Bernie Sanders annoys me. If you know me, that’s to be expected. The thing that annoys me more than Bernie Sanders is when people support him, thinking that somehow he would be a good president. That as well, is to be expected. What is unexpected is the number of seemingly intelligent people who support him.
It’s easy to see how this could be. I mean hell; he wants to give everybody everything they want. You want more pay, ask Bernie. You want more benefits, ask Bernie. You want more money to go to the support of veterans, ask Bernie. You want equality with the wealthy; Bernie is the man to go to. He’s like Santa Claus on steroids; without the red suit, reindeer, flying sleigh, and most importantly, a work shop full of magic elves at the North Pole to provide everything everybody wants for free.
As fundamentally flawed as the little drawback of, “just where the hell does the money come from to pay for all of these omnipotent and omnipresent programs of a cradle to grave federal government,” and how annoying it is to try and get that through a liberal mind, the impossibility of Socialism from the fiscal standpoint is not what I want to write about. Yes, yes, yes, it is impossible to pay for. History has demonstrated it over and over again. It always looks good to start with because the People are only looking at what they are being promised. They think there are plenty of filthy rich people to pay for it. But in the end the rich don’t have enough money to pay for everybody so rationing begins, the system collapses, everybody riots, the revolution comes, people die, blah, blah, blah, blah.
These are all good points that have been covered everywhere by everybody from every angle and most of them are better at covering them than me.
While all of the above is certainly true I think it misses the point. Or more accurately it is the least important half of the point.
Socialism’s underlying philosophy is the well known and sometimes overused, “from each according to his means, to each according to his needs.” However this is just a wordy description for a means to an end. Take everything from the producers and give it to the people who most need it. The stated purpose, assuming that it would work, would theoretically do something else.
Right now there is a thing going on in society you may have noticed called, “class envy.” This happens as a result of people who do not believe they are able to make ample enough wealth on their own, so they want someone else’s. They feel deprived of things they want and rarely relate their lack of prosperity to their own lack of productive action. They begin to feel like they are somehow unfairly unequal to those who have more. These are the people who Socialism appeals to.
That’s what Socialism does. It tries to make everybody equal. The ever repeated mantra of the left, “level the playing field,” is certainly ample evidence of the desired goal. Make everybody equal. That is the problem. Regardless of all the money involved, and the concept of Socialism inherently destroys the value of money, it is an undeniable truth of human nature that everybody is not equal.
I get up in the morning, have a cup of coffee and sometimes pick up my guitar. I’m not a bad player but not great either. But if everybody was equal, either I’d be Eddie Van Halen or Eddie Van Halen would be me. But Socialism doesn’t require aesthetic quality. In other words, while I am not as good of a guitar player or as hard working as Eddie is, I can still have his money while being less skilled.
For a man who has an inherent sense of pride in jobs I’ve done well, I get a little bit insulted when people give me money for not being as good as I could or should be. Could you even begin to imagine how Eddie would feel? He gets up, works himself nearly to death to play well, writes great music, sells a zillion copies and then has to give most of his money to someone who doesn't work nearly as hard at it! And trust me, there is no way in this life I’m going to be as good as him.
People are not equal. They pride themselves in their own unique abilities; especially when they’ve been worked really hard for. They resent, of their own nature, being treated as if they are the same as everybody else. As long as they want to believe they are unique, while being treated as if they are the same, especially if they are very highly skilled or talented at something, they begin to think what they are doing is less valuable. That’s what ultimately destroys the value of the money in a Socialist system, so there can never be enough of it.
Then, in order for Socialism to work according to its designers, a system of government has to be imposed with the authority to make certain everybody stays equal. Consider that for a moment. Eddie Van Halen would have a government authority over him to make sure he didn’t get too good for everybody else. You would have the same government authority over you, being equal to Van Halen, wouldn’t you? And under penalty of law you could not be better than everybody else whether you play guitar or not.
So the bottom line is, Socialism will never ever work. It didn’t matter when Lenin tried it. It didn’t matter when Hitler tried it. It won’t matter if Bernie or Hillary tries it. It doesn’t matter how much force the government uses to make people comply. It won’t matter a hill of beans how smart Barack is. Albert Einstein couldn’t have made it work, even if he had wanted to try, because it ignores the mechanical physics of human nature. Any government or system of economics would only work if it first takes into account what people naturally are as opposed to trying to make them into something else.
We are not the same.