February 6th, 2014

The undead

Communism/Socialism is an idea whose time has always come, ever-fresh and ever-new. It keeps rearing its ugly head wearing a new mask, like some vampire who keeps returning in a new guise. But can’t we finally drive a stake through its wretched heart?

Robert Stacy McCain writes an essay describing the latest renaissance of the idea that persists in the face of all empirical evidence to the contrary, and which was correctly critiqued by the economist Ludwig von Mises not long after the soviets came to power:

In his classic work Socialism, Mises explained that the attempt to replace the market system with central economic planning could not succeed, because the planners could not possibly have the information necessary to make all the decisions which, in a market economy, are made by individuals whose needs and desires are reflected in prices: “The problem of economic calculation is the fundamental problem of Socialism.”

“Everything brought forward in favour of Socialism during the last hundred years,” Mises wrote in 1922, “in thousands of writings and speeches, all the blood which has been spilt by the supporters of Socialism, cannot make Socialism workable. …. Socialist writers may continue to publish books about the decay of Capitalism and the coming of the socialist millennium; they may paint the evils of Capitalism in lurid colours and contrast with them an enticing picture of the blessings of a socialist society; their writings may continue to impress the thoughtless — but all this cannot alter the fate of the socialist idea.”

The rest of the McCain article is worth reading. My response is that this persistence of the idea of socialism/Communism despite evidence of its awfulness when put into practice in the real world should not be at all surprising. And I don’t think we’ll ever find the proper stake to drive into its still-beating heart, because the nature of this beast is that it represents an idea with strong appeal to a vast number of human beings. No amount of empirical or historical evidence can permanently teach enough people otherwise.

The rhetoric of Socialism/Communism has intrinsic appeal to certain groups of people and some members of each group are always likely to fall under its spell: the guilt-ridden wealthy and/or their even-more-guilt-ridden spawn, the poor who feel they’ve been screwed by society, the politically and economically naive intelligentsia who feel they know better than others, the religious and/or idealistic who want everyone to be loving and good and selfless, and those who just like the idea of power and control over others and plan to be the ones in charge.

Combine all that natural appeal with the undeniable propagandist skill of the left—including their willingness to lie in the most brazen manner—and you have an even greater effect. And then combine all of that with ignorance of history and economics, our culture’s reluctance to teach the young our good points and its eagerness to harp on our bad ones, and the fact that people only tend to really learn something through bitter and personal experience.

The wonder is that more people don’t believe that socialism/Commmunism is the answer to the world’s prayers, not that so many succumb to it in the first place. Never imagine that the fight, especially in the intellectual and educational and propaganda spheres, can be over. It would be too bad if each generation had to learn the lesson through personal suffering rather than in the realm of ideas.

44 Responses to “The undead”

  1. Paul in Boston Says:

    It’s depressing, isn’t it? In the physical sciences, biology, and medicine knowledge accumulates and the errors of the past are discarded. Why isn’t it possible in the social understanding of the world?

  2. Ray Says:

    PBS has a video on socialism. It is no tfavorable. I was surprised, considering what a bunch of lefties they are.
    http://www.pbs.org/heavenonearth/

  3. NeoConScum Says:

    100+Million bodies in the ground(and ice)last century and yet there sits Van Jones on the Round Table of CNN. Millions of American jobs being lost, and to-be-lost, for the greater glory of Obamacare and the undoing of the Best Healthcare in World History???

    Vorkuta, Magadan, Kolyma, Lubyanka, Lefortovo, Lao Gai, Slave Ships to the Arctic, 30-Million deaths in China’s Great Leap Forward Terror Famine, etc, etc, etc, etc. And still those noble, unselfish Socialists-Communists say they’ll yet get it right.

    Yep…Ohhhh, yeeaaaahhhhhhhh…!

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    Paul in Boston:

    Because science is only a small realm in life, and emotion and desire play a huge part in the rest of it.

  5. Irene Says:

    @Paul in Boston
    Science is basically the how. Socialism has never really been about the how, it’s been about the why.

  6. T Says:

    Neo,

    Perhaps some added insight is gained by visiting your thread on Pete Seegar’s death (Jan 28th).

    In that post I comented about people helping themselves. Commenter “bevan” responded that such was “. . . complete bullshit and denies the Christian spirit of compassion we see with every tornado disaster.”

