I have already described the economic aspects of socialism in an earlier article in this series. Socialism is bad enough when viewed strictly from the perspective of economics, a fact that has been demonstrated throughout the world wherever it has been tried. The inefficiency, monumental waste, and poor productivity associated with the former Soviet Union were all by- products of that nation’s socialist economic system. As bad as socialism is when viewed strictly as an economic system, it is even worst when seen for what it really is: a misguided and destructive worldview. The more one investigates the reality of socialism, the more disturbing the observations become.
In a free-market setting, the individual is personally responsible for deciding what course of action will best serve his economic interests. Having decided, he has the individual liberty and economic freedom—within the bounds of morality, ethics, and legality—to act in his own best interest. In a socialist setting, things are radically different. Socialists view the world through a different prism. In order to accept the socialist worldview, one must accept the premise that the state knows better than the individual how people should live and what people should believe. The highest authority to a socialist is the all-knowing, all-powerful, all-authoritative state. In other words, to a socialist the state is god. As god, the state controls all aspects of the individual’s life. Personal liberty and economic freedom are the first casualties of socialism.
This state-as-god mentality is why socialists willingly submit to centralized government control of not just the economy, but all aspects of their lives—what they should believe, how they should live, and what they should think. Hence, socialism resembles religion in that it is based on faith—but not in God. Socialists have faith in the providence of the state. Adherents of socialism are willingly to give up their liberty and freedom for the security they think an all-powerful nanny state can provide them. It’s a bad bargain. Invariably, socialism robs individuals of their freedom and liberty without providing the security they seek. But socialists are nothing if not faithful. Faith is why they cling so stubbornly to their misguided worldview in spite of socialism’s consistent record of failure. Liberals like president Obama believe socialism can work simply because they want it to.
When discussing socialism with students, I use the example of grades to make my point. I explain that a socialist grading system would involve computing the class average for the final exam and giving all students—no matter how well or how poorly they scored individually—the same grade: the class average. Of course the better students are appalled at the thought of using such a system. In fact, only the worst students in class—those who admittedly would probably fail the final exam—opt for the socialist grading system. And this is one of the most fundamental problems with socialism—it rewards the non-producers in society and punishes the producers.
This article is the fourth in a series on Socialism.