Saturday, August 25, 2018

Socialism Reality

Socialism, Like Dracula, Rises Again from the Grave

Socialism would set everything right. Humanity would be freed from the shackles of capitalist “wage slavery,” everyone would be provided with all the necessities and amenities of material existence and desire, with all living in the equality of “social justice” and the accompanying end to oppression and tyranny being abolished around the world.
What a life-draining nightmare was set loose on mankind! Beginning with the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917 through all the other communist “victories,” either through Soviet conquest or domestic revolutions and civil wars like in China or Cuba, the harshest and most terrible tyrannies fell upon all the luckless peoples given a socialist paradise to live within.
Socialist Reality of Crushed Freedom and Tyranny
Civil liberties were abolished with no spoken or written speech permitted other than the “official line” of the ruling Communist Party. Socialist central planning meant that the government determined what was produced, where, by whom, and in what quantities. Every person’s educational opportunities, living quarters, and employments were assigned and commanded by the State in the name of the collective “common good.” Dissent, disagreement, or even suspected lack of enthusiasm for the advancement of the bright, beautiful socialist future (as defined and dictated by those at the political helm of the “people’s state”) was met with arrest, imprisonment, banishment to slave labor camps, or death by torture, starvation, or simple execution.
Human life was stripped of privacy, with everything under surveillance by agents of the secret police or potentially reported by informers or. Fear and suspicion were inseparably intertwined with any interpersonal relationship or association, whether in the government-assigned workplace or with neighbors in government-owned apartment complexes. Friendships, therefore, were precarious relationships that could end in betrayal and a knock on the door in the middle of the night from the secret police that resulted in an individual or an entire family disappearing without a trace.
It was not enough for the Socialist State to command and control your public words and deeds. Propaganda and indoctrination were used in an attempt to mold how people thought about the world and themselves. The contents of the individual’s mind were to be a product of the central plan as much as the types and quantities of the physical goods produced at “the people’s” factories.
Human Cost and Material Poverty of Socialism-in-Practice
The human cost of the great socialist experiment to remake man and humanity for a new collectivist heaven on earth did not come cheap. Historians of the communist experience around the world have estimated that as many as 200 million people—innocent men, women, and children—may have been killed in the socialist meat grinders: 64 million in the Soviet Union and up to 80 million in China, with millions more in the other socialist societies around the global.

Did these sacrifices for that better socialist future pay off? Did it deliver on its promises? In every socialist centrally-planned society, shortages, shoddy goods, and stagnant standards of living enveloped the lives of the vast majority of the citizens of these countries. Anyone who had the opportunity to visit the Soviet Union (as I did in its last years) could not help but notice the zombie-like emptiness in the faces of many on the streets of Moscow, as they trudged on foot from one government retail store to another in desperate search for the basic essentials of everyday life. There would be long lines of people at one store waiting to purchase some poor quality consumer item or basic food products. At other government stores, there would be empty shelves with no customers. All of the stores were manned by listless, bored, and indifferent government employees just waiting for their shift to end.

What else could be expected from an economic system that prevented any individual initiative or incentive to work, save, and invest, since private enterprise had been abolished and declared to be the basis of exploitation and injustice? (In the last five years of the Soviet Union, the Communist Party leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, had allowed small and limited private business enterprises, and these, however few and restricted, were the only pockets of economic vibrancy.)

Vampire-like, socialist political and economic systems drained the life force out of the societies in which they ruled. No ambition, no drive, no prospects for a better and happier life was the state to which socialism reduced humanity in those parts of the world.
The only opportunities for a better life came from being one of the Communist Party bloodsuckers of the ruling power elite. They had special stores, special medical clinics, special holiday resorts, special living accommodations, special opportunities to travel abroad to other socialist countries or even “the enemy” West from which forbidden goodies could be brought back home. The rest of the society was truly the exploited “masses” from whose meager and government-misdirected labor those limited privileges and prosperity came for the ruling Red Draculas of the communist state.
The last decade of the 20th century saw the collapse of Marxian socialism in the Soviet Union and the “captive nations” in Eastern Europe that were conquered by Stalin at the end of the Second World War. The death of Mao Zedong in 1976 was followed in the 1980s with economic reforms in China that did not change the political stranglehold the Chinese Communist Party had on the country but introduced a variety of limited and controlled market-based institutional transformations that has brought radical improvements in the everyday lives of hundreds of millions of people.

Many underdeveloped countries in what used to be called “the third world” turned away from the model of Soviet-style socialist central planning in the 1980s and 1990s and put the people there on paths of more market-oriented material and social betterment. Indeed, in some of these countries, abject poverty and frequent starvation have been nearly eradicated due to the introduction of freer markets and competitive entrepreneurial activity.

But like Dracula rising once more from the grave, socialism has been making a comeback among academics, college and university students, and a growing number of intellectuals. It is reflected most recently in the Democratic Party primary win of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (who was a Bernie Sanders activist in 2016) over an established Democrat incumbent in a New York City congressional district. She hails herself as a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

Private Productive People vs. Political Busybodies
This ordinary and normal majority are the ones producing the goods and services in the private sector that represent the wealth and prosperity of society. They are busy managing their personal and family affairs to keep them (hopefully) in financial order. They are seeing that their house and immediate neighborhood are kept in order by mowing the yard, repainting a fence, or participating in some church or charity good works due to a personal sense of right, calling, or duty.
For most of them, politics never enters the equation; but, nonetheless, their actions actually keep “society” running and functioning smoothly on a day-to-day basis. They represent what William Graham Sumner (1840-1910) once called the “forgotten man,” those who peacefully and productively create all the things representing “the wealth of nations,” and which the socialist planners and regulators want to get their hands on through the power of the government.
To shift even more decision-making away from the private sphere to the political arena means to transfer control over people’s lives from themselves to the professional and amateur busybody meddlers who show up at those government meetings and influence the way the elected representatives vote.
The more control is transferred out of the hands of the private citizenry and into the hands of these “democratic” socialists, the more the tyranny of the pressure-group cliques and community know-it-alls end up running everyone’s life.
Extend that from the local affairs of municipal administrations to the state and federal governments, and soon there is little that happens in the society that the political regulators and social planners would not be in charge of.
Similar to how Dracula’s friendly and attractive smile was transformed into bloodsucking fangs draining away the life of those initially mesmerized by him, so the Sirens’ call of “free” everything (that, in reality, someone will have to pay for) under the umbrella of “democratic” fairness and justice is soon metamorphosed into a tyranny of politicians, bureaucrats, and “democratic socialists” determined to use the political process to impose their minority petty prescriptions for a better world on all of us. The arena of individual autonomy decreases and the prison walls of collectivist control and command tighten and grow higher around everyone.

Have no doubt that this includes not only health care, retirement pensions, public housing, or guaranteed jobs and minimum incomes. The new “democratic socialist” agenda, like that of the “progressive” left in general, is to micromanage language, human relationships, social status, and group classifications of victimhood vs. privilege.
It is nothing less than the same tyranny of all the earlier forms of socialism and central planning experienced over the last one hundred years in more explicitly brutal forms, just more rhetorically enveloped in the appeal of “participatory democracy” than the earlier communist cries for a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” It remains the same life-draining Dracula returned once more from the dead.

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