Socialism Has Never Worked and Can’t

SocialismThumbby Michael Greer   8/14/14
We often hear that “the only reason socialism has never worked” is that the “wrong people” were “in charge.” I always wonder what angels the leftists think don’t have donors or special interest groups they are beholden to. Donors and special interest groups tend to want laws bent to their desires. Where would those Angels come from?

Socialism doesn’t, and cannot, work — not because the wrong people have been in charge, but because it goes against human nature. Human nature doesn’t ever change. There have always been good people and evil people, generous people and greedy people, industrious people and lazy-asses….. And there always will be.

Man was not designed for mediocrity. Man was designed to compete, to question, to explore, to innovate, and to bond with others. Man was designed to form close ties with family, friends, community, and country. Our bodies produce chemicals that reward us for those things ~ and socialism goes against every last one of them.[pullquote]Man was not designed for mediocrity. Man was designed to compete, to question, to explore, to innovate, and to bond with others.[/pullquote]

When we win, we produce dopamine, which is an immediate and short-lasting high. The lack of dopamine leads people to substance abuse, as they attempt to artificially reproduce the feeling of winning and accomplishment.

Serotonin is a long-lasting chemical that creates feelings of well-being. It is produced by accomplishment, charity, and faith. Oxytocin is another long-lasting feel-good chemical, produced during social contact, such as bonding with friends and family, and having trust in people we respect. Charitable acts reward the giver as much as the receiver. These two chemicals are necessary for our emotional well-being and social stability.

Endorphins are another feel-good chemical. Most of us know that exercise releases endorphins, but did you know that so does laughter, music, and sex? This chemical, like dopamine, has only a brief effect.

These chemicals are the reason social justice programs like “everybody gets a trophy” and not keeping scores in sports are so wrong-headed. Self-esteem comes from accomplishment and our chemical reaction to it, not from a trophy we didn’t earn. Kids know they didn’t earn that trophy. They don’t get a shot of dopamine for “participating”, they get it from winning. They know who can run faster, throw a ball better, or jump higher. Childhood is when we learn to be good losers and gracious winners. It’s when we learn to not give up. If you lose, you figure out why you lost, and then you work to overcome those shortcomings. It’s an exercise in character-building. When all that work finally pays off, your body rewards you with happy feelings.

Our schools, obsessed with “diversity” and “fairness training”, are also trying to break the bonds necessary to the human condition. My grandsons’ school told the kids they weren’t allowed to have best friends or to play with the same kids every recess. I can’t even fathom the rationale behind such insanity. Bonding with family and friends is probably the single most important factor to a sense of well-being!

We all need to feel we “belong”. Gang members will tell you they joined the gang because it gave them a feeling of belonging.

A perfect example of socialism not working are public sector unions. Public employees cannot be fired, and their pay is determined by seniority rather than merit. They quickly realize that, since they won’t be rewarded for working harder, they need hardly work at all. When you can’t get fired, and you get paid no matter how terrible your work, there is no motivation for performance standards. Your co-workers will only resent you if you demonstrate that the job can be done faster or more efficiently. And, since you aren’t being rewarded for winning, you don’t create anything new or accomplish any goals, and your body never gets the chance to produce those all-important chemicals that give you a sense of satisfaction. We only value what we earn. Whatever is given to us that we didn’t earn, has no value. That’s why most people who win the lottery spend the money before the ink is dry on the check.

All people are unique. We like different things, have different talents, pursue different goals and dreams. We should celebrate these differences. Socialism assumes we all want the same thing. We don’t. The goal of socialism is for us all to have the same standard of living: a job, a place to live, a college education, food. The only way that is possible is if that standard of living is abject poverty. See Cuba, China, North Korea, and the former Soviet Union for real-life examples.

If man merely exists, if he does not push his limits, challenge himself, explore, or grow, his body doesn’t ever get to produce the chemicals that give him a sense of joy. And if those chemicals aren’t produced from accomplishments, acts of charity, and bonds of family, friends and community, people seek them from other sources. That’s why alcoholism and substance abuse are so common in socialist and communist countries like Russia and Sweden.

Socialism can never work, because humans are designed for higher expectations, not lower.


Michael Greer blogs at Madderthanhell’s Blog. • (1795 views)

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5 Responses to Socialism Has Never Worked and Can’t

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    “Capitalism is the unequal distribution of plenty. Socialism is the equal distribution of poverty.” So (more or less) opined Winston Churchill, and no genuinely socialist country has ever proven otherwise. (When people call the Fascist Messiah a socialist, liberals like Bob Beckel insist on using the traditional meaning of government ownership of the means of production, which means that Sweden isn’t actually a true socialist country.) I did like that Madisonian beginning, and certainly refuting socialism on the basis of biochemistry is distinctly original.

    I would also recommend Kevin D. Williamson’s Political Incorrect Guide to Socialism as an excellent summation of both the general case against socialism and several specific examples (including why Sweden was able to make it work for a while).

  2. Jerry Richardson says:

    There have been numerous articles written about the failed socialism experiment at the Jamestown settlement. When they tried to work all the crops together they starved. When they finally went to a private-property system they lived.

    Amazing, what a concept: Capitalism.

    We have, right in American history, a failed experiment that proved conclusively that socialism doesn’t work. And what do we have now, a history-avoiding idealogue in the White House who is lazy-at-work repeating a failed experiment.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Rush Limbaugh tells the similar story of the Plymouth colony (which failed in an attempt at collective ownership of the fruits of their labor, then succeeded by going back to individual ownership) every Thanksgiving.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    One of the problems of socialism is that it is very much inline with man’s nature. Man will try to get something for nothing if he can. Socialism ignites and rewards the moocher aspect while punishing the productive aspect. This is likely the main reason socialism is inherently degenerative, and not just because the Masters at the top never have the perfect plan.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Useful idiots (including Bogie at one time) are a huge aspect of the drive to socialism. With the passing of Lauren Bacall, Paul Kengor delves into the story of Bogie and Bacall becoming useful idiots for the Communists (and Bacall never stopped being one): When Bogie and Bacall Were Duped by Hollywood Communists.

    Liberals, by and large, are more emotional and don’t apply much, if any, critical thinking. They are often quite willing dupes for the Left because they have taken on a form of “liberalism” which simply means “Anyone who dares uphold any societal standards on behavior is a dire threat to our entire civilization.” Whether this impulse stems from a true desire to maintain liberty (doubtful), is based upon a warped hobgoblin view of right and left (almost certainly), and/or is the outlook of grown children who chafe at any restraints (certainly true of today’s “liberals” and libertarians), it is a blind impulse.

    This is dime-store liberalism (as most of it always has been, if you ask me) which hyperventilates at the push of the button and only later acknowledges (if it ever does, as Bogie at least did) the wreckage of their naiveté.

    Socialism and liberalism is a swank club of those who consider themselves the elite. And once you consider yourself among the elite, you never do see that transition from what we call “classical liberalism” to outright Communism. As long as the Communists (call them “Progressives” now) speak in the language of classical liberalism, this outer shell (suitably matching the superficial personalities who succumb to it) is enough to fool many. Such people are more concerned with the outer look of things (think of the idiot, David Brooks’, comment about Obama’s neat pants crease as a sign of his qualification to lead the free world) than the reality of things.

    Socialism is a fashion for those who don’t have to care if their beliefs ruin entire nations or kill millions. At least Bogie fessed up. I don’t think his wife, rest in peace, ever learned her lesson. She was apparently a big Obama supporter until the end.

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