The dangers of the Welfare State are 1) it often is unjust in
taking lawful property from individuals through excessive taxation, 2)
it substitutes the collective judgment of the government for the freedom
and judgment of the individual 3) it discourages initiative and entrepreneurship
by individuals, and 4) it leads to excessive government power and hence
corruption. The danger of these tendencies of the welfare
state were well summarized by Lionel Trilling, a respected man of the contemporary
liberal left as quoted by Gertrude Himmelfarb in her book Poverty and Compassion
(Knopf Publisher 1991) “Some paradox of our natures leads us, when
once we have made our fellow men the objects of our enlightened interest,
to go on to make them the object of our pity, then of our wisdom, ultimately
of our coercion. It is to prevent this corruption, the most
ironic and tragic that man knows, that we stand in need of the moral realism
which is the product of the moral imagination”.
As the distinquished political economist F. A. Hayek has stated; “The guiding principle that a policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy remains as true today as it was in the nineteenth century”.
G. Richard Jansen
Colorado State University
Fort Collins CO 80523
Main Entry: so?cial?ism
1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.
History of Socialism
Socialism in 3rd Century AD in Roman Empire under Emperor Diocletian*
years of peace, Diocletian, with his aides, faced the problems of economic
decay. To overcome depression and prevent revolution he substituted
a managed economy for the law of supply and demand. He established
a sound currency by guaranteeing to the gold coinage a fixed weight and
purity which it retained in the Eastern Empire until 1453. He distributed
food to the poor at half the market price or free, and undertook extensive
public works to appease the unemployed. To ensure the supply of necessaries
for the cities and the armies, he brought many branches of industry under
complete state control, beginning with the import of grain; he persuaded
the shipowners, merchants, and crews engaged in this trade to accept such
control in return for governmental guarantee of security in employment
and returns .The state had long since owned most quarries, salt deposits,
and mines; now it forbade the export of salt, iron, gold, wine,
grain, or oil from Italy, and strictly regulated the importation of these articles. It went on to control establishments producing for the army, the bureaucracy, or the court. In munition factories, textile mills, and bakeries the government required a minimum product, bought this at its own price, and made the associations of manufacturers responsible for carrying out orders and specifications. If this procedure proved inadequate, it completely nationalized these factories, and manned them with labor bound to the job. Gradually, under Aurelian and Diocletian, the majority of industrial establishments and guilds in Italy were brought under the control of the corporate state. Butchers, bakers, masons, builders, glass blowers, ironworkers,
engravers, were ruled by detailed governmental regulations. The “various corporations," says Rostovtzeff, "were more like minor supervisors of their own concerns on behalf of the state than their owners; they were themselves in bondage to the officials of the various departments, and to the commanders of the various military units. The associations of tradesmen and artisans
received various privileges from the government, and often exerted pressure upon its policies; in return they served as organs of national administration, helped to regiment labor, and collected taxes for the state from their membership similar methods of governmental control were extended, in the late third and early fourth centuries, to provincial armament, food, and clothing industries. "In every province," says Paul-Louis, "special procuratores superintended industrial activities. In every large town the state became a powerful employer . . . standing head and shoulders above the private industrialists, who were in any case crushed by taxation.
Such a system could not work without price control. In 301 Diocletian and his colleagues issued an Edictum de pretiis, dictating maximum legal prices or wages for all important articles or services in the Empire. Its preamble attacks monopolists who, in an "economy of scarcity," had kept goods from the market to raise prices:
The edict was until our time the most famous example of an attempt to replace economic laws by governmental decrees. Its failure was rapid and complete. Tradesmen concealed their commodities, scarcities became more acute than before, Diocletian himself was accused of conniving at a rise in prices, riots occurred, and the Edict had to be relaxed to restore production and distribution. It was finally revoked by Constantine”
*Will Durant Story of Civilization, Part III, Caesar and Christ. Copyright Simon and Shuster, NY, 1944
Early Socialists in 19th and 20th Centuries*
" Comte Henri de Saint-Simon (1760-1825) was an erratic
genius with a fertile and yet disorganized mind. His socialist writings
revolved around the idea that his age suffered from an unhealthy and unbridled
individualism resulting from a breakdown of order and hierarchy. But he
held that the age also contained the seeds of its own salvation, which
were to be found in the rising level of science and technology and in the
industrialists and technicians who had already begun to build a new industrial
order. The joining of scientific and technological knowledge to industrialism
would inaugurate the rule of experts. The new society could not be equalitarian,
Saint-Simon argued, because men were not equally endowed by nature. Yet
it would make the maximum use of potential abilities by assuring that everyone
would have equal opportunity to rise to a social position commensurate
with his talents. By eradicating the sources of public disorder, it would
make possible the virtual elimination of the state as a coercive institution.
