What is Socialism?

It’s time for a “what is socialism” page here at Dispatches. Can you believe that we have to teach people this? Talk about a failure in the information war on the part of Republicans, conservatives, and yes, Christians too. I’m going to be adding links to articles as I find them, so ignore the initial date of this posting.

First up, a video from Prager University, followed by a links to several informative articles:


Government and Economics Made Dead Simple
There are only two types of governments. Two. That’s it. There are those where the people control the government and those where the government controls the people. Socialism does more than deny you material things; it sucks the soul out of a society. Socialist countries are sad, dreary places.

What Americans Must Know About Socialism
Socialism is no longer a parlor game for academics but a political alternative taken seriously by millennials.

Nazis and Socialism
There are profound differences among the various versions of socialism. From the perspective of economic policy, though, there’s a common link. All strains of socialism reject free enterprise. They want to replace capitalism with some sort of regime based on government planning and coercion. This observation gets some people rather upset.

What Is Socialism?
Since a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination has endorsed it, since most of his opponents have refused to denounce it, and since a majority of young people appear to approve of it, now is a good time to ask: what exactly is socialism?

Socialism’s Unbroken Trail of Failure
Evidence that socialism is doomed to fail wherever it is tried occurred long before America became a nation.

History Has Shown That Socialism Isn’t the Cure
Sometimes the naive and disaffected must relearn that their pie-in-the sky socialist medicine is far worse than the perceived malady of inequality.

Socialism, for Lack of a Better Word, Sucks
Socialism is a system of government in which the means of production and the raw materials are controlled by the government. Think of your least-favorite government office — is it the Post Office? Or maybe the DMV? Then imagine every business in our nation, from Starbucks to Procter & Gamble to car manufacturers, being run the same way.

The kindness of socialism

In practice, socialism has always led to ubiquitous poverty. The wealthy class are devastated, but not to spread the wealth evenly. The wealth that is stolen from the wealthy ends up in the hands of a new class of overlords of society, those who had promised that all would be equal after the victory of the revolution over the unjust wealthy classes.

They disarm the population. They prohibit criticism of the government. They intimidate, persecute, jail, torture, and execute dissidents and the opposition. They do all they can to control communications, associations, movement, employment, food, electrical power, and whatever else they might control.

But since they are so corrupt, inept, and stupid, while they are robbing their compatriots blind, they allow infrastructure, industry, and the economy, all of which they have taken over, to crumble, leaving the population to sink out of prosperity into a mean daily existence centered around finding a morsel of food. That is the essence of the kindness of socialists.

Why Not Socialism?
Why not socialism? Because it is based on no factual reality and contradicts many things which we know to be scientifically true. You wouldn’t give your sick child medicine based on this kind of thinking. You wouldn’t get on an airplane built with this kind of thinking. And we shouldn’t put the future of this country and the future of the planet at risk with this type of fantasy-based thinking either.

Socialism Destroys the Human Character
If you see it up close, it’s no utopia.

3 of the Most Telling Failures of Socialism
One, socialism has never succeeded anywhere. Two, Marx has been wrong about nearly everything he predicted. Three, socialism denies the existence of an essential human trait—human nature.

The Ideological Roots of Modern Socialists
More often than not, socialism is associated with Marxism. But this is a misconception, as Marxism is an ideology of communism, an extreme and exceptional current of socialism. Marxism left a significant ideological imprint in socialist doctrines; nevertheless, it did not constitute a mass movement of the Left.

France Is the Socialist Future America Must Avoid
Socialism exists on a spectrum. On one side you have the dictatorships, while on the other side you have the social democracies. Both sides of the spectrum use oppression and compulsory taxation to achieve their goals. But the degree to which they do so varies a great deal. All varieties of socialism fail to achieve their goals for the same reason: all varieties attempt, to one degree or another, to substitute the decisions of government planners for those of private citizens interacting in competitive markets.

What a Socialist Really Wants
Socialism and communism are often presented as scientifically derived theories about economics and politics. That’s the pretentious academic surface. In day-to-day practical terms, however, our left-wing visionaries try to answer this question: who should run the world? Inevitable answer: They should. Socialists are passionately concerned with making sure the right people have the power — that is, themselves.

A Vote for Socialism Is A Vote For State-Run Slavery
Socialism begins as a form of serfdom, tying people to the government just as medieval landlords tied their serfs to the land.

