The Illusion of Socialism

by James R. Watkins

Most young people have been taught that socialism is a good thing because it provides for the equitable distribution of resources, basically a “no child left behind” philosophy where the impoverished have their needs met and everyone has equal access to services that are now seen as a “human right.”

Socialism appeals to the fairness tendency we each believe is a good thing. People, by nature, like things to be fair and this is why socialism has its greatest appeal. Even Marx, when developing his socialist ideas, was moved to do so by his desire of fairness for all, hence, the equality of everyone is the key to a perfect socialist society, he thought. Marx saw that, in a free market and capitalist society, less people enjoyed privilege because more people were “oppressed,” by the elite class of capitalists. 

What Marx saw was the rich were rich at the expense of the poor (which is what many people today also falsely believe).

But there are certain fundamentals to socialism that are guaranteed to occur because of overriding human characteristics that people tend to ignore, which will always result in the failure of socialism:

1. Human nature. The majority of people will always work less if they still get the same benefits. For example, if a person gets a government check for $1,000 every month for doing nothing, there is no incentive to work if he risks losing the free money.

2. Talent and ingenuity are not evenly distributed. The average person will produce average results. In a socialist system, everyone is by law, made to be average (we saw this as the key reason the Soviet Union collapsed. The country lost the initiative to outperform because their lives didn’t improve – everything went to the State). Complacency replaces inventiveness when there is no upward mobility. People respond better to rewards.

3. Power corrupts. People in power will always preserve power as they become corrupted by the benefits of power (as in, “I have to take care of society, so I deserve to have extra comforts”), hence socialism always produces an elite class (which simply replaces the rich elitist class).

So for those young people who believe socialism is better than capitalism, let me spell it out for you:

If you get “free” higher education – you’ll have more students with less teachers, a less able workforce; teachers pay will be reduced and/or diminished standards of higher learning will be the result – and a larger class of mediocrity being produced. We will have less qualified students graduating to fill jobs that require much higher skill-sets, as we are seeing now in America (because of the amount of “free college” that is already available).

Same with “free” healthcare. Universally free health care is an illusion, especially in a society where people make extremely poor lifestyle and nutritional choices. The quality of healthcare being provided will diminish in proportion to the number of people accessing it. Add to this that if the financial incentive is less for people wanting to be doctors and nurses, there will be less doctors to aid the increasing number of poor people suffering from health issues. We saw this when Obamacare was first being rolled out, and are seeing it now with longer wait times for people wanting to see their doctors.

Guaranteed affordable housing. Government-enforced rent controls will destroy the value of private property and make it harder for people to move from one place to another. Ask someone what Section 8 housing looks like, and then think of the U.S. as becoming national landlord where they decide your quality of living depending on what you produce and the value of your production. Not to mention the fact that people who own homes could potentially lose their homes if the government decides it is in the “public interest” for your home to belong to someone else. Government should never control or distribute private property. This step is a fast track to becoming China.

For some, Socialism means more government enforcement of Gender and Racial anti-discrimination legislation (i.e., social justice), which means less freedom of speech (or debate), more police-state regulation of social media, more government controls on media outlets to insure compliance (including compliance-enforcement of film, music and other forms of entertainment industries – including news outlets). It is now against the law in California for a teacher to address a male student as male IF the student “identifies” as a female.

Imagine if the government forced employers to hire “the right of amount” of gay men, trans African Americans women, or people of a particular religious persuasion? It might seem “fair,” but if you are a business owner, do you really want this extra compliance hanging over your shoulders just because a few employers might be racist or homophobic? Do we really want this mouch government looking over our shoulders because of a few bad apples (think about the TSA and how much time we waste every time we travel because of something that happened almost 20 years ago because of a group of 19 religious zealots?)

And such enforcement doesn’t stop there.

Such socialist government compliance mechanisms also exert control over religious organization (like forcing churches to have same sex bathrooms or risk being stripped of their tax -exempt status), ostensibly forcing churches to close if they refuse to comply with social regulations on religious grounds. Many LGBTQ activists endorse the idea that governments should force a church to close if they teach that being gay is a sin. In New Jersey, it is against the law for a therapist to discuss a patient’s homosexual tendencies – even if the patient wants doesn’t want to be gay. The government, in the name of social justice, now has its tendrils everywhere!

At the present time, and as an illustration, public schools are now being asked to remove bible from libraries because the bible, according to come, contain “hate speech.” This is socialism because it asserts that no group can have privilege unless all groups have exactly the same privilege. It’s why high schools now don’t have Father’s dance, or homecoming queen and king ceremonies, or even allow kids to celebrate Halloween, or Christmas, and now, Thanksgiving is on the chopping block because of the feelings of the indigenous, who were “massacred” by the Pilgrims.

Socialism disguised as social justice.


Let’s turn the tables for a moment.

What if promiscuity someday becomes a health concern, (as it was during the 80s AIDS epidemic). What might the government decide to enforce to restrict promiscuous behavior (using a health epidemic as the reason)? Could they shut down gay dating sites? How might the government institute a policy to promote more offspring due to a declining population? Would childless Adults be forced to pay higher taxes, or forced to get pregnant (or in an overpopulated world, be firced to get an abortion)? How might the tables turn on the gay community if, at some not-too-distant future, homosexuality is deemed a threat to public mental health?

What if religious thought was deemed mental illness and the government began forcing people to get treatment “for the greater good of society.?” Think it can’t happen, think China. Think Marxism, which states that true Socialism is a godless society where only the State matters and has authority. 

At the present time people who use more energy are being charged more taxes. California is suggesting a road use tax, which means if you drive more than the average, you have to pay more taxes when you use the roads. Some are suggesting the people who don’t believe in man-made climate change should be imprisoned or fired from public jobs.

Your belief systems may cost you in a socialist society.

Socialism sounds good to some, but always leads to enhanced regulation and central government control as I have illustrated above in a multiple of possible scenarios.

People like Rep Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez might seem like your friend right now, fighting for the poor, fighting for “justice” because they think they want fairness (dispensed by regulation, of course) but let me ask you this. Did AOC bring any food and water with her when she want to El Paso? Did she offer blankets, or just words? How many times has she volunteered at the local homeless shelter in the Bronx? What is her record on helping people less fortunate than her?

Jimmy Carter, who s not a socialist (at least I think), at least spearheaded Habitat for Humanity, which has helped millions of people because of volunteerism, the best argument against socialism.

When people are free, they help far more than when they are regulated. It is a fact that free-market loving conservatives give far more than Leftist organizations, who actually thrive (ironically) on donations.

The best thing about free markets and liberty itself, is that when the people have power, that is to say when the government is limited, the people do determine outcomes based on merit. It’s not a perfect system, but if backed by laws that promote fairness, more fairness is to be had by more people.

With socialism, what starts out as fair ends up just being about control.

And one final note, it was freedom and free market reforms that have lifted billions of people out of poverty, not socialism. So if you really care about helping people, help them by physically offering your help. Volunteer at a community kids club, show up and feed the homeless at a food shelter, offer someone a job, donate food to a local shelter for women. Donate to any Red Cross or Salvation Army or Goodwill agency. Find a local church and get involved, but for god’s sakes, don’t succumb to the idea that regulating people’s behavior through socialists policies is the answer. 

When government officials tell you they are fighting for your rights, run. They actually are fighting for your rights, to take them, that is.


James Watkins is a media consultant, communications expert, author, marketer and former executive producer to several national radio programs, and is now the host of the Candidly Speaking podcast


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