2,000 Years Of Failed Socialism

Newsweek incapable of learning from history or common sense.

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40 Responses to 2,000 Years Of Failed Socialism

  1. Neil says:

    I disagree.

    Socialism works perfectly, so long as everyone is satisfied with equal outcomes, and until you run out of everyone else’s money.

    Until then, it’s a perfect system!

  2. P.J. says:

    “There was a failure to reward individual ambition, and no one had incentive to improve himself”. It describes the modern welfare state just as well as it describes the Spartans.

  3. Michael says:

    Why do you always confuse socialism with communism?

    • Brian G Valentine says:

      As they are known today, Sweden is probably the closest thing to a true socialist state. Cuba is probably a Communist state as Lenin envisioned it.

      Both are absolutely fantastic places to live.

    • Indeed, why must you confuse a violent, murderous means of oppression with a milder, though ultimately no less murderous means?

    • DirkH says:

      A communist is a socialist in a hurry.

    • suyts says:

      Michael, the word socialism holds different meanings to different people. Indeed, the iconic communist nation, the U.S.S.R. claimed the mantle of socialism by virtue of their name. Obviously, so too, did the National Socialists.

      Some don’t distinguish the difference and use communism and socialism as synonyms. Others seem to take it to mean some ill-defined happy medium between capitalism and communism. Still others, such as Dirk, seem to take it to mean a milder, slower form of communism.

      While I can imagine it would be frustrating for a socialist, it would probably be better to acknowledge the ambiguity and light a candle rather than curse the darkness. In other words, if you don’t wish to be conflated with communists, please distinguish the differences so people will know how to reference people such as yourself.

      • I tend to agree with H. W. Fowler. If you have a copy of “Modern English Usage” (1st ed.) it’s under the heading “socialism, communism, anarchism”.

        If you don’t have a copy of “Modern English Usage” you probably write like IWB.

  4. Michael says:

    Nonsense- The Spartans had lots of religion- they did more religious festivals than the Athenians. They were finest military state in ancient greece. Without them, the greek states would have fallen much earlier. Individuals had lots of ambition in Sparta- mostly to be the finest soldier. Their biggest failure was their system of slavery (helots) was too oppressive and so the helots were constantly rebelling. The Athenians had slaves too but not so oppressive.

  5. David Appell says:

    Empirical data shows, of course, that today’s socialist countries have greater levels of health, happiness, and overall prosperity than do countries with any other system. Capitalism is great if you’re one of the winners. Not so great if you’re one of the losers. And it’s always the winners who write the blogs and op-eds and spout off on TV….

    • Brian G Valentine says:

      Huh? Socialist countries (sans Government sanctioned brutality) are known for a high rate of suicide, because people are handed everything and they are bored.

      In the US, greenie groups get to decide if you’re good enough to be a capitalist “winner.” Otherwise you’re a job loser in the name of “progress.”

      • Ill wind blowing says:

        You are sooo perceptive as a social anthropologist, Brian.

        Switzerland does have a higher suicide rate because most of its inhabitants live in isolated villages.

        Other high latitude countries like Finland have a higher rate of depression and alcoholism because of the psysiological effects of long nights. (Drunk people are actually placed in light therapy rooms with very bright lights).

      • suyts says:

        Ill, while I’ll agree there is a bit o depression that accompanies higher latitudes, that doesn’t tell the complete story.

        Fortunately, for the readers here, we have one that has experience in high latitudes and has witnessed a contrast between creatures of capitalism and creatures of socialism. Yours truly.

        In Alaska, two very distinct socio-economic groups exist. One, is the native population comprising of various Indian and Eskimo groups. (note, I’m aware that Eskimo is an archaic term, but I’m using it to distinguish the different sub-groups of what we’ll call group 1. This seemed important to both sub-groups during my time up there.) The other comprised mostly of 1st,2nd, and 3rd generation immigrants to the area (typically of Anglo descent). We’ll call this group 2.

        Group 1 is freely given monies. So much so, that incentive to work and achieve is diminished from the point of necessity to the point of desire. Between federal and state disbursement of money and services, there is no need to work for many of them, or at least it was that way during the late 80s and early 90s during my time there. This is greatly contrasted by group 2. Many were there simply for the opportunity to achieve and accumulate wealth. While many challenges exist simply for survival there, there is much money to be made, with many different avenues to choose from.

        As is my custom when in foreign environments, (yes, Alaska is part of the Union, but it is a foreign environment) I endeavor to learn much of the locals. There isn’t a more depressed group of people I’ve ever seen than the ones freely given much. It wasn’t uncommon to see the same people at the same bars at any given time of the day at any given day of the week. One of the preferred methods of suicide during the cold part of the year was to simply booze up and walk to far to be able to get back to safety.