The future society would be run like a gigantic workshop, in which rule
over men would be replaced by the administration of things. Saint-Simon's
followers bent the founder's doctrine in a more definitely socialist direction.
They came to see private property as incompatible with the new industrial
system. The hereditary transmission of power and property, they argued,
was inimical to the rational ordering of society. The rather bizarre attempt
of Saint-Simon's followers to create a Saint-Simonian church should not
obscure the fact that they were among the first to proclaim that bourgeois-capitalist
property was no longer sacrosanct.
François-Marie-Charles Fourier (1772-1837), a lonely and neglected thinker who was more than a little mad, was led to his anticapitalist vision by a loathing for a world of competition and wasteful commerce in which he spent most of his life as a salesman. Possessed by an inordinately wide-ranging imagination, he argued that the regenerated world to come would be characterized not only by social but also by natural and even cosmological transformations. The ocean would be changed into lemonade, and wild animals would turn into anti-lions and anti-tigers serving mankind.
With meticulous and obsessive care, Fourier set forth plans for his model communities, the phalanstères , the germ cells of the good society of the future. In these communities men would no longer be forced to perform uncongenial tasks but would work in tune with their temperaments and inclinations. They would cultivate cabbages in the morning and sing in the opera in the evening. Fourier's was an antinomian vision in which human spontaneity made outside regulation unnecessary. Whereas Saint-Simon called for the rule of experts, Fourier was convinced that love and passion would bind men together in a harmonious and non-coercive order.
The Welshman Robert Owen (1771-1858) held more sober views. Early in his career he became known as a model employer in his textile works in Scotland, and as an educational and factory reformer. Despairing of his fellow capitalists he later turned to the emergent trade union movement. Acutely conscious of the evils of industrialism by which he had acquired his wealth, he thought that the new productive forces could be turned to the benefit of mankind if competition were eliminated and the effects of bad education were counteracted by rational enlightenment. He advocated cooperative control of industry and the creation of Villages of Unity and Cooperation in which the settlers, in addition to raising crops, would improve their physiques as well as their minds. Owenite communities established in New Harmony , Indiana, and elsewhere in America all failed. His attempts to join the cooperative and the trade union movements in a "great trades union" also proved a failure. Yet he left a lasting imprint on the British socialist tradition; his indictment of the competitive order, his stress on cooperation and education, his optimistic message that men could increase their stature if only the stultifying effects of an unhealthy environment were removed have continued to inform the socialist movement".
*Copyright 1994-1998 Encyclopaedia Britannica
Communist Manifesto; Karl Marx and Frederich Engels, 1848
“In most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally
1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in he hands of the state.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state;
the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc.
When, in the course of development, class distinctions
have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the hands
of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its
political character. Political power, properly so called, is merely the
organized power of one class for oppressing another. If the proletariat
during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances,
to organize itself as a class; if, by means of a revolution, it makes itself
the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions
of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away
the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally,
and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class. In place
of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class
antagonisms, we shall have an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all”.
The First Socialist International* .
"The Communist Manifesto, which had been written
as a program for the Communist League, a group of continental workmen,
failed to have an impact on the European revolutions of 1848. For a number
of years thereafter Marx and Engels lived in complete isolation from the
labour movements developing in England and on the Continent. Socialism
in those years was only the creed of isolated sects, often of exiles. In
1864, however, after a gathering in London of continental and English workers'
representatives and associated intellectuals, there emerged the International
Working Men's Association, commonly known as the First International. Although
it encompassed various tendencies ranging from simple trade unionism to
anarchism, Marx dominated it from its inception and made it an instrument
for the diffusion of his message. Its headquarters were in London, but
it never exerted much influence in England, where the labour movement remained
impervious to Marxist revolutionary ideology. On the Continent, particularly
in Germany, Marxism spread rapidly and soon became the major doctrine of
the emerging labour movement".