    To carry that thought further, and in line with this post, I offer another thought. “bevan” responded with umbrage. We should ask why s/he would be upset? I think is has to do with buying into the fundamental and false premise that the left pushes; i.e., it is wrong and immoral to make a profit. This is really the basis for their revulsion of capitalism, free markets and all things non-Marxian and I think the myth has become subconsciously accepted by a large part of the population. I bet we all know (or know of) wealthy people who seem embarrassed by their wealth, or on the contrary, people who charge a fee-for-profit and are excoriated for doing so (“He didn’t have to charge me for that!”). IOW, If you’re not helping your fellow man purely altruistically, then you are faulty and tainted. It also might explain the leftist “cost be damned” approach to social welfare programs.

    In fact, there’s nothing tainted about making a profit. Who among us would not, in a second, take a new job that doubled our current salary? And those people to whom “bevan” refers who volunteer in times of crisis — if they weren’t capitalists who had amassed even modest wealth they could not take time off or donate money to someone else in need (one did not see many homeless vagrants rushing to volunteer to go to New Orleans and pick up a hammer to help the victims of crisis).

    It’s just my opinion, but I think this may have something to do with the eternal appeal of socialism that you target in this post. It’s one thing to think that Disney World is the way life should be it’s altogether another thing to believe that such a fantasy is actually achievable through legislation and behavior control, the historic evidence notwithstanding.

  7. T Says:

    “Because science is only a small realm in life, and emotion and desire play a huge part in the rest of it.” (Neoneocon,) [emphasis mine]

    This is very similar to what Krauthammer says about politics. Politics is everything. When you get the politics right it fades into the background and everything else is free to work. When the politics is wrong it impedes everything.

  8. Matt_SE Says:

    “The rhetoric of Socialism/Communism has intrinsic appeal to certain groups of people and some members of each group are always likely to fall under its spell: the guilt-ridden wealthy and/or their even-more-guilt-ridden spawn, the poor who feel they’ve been screwed by society, the politically and economically naive intelligentsia who feel they know better than others, the religious and/or idealistic who want everyone to be loving and good and selfless, and those who just like the idea of power and control over others and plan to be the ones in charge.”

    Most of these motivations can be summed up by one-word descriptions of the emotions involved, many of which correspond to the deadly sins:

    -The wealthy and progeny: Guilt (over their Greed? This is an interesting one, as it is the flip-side of Envy: they feel bad about being the focus of others’ sins.)
    -The disenfranchised poor: Envy, Sloth sometimes, and Wrath
    -The intelligensia: Pride
    -The religious/idealistic: Naivete (another interesting one, as they tend to take Pride that their dreams don’t match with reality)
    -The elite/powerful: Ambition (another form of Envy)

    This is not supposed to be a perfect mapping of motivations onto the deadly sins, but it’s interesting none the less.

  9. T Says:

    Neo,

    In re-reading your post I see I glossed over your own mention of the guilt-ridden wealthy. Clearly a point on which we agree. You mention socialism’s appeal to certain segments of the population, I might be inclined to go further and say a very large part of the population even across those segments you target.

    It’s kind of like an underlying American moral. We love to announce that we are a country in which anyone, even the common man can prosper, but watch out if you propser too much–we’re coming to get you whether through taxes or derision.

  10. Eric Says:

    It’s easy to understand why economically unstable, unsecure – poor – people support socialism.

    And a socialist system can work.

    But.

    The common mistakes made by affluent liberals when they advocate for socialism while citing examples like Norway or the US Military are, one, they take for granted the conditions at the foundation of their own functional communities, and two, they’ve failed to appreciate the distinct mix of social-cultural, demographic, and economic conditions that are necessary to underpin a functional socialist system.

    They mistake the order of cause and effect.

    Socialism is not a cure. Socialism doesn’t create functional society. A functional society with particular conditions allows for socialism.

  11. T Says:

    Eric,

    You say that ” . . . a functional society allows for socialism,” but that’s very different from saying that socialism works. As your own quote implies socialism is a parasitic system which must live off of a host. Unlike capitalism, it can not stand alone.

  12. expat Says:

    There is something else about the wealthy. They sort of presume that everyone else wants their lifestyle and is therefore deprived. It’s as if they need to imagine the envy and deprivation of the poorer in order to reaffirm that their own lives are OK. The fact that they concentrate only on the money and material things makes me suspect that they may have serious decicits themselves WRT relationships and meaning.

  13. Matt_SE Says:

    Thinking further on my previous post, it occurs to me that the difference between liberals and conservatives is whether they encourage or discourage “negative” motivations/emotions (of which the deadly sins are an incomplete set) in others; with the possible exception of Greed.