The Opportunity Costs of Socialism
Coincident with the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth, socialism is making a comeback in American political discourse. Detailed policy proposals from self-declared socialists are gaining support in Congress and among much of the electorate.

Socialism is Not Built on Compassion. It’s Built on Dehumanizing Others
How is it possible to insist that the next socialist regime will be different?

Capitalism vs. Socialism
Several recent polls, plus the popularity of Sen. Bernie Sanders, demonstrate that young people prefer socialism to free market capitalism. That, I believe, is a result of their ignorance and indoctrination during their school years, from kindergarten through college. For the most part, neither they nor many of their teachers and professors know what free market capitalism is.

3 Myths of Socialism Debunked by Venezuela’s Nightmare
These myths about the “greatness” of socialism just won’t die, even after tens of millions of people have because of it.

How Believing in Socialism Can Make You Miserable by Brittany Hunter and Dan Sanchez
A philosophy of resentment only holds people back.

Millennials Get It Wrong about Socialism by Benjamin Powell
Most Millennials have a positive view of socialism and communism, but they don’t have all the facts.

Socialism Shouldn’t Be Let Off the Hook for Nightmares Like North Korea by Kristian Niemietz
North Korea isn’t a straw man example, and socialists need to account for it.

Millennials Are in a Love Triangle with Capitalism and Socialism by Andrew J. Taylor
There’s a disconnect between Millennial economic attitudes and behavior.

Your Socialism Is Bad and You Should Feel Bad by Dan Mitchell
I’m tempted to say that statism is sort of like a cult. Proponents of socialism and other big-government ideologies have a dogmatic zeal that blinds them to reality.

Laughing at Socialism, Both in Theory and Practice by Dan Mitchell
I’m tempted to say that statism is sort of like a cult. Proponents of socialism and other big-government ideologies have a dogmatic zeal that blinds them to reality.

Socialism Attacks the Family, Just as Its Inventors Intended by Paul G. Kengor
Last year, “socialism” was the most looked-up word at Merriam-Webster.com. That is hardly a surprise. It clearly reflects growing interest, especially with the remarkable surge of lifetime socialist Bernie Sanders, who won a pile of states in pursuing the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Socialism: Where Young Futures Go to Die by Tom Rogan
Socialism is a sad irony. Socialist leaders promise liberation for the poor, but embrace kleptocracy in power. They claim to empower equality, but end up fostering impoverishment. They speak of a shared utopia, but serve a history of common suffering. Still, a particularly pernicious characteristic of socialism is its disregard for the young.

The Alluring Falsehood of Socialism by Max Forrester Eastman
We are still beguiled by this other fairy tale: that a group of liberal-minded reformers can take charge of the economy and approximate a free and equal society.

A Strong Delusion by Glenn Fairman
Because it is ideologically ill-disposed to understand the motives that inform human nature, socialism’s grasp of the human sciences is mortally flawed. Thus, politics, culture, history, and economics are viewed through a warped prism that distorts the full depth of reality. But even though it is an audaciously evangelical worldview that seeks to mold and explain the totality of the entire human condition using solely materialist terms, the socialist model is surprisingly resilient to critique. To be sure, to the Left it has attained the quality of a secular faith, and the altruistic moral philosophy undergirding the science of the collective is deemed untouchable.

‘Socialism of the 21st Century’ Collapses in Brazil. Here’s Why It Failed. By James M. Roberts

Six Conundrums of Socialism — from Front Page Mag

Socialism Makes People Selfish — a video from Prager University

What’s the Problem with Socialism? by Christopher N. Malagisi

5 Ideas at the Heart of Socialism by Lawrence W. Reed
The outcome of the struggle between freedom and serfdom depends entirely on what percolates in the hearts and minds of men. The jury is still deliberating.

Socialism: Force or Fantasy? by Lawrence W. Reed
Socialism is an endlessly moving target.

Millennials Reject Capitalism in Name – but Socialism in Fact by B.K. Marcus
Terminology confuses real preferences.

The Moral Case for Competitive Capitalism, Revisited by Donald Billings and Lawrence W. Reed
Capitalism is ethically superior, too.

3 Reasons We Must Remember Communist Crimes by Ilya Somin
Although communist governments murdered and repressed even more people than the Nazis, their crimes have gotten only a tiny fraction of the public awareness and recognition extend to the latter.

It Didn’t Start With Marx by Edward Cline
An extraordinary book came my way, one which alters to some degree my own focus on the current conflict between socialism and conservatism, between secular political collectivism and religious political collectivism in America. This is George Watson’s The Lost Literature of Socialism, originally published in 1998 and reissued in 2001.

