Dennis Prager currently has a series of videos explaining the basic difference between those on the left side of the political spectrum and those on the right. While his analyses of the difference between the two sides is relatively accurate, it’s a tad too kind for my taste.
Prager correctly states that a prime difference between so-called progressives and conservatives is that progressives are all about the collective, while conservatives believe in the individual and personal choice.
I see the difference in much starker terms: the former involves coercion by the state, while the latter involves individual responsibility.
Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, the Kim dynasty, Pol Pot, et al have killed more people in the name of serving the greater good
As I recently wrote in these pages, here the 1920s provide a good example of where the various forms of socialism that are now becoming all the rave will lead us. It might be simplistic to say socialism is responsible for more deaths and suffering than the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-1920, but the math works.
Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, the Kim dynasty, Pol Pot, et al have killed more people in the name of serving the greater good and achieving a perfect society than the last pandemic, which eradicated up to 5% of the global population.
What’s so puzzling is that every new crop of socialists believes that if only socialism was implemented properly, everyone would be happy. What they do not understand is that socialism’s fuel is its coercive power to control the individual. No one really wants to actually live under socialism, except those who would govern and ‘correctly’ administer the principles of socialism in order to achieve the perfect society.
This takes place in several ways.
First, individuals are made dependent on the state for their basic needs like food shelter and healthcare. They are also controlled through what amounts to social credit, rewarding correct attitudes and behaviors while punishing those who do not toe the line. If you doubt me, check out how Trump supporters are treated.
Failures of socialism
Second, for socialism to succeed there is an ever-present requirement for an enemy, which is an important element in directing revolutionary fervor to the correct goals, rather than allow for reflection that could result in uncomfortable questions. For the Bolsheviks the enemy was the Czar and wealthy bourgeoisie, for the Nazis it was communists and Jews. For Mao it was the liberal bourgeois. Cambodia’s Pol Pot had a thing for intellectuals and the educated. As a result some 1.8 million ‘bad elements’ were sacrificed for the greater good. There isn’t one socialist state that doesn’t have a prime enemy towards whom to wage the ‘struggle’ for social justice.
Third, socialism also relies heavily on the educational system to swell their ranks. But that only makes sense, given that young people generally tend to be naïve and easily influenced. For the past 50 years socialism has wormed its way into school curricula at an alarming level, and all under the guise of ‘fairness,’ equality or social justice. While this is a long-term process, it also seems to be the most effective, judging by the attitudes of most young adults today.
So, after examining the failures of socialism in a rational discussion, if you still find yourself yearning for social justice, just take a minute to examine what socialism has actually achieved over its 103-years in operation.
Russia collapsed under communism’s contradictions.
The Nazis’ ‘Thousand Year Empire’ couldn’t last twenty years.
Yes, Cuba has free healthcare. But the standard of living for the average Cuban isn’t much better than it was 62 years ago under Fulgencio Batista.
China’s brand of communism is likely the most dangerous and virulent. The Chinese Communist Party absolutely controls the actions of every man, woman and child under its control, to the point of presiding over a lethal global pandemic with only the goal of shifting the blame.
Anyone who hasn’t lived under a slimy rock for the past two decades must surely be aware that in the 1950s Venezuela was the fourth wealthiest nation in the world and today is one of the world’s poorest.
What do all these socialist jurisdictions have in common? Without fail, they all wind up consisting of an uber-wealthy ruling class and an ever-increasing poverty-stricken populace. This is an indisputable fact, even China, whose 1.43 billion people constitute over 18% of the world’s population, can have millions of millionaires among the Party cadre, while the other billion or so become tools of the state. (don’t confuse my focus on socialism with acceptance of the rampant corruption in western governments—that’s for another column)
The point of this is to realize that one doesn’t have to have a doctorate in quantum physics to understand all the utopian socialist fantasies can only add up to one thing: a culture of fascism, control and coercion.