*Copyright 1994-1998 Encyclopaedia Britannica
The Second Socialist International*
"The First International had brought into being
a variety of Socialist movements throughout Europe. When these began to
grow roots in their respective political systems, it became apparent that
the international movement could no longer be controlled by a single directing
centre. After the dissolution of the First International in 1876, Marx
and Engels remained father figures whose counsel the movement eagerly sought;
but they could no longer direct it. The history of socialism now became
largely the history of separate national movements that, for all their
ceremonial acknowledgment of Marxist orthodoxy, increasingly tended toward
a revisionist and nonrevolutionary line. By the early years of the 20th
century socialism had become a powerful parliamentary force in most European
countries. Except in Russia, where autocracy still held sway, the Socialists
were reformers seeking a transformation of the existing system rather than
its violent overthrow. Only left-wing minorities within the various parties
still stood for revolutionary orthodoxy.
The Second International, founded in 1889, reflected the changed character of the movement. It was a kind of international parliament of socialist movements rather than the unified and doctrinally pure organization that the First International had attempted to be. It was dominated by the German party. With traditional Marxist rhetoric, the German delegates stood adamant against proposals to sanction socialist participation in bourgeois governments, and thus appeared to favour a "left" course. But socialist participation in government was not a realistic option in Kaiser William's Germany, and so the German delegates could be intransigent at no cost to themselves. When the issue was put to a vote at the Amsterdam congress in 1904, the Germans sided with those who opposed participation, against Jaurès and those who condoned it. But Jaurès had the better of it when he pointed out that "behind the inflexibility of theoretical formulas which your excellent comrade Kautsky will supply you with till the end of his days, you concealed . . . your inability to act." As with the issue of government participation, so with the issue of war. The Second International, under its German leadership, issued many moving and stirring manifestoes against war, but when war broke out it disclosed its paralysis. Most of its national components sided with their own governments and abandoned the idea of international working-class solidarity. Almost all of them recognized what they may secretly have believed for a long time: the workers, after all, had a fatherland".
*Copyright 1994-1998 Encyclopaedia Britannica
In 1883 and 1884 an organization dedicated to promoting socialist theory was founded in London, England. Named the Fabian Society after a Roman general of the 3rd century BC, Quintas Fabius Maximus Cunctator, its goal was the establishment of a democratic socialist state in Great Britain. Socialism was the dominant new economic and political doctrine of the 19th century. Its aim was economic democracy--the redistribution of wealth among all classes in society through the public ownership of all business and industry
Lenin and the Third Socialist International ( The Comintern)*.
"The Bolshevik seizure of power had been undertaken
in the belief that the revolution would soon spread to the rest of Europe.
Lenin's perspective had always been internationalist. When most of the
socialist leaders of the Second International rallied to their national
governments in 1914, Lenin denounced them as traitors to the cause and
sought to lay the groundwork for a new organization of revolutionary Socialists.
After their seizure of power, the Bolsheviks resolved to create a Third
International. By the time the delegates had assembled in Moscow in 1919,
a revolutionary uprising in Berlin had been crushed and its leaders murdered.
The great majority of the German working class was evidently willing to
give the Social Democratic leadership of the new German republic a chance.
But to the Russian leaders' world revolution still seemed near. Soon after
the first congress of the Third International a short-lived soviet republic
was proclaimed in Hungary and another in the German state of Bavaria. Communist
parties began to be organized in all the major countries of Europe.
When the so-called Communist International (Comintern) met for its second world congress in July 1920, it was no longer a small gathering of individuals or representatives of small sects but a union of delegations from a dozen major Communist parties. The outcome of this meeting was to give the Russian leaders control of the new International, now broken away sharply from the Socialist movement. It adopted 21 conditions for membership in the Comintern, demanding that its adherents reject not only those Socialist leaders who had been "social patriots" in the war but also those who had taken a middle position. It aimed at creating a disciplined and militantly revolutionary world organization patterned after the Russian model, which would accept willingly the direction and unquestioned authority of the Russian leadership.
By 1923 the hoped-for revolutionary tide in Europe had not developed. New uprisings in parts of Germany failed completely in 1923. The Red Army's attempted invasion of Poland had been thrown back. Many Socialists who had for a time joined the Comintern, including the leadership of the Norwegian Labour Party, left-wing Communists in Germany, and Syndicalists in France and Spain, now turned away, rejecting its policy of centralized dictation. Europe achieved a measure of economic and social stabilization. By the time of Lenin's death in 1924, Moscow was beginning to use the parties over which it still held command as instrumentalities of Russian foreign policy. Although some Comintern leaders like Trotsky still believed that world revolution was on the agenda, their faith was no longer shared by the majority of the Russian leadership".