    Wrath: Defined as maybe vengeance, which is unjustified or unsanctioned retribution. Conservatives believe in the Law (sanction); they also believe that God is the ultimate judge, and therefore require personal humility in action. Liberals promote victimization culture, and implicitly the righting of perceived wrongs.

    Greed: Defined as the love of money/power/etc. for its own sake. This is distinct from Envy since it does not involve other people for reference. Conservatives might promote this, especially if they include no sense of self-restraint. Liberals don’t seem to promote this sin as often since they are hung up on the ideas of “sustainability” and “fair share.” In the end, socialism is the idea that everyone should be equally poor!

    Sloth: Laziness. Conservative believe everyone should earn their own keep if they can. Liberals are always redistributing wealth; by necessity, from the producers to the indigent. (See: Nancy Pelosi’s idea that Obamacare will free people up to become artists, etc. whether that’s valuable to society or not)

    Pride: Love of oneself, including your own ideas. Vanity. Especially if there is no actual accomplishment involved. The opposite of humility, which is the hallmark of conservatism (at least in terms of epistemology). Liberals are the ones promoting “self esteem” movements and awards for simple participation. One of the defining traits of liberals is smugness.

    Lust: One might define it as “greed directed towards other people, especially in the context of sexuality.” Conservatives have always preached self-restraint in this regard, or at least a restriction of lustful activity to the private sphere. Liberals are the ones that celebrate degeneracy openly. They even deny standards of decency exist; the easier to justify public displays of the prurient.

    Envy: Coveting what others have. This includes not only the love of the thing itself, but a resentment that someone else has it (and presumably you don’t). Conservatives do not make appeals to what others have or don’t have…that’s none of our business. This goes back to the idea that there should be a division between the public and private spheres. Liberals are constantly trying to stir up resentments over material distribution. This justifies their position as the distributors!

    Gluttony: This seems to be a subset of Greed, but I’m not sure how it’s different. At any rate, I don’t think this is really pushed by either conservatives or liberals.

  14. Eric Says:

    T,

    I don’t consider socialism to be a “parasitic system which must live off of a host”, unless you consider the US Military to be a parasite draining the US – which, to be fair, many people do.

    But tone down your characterization, and that’s basically my point.

    A socialist system can work when applied atop a particular social foundation. But a socialist system does not originate the foundation of a functional society.

    Think of the US Military, a country like Norway, and old-timey company towns.

    What characteristics do they share that allow socialism to function and/or make sense for them? Think of the limits of those characteristics.

    Then consider, do the same necessary features that allow for socialism in those cases also characterize America as a whole?

  15. T Says:

    Eric,

    Perhaps you and I are arguing past each other. I suspect, from your last response, that you are thinking about socialism in a social way–I am thinking about it fiscally.

    Fiscally, the U.S. military is, indeed, parasitic; it does not raise it’s own finance and relies on an outside source (general taxation and congressional appropriation). Likewise a socialistic government. It relies on the taxation of some external entity (in our case, the private sector) in order to fund its social programs — food stamps, medicare, social security and the like are not fiscally self-sustaining, they survive by living off of a host.

    All the more reason that a govt which tends toward socialism would want to guarantee that the private sector remained healthy and profitable to guarantee continuing and healthy tax revenues. Even the timber industry knows that it would eventually run out of trees if it didn’t continuously plant new ones.

    Unfortunately, myopic Progressives in this country are doing to the private sector what the large labor unions have done to corporations — bleed the golden goose dry (see General Motors). They like increased taxation, increased dependence on social programs (beggars are easier to please) reduced incentive to work (CBO) and increased behavioral control (reduced initiative). It is no coincidence that both Margaret Thatcher and the economist Herbert Stein have acknowleded the self-same thought: At some point you run out of other people’s money. = What can’t go on forever, won’t.

  16. Eric Says:

    To Neo’s question, socialism continues to appeal in part because it has been demonstrated to work in limited applications.

    So, denying that socialism works in any case is wrong.

    What people need to learn is the limits of socialism and why it fails to scale up and disastrously so.

  17. blert Says:

    Socialism is, at bottom, a return to childhood’s bliss: the idea that resources, attention, caring can float down from Mother.

    It’s not any surprise that socialism equates to a nanny state.

    Since everyone passes through childhood, the emotional reference is eternal. It can never die.

    Whereas a loving mother provides unconditional support — adult life requires that everyone adjust to conditional love — which is where father comes in.

