People don’t want to be owned by their government
When Ms. Thorgeison states “I am a socialist. I believe I have a social conscience too…”, she succinctly demonstrates, above all others these past weeks, a recognition of the difference between these two ideas; a premise put forth in my April 8 letter. She also recognizes that conscience does not depend on a political stance; one need not be a socialist to have a social conscience. It has taken a long time for us to get to this point, but Ms. Thorgeison sums it up in a couple sentences. Some other writers should take note.
As I stated, and provided examples of in my April 14 letter, there are several variations of socialism, but the core definition is the theory which advocates that labour and the means of production are controlled or owned by the state collective, the governmental socialist body. The fact that there are different flavours of socialism does not negate the fact that its core ideology is mired deep in Marxist communist theory. An ideology that advocates for central control, and as Frederick Hayek, best known for his defence of classical liberalism famously observed; “socialist central planning puts countries on the road to serfdom”.
Some would have us believe that the “free market system” is unbridled capitalism. It is not. There again we have two different things. In a free market system, the price for goods and services are self-regulated by consumers and the open market. It relies on the idea that supply and demand can reach their natural point of equilibrium without governmental intervention. This is where U.S. Republican Abraham Lincoln’s famous phrase, “government of the people, by the people, for the people” can be applied. The “free market system” does not take over, nor does it desire to take over government oversight; (that is socialism’s territory!). By contrast, in the capitalist market system, a concentration of capital can skew the supply side of the free market model but is offset by instituted regulatory bodies.
Historical examples of how socialism has failed are many, but a recent example is Venezuela’s current plunge from the world stage. At one time a thriving democracy, Venezuela became burdened by abuse and mismanagement under the central control of its socialist leaders. After taking over the media, corrupting the rule of law, confiscating personal property including foreign assets, depleting economic reserves, and nationalizing the private-enterprise economy, it was still not enough to realize utopia. Sounding familiar yet? Even after the decline in the oil market, instead of reigning in government, democratic socialist, Hugo Chaves continued to spend on populist programs, romanticizing his people while immiserating them. After his death, Nicolas Maduro, continued the status quo, then “ruled by decree”, disintegrating the country further under crushing debt and poverty. Faced with food shortages and stripped of property, Venezuelan citizens fled their own homeland. Under those regimes Venezuela’s GDP fell from $334 billion in 2011 to a shocking low of $70 billion in 2019.
Socialism’s reputation of central control demonstrated by nationalizing private enterprise, confiscating personal property, and reducing its citizens to a general collectivism, along with forcibly saddling them and their progeny with debt, is NOT reasonable governance. It goes against human nature for hard working self-sufficient, self-reliant people to agree to be controlled in this way. People just do not want to be owned by their government.