If you’ve been watching the Left lately, you’ve probably noticed they’ve been trying to make socialism sexy again. If you haven’t, consider yourselves lucky because…well, they’re trying to make socialism sexy again. What started with the Bern Outs in 2016 has been reborn in 2018 thanks to new Leftist “it girl” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beating out a Democrat stalwart in a House race in New York. Granted, both Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are couching their pro-socialism talk by supporting what they call “democratic socialism”, but it’s still socialism.
As a result, Leftists are putting a new coat of paint on an old ideology in the hopes of attracting new people to their cause. In the meantime, let’s traipse into the world of socialism.
What the Left thinks it means – a social system where everyone pitches in to help each other
What it really means – a socioeconomic system where everyone is encouraged to be mediocre
One of the Left’s primary talking points when talking about socialism is to try to separate the social element of it from the economic element. For that, they bring up communism as the economic side of socialism, which is of course complete bunk. Socialism and communism are ideological cousins of the kissing variety, if you know what I mean. They really can’t be separated effectively because they have the same basic tenets: government control of all aspects of an economy and its societal counterpart. There are slight differences, I grant you, but those difference revolve around how much force is used to attain the equality they both claim to want to achieve. Socialists tend to rely on a call to community unity, while communists rely on a call to arms. Put another way, socialism is communism on pot, and communism is socialism on PCP.
Even so, socialism is attractive to people because it seems so friendly. Bernie Sanders wasn’t on the stump telling people to tear down the ruling class. He looked too much like your grandpa or crazy uncle you occasionally see at family reunions. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t look like a female Che Guevara; she looks like someone you might have gone to school with or saw in a coffee shop. Even some of our best-known celebrities say socialism is okay, and we can trust celebrities, right?
That’s one of the great historical ironies about socialism. It’s an idea that curries favor with the wealthy, but it’s rarely acted upon by those same people. Socialism is easy if you never intend to be held to its standards, but for those who went along with it and weren’t rich enough to live behind the gilded gates of private communities, it sucks.
And that’s a dirty little secret behind socialism: there is a class structure within it that negates what it stands for. The former Soviet Union is a prime example of this. (And before any Leftists say the Soviets weren’t real socialists, see my earlier comparison of communism and socialism.) Although the average Russian communist was living hand to mouth, government officials had far more luxuries (and, oddly enough, freedoms) than their proletariat brethren. Socialism runs on the same principles as communism and the results are the same. There will always be the haves and have-nots, thus making socialism as realistic as James Comey’s excuses for why he didn’t prosecute Hillary Clinton.
Leftists pushing socialism like to point at Europe and some of our own government programs as proof socialism isn’t scary. Why, we could just look to the Swedish model of socialism and use that (at least according to Bern Outs). The problem? Sweden isn’t really socialist. They are capitalist economically and statist socially, meaning…they’re ultimately capitalist because they have to be. Money doesn’t come out of thin air, and in Sweden it comes from…wait for it…high taxes. The minute the haves decide to move away to a country that doesn’t tax them for being rich, there is no backup plan and their socialism-lite goes the way of Crystal Pepsi and New Coke. For socialism to truly exist, there has to be an income source that can be drawn upon. In other words, socialism doesn’t work unless there is wealth to be distributed.
Then again, socialism doesn’t work, period. But we’ll get to that later.
But what about our government programs, like Medicare and Medicaid? Surely they are examples of socialism working, right? Annnnnnnd no. These programs aren’t actually socialist either because they take mainly from the working class instead of the rich and give to the non-working class and poor. In short, if you put in any significant amount of time at a job, you’re a have. Doesn’t matter if you make the poor on Skid Row look like Bill Gates. You are a source of income to socialists because you have what others don’t.
Really makes you wonder why anyone would back socialism, doesn’t it?
And here’s the kicker. There can never be true socialism because humans aren’t uniform and many have a desire to excel. Granted, some people want to be good at Xbox, but it’s still a desire that cannot be taken away. When you have that, you will always have people who are better than average and others who are worse than average. Try building a society based around equality when you can’t even find two people who are equal across the board and share the same interests at the same level. You’ll have better luck finding a Kardashian with actual marketable skills.
The way socialism deals with the problem is to treat everyone as though they were exactly the same. It works great if you suck at your job because you get paid as much as the ones who are doing just enough to get by. On the other hand, it sucks if you’re great at your job because you have no incentive to do more than you have to since you’re getting paid the same. That tends to make everyone mediocre at best. It also tends to stop innovation because you aren’t rewarded for it. Capitalism isn’t perfect, but you’re more likely to get rewarded for hard work and being good at a job than you are under socialism.
So, why is socialism so popular today? That’s a good question. I think it’s due to a combination of factors from a lack of historical and economic knowledge to trying to protect kids from experiencing failure by celebrating even minimal effort to making the marginally passable into the excellence of today. (I’m looking at you, Starbucks. Five bucks for coffee made from beans more burnt than my skin after falling asleep on the sun?) At the core of it all, however, is the elevation of laziness as a virtue and the downgrading of excellence to a vice.
No matter whether it’s someone who looks like your grandpa or your college roommate telling you socialism is the wave of the future, remember we’ve tried socialism before in America. It’s called the Mayflower Compact, and it didn’t work out so well for the Pilgrims. And if it didn’t work when there were far fewer people in the country, there’s no way it works with today’s America.