    The need for socialism to constantly recruit among the teenagers must be apparent. It’s at that age that sophomoric insight generates an absolutist frame of reference. It’s only with experience — outside of a classroom — that the young adult comes to realize that everything is a lot more complicated.

    THE great weakness of the modern priesthood is celibacy. It causes arrested emotional growth. It’s not unusual for priests to fixate on their mother’s love — and her maternal world view.

    Some pretty extreme ideas take root, thereby.

    At the top of the list: the idea that America, or the First World generally, can import poverty stricken souls en masse and eliminate privation.

    The giver populations are out numbered something like 30:1 making the proposition absurd. Yet, it’s virtually a mantra in the modern Catholic Church. Even the Pope holds to it.

    It not only can’t work, it will generate compassion fatigue and an epic population crash in the need some populations.

  18. Eric Says:

    T,

    A reliable – even independently input – economic base is indeed one of the necessary features of a functioning socialist system.

    It wasn’t the teacher and the doctor and the shopkeeper and the cobbler in town that kept a company town economically viable. It was the factory.

    But then, that was before we discovered the magic of relabeling debt as capital.

  19. T Says:

    ” . . . socialism continues to appeal in part because it has been demonstrated to work in limited applications.” (Eric @ 4:24)

    . . . is like saying that you can walk from Chicago to Des Moines. Yes you’ll eventually get there, but it’s much faster and more comfortable if you drive in a car.

    How does one define “it works” when compared to the historic meritocratic economy of the U.S.? The moribund economy of France? Cuba? Spain? Even Norway that you cite above and Sweden are beginning to trend away from socialism. Furthermore, to compare the “success” of socialism in a country of 6 million people (Sweden) implying that this justifies Progressive belief in socialism’s success in a country of 330 million is like saying that the walk from Chicago to Des Moines is no different than walking down the block to the local grocery store.

  20. Ray Says:

    My favorite example of the socialist utopia is New Harmony, Indiana. Unfortunately, New Harmony had two problems. It attracted needy people that wanted someone to look after them and repelled people with talent and ambition. New Harmony lasted about two years.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Harmony,_Indiana

  21. T Says:

    Eric,

    “It wasn’t the teacher and the doctor and the shopkeeper and the cobbler in town that kept a company town economically viable. It was the factory.”

    That is as poor a metaphor as I have seen. It is an incorrect premise. You state that the factory kept the company town healthy as though the company town existed independent of the factory. The company town was created by the factory to service its needs; it was subservient to, not independent of, the factory. In that respect, your metaphor is precisely in keeping with socialism: “I owe my soul to the company store.”

  22. Eric Says:

    T,

    You do realize you’re making my point, right?

  23. T Says:

    Eric,

    then you haven’t stated your point clearly. From your comments I have taken it to be precisely the opposite of what you now claim.

  24. NeoConScum Says:

    Read Dr. Richard Pipes’, “Property and Freedom” (1999), and then read Dr. Robert Conquest’s, “Kolyma:The Arctic Death Camps” (1978) and “The Nation Killers” (1970) and Jasper Becker’s, “Hungry Ghosts:Mao’s Secret Famine” (1996).

    Yep…and get back to me on the reading. So many more great works of communisim’s devastations. Thank God for great historians of its costs.

  25. Ymarsakar Says:

    Socialism, like government militaries, will work up until they run out of people to squeeze for money.

    For socialism, the economy breaks the bank or vice a versa. For the military complex, without people to produce food and munitions, the military breaks down into nothing.

  26. Ymarsakar Says:

    A bomb also works for a time, until it stops working. That’s another way to talk about death, the death of a nation, the death of a people, the death of a race.

  27. J.J. Says:

    Socialism has worked, kinda, sorta in small countries with homogenous populations and a culture that honors work and self restraint. For examples we can look at the Scandinavian countries or New Zealand. The Scandinavian economies are limited in what they can produce because of geography. Sweden and Finland by their northerly climates and limited natural resources. Norway is a special case because they struck oil. Their economic situation is better than their two neighbors because of the oil, but it will eventually run out and they will be back where they were before.

    Sweden is being forced to become more free market because their social programs require more money and that’s the only way to get it. They also a have a problem with their Muslim immigrants who don’t share their Lutheran values of hard work and self restraint.

    New Zealand is an isolated island with mainly agricultural products to sell for the petroleum and coal they need. They are less socialist than they were when they were tied to Great Britain by exclusive trade contracts. But they’re still quite socialist by our standards. There is limited opportunity there and many of their young are leaving for Australia, Canada, and the U.S. Fortunate they are to have places to go for opportunity.

