[Rushtalk] Why Is Socialism Still Popular?
blueoval57 at verizon.net
Sat May 26 23:54:12 MDT 2018
It's been tried almost everywhere on the planet and still
has failed miserably. Yet, people want it here in the United States.
The American TFP <http://www.tfp.org> > Fighting the Culture War
<http://www.tfp.org/fighting-the-culture-war/> > Why Is Socialism Still
Why Is Socialism Still Popular?
May 23, 2018 | Edwin Benson
Why Is Socialism Still Popular?
Why Is Socialism Still Popular?
If ever there was a set of ideas that has been tried and found lacking,
it is socialism. It has been tried on every continent. It has been tried
in weak nations and strong. It has been tried in primitive countries and
those which are highly developed.
The most striking thing about socialism is that it has never worked.
We in the United States have been tinkering with socialism ever since
the Great Depression. Its most successful manifestation, Social
Security, operates on a basis that would see any other investment
manager in jail for running a Ponzi scheme. The Veterans Administration,
organized to provide government assistance to those injured in the
service of the United States, is a bloated bureaucracy whose many errors
would land any competent private physician in bankruptcy court. Lyndon
Johnson employed soaring rhetoric about a “War on Poverty,” but those
programs have done little but insure that three generations of the
impoverished families of 1964 are still poor. However, the free
enterprise traditions of the United States have prevented socialism
<http://www.tfp.org/who-paves-the-way-for-socialism/> from becoming its
predominant economic system—at least so far.
What of those nations that embraced socialism far more totally? In its
least troubling manifestations, as in northern Europe, it saps nations
of their economic and intellectual potential. Great Britain was the
birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, but its industrial capacity has
been on a steady decline since its turn to socialism in 1945. Australia
and the Scandinavian nations are often touted as places in which “cradle
to grave” socialism has improved the lives of their people, but it’s no
paradise there either.
*Learn All About the Prophecies of Our Lady of Good Success
About Our Times*
Is Socialism Still Popular?
Cast North America and Europe aside, and the record goes from
unfortunate to abysmal. Brazil has massive natural resources and yet is
a very poor nation. Most African nations adopted some form of socialism
after gaining independence and remain impoverished. Venezuela’s turn to
socialism has been an economic disaster of epic proportions. Cuba likes
to blame its economic woes on the long-standing US economic boycott.
Yet, the Castros could and did trade with most of the rest of the
world—but in Havana a 1959 Buick still counts as a late-model car.
And, of course, no description of the woes of socialism would be
complete without including its most famous practitioners—Josef Stalin,
Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, and Adolf Hitler. (Yes, Hitler was a socialist
despite the Left’s attempt to claim that Fascism
<http://www.tfp.org/is-it-fascist-to-be-anti-communist/> is a right-wing
phenomenon. Remember that Nazi
was short for National /Socialist/.) The untold millions that met their
deaths and the massive destruction that occurred under these socialist
leaders beggars the imagination.
So, then, why is socialism
<http://www.tfp.org/a-specter-is-haunting-america-socialism/> enjoying a
popular upsurge in the United States?
First, it just sounds so good. Karl Marx’s famous prescription, “From
each according to his ability, to each according to his need” resonates
in the souls of many. Listen to a student choir sing John Lennon’s
socialist anthem /Imagine/. That “brotherhood of man” line has an
undeniable appeal, even for those who know better. It would just be so
nice, peaceful, and happy if it worked. (Insert heavy sigh.)
*What Does Self-Managing Socialism Mean for Communism: A
Barrier? Or a Bridgehead?*
The second reason is the little examined fact that most Americans have
spent the first two decades of their lives living the socialist dream.
There is no more socialist segment of our society than public education.
The system is taxpayer-supported. Buildings, books, furniture, food, and
the teachers are provided regardless of the students’ individual merits
or ability to pay. All of the above-mentioned items are provided through
a bureaucracy, which determines the quality of each of those items,
without regard to the individual preferences of the students or parents.
