On October 22, 1945, Sir Winston Churchill told the United Kingdom House of Commons, “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”
Since Churchill, by then Opposition Leader in the Commons, delivered that speech, little has changed in the way supporters of individual freedom address socialism. The problem is that they are too focused on why it isn’t an effective economic system, rather than on the ultimate immorality of socialism.
American progressives, socialists and other leftists have been quite successful in convincing millions of people to believe that socialism can actually work if fully implemented, which they claim has never been done. Consider the left-leaning Black Lives Matter (BLM) organization, for example. BLM organization leaders admit that they are trained Marxists, and the organization itself is fundamentally opposed to the nuclear family, capitalism, and, one can logically conclude, the very idea of progress. Although one must differentiate between the broader BLM movement and the BLM organization (e.g., the BLM organization’s philosophical underpinnings go far deeper than opposition to police killings of black men), it is amazing to learn that, according to a Pew Research Center poll published on June 12:
Two-thirds of U.S. adults say they support the [BLM] movement, with 38% saying they strongly support it. This sentiment is particularly strong among black Americans, although majorities of white (60%), Hispanic (77%) and Asian (75%) Americans express at least some support.
Many young people who support socialism are totally ignorant of its history of terror. They did not live through the fall of the Soviet Union, the reallocation camps of Mao’s China or the Cambodian killing fields. They don’t know that the Chinese Communist Party has been physically dismantling dissidents so as harvest their organs for sale to rich foreigners. Shielded from the provable horrors of tyrannical socialism by a compliant media, young people are especially susceptible to the promises of a utopian society, a place in which all people will supposedly have everything they need, where there is no poverty, violence or ruling classes.
Instead, they look to the mixed-market socialized societies of Europe as examples, never acknowledging the truly terrible immorality socialism fosters. To win the ideological war against socialism, the debate needs to focus on the numerous moral problems it engenders, not just whether it will provide food, shelter, education and health care. After all, you can get all those things in prison.
The reason we believe this is, not because we think it’s impossible to argue that free markets are more effective at making societies happier and healthier than are socialist societies; history has proven over and over that liberty does lead to greater prosperity. No, the argument we are presenting here is more difficult because it requires people to have a deep knowledge of history, current events and political philosophy.
Most Americans lack this understanding since the primary sources of the information they consume—the education system, most of the country’s primary media outlets, Hollywood and most of the music industry—are firmly under leftist control.
By fixating on complex economic, social and cultural problems associated with socialism, supporters of liberty have abandoned the moral high ground. This is why they routinely find themselves arguing socialism is a nice utopian thought but isn’t realistic, rather than arguing socialism is a horrendous, tyrannical and evil ideology, even if it were to be effective at controlling and manipulating a nation’s economy.
In America the word evil has effectively come to mean ‘morally reprehensible’ and that which arises from actual or imputed bad character or conduct as the Mercian-Webster dictionary notes.
To properly understand why “Socialism is Evil,” a meme promoted by conservative commentator Justin Haskins, Editorial Director and Research Fellow of The Heartland Institute (see “Socialism Is Evil: The Moral Case Against Marx’s Radical Dream,” 2018), all that really needs to be agreed upon is that it’s immoral to use threat of violence or imprisonment to coerce peaceful people to participate in activities they are morally opposed to. Or put another way, it is highly immoral to force people to engage in actions they believe to be immoral. Everyone should have the right to live peacefully without having to violate their conscience regarding issues of sexual conduct, dietary preferences, guns, control of education, medical treatment or the management of their property (although, in true socialism there is no private property) and so forth as long as their preferences do not cause harm to others. Religious beliefs come into play on many of these issues.
It is our contention that it is highly immoral to compel people to violate their deeply held and sincere beliefs by using the rule of law to force them to participate in acts they deem to be extremely immoral. A free society cannot be considered free if its citizens do not have the basic rights to abstain from activities they believe to be morally wrong. In a truly socialist society, the collective, the majority of the people, make all decisions for all the people.
Benjamin Franklin and the other framers of the Constitution knew this was problematic and would invariably trample the rights of individuals and minorities. Remember, it was a majority of a public tribunal of 500 citizens who sentenced Socrates to death in ancient Athens, renowned as the home of Plato and Aristotle, sculptors, architects and scientists and widely considered to be the birthplace of philosophy and democracy. This was the democracy that, by a simple majority vote of the 500, executed the great teacher for being a ‘corrupting influence’ and for not believing what they said must be believed.
Instead of an unbridled democracy, the United States of America was set up as a republic, a representative system of government in which laws, and institutional checks and balances would protect minority rights. As James Madison explained in his Federalist No. 10 essay, majorities aren’t always right. In fact, they are often very wrong and will trample the rights of individuals and minorities when it suits their purposes.
Education is a key area of conflict since a socialized economy wouldn’t permit educational alternatives because such alternatives would mean some people would get a higher quality education, something that must be outlawed to ensure economic classes do not develop. Socialism can only survive when there are virtually no options. Do we not see the teachers’ unions in the US attempting to ensure this is the case?
Socialism must be applied on a global scale to ensure that people have nowhere to go to escape it and minorities will always have to live at the will of the majority.
Unless those who control capitol, including land, willingly give up their property, some kind of tyrannical governmental or revolutionary action is necessary to transition to a world where all or nearly all property is owned collectively. Most socialists are delusional and believe people will give up their property for the good of society, when in fact only force could accomplish this.
In “Socrates and the Mob 2020,” the July 30 opinion piece in The Epoch Times, author Gary L. Gregg sums up today’s situation well:
…what the more radical among the protesters and the cancel culture warriors fail to realize is that the rule of law is our only hope if we want to live in a world in which actual justice and not mere force (of the establishment or of an aggrieved group) is to rule the day.
Our founders knew their history and knew how Athenian assemblies had hastily sinned against justice and free thought. Americans built a system to prevent force from replacing judgment, and that was to protect minority thoughts from majority tyranny. On the internet and in the boardrooms, in the streets and in our classrooms, we’re beginning to lose trust in the institutional and cultural safeguards past generations so carefully worked to construct.
We need more Socrates’ and less Athenian assemblies in 2020.
Note: Portions of the article were excerpted from the book Socialism is Evil: The Moral Case Against Marx’s Radical Dream with permission of the author Justin Haskins. It is strongly recommended for a more detailed discussion of this important subject.