*Copyright 1994-1998 Encyclopaedia Britannica
The Fourth Socialist International*
"The Fourth International
was a multinational body composed of Trotskyist organizations that was
first formed in opposition to the policies of the Stalin-dominated Third
International, or Comintern. The idea of a Fourth International was first
presented in the late 1920s by various opponents of the Soviet leader Joseph
Stalin , particularly the followers of Leon Trotsky . Trotsky at first
opposed the idea, but by July 1933, with the victory of Nazism in Germany,
he called for a Fourth International, because he opposed the Comintern's
condoning of fascism. Trotsky also intended the Fourth International to
unite the various anti-Stalinist splinter groups from communist parties
around the world. The formation of the new International was difficult,
though, because Stalin's secret police killed many potential Trotskyists
in the period 1934-38, so that the ranks of the Trotskyist movement were
thin. Nevertheless, a founding conference was held in Périgny, Fr.,
in 1938; it proclaimed the Fourth International and adopted a program calling
for a broad range of goals between those of minimum reform (e.g., higher
wages, better working conditions) and those of the maximum program (i.e.,
the overthrow of capitalism and the transition to socialism).
Trotsky died in 1940, and after World War II the Fourth International's leadership fell to Michel Pablo and Ernest Germain, two Belgian Trotskyists. When in 1949 Pablo predicted "degenerated workers' states for centuries" and, consequently, called for the dissolution of the International, a factional fight erupted, culminating in 1953 in the Fourth International's split into two factions--the International Committee and the International Secretariat, which supported Pablo. The chief importance of the Fourth International lies in disseminating information to the many extreme left-wing groups affiliated to one or another of its fragments".
*Copyright 1994-1998 Encyclopaedia Britannica
George Lichtheim; A Short History of Socialism Prager Publishers Inc. 1970*
“The systematic correction of built-in social
inequities by appropriate public action is an aspect of what has come to
be known as the welfare state. In its usual formulation the welfare-state
doctrine leaves the wage relationship unaltered. Under optimal conditions,
Social Democratic governments based on parliamentary majorities are able
to make the welfare-state a reality, the classic case being the Scandinavian
countries. Under somewhat less favorable conditions, as in
post-1945 Britain, they can still correct the worst inequities resulting
from the operation of a capitalist price system. The obvious
means to this end are taxation of the rich and the expansion of the public
sector (education, health, housing). However important and beneficial,
such arrangements fall short of socialism inasmuch as they do not alter
the status of wage- and salary- earners, not even if key industries and
public services are nationalized or municipalized The wage
relationship is rooted in the fact that wage- and salary-earners do not
own the means of production, i.e. the instruments of labor”.
*Copyright Prager Publishers Inc. 1970
Leslie J. MacFarlane. Socialism, Social Ownership
and Social Justice.
St. Martin’s Press. 1998*
“Although Kautsky accepted that socialization
of the forces of production was only a means to the fundamentalist end
of abolishing exploitation and oppression, he held that acceptance of this
means was the crucial key to what it meant to be a socialist. If
the means failed to work or were rejected as mistaken ‘then we should be
obliged to abandon socialism in the interests of our goal’”
“In more recent years the major European socialist parties have gradually come to terms with the reality that there is no feasible prospect of establishing socialist societies, where all but the smallest enterprises are run by a variety of socially owned and socially-run bodies. These parties now recognize and accept that the bulk of the means of production will continue to reside in corporate capitalist hands. The ideology of European social democratic parties has changed, and social ownership has moved from the center to the periphery. But as long as such parties adhere to the fundamental end and purpose of socialism, to seek the abolition of oppression, exploitation, discrimination, poverty and injustice, they are entitled, in my opinion, to claim to be socialist”.
* Copyright St Martin’s Press 1998
Ludwig von Mises, A Classical liberal of Austrian School of Economics*
"Private ownership of the means
of production (market economy or capitalism) and public ownership of the
means of production(socialism or communism or "planning") can be neatly
distinguished. Each of these two systems of society's economic organization
is open to a precise and unambiguous description and definition. They can
never be confounded with one another; they cannot be mixed or combined;
no gradual transition leads from one of them to the other; they are mutually
incompatible. With regard to the same factors of production there can only
exist private control or public control. If in the frame of a system of
social cooperation only some means of production are subject to public
ownership while the rest are controlled by private individuals, this does
not make for a mixed system combining socialism and private ownership.
