Here’s a question for a PhD dissertation: How did something so radically anti-social ever get the name, social-ism?
I leave that vexing matter to whoever wants to write it up. Meantime, I can assist the project by offering some of the reasons why socialism is a self-evidently anti-social contrivance. (This might require multiple columns).
First, what is socialism? For a definition, socialists themselves offer numerous moving targets. For example:
It’s happy talk and sharing things even though under socialism there’s less to share and be happy about.
It’s free stuff until the bills come due.
It’s the welfare state, where the politicians get well and the rest of us pay the fare.
It’s bread lines that bring us all together, somehow.
It’s government ownership of the means of production so the economy can hum with the efficiency of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
It’s when workers run the factories that somebody else invested in.
It’s communal utopia where everybody gets an equal portion regardless of effort, until they all starve.
It’s when clueless elites tell the economy what to do.
It’s Scandinavia (which isn’t socialist).
It’s Venezuela, or it was Venezuela until it didn’t work.
Or, it’s just what you get if you don’t have capitalism.
If it seems like socialists don’t really know what it is, that’s only partly true. In most cases, they just don’t want you to know what it really is. The best charlatans are always the clever ones.
Socialism is rightly and widely perceived as diametrically opposed to capitalism. So it can’t possibly be acts of caring, sharing, giving and being compassionate toward the needy. There is demonstrably more caring, sharing, giving, and compassion toward the needy under capitalism!
Even when it comes to foreign aid, capitalist countries are the donors and socialist countries are the recipients. You can’t give it away or share it with anybody if you don’t create it in the first place, and socialism offers utterly no theory of wealth creation, only wealth confiscation and consumption.
Socialists are math-challenged: They’re good at division and subtraction but are unaware of addition or multiplication. If your second-grader tells you that 3 + 2 = 1, you know he’s a future socialist. The economics knowledge of socialists is even more dismal: They think supply and demand means the people demand and the government supplies.
In my recent book, Was Jesus a Socialist? I blew away the smoke bombs to reveal what socialism really is:
It is the concentration of power in the hands of the State, which then deploys legal force for one or more of these purposes (and usually all three to one extent or another): the redistribution of income, government ownership of property, and the central planning of economic life.
Note that socialists do not propose to accomplish their objectives by mutual consent. They do not advocate raising the money for their plans by way of bake sales or charitable solicitations. Your participation is not voluntary. From start to finish, socialism’s defining characteristic is not so much the promises meant to beguile but rather, the method by which it implements its agenda—FORCE. If it’s voluntary, it’s not socialism. It’s that simple.
Now that we know what socialism is, why is it anti-social? Let me count the ways:
- The plans of socialists are more important than yours. Why? Because they say so. Isn’t that reason enough? “The more the State plans,” wrote Austrian economist F. A. Hayek, “the more difficult planning becomes for the individual.” But socialists don’t care about that because what they have in mind is surely more noble than anything us peasants are thinking. (For more on this, see this article).
- Socialists are know-it-alls and know-nothings, simultaneously. This is a remarkable achievement, perhaps socialism’s singular contribution to sociology. Even if a socialist’s own life is a mess, he still knows how to run everybody else’s. Even if he doesn’t believe there’s a God, he thinks the State can be one. Hayek nailed it on this issue as well when he wrote, “The curious task of economics is to convince men of how little they know about what they imagine they can design.” Socialists imagine they can design just about everything but, as I explained in my article “I, Pencil’s” Faith in Freedom“, none of them could make something as simple as a pencil.
- Socialism rejects biological science. No climate-change denier denies that climate exists. But socialists claim that if there’s such a thing as human nature, they can abolish and reinvent it. Humans are individuals, with no two alike in every way, but socialists believe they can homogenize and collectivize us into an obedient blob. It doesn’t bother them to punish individual success and achievement even if the end result is equal impoverishment. They believe that human beings will work harder and smarter for the State than they will for themselves or their families. This is much closer to witchcraft than science.
- Socialists call the cops for everything. Have you ever noticed that the socialist agenda is not a of page of helpful suggestions, or a list of tips for better living? When they’re in charge, you don’t get to say “No, thanks.” Freedom of choice? No, sir! Socialist ideas are so good, the old saying goes, that they have to be mandatory. Deep inside every socialist, even the naïve but well-meaning ones, a totalitarian demon is struggling to get out. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for example, now wants a federal truth commission to censor the media. This is what socialists eventually do with such monotonous regularity that you can absolutely count on it.
Imagine you’re at a cocktail party and in walks an obnoxious party crasher. He dominates the conversation and oozes disdain for differing viewpoints. Get out of line and he threatens to shut you both up and down. He tells each person what he should drink and takes away everything else. He bores the room with his arrogance. Everything he says is a mere pretense to knowledge that he neither knows nor cares to know. He denounces you for your ambitions and demands that you comply with his. Decline his advances and he’ll call the cops on you. He’s a windbag with a ball bat.
Would you say that guy was anti-social? Of course, you would. He’s about as anti-social as it gets.
And for all the same reasons, so is socialism.