- Politics and Social Issues
Why We Don't Need Socialism
Did you know Albert Einstein once wrote an essay on socialism? It was titled “Why Socialism?”and originally published in the first issue of “Monthly Review”in May 1949.
The essay quoted Einstein in part: “…it is necessary to remember a planned economy is not yet socialism. A planned economy as such may be accompanied by the complete enslavement of the individual. The achievement of socialism requires the solution of some extremely difficult socio-political problems: how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening? How can the rights of the individual be protected and therewith a democratic counterweight to the power of bureaucracy be assured? Clarity about the aims and problems of socialism is of greatest significance in our age of transition.”
In layman’s terms Socialism is a centrally planned economy in which government controls all means of production. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to expectations during the 20th century and was a tragic failure.
Socialism was a commitment to remedy alleged economic and moral defects of a capitalistic society. However, socialism has been a dismal failure both economically and morally. Still, ideals of socialism linger on as seen in our current administration.
Most believe the concept of socialism came from Karl Marx. However, Marx wrote only a few pages about it. The credit is actually due Lenin. It was he who first organized an economic system without the incentive of profit seeking or constraints of competition as found in a free market.
Lenin mistakenly assumed economic organization would become less complicated once profit drive and competition were eliminated. Economics under Lenin’s rules quickly became systematically disorganized and within four years of the 1917 revolution, Soviet production fell to about 14% of its prerevolutionary level. By 1921 Lenin was forced to return, if only in a small way, to the market incentives of capitalism.
And now we find our illustrious leader, President Obama, was a socialist. Is it reasonable to believe he isn’t now? But the nations’ attitude towards this discovery seems apathetic except for harried warnings from the conservative crowd. How can this be in light of socialisms’ dismal past track record?
It’s a new generation of Americans who grew up after the destructive aftermath of socialisms’ history. The term today is merely another political ideology without negative overtones in this enlightened nonjudgmental era.
In fact, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for everybody to open a few history books…especially our elected officials. It seems not many understand what it actually is. Perhaps everybody should first learn what socialism is not. Foremost, it isn't Liberalism. Americans need to be reminded socialism is not a just a liberal version of our American political system.
Socialist ideas date back to before the French Revolution. However socialism, as it is known today, began in the 19th Century. Dreamers envisioned a class-free society in which everyone shared everything equally. The fault with this concept was, believing in a self renewing economy with unlimited resources. No one thought about economic growth.
The truth is, once a society allows the state complete power, the bureaucracy becomes an entity of its’ own fueled by its’ own ambition. History shows, if the wrong person assumes power, such as a psychopath, absence of individualism means the state can easily become an unstoppable machine.
A good example is Nazi Germany. Many forgot it was originally a socialist dictatorship. Nazi's frequently forgotten name was the National Socialist German Worker's Party. While most people considered the Nazi party to be a totalitarian ideology originating from the right, it was actually a totalitarian party arising from the left. Most of us are aware what life was like under Nazi dictatorship. Citizens lost the right to bear arms and thought crimes were punished.
History demonstrates socialism has never been good for the rank and file. A socialist state incrementally destroys individual freedom. And that is why we should be concerned about where Obama stands on socialism. The road to destruction is paved with good intentions.
So regardless of Obama’s supposed good intentions, we would be wise to remember socialism has never ended favorably for any country. Therefore we must continually remind ourselves socialism isn’t just another political party. It’s the harbinger of death to a free society.