I’m going to build a bit from what I said in that video, so if you haven’t seen it, you should watch it before reading further.
In that video, I outlined exactly how socialists could create the socialist utopia that they want. In fact, the free market gives almost no restrictions on what a person can and can’t do with their private property. If I want, I can set my property on fire, I can use it, I can sell it, I can let it sit and waste… It’s my property, after all, and therefore I can do pretty much whatever I want to it.
This includes, of course, entering into a sort of commune to which I surrender all the property. Establishing a socialist society within the United States is absolutely possible, and we have seen them in the past. Hippies, in fact, were notorious for doing exactly this, and this is the main point of my article. These hippie communes… almost universally failed and collapsed. They proved inefficient, ineffective, and incapable.
“They were too small!” you might argue. “They weren’t able to attract doctors, engineers, and scientists to their socialist communities! So of course they wouldn’t be able to thrive in the long-term!”
You’d be exactly right to argue that, and therein lies the exact problem with Socialism. To be clear, these hippie communes, and these non-hippie socialist communities, provided free market capitalism with competition–with beautiful, wonderful, unbiased competition. If the way of socialism was superior, then it would have overcome these challenges. Since there was competition, however, people chose the option that they liked the best, and that option was capitalism. They chose the community that would provide them with rewards for their effort, that would recognize their achievements, expertise, struggles, and capabilities with adequate rewards.
If you give a person the choice between a Socialist society and a Capitalist society, which society they choose will depend almost entirely on which has the most to offer them. For those who are poor, who are barely getting by, and who struggle to make ends meet (such as myself), socialism looks fantastic. “You mean to tell me that I can stop stressing over bills? That I can stop wondering how the hell I’m going to buy food for the week? Sign me the hell up!”
The engineer, however, will look and say, “You mean to tell me that I’d basically be taking a $125,000 a year pay cut? No thanks.”
Socialism is an ideology for those who do not have, and for those who have been fooled by pseudo-intellectual arguments. There is no economic case to be made for socialism, because competition is the driving force of all that is good economically, and socialism cannot exist if competition exists. If the engineer has the choice between capitalism and socialism, after all, the engineer will choose capitalism almost all the time.
So it’s no surprise that these socialist communities are forever unable to attract the best researchers, scientists, engineers, electricians, programmers, and other technologists.
This is what I was referring to in the video when I said that socialists won’t simply form their own communities and allow them to compete against capitalism. They know that it can’t. They know that humans innately desire to have their effort rewarded, and they know that socialism fails to do that, as a matter of policy. If socialism rewarded effort, then it wouldn’t be socialism. So as long as people’s needs are met and they have the option, they will almost always choose to have their effort rewarded.
In effect, socialism mostly tempts those who do not put in the effort. When I think of many of the Bernie Sanders supporters I know, I am vividly reminded that most are barely out of high school, very few have jobs, none are in college, and most spend their time playing video games. Of course they love the idea of socialism. This obviously isn’t true of all Sanders supporters, but it’s without hyperbole that I say… I don’t personally know any Sanders supporters who have a college degree or an above Minimum Wage job. Their needs aren’t being met (typically because of their own lack of effort, but that’s mostly irrelevant right now), and so Socialism sounds appealing.
It does make me angry to see these people screaming that college is too expensive when none of them have shown any interest whatsoever in going to college. And, while I don’t wish to belabor the point, I must remind the reader that I’m a college graduate. I came from a miserably poor family in Mississippi–to the extent that we didn’t have running water some of the time, we frequently were without electricity, and we never had much food. Seriously–my family is about as Dirt Poor as a Mississippi family could get.
And then I dropped out of high school.
Nope. I’m not a high school graduate.
I dropped out my senior year, in fact.
But I desired a better life. So I got my GED, and I put myself through college. I worked a fulltime job at minimum wage as a janitor while supporting myself and my then-wife, paying all of our bills and our car note while she didn’t work (we only had the one car), and while being a full-time college student. I incurred zero debt by doing this. I didn’t have to take out a bunch of student loans. I relied on the Pell Grant and scholarships.
