This is going to be a short one, but it is important. I think most people explain the problems of socialism incorrectly. Most people talk of taxes, and how “unfair” it is for the most productive elements of our society to pay taxes to support the unproductive elements. Or they talk of taxes being a disincentive to work. I think both of these arguments are of limited value. After all, if everyone pays the same taxes, it just gets buried in the cost of living like a utility or rent expense. If everyone pays, isn’t that fair? And who would turn down a raise simply because their taxes also went up? Ultimately more money is more money, most will not turn that down. In extreme situations, it won’t be worth it: the incremental gain of working a 50-hour week might not be worth it, or even a 40-hour week. So yes, disincentive to work is part of the equation, but that isn’t going to be convincing to many people.
I think the best way to explain the failures of socialism is to explain it in a personal way. I told my son this: Imagine going to school and randomly picking out 10 people to sit on a committee. Now those 10 people get to make all the rules you need to live by: they decide what you can eat and what foods get banned, what school you can go to, what jobs you can apply for, where you can and cannot live, what games you can play, everything. Everything about your life is theirs to decide. This is what socialism truly is.
The thing is, in socialism – it is all about the government solving problems. That sounds nice in a vague and undefined way, but put some faces behind it and it becomes real. So, draw 10 random classmate’s names out of a hat and give them that power. After all, everyone thinks they will be the one picking out the deciders, but that never really happens. So, go ahead and imagine giving 10 random people that power.
And, it gets more fun. When the government is determined to solve problems, the world gets divided into three groups: 1) those that “solve” problems (politicians and their allies or opponents, 2) people who have problems that need to be “solved”, and 3) people that are part of the problem. These people’s very lives depend on being “problem solvers”. You will never escape their “wisdom”. You want to be left alone to play video games in your mom’s basement? Not going to happen. The same people who take away guns will switch to taking away toy guns, and then video game guns. If you are fine with playing “My Little Pony’s Gay Birthday Party”, then have at it. Otherwise, you should be very afraid.
And one thing we didn’t talk about – who is actually doing any work? The people who actually do any work aren’t even part of the equation. Ignore it all and stick to your work and you end up a problem that needs to be solved. They will never leave you alone. Work becomes what suckers do. The only way to get ahead is to be a victim or a “problem solver” (i.e. someone else’s “problem” solver). Everyone is in everyone else’s crap, nagging each other to death.
If this is really how you want to live, go for it. Draw 10 names out of a hat and give them that power. Enjoy!