The growing appeal of socialism, particularly among the young, is both alarming and exceedingly dangerous.
The experience of socialism as manifested in countries outside the Western nations is generally alien to most Westerners, given their more capitalistic histories. The horror stories of mass starvation and genocide historically perpetrated in the name of socialism are rarely attributed to the nature of socialism itself, but to something otherwise dysfunctional within the particular culture.
Persistent is the false belief that destructive and failed variants of socialism simply weren’t socialism to begin with, and were instead some form of communism or fascism. The failed attempts at implementing socialism just weren’t done properly, argue socialists.
To distance themselves from the unavoidable and systemic evils of socialism, modern socialists have created the anti-concepts of ‘social democrat’ and ‘social democracy.’ If democracy has an Achilles’ heel that will lead to its own destruction, it is these ridiculous notions of ‘social democracy,’ and ‘social Democrats,’ both euphemisms for socialism and socialists. True democracy and socialism are simply incompatible, both in theory (as discovered through philosophy) and in practice (as repeatedly witnessed in history).
The appeal of socialism is driven largely by an anti-capitalistic mentality, and a hallmark of this mentality is to morally equate productive individuals with criminals. The capitalistic earning of one’s wealth is thus equated with greed and theft, while the socialistic expropriation and actual theft of the earned wealth of others is justified on the grounds of altruism and social equity. Wherever the pattern plays out, it is a consistent reality that capitalism creates the wealth, while socialism ‘redistributes’ and then eventually destroys the wealth of a nation – and much more.
Most importantly, it must be understood that socialism is not and never has been about alleviating the conditions of poverty or about helping the poor as is so widely believed. Socialism is about egalitarianism – about an ‘equality of economic outcome’ – and egalitarianism always ends up as an economic race to the bottom. The more socialist a country, the poorer and, yes, more ‘equal’ its citizens. They become as equally oppressed politically as they are in poverty.
Until both socialism and capitalism are understood in a way that’s Just Right, socialism will continue to be idealized, much to the detriment of all.