30 December 2011

Socialism as a Buzz Word: Why?

The other day, I came across something a friend of mine posted on Facebook.  I know him from my study abroad and I've accepted that a majority of the people I associated with at college are politically conservative.  My school is crazy conservative and that's not something I consider particularly negative, though it does not reflect my own political views.  I bring this up because the post included the dreaded phrase, "Obama's socialism".  I honestly cannot stand when the label of "socialism" is misappropriated, particularly in political debate.  You may oppose higher taxes (I do not), but do not justify it by saying raised taxes is socialism.  I spent an hour composing a response to this posting because I find it so distasteful. Misappropriating the label distorts our understanding of recent, as well as current, history--much like using the label "Hitler" for any oppositional figure.  The more we use it, the less it means, and it diminishes the powerful lessons.  I won't go on about my response (though it was a masterpiece.  I am very proud of it), but will share the post.  I hope it doesn't set you off like it does for me.  I normally don't engage in such internet debates, but since I knew him, I couldn't stop myself.  Please note that this analogy assumes progressive taxation is the same as collecting all of your money and redistributing it evenly.

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.  
 The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan". All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A (substituting grades for dollars - something closer to home and more readily understood by all). 
 After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little..
 The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.  To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.  It could not be any simpler than that. 
 Remember, there IS a test coming up. The 2012 elections.

  These are possibly the 5 best sentences you'll ever read and all applicable to this experiment:
 1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
 2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
 3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
 4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
 5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.
SIGH.  If people read about socialism for one whole uninterrupted hour, they would realize they do not live in socialism and will never live in it until the state owns the means of production.  Just one hour.  Please.