Students are assigned to classes and teachers by a computer-generated
invisible force that places them together randomly, and over which there
is usually no appeal. Much work is done collectively, in which all
members of the group share the grade regardless of their individual
Why Is Socialism Still Popular?
We can also see in these schools one of the great flaws of socialism.
Any system in which the basic decisions are made elsewhere breeds
indifference. The school system is a great machine, with little regard
to the individual. The student comes to know that he is unimportant to
the school as a person. He moves through the required courses and the
required number of electives until graduation. The school goes on the
same way whether he is there or not. Teachers and administrators may
leap to disagree, but the students know the truth. In such a world,
every impulse is to meet the minimum standard. Even the student whose
parents demand high grades wonders how little work he has to do in order
to get his A. If the parents don’t demand it, nobody else does either.
The kid who passes by the skin of his teeth gets the same diploma as the
valedictorian. Maybe the honor society members get an extra cord to wear
on their gown, but underachievers seem to be able to get along quite
well without it. Actual learning means about as little to the top
students as it does to those who squeak by with a D. Success means
complying with the minimum standards of the system.
Another reason that socialism is becoming more popular is that it feels
good without requiring any actual sacrifice. Taking care of others is
the essence of benevolence, right? A socialist can indulge the sense
that he is taking care of the downtrodden without having to give up
anything that he values.
*A Specter is Haunting America — Socialism*
Consider the reaction to the story that Bernie Sanders—the
self-professed “Democratic Socialist”—owns three homes and has a net
worth of over a million dollars. Supporters either ignored the story or
quibbled about the details. Setting aside the specifics of the number of
houses or their value, it remains that Sanders is in an enviable
position economically. If you wish, press one of the young socialists on
the ethics of his being a wealthy man who attempts to force people far
poorer than himself to pay for the needs of the impoverished without
being willing to sacrifice his own standard of living. The response is
likely to be an assertion that his heart is in the right place, that he
fights for the poor, and, therefore, his individual style of life
How can Sen. Sander’s supporters overlook so seemingly obvious a flaw?
Simple, it is where their heads are as well. Today’s college socialists
do not want to deny themselves the pleasures of life in their search for
Utopia. Most of them are in college because a college degree promises
financial prosperity. Regardless of the fact that this promise is often
unmet, the typical social justice warrior prizes his own comforts just
as much as the chairman of the College Republicans. Yet the socialist
signals a sense of virtue while being able to dismiss those on the right
Why Is Socialism Still Popular?
The third reason that socialists continue to carry their banner proudly
may be the most important—pure undiluted arrogance. The problem with
socialism, they cry, is that it hasn’t been done properly. “Listen to
us—the young, the pure, and the good. We can fix the mistakes of the
past. We can cure the injustices. We can raise up the poor. We can guard
each man’s dignity and spare each man’s pride”—as the campfire classic
/They Will Know We are Christians by Our Love/ puts it.
Try to expand the knowledge base of the blissfully arrogant by
mentioning the abuses of Mao, Stalin, Castro, or Che Guevara and most
will look confused at first. Eventually they will come up with a reply.
It is most likely to resemble the following. “We are not like that.
Those are dead men; their actions are in the past. We don’t need to make
the mistakes they made. We have not been corrupted by the world.”
Of course, the college educated will disguise their arrogance under
other words that assert their intelligence. One will hear about power
structures, imperialist residue, and systems of oppression.
Working-class conservatives are dismissed as dupes who work against
their own interests. Western culture, which created the universities in
which the socialists work and learn, is the creation of dead white men
as a tool to subjugate females and those of other races. Defend the idea
that western culture created the concepts of freedom that they
supposedly espouse and you commit microaggressions. The enlightened can
no longer tolerate your “hate speech.” Make an argument based on logic,
and you will be met with the language of deconstruction or the concept
of relative truth.