    Big countries like the U.S., China, and Russia have great possibilities because they have great natural resources. Geography has been kind to them. Only the U.S. has come close to fulfilling that potential because we have private property laws, reasonably honest government, and a tradition of entrepreneurship. We know that both China and Russia have not done as well because they chased the dream of utopian equality. Now we have Cuba and North Korea as bastions of utopian communist government. Ask anyone who doesn’t get it about communism if they are itching to immigrate to either place. No takers on that one. All the immigrants are pointed toward the unequal, unjust U.S.A. Ask them why that is.

    Neo is correct of course. Too many people don’t reason, they feel. And utopia sounds good. Just like winning the lottery sounds good. It is to weep.

  28. OldFan Says:

    I am glad to see an examination of the considerable allure of Socialism – the quality that makes it such great danger to civilization. The allure is based on generally positive emotions that are harnessed to achieve terrible results.

    First, there is an appeal to the Intellect: the socialist considers himself a more perceptive and honest person who see the world as it is by his acceptance of the Oppressor/Oppressed duality. Breaking down all of human society into just two groups seems brilliantly simple and is a clear indicator of how smart they must be.

    Second, by identifying with the oppressed, the socialist gains Moral Superiority. Thus he/she is not only Smarter than You, but also a Better Person Than You.

    This is a heady brew for the youthful mind, but it would fade with age and maturity were it not for the other two aspects.
    Socialism appears to tap into the nearly universal feeling of rebellion in young adults and provides a powerful sense of shared consciousness. In fact, if we view socialism as a “youth movement”, much of its allure is understandable. It is a “cult of action”, exemplified by calls for “an end to debate” and “immediate redress.”

    The problem is that socialism also extends that sense of rebellion indefinitely, providing the same emotional gratification to its practitioners for decades.

    Thus, it is a path to political power that is based not just naked self-interest but deep emotional involvement that rivals any religion in intensity. Its leaders make full use of this zeal.

  29. Beverly Says:

    Everyone’s making good points. I want to add one: I think most liberals are envious and covetous, with a thin veneer of unspecific compassion (hence the smugness).

    You can test this hypothesis by prodding them with a rhetorical stick, moving them off of (by refuting) their claim of benefitting “humanity,” and watch them lose their temper. Sooner or later, they snarl and snap about The Rich and angrily declare that the Rich don’t deserve “all that.”

    It usually doesn’t take too long.

    Like a Stalinist I used to know once said, through-put for food aid in sub-Saharan Africa is only 5%. Five percent. He giggled, thinking NOT OF THE STARVING, people, but of how they (the UN) were Sticking It to the Wealthy donor nations. The latter has always been their Real game.

    It’s hard for decent people to wrap their minds around, I know.

  30. NeoConScum Says:

    Marx’s Labor Theory of Value can be heard dripping sentimentally through various Obama ‘tells’ like,”They didn’t build that”, etc, etc. Poor old Karl…He didn’t have a scientific method to see the critical doofusness of such mimes… Obama, and all today’s Left, have NO such excuse.

    Power outages in Venezuela anyone? Hugo, ohhhh Huuugggooooo…! ObamaFAIRNESScare anyone…?

  31. ErisGuy Says:

    Scientific socialism has almost had its day. Its failure will destroy both science and socialism. For a while.

  32. Ymarsakar Says:

    It’s hard for decent people to wrap their minds around, I know.

    It’s necessary to think offensively, rather than defensively. Just as a victim will always be a victim in mind so long as they think about defending and avoiding the criminal predator, so the same can be said for larger political venues. Without the focus on attack, without turning around the chessboard, without converting defense into offense, people are often rendered unequal to the blitzkrieg of the Left.

    There’s a significant difference between a victim that avoids risk and danger because they don’t want to file the paperwork for killing dozens of predators, vs the victim that feels the need to avoid danger because they lack confidence in their own defense and offense tools.

    The Soviets were primarily offensive in nature, philosophically, like an expanding empire or all conquering religion (Islam). The West is geared more for defense, defending liberty and property. Those two civilization models almost inevitably impact each other, in order to destroy each other and determine which one is better.

  33. Don Says:

    Socialism is not a cure. Socialism doesn’t create functional society. A functional society with particular conditions allows for socialism

    Socialism in fact undermines functional society. The UK’s fabric of functional society has been coming apart as a result of socialism, for example.