The system remains a market society, provided the socialized sector does
not become entirely separated from the non-socialized sector and lead a
strictly autarkic existence. (In this latter case there are two systems
independently coexisting side by side--a capitalist and a socialist.) Publicly
owned enterprises operating within a system in which there are privately
owned enterprises and a market, and socialized countries, exchanging goods
and services with non-socialist countries, are integrated into a system
of market economy. They are subject to the law of the market and have
the opportunity of resorting to economic calculation.
If one considers the idea of placing by the side of these two systems or between them a third system of human cooperation under the division of labor, one can always start only from the notion of the market economy, never from that of socialism. The notion of socialism with its rigid monism and centralism that vests the powers to choose and to act in one will exclusively does not allow of any compromise or concession; this construction is not amenable to any adjustment or alteration. but it is different with the scheme of the market economy. Here the dualism of the market and the government's power of coercion and compulsion suggests various ideas. Is it really peremptory or expedient, people ask, that the government keep itself out of the market? Should it not be a task of government to interfere and to correct the operation of the market? Is it necessary to put up with the alternative of capitalism or socialism? Are there not perhaps still other realizable systems of social organization which are neither communism nor pure and unhampered market economy?
Thus people have contrived a variety of third solutions, of systems which, it is claimed, are as far from socialism as they are from capitalism. Their authors allege that these systems are nonsocialist because they aim to preserve private ownership of the means of production and that they are not capitalistic because they eliminate the "deficiencies" of the market economy. For a scientific treatment of the problems involved which by necessity is neutral with regard to all value judgments and therefore does not condemn any features of capitalism as faulty, detrimental, or unjust, this emotional recommendation of interventionism is of no avail. The task of economics is to analyze and to search for truth. It is not called upon to praise or to disapprove from any standard of preconceived postulates and prejudices. with regard to interventionism it has only one question to ask and to answer: How does it work?"
“The inequality of incomes and wealth is an inherent feature of the market economy. Its elimination would entirely destroy the market economy.
What those people who ask for equality have in mind is always an increase in their own power to consume. In endorsing the principle of equality as a political postulate nobody wants to share his own income with those who have less. When the American wage earner refers to equality, he means that the dividends of the stockholders should be given to him. He does not suggest a curtailment of his own for the benefit of those 95 per cent of the earth's population whose income is lower than his.”
“The Santa Claus fables of the welfare school are characterized by their complete failure to grasp the problems of capital. It is precisely this defect that makes it imperative to deny them the appellation welfare economics with which they describe their doctrines. He who does not take into consideration the scarcity of capital goods available is not an economist, but a fabulist. He does not deal with reality but with a fabulous world of plenty. All the effusions of the contemporary welfare school are, like those of the socialist authors, based on the implicit assumption that there is an abundant supply of capital goods. Then, of course, it seems easy to find a remedy for all ills, to give to everybody "according to his needs" and to make everyone perfectly happy.
It is true that some of the champions of the welfare school feel troubled by a dim notion of the problems involved. They realize that capital must be maintained intact if the future productivity of labor is not to be impaired. However, these authors too fail to comprehend that even the mere maintenance of capital depends on the skillful handling of the problems of investment, that it is always the fruit of successful speculation, and that endeavors to maintain capital intact presuppose economic calculation and thereby the operation of the market economy. The other welfare propagandists ignore the issue completely. It does not matter whether or not they endorse in this respect the Marxian scheme or resort to the invention of new chimerical notions such as ‘the self-perpetuating character’ of useful things. In any event their teachings are designed to provide a justification for the doctrine which blames oversaving and underconsumption for all that is unsatisfactory and recommends spending as a panacea. When pushed hard by economists, some welfare propagandists and socialists admit that impairment of the average standard of living can only be avoided by the maintenance of capital already accumulated and that economic improvement depends on accumulation of additional capital. Maintenance of capital and accumulation of new capital, they say, will henceforth be a task of government. They will not longer be left to the selfishness of individuals, exclusively concerned with their own enrichment and that of their families; the authorities will deal with them from the point of view of the common weal.