The Pell Grant, while socialist in nature itself, is something that I can get behind, as it is little more than an investment in someone’s future. By investing money in me through the Pell Grant, I was able to go to college and thus, in the long run, earn a higher income and pay more in taxes, ultimately paying back the Pell Grant and then some. The Pell Grant, more than most other forms of welfare, is an investment more than anything.
The point is: I paid my dues.
For years, I worked a full-time job, was a full-time student, and supported myself and my wife on a minimum wage, dead-end job where I was subjected to pretty frequent racism as the only white person in the entire department. I more than paid my dues.
So when these lazy sacks of shit come along demanding a better life for themselves while being unwilling to put in the effort to secure that better life, it hits a raw point for me. I broke my back for years to earn what I earned, and that college degree is among my proudest possessions. I fought tooth and nail for it, and I don’t care that you don’t think it’s fair that someone has to fight that hard.
Hey, most people don’t have to fight that hard. Most people don’t come from a family that’s so poor that running water is a luxury. So you had it easier than I did, and you still can’t be bothered to put in the effort?
*Takes deep breath*
It does me no good to sink into an angry emotional argument against socialism. I don’t have to. Just watch the video–there is plenty of logical, rational, evidenced argument to be made against socialism–Democratic or National.
That’s the issue with socialists, though. They aren’t content to work their land and share among themselves. They look over at us and the land we have, and cry, “That’s not fair! Look at all that stuff that one person owns! We don’t have any of that! That’s not fair! Let’s go and take it!”
And… they do say that. That’s the socialist argument. They dress it up a bit, but that’s what it all boils down to. “CEOs make $303 million a year while I make $7.25 an hour…” Yeah, well… That CEO didn’t get where she is by standing around bitching about how much money other people made. I’m just saying–she didn’t. She worked hard, and she secured that position.
If Socialism was better than Capitalism, then the hippie communes would have already won; we’d already be socialists. But the socialist society can’t entice doctors, engineers, technologists, and scientists. Now apply that reality, and fast forward a century. Where did all the doctors go? Where did the engineers go?
They vanished. People stopped becoming those things, because no one became those things simply for the hell of it.
But the UK is doing fine.
Are they, though?
The United States and its evil capitalist economy produces five times as many medical research papers as the UK, and produces more medical research papers yearly than the next top 5 countries combined. Going just off some simplistic numbers, if it, then, would take the U.S. twenty years to cure cancer, it would take the UK nearly a century.
And therein lies the issue, though–do you see it? The United States isn’t keeping its technological progress to itself. No, we’re sharing it with the rest of the world. I don’t mean to be overly nationalistic, because I don’t give a shit about the United States–what I care about is the free market and competition. It wasn’t the United States that produced the smartphone, the computer, the Internet, the satellite, electricity, the lightbulb, and so many other things. It was the free market that produced these things. And, yes, these free market activities took place in the U.S., and, yes, they didn’t stay within the U.S.
The U.S. didn’t miserly cling to its technological advances and say to Europe, “You like these smartphones? lol, figure it out. You can still dial our iPhones with your old ass rotary phones.” And while so much of our manufacturing takes places overseas, that doesn’t really change things–it’s just free market principles in action.
At the risk of getting off track, the U.S. skews the record drastically by sharing its products with the rest of the world. We don’t know how far behind their current standards UK medicine would be without U.S. medical technological breakthroughs. But we can safely say that they wouldn’t be as advanced as they currently are. Their socialised medicine doesn’t exist within a vacuum.
And, obviously, taking my property from me is clearly a violation of my rights. So there’s also that little caveat to the socialist ideology. I don’t want to participate. Whether you are one person named Hitler forcing me to abide National Socialism or whether you are Bernie Sanders attempting to impose Democratic Socialism, you are still tyrannizing me.