        While there is a plethora of documentation of the disparity of suicide rates in Alaska, I’ll just show you one article, but any other reputable study or article will denote a similar disparity.
        http://www.adn.com/2011/01/12/1645956/report-says-suicide-remains-an.html
        Be sure to read the last line. I will state, many suicides go unreported and unnoticed until spring breakup, and even then not all bodies are found until many years later. (This is true for murders up there, too.)

        If anyone wants to see the effect of capitalism vs socialism, there it is, in a microcosm. This is counter intuitive, because the laws of adaptation seem to tell us the native population would be better suited for that environment. But, obviously, it isn’t the climatic environment that is the problem. Were that the larger problem, then the suicide rate for group 2 should have been higher. It isn’t, it is very significantly lower and its been that way for many decades.

    • P.J. says:

      @David: Would those socialist countries happen to be the ones who are having debt problems? It is easy to make everyone happy when you are borrowing money you don’t have.

      • David Appell says:

        No–most of them are having debt problems no greater than that of the US. (The US isn’t having debt problems either — that’s just political posturing to accomplish other goals.)

      • Brian G Valentine says:

        Like Greece for example. Where you can vote to give yourself your own money

      • P.J. says:

        @David: The U.S. is over $14 trilion in federal debt alone, and is at 100% of GDP. If that isn’t a debt problem, then please tell me what is.

    • Empirical data show, of course, that leftist apologists can not correctly conjugate English verbs. Empirical data also show that most of these sorts of statements about empirical data are just as tendentious as the people making them.

  6. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    Did anyone besides me know that Upton Sinclair was a socialist? He was paid (commissioned) by a socialist to write “The Jungle”. But the K-12 system in America says he’s great author in American history. The influence of left wing politics in the educational system is nothing new in America.

    http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Jupton.htm

  7. Ill wind blowing says:

    “Did anyone besides me know that Upton Sinclair was a socialist? He was paid (commissioned) by a socialist to write “The Jungle”.”

    Does that mean that he made up the situation? Or perhaps it means that you would like to return to those good old days?

    • Precisely like Val Kilmer has never actually been to Mars. It’s called “fiction”. I’d tell you to look it up, but it’s pretty obvious it wouldn’t register.

      • Ill wind blowing says:

        You’re avoiding the issue as always. The Jungle reflected the actual working conditions at that time.

        Your stating that 1984 and Animal Farm are fiction is an absolutely meaningless response. Those books reflected the non-fictional reality of the Soviet Union.

        So what is the meaning of this non-sequitor about these books being fiction? Perhaps you’re an Orwellian revisionist who wants to reinvent history and “fictionalize” away child labor, sweatshops, slavery, etc.

        Oh, I forgot, you’re a skeptic.

      • DirkH says:

        Ill Wind,
        1984 is not at all about the reality of the Soviet Union;
        “the Ministry of Truth derives from the BBC’s overseas service, controlled by the Ministry of Information; Room 101 derives from a conference room at BBC Broadcasting House”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four

      • I’m sorry the word “fiction” confuses you. “The Jungle” is no more representative of anything in reality than “The Crying Game” is representative of your love life.

  8. AndyW says:

    Moderate capitalism tied to moderate socialism is fine, the world moderate is the key. Anytime you go extreme then problems occur.

  9. Blade says:

    Socialism is both a parasite and virus in the body of a nation of free persons.

    There have always been Socialist criminals that covet their neighbors property, especially their wealth. Historically what they have always lacked was an efficient mechanism to insert a ‘tap’ or ‘catheter’ into the victim’s body to effortlessly steal the money without even having to ask. A method of changing their crime of larceny into a more acceptable politically correct euphemism.

    This parasitic means, like a leech or tick or tapeworm, was achieved in a few steps in the USA spanning a century from the 16th Amendment to a progressive Income Tax, to wartime ‘withholding’, to gestapo IRS tactics and tyrannical court rulings. Now that framework is in place and we all live with it day to day. Not even a standard of ‘presumed innocent’ exists for the taxpayer that does all the work and pays all the bills. And not even a thank you from the welfare bastards that drain the system of our (and our childrens’ and grandchildrens’) money.

    Sadly, in the current budget debate we are attempting to treat the symptoms of this viral / parasitic infection, which is all well and good, but at the end of the day these Socialists, these criminals that really believe they get to take some of our money against our wishes, will still be present. The life cycle of the parasites, the Socialists, will begin anew without further measures.

    The welfare state is going to detonate soon, and with any luck this will be a worldwide phenomenon thanks to the Internet. We have to make sure, at least in the USA, that Socialism is made extinct, at least at the involuntary federal level.

    You criminals that worship Socialism have always been free to voluntarily unite and be wonderful little Communists, but you always failed with your communes and such because you had no way to come and steal my money to feather your bed. That mechanism which is in place at the federal level must be destroyed. Freedom is the cornerstone of America, not theft and redistribution of my wealth.

    Socialism and Free people like myself cannot co-exist except at IRS gunpoint. This is the fact that needs to be hammered home. I urge my brothers and sisters around the world to do the same, reclaim your private property and let the parasites die for lack of nourishment.