*What the Popes Have to Say About Socialism*
How can the young socialists avoid the mistakes of the past? They can’t,
because they can’t get around the fact that socialism is inherently
unjust. In 1878, Pope Leo XIII correctly assessed the evils of socialism
<http://www.tfp.org/10-reasons-to-reject-socialism/> in his encyclical,
/Quod Apostolici Muneris/ (On Socialism).^1
“For, indeed, although the socialists, stealing the very Gospel
itself with a view to deceive more easily the unwary, have been
accustomed to distort it so as to suit their own purposes,
nevertheless so great is the difference between their depraved
teachings and the most pure doctrine of Christ that none greater
could exist: ‘for what participation hath justice with injustice or
what fellowship hath light with darkness?’
<http://www.drbo.org/x/d?b=drb&bk=54&ch=6&l=14-#x>” (Paragraph 5)
Leo XIII would further explain at length in 1891 in /Rerum Novarum/ (On
the Condition of the Working Classes).^2
“[I]nasmuch as the Socialists seek to transfer the goods of private
persons to the community at large, they make the lot of all wage
earners worse, because in abolishing the freedom to dispose of
wages, they take away from them by this very act the hope and the
opportunity of increasing their property and of securing advantages
for themselves.” (Paragraph 9)
“Inasmuch as the Socialists, therefore, disregard care by parents
and in its place introduce care by the State, they act /against
natural justice/ and dissolve the structure of the home.”
(Paragraph 21, emphasis in the original)
“[T]he equality conjured up by the Socialist imagination would, in
reality, be nothing but uniform wretchedness and meanness for one
and all, without distinction.” (Paragraph 22)
*Equality and Inequality Among Men*
“[I]t is perceived that the fundamental principle of Socialism which
would make all possessions public property is to be utterly rejected
because it injures the very ones whom it seeks to help, contravenes
the natural rights of individual persons, and throws the functions
of the State and public peace into confusion.” (Paragraph 23)
It cannot be said that Pope Leo was speaking as some sort of hidebound
reactionary, longing for a time in which the peasants did as they were
told. /Rerum Novarum/ also speaks movingly about the obligations of
employers and the rights of workers. Clearly, this was no passing fancy
on the part of Leo XIII, but a well-considered opinion developed over a
considerable period of time.
Any intelligent adult can look at the plight of socialism’s many victims
and easily conclude whose vision of life under socialism was more
accurate—that of Karl Marx or that of Leo XIII. It is long since time
that we, as a society, exposed the truth about socialism
<http://www.tfp.org/what-the-popes-have-to-say-about-socialism/> to our
children, especially those who are listening to its siren call.
This will not be easy. Socialism has eaten deeply into the intellectual
fiber of modern life. Many are they who, knowingly or not, buy into
Marx’s assertion that the victory of socialism is inevitable. They can
be found in the universities and labor unions, in schools and the halls
of Congress. Unfortunately, large numbers of them can also be found
amongst the leaders of Holy Mother Church.
*10 Razones Por las Cuales el “Matrimonio” Homosexual es Dañino
y tiene que Ser Desaprobado*
The apologists for socialism have many tools at their command. The
“mainstream media” will be happy to show the travails of the poor and
unemployed in the United States. They will be happy to use their
rhetorical skills in socialism’s behalf—as we saw in the debate over
Obamacare when the lack of healthcare /insurance/ was presented as the
lack of healthcare itself. The socialist’s supposed compassion will be
trotted out to make the working guy who wants to bring home a few more
of the dollars that he earned look like a short-sighted hick, clinging
to, as President Obama famously put it, “God and guns.”
Of course, the anti-socialist has a less obvious, but far more important
weapon. It is a weapon whose effect can be delayed but never denied.
That weapon is called Truth, and socialism cannot ultimately defeat it.
For those of us who know socialism for what it is, faithfulness to God
and His Church demand that we proclaim the evils of this inherently evil
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