America’s Socialist Origins — a video from Prager University

Venezuela Doesn’t Have Enough Money to Pay for Its Money by Katie Gregerson
Venezuela is the socialist object lesson of our generation.

Capitalism Protects Your Freedom to Dissent; Socialism Requires Political Conformity by Milton Friedman
The great advantage of the market is that it permits wide diversity. It is, in political terms, a system of proportional representation. Each man can vote, as it were, for the color of a tie he wants and get it; he does not have to see what color the majority wants and then, if he is in the minority, submit.

Socialist Economies Impoverish People: Basic Economics Explains Why by Thomas Sowell
Prices play a crucial role in determining how much of each resource gets used where. Yet this role is seldom understood by the public and it is often disregarded entirely by politicians.

Capitalism Rules, Socialism Drools by Daniel Mitchell
I don’t care whether it’s called socialism, fascism, or communism, statism is evil and destructive. And going partway down that path with “democratic socialism” may avoid brutality, but the end result is still economic misery. Real-world evidence is the most persuasive.

Yes, Mr. President: Capitalism Is Better by E. Jeffrey Ludwig
We can readily see that our country’s strength has been diluted by too much socialism. We must tame the culture of bureaucracy; of huge governmental programs; of over-regulation; of excessive taxation; of “give me, give me”; and of impossible debt used to fund our so-called mixed economy.

Just Say It: The Problem is Socialism by Erik Rush
The speed with which socialism can take an economy or government from viability to ruin is nothing short of astounding.

Economic Literacy Can Counter Socialism by Patrick Tyrrell
Economics is one field of study that, for the most part, has not been driven off the railroad tracks by politically correct leftists steering college coursework toward progressive ends.

Hoisting Socialists on Their Own Petard by Daniel Mitchell
Modern socialists may not have the totalitarian impulses of their national socialist and international socialist cousins, but their underlying philosophy is based on a near-criminal ignorance of economics and human nature.

The Ideal of Perfection in Faith and Politics by David Solway
The socialist ideal of human perfectibility has failed everywhere it has been tried, and is currently failing wherever we look.

Socialism Has Failed Spectacularly, But the Young Fans of Sanders Never Got That History Lesson
By Thomas Sowell

Socialism’s Bloody History Shows Millennials Should Think Twice Before Supporting It by Stella Morabito
Socialism demands that we place blind trust in whoever takes the power to distribute society’s goods and services. History shows those who have this power abuse it in horrific ways.

Socialism: Evil and Stupid by Daniel Mitchell
Notwithstanding the horrible track record of every version of socialism, we actually have a presidential candidate in America who actually calls himself a socialist.

Kasparov Schools Sanders Supporters About Socialism vs. Capitalism by Garry Kasparov
Kasparov is a Russian pro-democracy activist and former world chess champion.

Is Socialism Making a Comeback? by Michael Tanner
Despite Bernie Sanders’s best efforts, socialism is still as bad an idea as it ever was.

Bernie-DelegatesWhy Socialism failed by Mark J. Perry
Collectivism is based on faulty principles.

Socialism, Sanders and (In)Sanity by Bill Muehlenberg
Bernie Sanders is scary in the extreme – as is socialism. Here is what you need to know about both.

Why So Many Millennials Are Socialists by Emily Ekins and Joy Pullmann
Septuagenarian presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been capitalizing on young people’s lack of knowledge and life experience to sell them a bill of rotten goods.

Bad News: Millennials, America’s Largest Generation, Prefer Socialism Over Capitalism by Katie Pavlich

Ludwig Von Mises on Socialism — A four-part series from Capitalism Magazine

Socialism: Progress in Reverse by Dr. Michael Hurd

So What’s Wrong with Socialism Anyway? by James Arlandson

Socialism: An Ideology of Death and Destruction by Richard M. Eberling

‘All socialism produces are mounds of corpses in mass graves’ by John C. Wright

Socialism Spreading Among Young Adults by Dave Jolly

Educating Millennials on Socialism vs. Capitalism  &  Socialism Was Both an Economic and a Moral Tragedy  A few excerpts from a few more writers.

Capitalism Is Freedom; Socialism Is Slavery by John Hawkins

Everything You Need To Know About Socialism in 20 Quotes by John Hawkins

Socialism Punk’d You, Millennials by Katie Kieffer

The death of Socialism by Roger Kimball

Oh, and there are more articles starting here