What is Socialism?

by James Silberman

The connotations of words and ideas shift greatly over time. The term “socialism” is an apparent example. The vast majority of those among older generations are vehemently opposed to the idea of increased economic collectivism while younger generations seem to be more ready to embrace it.

According to Pew Research, 49 percent of millennials view socialism favorably, compared to 43 percent who view it unfavorably, for a net favorability rating of plus-six. By comparison, 46 percent view capitalism positively, while 47 percent have a negative view, giving capitalism a rating of minus-one. Every other age group surveyed preferred capitalism to socialism.

It is clear that younger voters are shifting toward a more favorable view of socialism. In classrooms around the country, the realities of socialism are being swept under the rug with deceptive banalities like “equality”. According to the Open Syllabus Project, Karl Marx, the father of modern economic collectivism, is referenced more than any other economist or philosopher. Socialism is being misrepresented by many in the media and academia, and millennials are misinformed on the issue.

Here are the realities of Socialism:

Socialism is slavery. Under a socialist system, one do not own the fruits of their labor. The state does, and they do with your resources what they see fit. The state gives you the opportunities that they think you deserve. You are owned by the state, and because the state is the only source of “free” education and healthcare, you are completely dependent on it for your existence.

Socialism is thievery and coercion. A certain 74-year old socialist from Vermont currently has plans to raise the top income brackets’ federal tax rate to 52 percent, which would put the total marginal tax rate over 73 percent between federal, state and payroll taxes. As with any tax system, this is coupled with the looming threat of men with guns showing up at the front door to take you away if you don’t cough up three-fourths of your earnings. This is because the state knows best and you are too stupid and selfish to know how to most wisely use your money, so they take it away from you by force. In the name of compassion and fairness, of course.

Some may argue that Democratic Socialism is completely different from the tyranny I am illustrating. It isn’t. Any democracy where the majority can vote away the rights of the minority is no democracy at all. Whether one is tyrannized by a small group of totalitarian politicians or a large group of totalitarian citizens makes no difference.

The heroes of the 20th century are those who protected the world from an onslaught of economic statism. This is no time to develop historical amnesia. One of those heroes, Winston Churchill, made this observation on this collectivist ideology that was taking root all around him,“Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery… It consists not nearly in a general leveling of mankind, but in keeping them level once they have been beaten down.”

By contrast, capitalism not only allows for economic freedom, but also brings about better lives for more people. While popular rhetoric indicates otherwise, capitalism is the greatest poverty-reducing economic system in human history. According to the American Enterprise Institute, the percentage of the world’s population living on less than $1 per day has fallen by 80 percent since 1970. These phenomena of reduced poverty and better lives for people in underdeveloped areas are not due to government-controlled economies or utopian ideals but of economic investment and growth. You know, things that actually lift people out of poverty.

Capitalism also facilitates charity. A study done by the Charities Aid Foundation found that Americans gave more time and money to charity than any other country over the past six years. This is because of the steep slide into socialism and the rise of the New Left in many parts of the developed world. Their reliance on a government safety net as their source of charity creates morally complacent individuals.

It isn’t perfect, but the moral superiority of capitalism over socialism is incredibly apparent. When done right, capitalism is equality of opportunity, whereas socialism is enforced equality of outcome. Some point out that Capitalism spreads prosperity unequally, and they are correct. However, the alternative is socialism, which provides equality by giving everyone an equal slice of the misery it brings.

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