Why is Socialism Bad?

The word sounds fine, doesn’t it? SOCIAL ism…being social is good!

However, as with many things that are good in one context, but disastrous in another, socialism is a dangerous and deadly idea when used as the governmental or organizing system of a country. History has proven this time and again. Most of those, however, who preach it can be given the benefit of the doubt in terms of their intentions. It DOES sound good. But it doesn’t work. Let’s examine why.

I’ll prove these things as we go one, but there are two primary reasons that Socialism cannot work when Humans are involved.

1 – It ignores the most basic facts of human nature. The prime motivators of humans ensure that socialism doesn’t work

2 – It makes false assumptions about resources, in particular what constitutes the most vital resource. Additionally, it assumes there is a fixed amount of wealth/resources/money/capital that just needs to be fairly distributed. The “pie”, in other words, is a fixed size and doesn’t grow or shrink.

With those two statements, as yet unproven by the article I know, let’s consider the basic idea of socialism.

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

Sounds like a lofty, even noble, idea. Each person will work to the best of their ability to provide the maximum amount of resources to benefit to society. In return, each person will receive what he needs from the societal stores that have resulted from every person giving according to their ability.

What happens in practice, however, is far from noble. Long history of this idea has shown that people are less motivated by others good, especially the broad society of strangers, than they are their own immediate good and that of those near and dear to them. So in practice, few are willing to provide to their maximum ability for others outside of their immediate life. This is ingrained in humans as a survival instinct. It’s also a simple fact of life that we humans ALL have a great deal of self-centeredness and selfishness. To be sure, it is not absolute and we do sometimes behave according to the “higher angels of our nature” – our most advanced, selfless motivations. Most religions teach that self-denial and caring for others as a high virtue. But it must be taught over and over because it’s not natural for us to think of others primarily before ourselves and our family. On this point alone, socialism utterly collapses as a good system for¬†society. ¬†It is contrary to human nature.

Additionally, the “need” that is described in the socialist formula is so abstract as to cause strife and division. Who is to say what I should take from society stores? A group of enlightened leaders? This sounds like totalitarianism and, in fact, it is. Socialism unchecked leads to totalitarianism. Check the history of powerful socialist societies if you doubt it.

Socialism also is based on the idea that individualism is a vice and therefore people are essentially slaves to the state. This is a harsh way to put it, but its empirically and absolutely true. The first good in socialism is society. Not the individual and their need. Their needs, wants and desires are subservient to the state.

But, you say, what about the softer versions of psuedo-socialism practiced by some countries in the world such as Sweden or Denmark? They are not as bad as say the large socialist countries like the USSR in the last century? Certainly both Sweden and Denmark are lovely places with lovely people. However, when you find a thriving small psuedo-socialist country like those, you will inevitably find a big powerful capitalist country guaranteeing their freedom which, in turn, allows them to operate without the need for the military that otherwise would be necessary to protect them. If, for instance, Russia decided that Stockholm was a great place and landed on the beaches with tanks, what would the US and other more capitalistic countries with militaries do? Exactly. We would back them up at a cost of billions to ourselves to preserve their freedom. Canada, a wonderful and quite rich country, would have no chance of defending itself against a massive invasion. But they still have a low percentage of their income spent on defense, when compared with the US. This allows them to pursue more social spending (soft pseudo-socialism), knowing that the US “has their back” in case of invasion. The peace and security guarantees of a large capitalist economy allows small pseudo-socialist countries to move closer to the socialist idea. Should this security guarantee vanish, it’s an absolute given that the countries pseudo-socialist programs would evaporate as they either are forced to deal with harsh reality or they become subject to an authoritarian regime. Again, human nature rears its head.