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Saturday Politics Thread: Opposition? What Opposition? [Y-not] | Main | College Football [Y-not filling in for Dave in Texas]
December 13, 2014

Fundamental Concepts - The Enduring Appeal of Socialism: Blame the Family [Weirddave]

One of the things that puzzles many conservatives is the appeal of socialism. Just what is it about this poisonous concept that appeals to so many people? It's never worked anywhere it's been tried. In the past century, mankind has experimented with national socialism, international socialism, socialism as a cult of personality and every other variation you can think of. They have all failed. All of them.

"But Western Europe! But Scandinavia!" cry the socialist apologists. Failed. The "successful" democratic socialist regimes in Europe only "succeed" because we were paying their freight, through subsidies, grants, loans or outright gifts, not to mention the big one: they outsourced their defense to us. None of them could afford their lavish cradle to grave entitlement state if they had to pay for their own defense. If we hadn't defended them, and they had chosen to forgo defense to fund their entitlements, they would have become a different type of socialist state in short order: Soviet.


Even letting that aside there's not much that I would call a success in Western Europe. Their societies are all suffering cancer of the culture. Birthrates are below replacement levels, third world immigrants with worldviews inimical to freedom are flooding their countries with no end in sight, and the native people can't even be arsed to defend what they claim to believe in (for more on this see Steyn, Mark; anything he's written, basically).

So why, given its abject real world failure, does socialism remain a compelling vision to so many people?

The answer has two parts. First is the nature of mankind. Humans are tribal animals. Socialism is a top down model, and tribes are almost always run in a top down manner. Humans respond to this on an instinctive level. Ordered liberty, free market capitalism, rule of law and other bottom up organizational methods are the aberration in human history. Humans are not wired to respond to these concepts the way they respond to a hierarchy. It's better for them, but it isn't instinctive. Think about it like throwing a ball. Humans naturally throw "like a girl". Give a kid who has never held a ball a ball and tell him to throw it, and that's how he'll do it. We have to be shown how to throw properly. Once we learn how, man, we can throw so much better and further and more accurately, but it's not instinctive. So humans are hard wired to identify with one of the basic tenants of socialism.

Second, there is one structure that is inherently socialistic, one that is familiar to and revered by almost everyone, and one that works quite well. That structure is the family. Families are little groups of people functioning on the socialist model. There is a central authority (mom, dad) that sets the rules and makes sure that the resources of the family are distributed "fairly" (let your sister have the last piece of chicken!) for the benefit of all (survival of all its members). That is the basic unit of human organization, and it's completely socialistic. Whether they realize it consciously or not, most people are predisposed to think favorably of socialism because that's the model that defined their world as they grew to self awareness.

The problem is that what works for four people likely won't for forty and damn sure won't for four hundred. Families are bonded by love and dedication to each other, forces that are much weaker in a tribe and non-existent in a nation. Socialism can only work within groups that have that level of bond to each other.

However, because of theses two facts, socialism feels "natural" to most human beings until they take the time to reason it out. Most people don't bother to do that, so when a Socialist happens along spouting their Utopian garbage, it resonates with people on an instinctive level, and the cycle starts over again. Socialism inevitably fails, but damnit, it "feels" like it SHOULD work.

And that's why it is so bloody hard to defeat socialism.

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posted by Open Blogger at 11:00 AM

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