Rather than exploring the theoretical or ideological fallacies of socialism let us look at the practical application of socialism everywhere it has been adopted for the last one hundred years.
The most common refrain I hear from the so-called ‘Democratic Socialist’ of today is that they are not proposing the abuses of the Soviet Union or these other socialist countries. As side notes, they all deny that Nazi Germany was socialist though Nazi is an acronym for National Socialist Workers Party and they often deny that the Soviet Union was socialist though USSR was Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. There is a degree of self-deception required in order to advocate for socialism.
That is not to say that there is not a degree of self-deception used in advocating for other systems, there often is. However other systems did not murder 150 million people in the 20th century, socialism did. The primary self-deception of the ‘Democratic Socialist’ of today is that what they are advocating for is different than what resulted in Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Chavez, Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot – you get the picture.
Let me be abundantly clear with the blatant truth that ‘Democratic Socialist’ of today avoid like the plague: the people who advocated for Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Hitler, Chavez, Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Mao, and Pol Pot and those socialist systems did not advocate for those abuses anymore than Bernie Sanders supporters do – yet mass murder is what they got. If gulags and concentration camps and the Red Terror and mass murder on an unimaginable scale is not what the initial supporters of these dictators advocated for when they chose socialism – then why is that exactly what the results were? ‘Democratic Socialist’ of today simply cannot answer that question in an honest manner – they must obfuscate, dissemble and pretend.
The answer to why socialism always results in poverty, misery and death is quite simple – socialism is force. Socialism is unmitigated force wielded by the few with the promise of social and economic equality as the result of this force. At the end of the day that is all that socialism is, be it the ‘Democratic Socialist’ version of today or otherwise. There are inherent problems with that model – that power corrupts is part of the issue but the much bigger issue is that power attracts those we least wish to have wielding power. This is why many legitimate studies show that psychopaths are attracted to political and government employment and in fact psychopaths are vastly over-represented in government and politics in comparison to the general population. Socialism provides the means to power for psychopaths to wield that power in an unmitigated, unchecked manner. It is not a mystery that socialist governments always wish to disarm the general population – a universal trait of socialism. Psychopaths want compliant people who cannot defend themselves. One goes hand in hand with the other.
The common folks who supported Lenin in the fall of 1917 or Hitler in the late 1920’s or Ho Chi Minh in the late ’40’s or Castro in the late ’50’s or the Sandinista’s in the ’70’s were not wishing for gulags and mass murder and concentration camps and genocide – but that is what they received. The ‘Democratic Socialist’ of today do not wish for gulags and mass murder and concentration camps and genocide in the least – but they are advocating to put extraordinary power inevitably into the hands of psychopaths. Their argument is the same argument that Hitler and Castro and Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot and Ortega and countless others made – “it is different this time, we aren’t ‘those’ people!”
However – it is never different because the power that socialism concentrates into the hands of the few attracts psychopaths in the same manner that apple pies attract ants at a picnic. Socialism, even the current ‘Democratic Socialist’ version, removes the checks and balances put into place to limit the power – and damage – of psychopaths.
The virtue and attraction of a limited republican form of government and a free market is to make government so powerless as to render the psychopaths impotent.
Often the ‘Democratic Socialist’ attempt to argue that the private sector is a much greater threat to them than a socialist government is – so let us look at that claim for a moment. In a free market, a truly free market and not what we have today, you can simply choose to stop doing business with a firm that you do not wish to do business with. The private sector is empowered to make you do nothing in a free market. The private sector cannot send you to a gulag, to a concentration camp, cannot send armed men to make you do as they wish, or imprison, kill or maim you without the complicity of government. A free market is the removal of all complicity of government in these matters – in other words a free market is freedom from violence, compulsion, coercion and force. Socialism is mandatory violence, compulsion, coercion and force – because socialism IS force and violence and the threat of violence is the only means they have of exercising that force.
Inevitably the mandatory violence, compulsion, coercion and force of socialism will be concentrated in the hands of psychopaths – inevitably. Unlike limited republican government, socialism contains no checks and balances to prevent that – in fact it invites that abuse. No one in Russia thought they were supporting gulags. No one in Germany thought they were supporting the utter destruction of Europe. No one in Cuba thought they were supporting going from the 5th highest per capita income in the western hemisphere when Castro took over to the 126th highest per capita income in the western hemisphere after 57 years of socialism. No one in Viet Nam thought they were supporting the murder of the eldest person in 15,000 hamlets for no other reason than they were the eldest person in the hamlet. No one in Venezuela thought they were supporting mass starvation.
But that is what they got.
Now ‘Democratic Socialist’ say that they do not support any of that and I believe them, they do not. However they do support Bernie Sanders who thirty years ago refused to condemn the Sandinista genocide of the Miskito Indians, saying it was ‘necessary to advance socialism.’ Let that sink in good and deep before you try to convince us that you would never support the historical abuses of socialism because to be frank – we do not believe you. We do believe, as with all of the other versions of socialism, that the fellow willing to slice the most throats will rise to the top and that all of the socialist who claim to believe in justice, equity and fairness will simply stand aside trembling when that happens and do nothing.
We believe that because it is always true.