Why Socialism Makes Me Angry
It has recently come to my attention that my recent post on the elections in Slovakia was not as well-worded as it could have been. Specifically, I mistakenly gave the impression that I thought of East Europeans as lazy people who don't want to work for a living - this is not my opinion at all. I greatly admire the people and culture of Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. In fact, I hope to work in that area of the world someday and I am learning Russian as a second language. My anger is not at the people of Eastern Europe, it is at the communists who (in my opinion) ruined the great nations of that region and stole a piece of every citizen's soul. As a student of political science, I have studied the damage that Socialist governments inflict on their countries, and it makes me nauseous. Hence, I have gotten to the point where the mere thought of a nation under the oppression of Communism (or it's slightly less deranged sisters Socialism, "Social Democracy", and Leftism) disgusts me almost to the point of tears.
So, I am going to try to calmly lay out why I think that Socialism is a deranged ideology which is incapable of producing positive results. Then I am going to re-explain my views on the current situation in Eastern Europe, and why I stand behind what I said (or at least meant to say) about the subject.
INHERENT FLAWS IN SOCIALIST IDEOLOGY
1. All forms of Socialism are based on hatred of a group of people. The fundamental basis of Socialism (especially in it's more radical forms) is that one class of people is oppressed by another. Now, anyone will agknowlege that there are oppressive people in the world. However, the problem is that Socialism stereotypes all of the members of one class (usually the rich) as being inherently oppressive and corrupt, while another class (usually the poor or the "workers") are cast as inherently wholesome and good. Some extremist regimes have used Socialist class-warfare rhetoric as a basis for institutionalized racism. In Africa, this approach is used by Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe - a socialist who connects modern white Zimbabweans to past colonialist oppression and then uses this as a justification for confiscating their farms and redistributing them to black Zimbabweans.
2. Socialism does not allow people to seek better lives for themselves. The purest form of Socialism (pure Communism) adheres to such a rigid concept of equality that it bans anyone from making more money than anyone else. Unfortunately, such a rigidly equal distribution leads to everybody being poor and legally disallowed from trying to find a way out of their poverty (because somebody were to not be poor, then this would create inequality). This is why I like to call Socialism an "ideology of starvation". Think about it, if half of the people in a country are starving and the rest are barely getting enough to eat, then an equal distribution of food will mean that those who are barely getting to eat will have food take away form them and given to the people who are starving. Hence, the people who were barely getting by are no longer getting by at all and the people who were starving STILL don't have enough to survive on. Is it really a coincidence that the beginning of a massive famine in Ethiopia coincided with the rise of a Marxist dictatorship.
3. Socialism takes away people's ability to provide for themselves and makes them dependent on the government for survival. This happens even in the most mild "Democratic Socialist" systems. Governments hike taxes to statospheric levels and then "give them back" in the form of massive government welfare programs. Take Sweden, which socialists often hold up as their idea of utopia. True, Sweden currently has the 2nd highest standard of living in the world, but things are not as utopian as they may seem. The number of people entering college in Sweden is dropping (I can't quote statistics at the moment, but I would be happy to look them up for inquiring minds) because many people have figured out that any wealth they might accumulate by entering a highly-skilled line of work will only be taken away by Sweden's highly progressive tax system (in which the percentage of you income that you pay in taxes goes up drastically when you earn more income). I personally think that, this is the reason that Sweden has one of the lowest GDP per capita numbers in the highly developed world! (GDP peer capita is the total amount of money produced by a nation's economy divided by its population, a pretty good measure of the strength of the economy). I think that, if it continues under it's current system, Sweden's economic decline will make it into a third world country within a few centuries.
HOW THIS ALL APPLIES TO EASTERN EUROPE
My comments regarding Eastern Europe hinged primarily on the third point. The rigid communist systems of the Soviet Union and its satellites made the people TOTALLY dependent on the government for the necessities of life. The generations that were born under Communism were never allowed to take care of themselves, which left them utterly unprepared for life in a capitalist society. Hence, it is only natural that after more than a decade of being worse off then they were before, he people would elect to go back to a more Socialist system. Unfortunately, for the reasons mentioned above, these new socialist systems will merely create the same horrible situation that existed under Communism and make future generations dependent and unable to survive. Under a capitalist system, the current generation may flounder, but their children will learn what it takes to make it in a free world. It is these children who I worry about, because they have the capability to make Eastern Europe one of the most prosperous places on Earth. Unfortunately, the Socialist governments that are now taking power could make the children as dependent as previous generations and ruin any chance for their nations to ever succeed.
THAT is why I become so angry and vitriolic when Socialists come to power.