Socialism is Failure IV: On True Believers and Moderates
The modern leftist’s essentially socialist worldview leads the true believer to exhibit two glaring flaws in his thinking: the inability to see historical patterns or to grasp the underlying principles in play unless garbed in the sophistry of political correctness. Thus to the ideology’s adherents, every new “experiment” in socialism could possibly work, progress is associated with the inevitable trend away from individual rights towards statism, and a peaceful and harmonious world is one without opposition to socialism.
Admittedly, not everyone influenced by socialist ideology is a true believer. There are many self-styled intellectuals who equate sober analysis with the inability to take a position on any matter or to take sides in a political struggle. Rationality, in the eyes of these finger-wagging moralizers, is the refusal to dogmatically adhere to any one ideology, and tolerance for a diversity of ideas is the hallmark of a civilized person in a free society.
Whether such a scold is more than the historical residue of a transitional stage from a mixed economy, meaning part capitalism and part socialism, always trending more toward the latter, towards an authoritarian centrally planned economy is a bit of a question.
So regardless of if we are talking about the socialist ideologue or the faux-sophisticated moderate who is willing to accept the supposed proscriptions of socialism to balance out the inherent extremes of cold, individualistic capitalism, it is crucial to show that socialism itself is not a balancer of anything; rather, socialism is an intrinsically unstable system that is more a check on civilizational progress than a path towards progress itself. Socialism is nothing more than a critique of capitalism; and indeed, it is theoretically and materially parasitical upon it.
And indeed, the desire to slow or halt technological progress may be the underlying emotional impetus for many to seek refuge in socialism, whether in its liberal, “progressive,” utopian, or environmentalist modes. The traumas of the modern world, the catastrophic wars and numerous natural and manmade disasters, made all too immediate by mass media technology have led to great fear, inspiring many intelligent and sensitive people to seek understanding in the halls of academia. Those who have become our elites now believe it is necessary to reject the dangerous messiness of the liberal democratic state, and to take all power into their hands to micro-manage a stable and safe political order.
Inevitably, the contrived order the elites have come up with involves wealth redistribution, a socialistic measure that supposedly salves humanity’s lynchpin grievance of material deprivation. Such policies have been pursued in concert with the continual reinforcement in the culture of collectivist messages, which attend to the inner craving to return to a more close-knit life among a sharing and caring community, a primitive instinct that leads too often to infantalization and the desire to be cared for by the state. The perception of social entropy feeds the conditioned person’s longing for security, material and existential, which can only be sated by the worship and empowerment of the state, the imagined omnipotent proxy for the deposed god.
With such a state of mind there is a tendency towards blanket denial that the past has any bearing on the present, and that the state itself, when magnified beyond the most limited of bounds, should be considered a threat. There is a constant tendency for both the true believer and the self-styled moderate to throw out the nightmarish socialist regimes of the twentieth century as outliers, and to point to the actually crumbling, deeply indebted, socially rifted, demographically declining, national security free-riding European social welfare states as models for the future. Otherwise, true believers simply deny that nominal socialist or communist regimes were what they said they were, thus taking all theorizing about the causes of socialism’s failures off the table. Both types of mentalities extrude the past from relevance, either in specific regard to socialist regimes, or by taking for granted capitalism’s contributions to progress in the modern era.
Contrary to the claims of true believers and moderates, the history of socialism is one of unmitigated failure. On some level, all people understand this. That is why leftists commonly try to disavow their socialist heritage in public, while overtly acknowledging it with such coined terms as “neomarxism” among their compatriots. Publicly, socialists have commandeered the term “liberal” to signal to others their left-leaning tendencies, and after that got flushed out, they switched to “progressive.” But such gradations of affinity for socialism will not deter us from the point: socialism in any form or in any potency, when adopted by any political community, is a recipe for failure.