Sunday, July 5, 2009

Socialism, for or against?

BOTH, actually!

It is my hope to show all socialists the difference between encouraging socialist choices on an individual level, which has real benefits, and forcing them, which causes real harm. I have discovered that I am very socialist when it is my choice to share or contribute, but when it is imposed on me, because I value individual choice so much, I resist.

There are two negatives when socialist behavior is legislated. The first is that those who benefit from it are weakened. We have a natural fear of wasting too much of what we get, and of not doing enough to take care of ourselves, but when we have a legislated right to "social support," these fears are weakened, and the good outcomes they produce are therefore diminished. Family ties, caring for one's community, supporting your parents when they grow old, saving, and living below ones means are all good examples of things we start losing when welfare grows.

The second negative effect of legislated socialism is that the role of charitable feelings that some people have toward the less fortunate is diminished. Being charitable makes people feel good and provides them with a sense of community and solidarity with others. When socialist programs crowd out our opportunities to feel these feelings, people become more selfish and isolated.

I have discovered that I am a champion of socialism when it is encouraged as a sign of being a good person, but very much an enemy of it when it is imposed through legislation. The surest way to prevent learning is to force it on people, and the surest way to make someone selfish is by taking stuff from them and "sharing" it with others. I think we can watch this play out in Russia because it takes decades for socialism's harmful effects to get washed out by time.

1 comment:

Shaylen Maxwell said...

I fall into a little of both too! : )