Socialism - A Lesson In Failure That Must Learned Again...And Again

I have lost count of how many times I have written on the subject of socialism and hwy it has been an abject failure over the past 400 years its history. (Yes, it existed long before the likes of Marx or Engels codified it.) Since the lessons of those failures have been devoutly ignored or explained away, it is tried again and again. The problem is that the results are always the same – economic damage leading to collapse, poverty, misery, and in many cases, tyranny. It is a living example of Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result this time.

Every time it fails the same excuses are offered - “Outside forces inimical to socialism worked to destroy it” or “The right people weren’t in charge” or “True socialism has never been tried” or “The people refused to embrace socialism and give of themselves fully.” There’s always some excuse for why it failed except for “It just doesn’t work and never will.”

There is an explanation for why “it just doesn’t work” and it can be expressed in two words.

Human nature.

Socialism ignores human nature, tries to go against it, and as such it always fails. Any system that ignores human nature fails. Socialism assumes that it will appeal to the better nature of the people, but it does just the opposite, something Winston Churchill understood all too well.

“Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.”

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

Churchill had read the the back and forth between Robert Blatchford, a committed socialist and founder of the socialist weekly newspaper The Clarion, and Gilbert Keith Chesterton, a “30-year-old near-nobody” who took Blatchford’s call to socialism as a challenge, writing a number of responses to Blatchford’s calls for socialism, dismantling each of his arguments and pointing out that he had no understanding of what drove people, i.e. human nature.

Churchill had the advantage of having seen socialism decades after Blatchford’s support of it, support based upon ignorance and wishful thinking. He saw first hand the privations, the misery, the tyranny. He knew that Chesterton was right and that there was no utopia to be brought into being through socialism. It would create only Hell on Earth.

Since Churchill’s time we have seen the socialist experiment tried again...and again. We have seen it fail again...and again. The Soviet Union, one of the biggest and longest experiments in socialism failed after 74 years. China, brought under the power of socialism in 1949, was an economic basket case until it learned the lesson of the Soviet Union’s dissolution, abandoned socialism and embraced capitalism, though keeping its tyrannical government. Vietnam did pretty much the same thing. Cambodia was taken by the Khmer Rouge, converted into an agrarian socialist ‘utopia’, killing off a third of its population in a purge of ‘anti-socialist forces’, and then came apart when the Khmer Rouge were driven from power. (It still hasn’t recovered from those dark days.) Cuba is a basket case and has been since 1961. Nicaragua escaped socialism in the 80’s, but was pulled back into it and has become a backwater as a result. Venezuela embraced socialism and went from being the wealthiest nation in South America to the poorest as socialism dismantled its economy, infrastructure, agriculture, schools, government institutions, and created nothing but misery among its citizens.

We have heard proponents of socialism pointing to the Nordic nations as examples of socialism done right, but those very same nations will tell you that they aren’t socialists as they embrace none of the economic tenets of socialism, have no control of the economy, nor do they want it. They are welfare states, providing many services but taxing their populace at very high rates. But they are finding the level of services they are providing is taking an increasingly large toll on their economy and have been backing away from many of the social programs they have provided. Even their “Socialist Lite” system is starting to run out of other people’s money and isn’t sustainable.

We’re going to keep hearing about the wonderful “benefits” of socialism here in the US, particularly in light of the ongoing Presidential campaigns, even though some the candidates and their supporters won’t call it that. It’s best that we keep in mind the miserable record of socialism and its various flavors, and stay as far away from it as we can. Otherwise we could end up being the next example of how it doesn’t work.

I don’t know about you, but I have no desire to live in an America like that described in Kurt Schlicter’s People’s Republic.