During the 2020 election campaign, there has been a lot of discussion about socialism. Most of that debate has been uninformed or misinformed.
Definition of Socialism
Socialism is “the political and economic theory where the means of production, distribution, and exchange, are owned and regulated by the government — the ‘collective.’”
“Socialism is based upon economic and political theories that advocate collectivism and equality.” “In a socialist state there is no privately-owned property.”
“Socialism means the complete discarding of the institution of private property by transforming it into public property, and the division of the resultant public income equally and indiscriminately among the entire population.” (George Bernard Shaw)
Advantages of Socialism
- Socialism fosters equality.
- Socialism reduces the disparity between the “haves” and the “have nots.”
- Socialism increases cooperation while reducing the damage of competition.
- Socialism eliminates the situation where “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”
- Socialism is democratic because the power is in the “people,” not rich individuals and corporations.
- Socialism reduces selfishness and greed.
- Socialism eliminates discrimination and favoritism in education and health care.
- Socialism encourages income equality.
- Socialism encourages everyone to find their own definition of success.
- Socialism fosters equal opportunities.
- Socialism reduces the negative impact of and levels out economic cycles.
- Socialism reduces the collateral damage cause by the laws of supply and demand.
- Workers are no longer exploited by managers and owners seeking profit.
- Products are based on actual needs rather than profit.
- By eliminating the need to sell items for profit, socialism eliminates the costs associated with advertising and promotion.
- Socialism nationalizes critical industries and eliminates the risk of bankruptcy.
- Socialism fosters the Christian principles of love, charity, helping the poor and needy.
- Socialism is for the millions, not the millionaires.
- Socialism focuses on human need, not corporate greed.
Quotes from Advocates of Socialism
- “Democratic socialism means that our government does everything it can create a full employment economy.” (Bernie Sanders)
- “Socialism, when the last word is said, is merely a new economic and political system whereby more men can get food to eat.” (Jack London)
- “We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseeming evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions.” (Adolf Hitler)
- “Socialism does not destroy the personality, on the contrary, socialism enriches the individual.” (Henry Barbusse)
- “The goal of socialism is communism.” (Vladimir Lenin)
Disadvantages of Socialism
- Socialism is a utopian fantasy that has failed in every country in which it has been tried. To advocate socialism is to ignore history and reality.
- The Nordic countries are not socialist. They are capitalist welfare states. Their “free” education and health care are paid for by huge income taxes and by free enterprise and private companies. (like, Ikea, Nokia, Volvo, Lego)
- Socialism is less democratic. A few government officials believe they can make better decisions for the people than they can make for themselves.
- Socialism results in shortages of food, medicine, and products.
- Nationalization of productive companies and farms, and forced redistribution of wealth, lead to unemployment, inflation, increased poverty, and starvation. It turns “bread baskets” into “basket cases.” (Zimbabwe and Venezuela)
- Since people cannot “vote with their dollars,” socialism reduces the types, variety, quantity, and quality of products the people can choose from. (BMW vs. Yugo. Only one brand for each product.)
- Socialism teaches people to become dependent on the government and to expect “freebies.”
- Socialism ignores the self-interest of human nature and the importance of earned rewards and incentives.
- “Power to the people” really means power to a few government officials.
- By becoming a “caretaker” “nanny” society, socialist governments eliminate the need or incentive for individuals to live the Christian principles of love, charity, and caring for the poor and needy.
- History has proven that, by eliminating the check-and-balances of democracy and free enterprise, socialism leads to corruption.
- Socialism transfers the responsibility for caring for family members to the government.
- Socialism teaches its citizens that they have a plethora of rights without corresponding responsibility and obligations.
- Socialism expands government bureaucracy, with more regulations and paper work.
- Socialism vastly increases government spending and the power that comes with it. (“He who pays the piper calls the tune.”)
- By putting more power in the hands of government officials, historically, socialism leads to dictatorship.
- Socialism reduces innovation, creativity, inventions.
- Socialism discourages healthy productive competition.
- Socialism reduces freedom by giving more control over our daily lives to the government.
- Socialism takes; capitalism creates.
- Capitalism turns luxuries into necessities; socialism turns necessities into luxuries.
Quotes from Opponents of Socialism
- “Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.” (Winston Churchill)
- “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” (Winston Churchill).
- “Socialism only works in two places: Heaven where they don’t need it and hell where they already have it.” (Ronald Reagan)
- “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” (Margaret Thatcher)
- “Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality by force.”
- “Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.” (Thomas Jefferson)