There’s a big push for socialism in the United States. The problem is that it just isn’t going to work in America. With socialism, there’s a lot of centralization, especially with regard to economic policy. Real socialism wouldn’t allow for many things most Americans take for granted. Economically speaking, people would have to completely disregard their personal utility (satisfaction). We need to be honest when we talk about socialism. Tens of millions have died at the hands of its ideology, mostly from starvation. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The American Dream
There’s a reason why the American Dream is called such. It’s still around despite the several attempts state legislatures and Congress has made to vote away our rights. But it’s important to remember that the phrase is much more than just a gimmicky piece of marketing — it’s deeper than that. I’ve heard about the “Canadian Dream,” but the very fact that Canada passed a bill that includes protection against “hate speech” shows that the country is open to conversational censorship. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of the United States — the highest court in the land — unanimously affirmed hate speech doesn’t exist. In other words, the Supreme Court doesn’t want to go down that rabbit hole of eventually infringing on free speech. After all, there’s a lot of room for abuse when it comes to labeling things as “hate speech.”
I haven’t heard of a “Mexican Dream,” a “Japanese Dream,” or even a “Venezuelan Dream.” Rather, it’s always been the American Dream. Socialism requires centralization and governing boards. This typically includes a planned economy, too. Since Denmark has market-based economic qualities, it’s not “real socialism.” No, really! It’s not! It’s just a country with a horrible tax system. “Real socialism,” what a lot of people in my generation advocate for, involves central planning. In an economic sense, this means planning what can and can’t be sold, what price things are sold at, who’s in charge of distribution, etc Socialistic qualities can be found in things like the Swiss Cheese Union or even Venezuela‘s laws that have made people feel the need to attempt smuggling various items.
This structure has a price I know most Americans will never give up: The freedom to choose. Think about it for a minute. Imagine that you want to start a gas station despite how many already exist in your state. In a socialist state, you very well may be told you’re not allowed to start one due to an attempt to control the price. They may even say, “We need farmers, not more gas stations,” despite your passion for gas stations. Hence, socialism requires you to stifle your passions. In general, most people I know — especially Americans — are very passionate. Part of the American Dream is that one who is passionate, and talented in their passion, can make it no matter who they are. This requires people to focus on themselves as individuals.
Individualism vs collectivism
Socialism is very collectivist, but most Americans are still mostly individualist, even if they support things like unionization. It’s interesting to see how society has shifted from valuing individuals and telling people to be different towards telling them they must conform to groupthink. People often want to do what’s best for them and their family. This is essential to American society. There are societies that rely on conformity and being “normal.” Japan is certainly one of those collectivist societies with insane homogeneity.
Americans value individuals far too much to seriously support anything that deteriorates them. Passions, for example, are often personal to each individual. You can force people with the same passions into a group, but you cannot force a passion into anyone. This is a universal understanding that crosses party lines. However, those who advocate for socialism either don’t understand or don’t care that people must throw away this essential American value.
Socialism has been tried
No matter what the Democratic Socialists say, “real socialism” has been tried. It’s just one step removed from communism. Take the Chinese regime of Mao Zedong for example. He forbade migration from rural areas to urban cities. In fact, he actually took millions of college educated individuals and stuck them in rural areas to help develop and educate them. Sure, this improved mobility in the long run. But at what cost? A lot of people died of starvation in the process. This isn’t an isolated cause of death. In reality, starvation is quite common in socialism.
Yes, the long-term effect was positive. So how does the Libertarian phrase, “Good ideas don’t require force” fit into this? I have a hard time believing Mao didn’t know people would die from this; he may have thought of them as a necessary sacrifice. It’s doubtful that those people were willing to die “for the greater good.” Not only do good ideas not require force, they don’t require human sacrifice like that no matter how good the outcome is down the road. This is the biggest problem with collectivism: It’s too utilitarian; the group as a whole is valued over individuals rather than trying to find a solution to make it work for everyone.
Venezuela stands today as the most recent example of the failure of real socialism. The state even seized the means of production on oil since it has the world’s largest oil reserves. The result? Venezuela not only imploded (NPR’s words, not mine), the Venezuelan government admitted that their production models had failed. If it couldn’t work in several larger nations over countless decades, why in the hell would it work in America, which is not only a fairly new country but the world superpower. That wasn’t done with collectivist socialism. It was done with individualist capitalism and voluntarism.