Socialism Was Both an Economic and a Moral Tragedy

Consider this interesting report that was posted this past Saturday by the Heritage Foundation’s Alex Adrianson:

Socialism Was Both an Economic and a Moral Tragedy

A new study finds that socialism was hazardous to people’s moral health. Zenon Evans reports:

“The longer individuals were exposed to socialism, the more likely they were to cheat on our task,” according to a new study, “The (True) Legacy of Two Really Existing Economic Systems,” from Duke University and the University of Munich. The team of researchers concluded this after working with 259 participants from Berlin who grew up on opposite sides of the infamous wall.

When playing a dice game that could earn them €6 ($8), subjects originally from the East, which was for four decades under socialist rule, were more likely than their market economy counterparts in West to lie about how they fared.

The game required participants to roll a die after choosing the top or the bottom side and then recording the result. And then doing it again 39 more times. The participants were not required to say whether they had chosen the top or the bottom before writing down the result. The higher the tally, the bigger the payout. Systems of scarcity, the study authors theorized, “pressured or forced people to work around official laws.” [Reason, July 22]

It’s not hard to see how socialism might degrade people’s morals if you can imagine an economy in which everything is run like a Veterans’ Hospital.

As almost everyone knows there is a theory afoot in some libertarian and “conservative” circles that Republicans can win if they’ll surrender on the social issues, and then that victory will usher in a glorious era where the nation returns to limited government.

Of course that theory is riddled with problems, such as — can the GOP win majorities when they abandon their base? It’s easy to find political veterans who believe that’s not impossible — here are just two: Matt Barber and Steve Deace. Jeffrey Bell’s book The Case for Polarized Politics: Why America Needs Social Conservatism in fact makes the case that the Republican Party must not abandon social conservatism if it expects to win. In his review of the book, Herbert London had this to say:

Social conservatives remain a key constituency in the Republican Party; socially conservative principles continue to come to the fore in public debate; and social issues have helped Republicans more than hurt them at the polls.

The book’s thesis—that Republicans who embrace social conservatism can win, and that social conservatism is in keeping with American tradition—is a useful one in this political season. Bell holds that the narrative of the nation is tied inextricably to religious influences. To deny these influences comes with a hefty political price; to embrace them requires courage, but in the end, they foster respect for the national purpose. As Bell sees it, America needs social conservatives, even if their presence leads to polarization.

That said, let’s go ahead and suspend disbelief for a minute and pretend we’re in a world/in a land/in a time where forfeiting the social issues is a winning formula. Okay, then what? If socialism has a negative impact on the morality of people as the above reports suggests, what will be the impact on the character of the nation if both parties embrace Cultural Marxism?

Will the same people who devalue life through abortion, who seek to destroy religious liberty, who further undermine marriage through its redefinition, and who can’t even understand that no one can change their biological gender, will these people have the character and ability let alone the desire to limit government? I think the answer is that there is not a chance.

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