    Or for a more obvious answer, consider what socialism did the East Germany.

  34. Don Says:

    Ray,

    I never heard of New Harmony before. Thanks for posting it.

    One thing I note is that socialist utopians have always been free to create their society inside ours; no one will force them to get jobs, or conform to capitalist society. If they could make something work, they would. However, for some reason, they insist on forcing others to be part of their plan. Gee, I wonder why?

  35. Don Says:

    I don’t consider socialism to be a “parasitic system which must live off of a host”, unless you consider the US Military to be a parasite draining the US – which, to be fair, many people do.

    Yet, the US military is not a self sustaining system.

    I view the military not as a socialist system, but as a tool for our defense. If drone tech was sufficiently advanced the military could be replaced by drones, and Americans would not have to risk their lives in war (not saying that would be good, but pointing out the “tool” aspect of the military).

    However, if you want to consider the military as socialism, note well, it is not supporting. And historically armies that were not paid for lived off of rape and plunder, the support for the army was in effect outsourced to the unfortunates who inhabited the region where the army was opperating.

    You can’t count an army as a complete system. It needs someone to feed it, provide it with material, etc. It can’t “succeed” on its own.

  36. Don Says:

    In my post above, read “However, if you want to consider the military as socialism, note well, it is not supporting” as “However, if you want to consider the military as socialism, note well, it is not SELF supporting”.

  37. expat Says:

    Don,
    Speaking of East Germany: I visited Leipzig in the spring after the wall came down. We stayed at a building previously used to house foregn students that was across the street from the Nicolauskirche, where the weekly protests started. We stayed (for a few days) in a 1-room apartment with a kitchenette and a bath. The stopper for the bathtub was attached with a bit of plastic that we use to attach price tags to clothing. The water tank was made of plastic like clorex bottles are made of. It was mounted above the toilet and the chain to flush was also of plastic, which broke about 3 times while we were there. In the old Rathouse basement, the was a restaurant and the guest toilets had water faucets also made of plastic. The whole time I was there, I tried to imagine what it must be like for the skilled handworkers to have to produce such crappy stuff. I mean they had a great tradition of building beautiful and functional things, and that tradition was broken. Beautiful old buildings were allowed to deteriorate and concrete boxes were used to house the slaves. Talk about destroying the human spirit.

  38. Ymarsakar Says:

    Healthy societies have socialism in the same fashion that humans have diseases. You recover from them or else your body works for a time… and then stops.

  39. The Atheist Conservative: » The sweet poisonous idea that will never die Says:

    [...] quotation from the great Austrian School economist von Mises occurs in an article by Jean Kaufman at her website Neo-Neocon. Her article makes the point that Socialism/Communism [...]

  40. RickZ Says:

    Don Says:

    Socialism in fact undermines functional society.

    Socialism has been tried before in this Country, and right at its founding, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, before the word ‘socialism’ even existed. It’s one of those pesky historical facts people are not taught in school.

    Back then, the Colony was set up so that the product of farm labor, food, was divvied up by need. So if you needed a lot of food for a family, but didn’t actually do any work in the fields, you still got your ‘share’. What happened next is human nature writ large. Those who worked hard, but saw those who worked get the literal fruits of their labor, began to slack off. As less labor was put into producing food, the volume of food dropped. The Colony nearly starved to death as people quit working for someone else’s comfort. If it weren’t for the kindness of the Natives giving their food to the starving colonists, the colony would have died or had to be abandoned. Thanksgiving takes on a whole new meaning with that story in mind.

    The rules had to be changed to a more capitalist system, for want of a better description, where one grew one’s own food, that is, one was responsible for themselves and their own families. Food charity was still encouraged, but it was voluntary. As a result, food production increased and the colony was saved.

    Socialism does not work. Period. It runs straight up against human nature.

  41. RickZ Says:

    Edit: “Those who worked hard, but saw those who worked little get the literal fruits of their labor, began to slack off.

  42. Bob From Virginia Says:

    Define “socialism”? There are literally hundreds of definitions. I just filed for early retirement after 6 months unemployment, that aspect of socialism I happen to like.

    and

    Lust is a mortal sin?
    I’m dead meat.

  43. Ymarsakar Says:

    As Rick mentioned, things worked for a time at Plymouth, up until people started dying of starvation. Then it stopped working.

    As such socialism isn’t so much a solution, as it is the Final Solution implemented when one wants to wipe out humanity.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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