    • suyts says:

      Blade, that’s beautiful. I may not have worded it like that, but I love the sentiment. There are some caveats, though, but I’ll express them in a different comment. (See below after a bit.)

  10. gator69 says:

    The Pilgrims tried communism first…

    ” In his chronicle, Bradford described what was going wrong and how it was solved (pardon the King James English):

    ‘All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advise of the chiefest among them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of the number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.'”

    Not fiction, not a model, but emperical observations of the devastating effects of ‘sharing the wealth’, and the glory of personal responsibility.

    • Grumpy Grampy ;) says:

      And exactly why “It Takes a Village” and other recent Horse manure about the common good is wrong.

  11. omnologos says:

    I’m all for socialism, communism, dictatorship, the works. As long as I am the one in charge, that is.

  12. suyts says:

    I think it would behoove us capitalists to acknowledge that a purely unconstrained capitalist system neither exists nor would it be preferable to what we have today.

    Obviously, laws of common civility should exist in the state regardless of the economic system. For instance, murder should be against the law. As should a plethora of actions common to the amoral portion of our society. With laws comes administration and execution of justice. And, it shouldn’t be held to the individual to pursue such justice, but rather the collective. It should also be noted that common defense of any state is necessary and as Washington stated, to rely on a militia is “resting on a broken crutch.” There are also other examples where pooling monies for the common good can be generally agreed upon, such as helping the helpless. In this purist view, these are forms of socialism. This is why the U.S.’ founding fathers, though possessing a strong capitalist bent, allowed for a centralized government working towards the common good.

    Another couple of things to note. There isn’t, nor has there been for many, many centuries a purely capitalist society and neither has the antithesis existed, the purely communist society. While Orwell did indeed write works of fiction, the parallels to reality are striking. In both of the mentioned books, Orwell noted that regardless of the economic system, some are always more equal than others. We can blather all we wish about Sweden and Cuba, but the fact is, in both nations there are winners and losers. There are ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. The differences are, it is likely they didn’t earn the ‘have’ status. But, I digress………

    Capitalism is simply an expression of liberty. In a capitalistic society, you are free to do what you will with your money and property. Indeed, you are free to do what you will with your own body. You are not compelled to work, simply one works to provide for their necessities and any additional gains one would desire to make. Contrast with a communistic society, where one is not free to do what they will with their money, or body and property possession in a communistic society would be discouraged if not forbidden. (This is in idea only, in practical application it didn’t work out like that.) In a communistic society, one is compelled to labor, and it typically isn’t of the choice of the person, but rather defined by the perceived needs of the greater common. Further, regardless of the superiority or inferiority of the work effort of the individual, there is no difference in compensation for the work effort. To invert a comment from above, this works well for the slug, but for the doer and trier, not so much.

    Still, we see that in order to define anything, one must have finite boundaries. One cannot possess what can’t be defined or quantified.(Emotions not withstanding.) So, too, with that thought in mind, Liberty or Freedom, in order to be possessed must also be limited. (The last line isn’t my original thought but was articulated by a person whose name isn’t at my recall at this moment.) And, if capitalism is an expression of liberty, then it too, must be limited in order to be possessed. While this not always easily accomplished, it is able to be accomplished.

    For those who exalt the virtues of socialism, how does one constrain the constraining? There are no safeguards which can be put in place to constrain a government too powerful or too oppressive if the system of economy and government automatically gives deference to the common over the individual. Even with the constraints put in the U.S.’ Constitution, we already see a government grown too large, and a system grown too powerful. The individual has taken a back seat too the collective. The obvious intent of the founding fathers have been twisted and perverted to take opposite meaning when interpreted by our various branches of government. And while we acquiesce our freedoms and liberties on a seemingly daily basis, it is never enough. And, it will never be enough. There will be no point in which the large central authority will become sated until the very last of the most fundamental of freedoms is usurped. The freedom of self.

    If we as a society are to error, and we do and will, let us determine to error on the side of the individual, because while some individuals may come to unnecessary harm, as nature is cruel, to error otherwise will risk our entire society and risk all falling to harm from despotism and totalitarianism. We should endeavor to do our best for the least of us, but extol the virtues of the ability for any of us to be the greatest. Heaven forbid that we should define ourselves by the least common denominator, but rather we should define ourselves by the multiple of the highest factor! And that, my friends, is only achievable by allowing the individual to achieve what they will, through liberty and freedom, which is accomplished by a capitalistic society.

    Notes…. it was Edmund Burke who stated, “Liberty too must be limited in order to be possessed.”

    Another worthwhile quote, “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?” ———– Mahatma Gandhi While Gandhi was making a different point, what this means to me……., These, we will always have with us. We should then define ourselves not by the dead orphans or homeless, but rather what we’ve achieved through our struggles.

    James Sexton

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