The crux of the issue lies precisely in the operation of selfishness. Under the system of inequality this selfishness impels a man to save and always to invest his savings in such a way as to fill best the most urgent needs of the consumers. Under the system of equality this motive fades. The curtailment of consumption in the iimmediate future is a perceptible privation, a blow to the individuals' selfish aims. The increment in the supply available in more distant periods of the future which is expected from this immediate privation is less recognizable for the average intellect. Moreover, its beneficial effects are, under a system of public accumulation, so thinly spread out that they hardly appear to a man as an appropriate compensation for what he foregoes today. The welfare school blithely assumes that the expectation that the fruits of today's saving will be reaped equally by the whole of the future generation will turn everybody's selfishness toward more saving. Thus they fall prey to a corollary of Plato's illusion that preventing people from knowing which children's parents they are will inspire them with parental feelings toward all younger people. It would have been wise if the welfare school had been mindful of Aristotle's observation that the result will rather be that all parents will be equally indifferent to all children”.
* Human Action a treatise on economics.: Henry Regnery Co. 3rd. rev. ed.1966
Commentary on Socialism
Milovan Djilas The New Class, Prager Publishers Inc. 1957*
“The monopoly which the new class establishes
in the name of the working class over the whole of society is, primarily,
a monopoly over the working class itself. This monopoly is
first intellectual, over the so-called avant-garde proletariat, and then
over the whole proletariat. This is the biggest deception the class
must accomplish, but it shows that the power and interests of the new class
lie primarily in industry. Without industry the new class cannot
consolidate itsposition or authority”.
“Former sons of the working class are the most steadfast members of the new class. It has always been the fate of slaves to provide for their masters the most clever and gifted representatives. In this case a new exploiting and governing class is born from the exploited class”.
*Copyright Prager Publishers Inc, 1957
John Locke; A Classical Liberal, on the Importance of Private Property
“Where there is no property, there is no justice is a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid: for the idea that property being a right to anything, and the idea to which the name of injustice is given being the invasion and violation of that right; it is evident that these ideas being thus established, and these names annexed to them, I can as certainly know this proposition to be true as that a triangle has three angles equal to two right ones”.
Alexis, Compte de Tocqueville, Sep 12, 1848
“Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude”.
Ludwig von Mises; A Classical Liberal of Austrian School of Economics
“The idea of Socialism is at once grandiose
and simple.... We may say, in fact, that it is one of the most ambitious
creations of the human spirit, ...so magnificent, so daring, that it has
rightly aroused the greatest admiration. If we wish to save the world
from barbarism we have to refute Socialism, but we cannot thrust it carelessly
“All are socialists who consider the socialistic order of society economically and ethically superior to that based on private ownership of the means of production, even if they may try for one reason or another to make a temporary or permanent compromise between their socialistic ideals and the particular interests which they believe themselves to represent.”
F.A. Hayek; A Classical Liberal, also of Austrian School. The Fatal Conceit 1988*
“One’s initial surprise at finding that intelligent
people tend to be socialists diminishes when one realizes that, of course,
intelligent people will tend to overvalue intelligence, and to suppose
that we must owe all the advantages and opportunities that our civilization
offers to deliberate design rather than to following traditional rules,
and likewise to suppose that we can, by exercising our reason, eliminate
any remaining undesired features by still more intelligent reflection,
and still more appropriate design and rational coordination of our undertakings”.
“After seventy years experience with socialism, it is safe to say to say that most intellectuals outside the area-Eastern Europe and the Third World- where socialism has been tried- remain content to brush aside what lessons might lie in economics, unwilling to wonder whether there might not be a reason why socialism, as often as it is attempted, never seems to work out as its intellectual leaders intended. The intellectual’s vain search for a truly socialist community, which results in the idealization of, and then disillusionment with a seemingly endless string of ‘utopias’- the Soviet Union, then Cuba, China, Yugoslavia, Vietnam, Tanzania, Nicaragua- should suggest that there might be something about socialism that does not conform to facts. But such facts, first explained by economists more than a century ago, remain unexamined by those who pride themselves on their rationalistic rejection of the notion that there could be any facts that transcend historical context or present as insurmountable barrier to human desires”.
* Copyright University of Chicago Press 1988
Karl Popper; Classical Liberal, and Philosopher The Open Society and its Enemies*
“If in this book harsh words are spoken
about some of the greatest among the intellectual leaders of mankind, my
motive is not, I hope, the wish to belittle them. It springs rather
from my conviction that, if our civilization is to survive, we must break
with the habit of deference to great men. Great men may make great
mistakes; and as the book tries to show, some of the greatest leaders of
the past supported the perennial attack on freedom and reason. Their
influence, too rarely challenged, continues to mislead those on whose defence
civilization depends, and to divide them”.
