the small fish. While there are thousands of jobless Americans that could use those jobs, the capitalists in the US employ people in countries with little or no labor laws. We have sweatshops in Indonesia and China where people work 12 to 24 hour shifts at times, earning pennies for their work while the capitalists that employ them sell their products for huge profits, which they pocket.

        This is worse than slave labor: during slavery in the US a slave had to be given shelter, health care, had to be fed and clothed, etc. Workers in these countries don’t earn enough to pay for these basic things, they don’t earn a living wage.

        Plus: ponder this. In Venezuela, Chavez nationalized the oil industry because (common sense dictates) the riches of Venezuela belong to the Venezuelans, not to an ‘oil oligarchy’ like the one we have here … WARS have been started by the US for oil that brought our economy to ruins because of corporate control of our gov’t by these oligarchs. They are unscrupulous and greedy.

        If the US had nationalized Texan and other oil, the resources that are universally consumed and that should belong to the American people, we would probably all have had free health care, free phone service, free water, free electricity of course, etc. for several generations now instead of having fought wars for corporate oil … or perhaps the oil would have subsidized all or most of these services and our quality of life would be much better in the US.

        The idea is that a government and an economy should be for the people and by the people, not controlled by the few.

        Comment by Hiram — October 31, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

      • Hiram,
        You hit the nail on the head with “Maybe Karl Marx underestimated human nature and or susceptibility to personality cults/thirst for power.” Progressive/socialist/communist philosophy stands upon the erroneous humanistic belief (faith) that people, given the right social/environmental conditions, can achieve a state of peace, harmony and prosperity free of hatred, greed, violence, etc. History (not to mention religion) has shown that this is a false and impossible premise. Humans are inherently selfish and self-serving. The alturism that you seem to desire (as do most decent people) is a pipe-dream in the absence of significant moral/spiritual reformation irrespective of political or economic systems. In other words, neither socialism nor capitalism is the cure for what ails the human condition. It is an issue of the heart and soul, which is a separate topic of discussion, but which explains why Marx’s vision is impossible to achieve. There have always been and will always be the intense desire for self-preservation and self-promotion which drives greed and other emotions which, if empowered and unchecked, lead to cruelty and exploitation. It is this very tendency which the framers of the U.S. Constitution wisely and successfully sought to limit, while maximizing individual liberty and opportunity.

        The real question is which system provides both opportunity and protection to the most people at the same time? Socialism/Communism would bring everyone down to the lowest common denominator of equality by taking from those who are productive and successful and redistributing it to those who are not, so that everyone has an equal share of less. Capitalism, on the other hand, allows and encourages everyone to be as productive and successful as they desire and are willing to achieve. Of course, not everyone is equally motivated, disciplined or skilled, so some will naturally rise above others because they are more productive. But, that is not the end of the story. “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Even as some prosper more than others, in a free society that prosperity benefits all (although not equally, of course). The successful business owner does not merely hoard his profits, but rather exchanges them for other goods and services to satisfy his needs and desires, which products and services are provided by other business owners and the workers they employ, who in turn use their resultant profits to purchase still other goods and services from other people. This system of free market exchange, if left unhindered and uncorrupted by undue interference (taxation and regulation), benefits all of society.

        Many complaints and criticisms of capitalism are not really about capitalism, but the problems and consequences resulting from government interference in the free market. It must be admitted that a free market has not existed in America for a very, very long time. Excessive taxation, tarrifs, subsidies, and countless other forms of government interference have so perverted the American system that there is very little freedom left in the market, which makes it impossible for natural market forces to function as they would otherwise.

        Finally, your argument for nationalizing industries is deeply flawed. NOTHING IS FREE. Even in Venezuela, someone has to pay the bill for healthcare, phone service, water, electricity, etc. Who pays? Everyone (except Hugo Chavez, of course). They pay for it through confiscatory taxation and limited freedom (including the freedom to elect their leaders). Furthermore, what about those people who worked hard, sacrificed, saved and invested to build all those companies that Mr. Chavez simply took away on a whim? How is that fair and humane to them? Why is no one concerned about their welfare when they are the reason those industries – and the jobs they provided – exist in the first place?

        I agree that “a government and an economy should be for the people and by the people, not controlled by a few.” However, Venezuela does not fit that description, since Mr. Chavez controls everything. Nor does any other socialist/communist nation of the past or present. In contrast, the United States of America was designed to operate that way and has, for the most part, been successful. Unfortunately, generations before us have so corrupted the system that it hardly resembles its original form and intent, and those presently in power are perpetuating the abuse. I believe we need to return to the first principles of our republic in order to solve many of the problems now facing our nation.

        Comment by tkweber — November 14, 2010 @ 8:22 am

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    Comment by snake — February 9, 2011 @ 7:57 pm

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    Comment by Christina — August 19, 2011 @ 10:33 am

  10. Brilliant.

    Comment by Evie Borchard — November 30, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

  11. Why Socialism is Bad for America Todd Weber's Random Thoughts I was recommended this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my difficulty. You are wonderful! Thanks! your article about Why Socialism is Bad for America Todd Weber's Random Thoughts Best Regards Agata Schaad

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  15. Im just gonna say 2 facts here regarding socialism,
    1. The Scandinavian countries were reported to be the happiest in the world,2012.
    and 2. The Scandinavian countries are primarily socialist in comparison to the US.

    Comment by grant jk machado — September 28, 2012 @ 6:13 am

  16. This person is so uneducated as to what socialism is…he doesn’t even give a real definition but someone’s opinion of what it can do. People kill me not using research in their articles. Let me give you the dictionary’s definition of socialism: a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole. NOTICE IT SAID COMMUNITY NOT THE GOVERNMENT. If socialism was implemented by the text book, you really wouldnt have corruption because there would be no classism because the community would own and operate everything. Government would hardly be a factor. By the way Did you know that Cuba has pretty much eradicated illiteracy in their country? Did you know they have what is considered thee best healthcare and best doctors and hospital facilities in the entire world? Socialism is

    Comment by Renae — November 23, 2012 @ 10:09 am

  17. AND COMMUNISM AND SOCIALISM ARE NOT THE SAME THING!!!! The ignorance in this country kills me!!!! China is communist, Switzerland is socialist…2 totally different ways of governing the country.

    Comment by Renae — November 23, 2012 @ 10:11 am

  18. […] the prosperity that society misses out on as compared to a genuine free market order.” Why Socialism is Bad for America | Todd Weber's Random Thoughts Radnitzky noted that redistributing wealth from the productive segments of society (industry, […]

    Pingback by Socialism guarantees that everyone will live in which house? - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum — April 29, 2014 @ 6:40 am


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