Vail Daily column: When it comes to socialism, will they ever learn?
July 9, 2017
Editor's note: Find a cited version of this column at http://www.vaildaily.com.
Several weeks ago on ABC's Sunday morning talk show "This Week," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told host George Stephanopoulos, "The democrats need a strong, bold, sharp-edged and common-sense economic agenda. … That's what's been missing."
So I find it a bit ironic that seven months after losing the 2016 presidential election, Schumer feels the Democratic Party is still struggling to articulate a coherent message. Meanwhile, the Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren wing of the party delivers a very clear message. Unfortunately for their constituency, it's about a failed ideology — socialism.
Sanders and Warren are advocates of redistributing wealth; lax immigration rules, governmental intervention into health care, energy and business; and the acceptance that Washington should be the final arbiter of all problems.
Socialism has inherent defects
While socialism is antithetical to the ideals of the Founding Fathers, it tends to gain its strongest support among the young and those who are uninformed. On the surface, socialism sounds great; it has always sounded great and will continue to sound great within certain precincts. The only problem with socialism is that history exposes it as a bankrupt ideology.
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But rather than describing socialism's failures tenet by tenet, the following apocryphal story illustrates socialism's inherent defects in an easy-to-understand way.
An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before but had once failed an entire class. The class insisted that wealth redistribution, aka socialism, worked because then no one would be poor and no one would be rich — a great equalizer.
The professor then said, "OK, let's try an experiment." Henceforth, all grades would be averaged; everyone would receive the same grade, and no one would fail.
After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone received a B. The students who studied hard were upset but the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who had studied little now studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride, too, so they too decided to study little. The second test average was a D.
Now no one was happy. When the third test rolled around, the class average was an F; and from that point forward, the scores never increased, as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings with the result that no one would study for the benefit of anyone else and the students all failed the class.
The professor then told them socialism as a form of government always fails because of human nature, i.e., when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes the rewards away, no one will try to succeed.
human nature is part of ideological equations
Similar to the aforementioned students, the far left consistently overlooks the fact that human nature is part of any ideological equation. They fail to understand that socialism has never and will never work because it's based on a premise that's inconsistent with human behavior.
When people work, they expect to be compensated commensurate with their effort and skill level. And capitalism does that more effectively than any economic system yet devised by man. Capitalism provides an incentive for people to achieve because they know their efforts will be rewarded.
Conversely, socialism is a disincentive to achievement because people also know their work is valued only collectively, rather than being valued individually.
Quote of the day: "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries." — Winston Churchill.
Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, writes regularly for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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