“This individualism, united with altruism, has become the basis of our western civilization. It is the central doctrine of Christianity ( ‘love your neighbor’ says the scriptures, not ‘love your tribe’); and it is the core of all ethical doctrines which have grown from our civilization and stimulated it. It is also, for instance, Kant’s central practical doctrine (‘always recognize that human beings are ends, and do not use them as mere means to your ends’). There is no other thought which has been so powerful in the moral development of man”.
“Since I am criticizing Marx and, to some extent praising democratic peacemeal interventionism ( especially of the institutional king explained in section VII to chapter 17), I wish to make it clear that i feel much sympathy with Marx’s hope for a decrease in state influence. It is undoubtably the greatest danger of interventionism- especially of any direct intervention-that it leads to an increase in state power and in bureaucracy. Most interventionists do not mind this, or they close their eyes to the danger. But I believe that once the danger is faced squarely, it should be possible to master it”.
“But of all political ideals, that of making the people happy is perhaps the most dangerous. It leads invariably to the attempt to impose our scale of 'higher' values upon others, in order to make them realize what seems to us of greater importance for their happiness; in order, as it were, to save their souls. It leads to Utopianism and Romanticism. We all feel certain that everybody would be happy in the beautiful, the perfect community of our dreams. And no doubt, there would be heaven on earth if we could all love one another. But, as I have said before (in chapter 9), the attempt to make heaven on earth invariably produces hell. It leads to intolerance. It leads to religious wars, and to the saving of souls through the inquisition. And it is, I believe, based on a complete misunderstanding of our moral duties. It is our duty to help those who need our help; but it cannot be our duty to make others happy, since this does not depend on us, and since it would only too often mean intruding on the privacy of those to whom we have such amiable intentions. The political demand for piecemeal (as opposed to Utopian) methods corresponds to the decision that the fight against suffering must be considered a duty, while the right to care for the happiness of others must be considered a privilege confined to the close circle of their friends. In their case, we may perhaps have a certain right to try to impose our scale of values-our preferences regarding music, for example. (And we may even feel it our duty to open to them a world of values which, we trust, can so much contribute to their happiness.) This right of ours exists only if, and because, they can get rid of us; because friendships can be ended. But the use of political means for imposing our scale of values upon others is a very different matter. Pain, suffering, injustice and their prevention, these are the eternal problems of public morals, the ‘agenda’ of public policy ( as Bentham would have said). The ‘higher’ values should very largely be considered as ‘non-agenda’ and should be left to the realm of laissez faire”.
*Princeton University, Press. Copyright Karl Popper, 1950
Karl Popper; Classical Liberal, and Philosopher In Search of a Better World**
“A liberal* utopia- that is a state rationally
designed on a traditionless tabula rasa- is an impossibility. For
the liberal principle demands that the limitations to the freedom of each
which are made necessary by social life should be minimized and equalized
as much as possible (Kant)............. All such problems can be solved
in practice only by an appeal to existing traditions and customs and to
a traditional sense of justice; to common law as it is called in Britain,
and to an impartial judge’s appreciation of equity.” “Among the traditions
we must count as the most important is what we may call the ‘moral framework’
(corresponding to the institutional ‘legal framework’ of a society.
This incorporates the society’s traditional sense of justice or fairness,
or the degree of moral sensitivity it has reached”.
* “To avoid misunderstandings, I wish to make it quite clear that I use the term ‘liberal’, ‘liberalism’ etc. always in a sense in which they are still generally used in England (though perhaps not in America): by a liberal I do not mean a sympathizer with any one political party but simply a man who values individual freedom and who is alive to the dangers inherent in all forms of power and authority’.
*Copyright Routledge Press 1992.
Gertrude Himmelfarb, Neoconservative Poverty and Compassion*
“It was the welfare
state that finally brought about the divorce of morality from social policy.
The divorce was finalized when the services and benefits by the state were
made available to everyone regardless of merit or even need. And
it was legitimized when it became a moral principle to eschew moral distinctions
and judgments. There was an ethical theory implicit in this policy
of moral neutrality: it was the theory that society was responsible for
social problems and that therefore society (in the form of the state) had
the moral responsibility to solve those problems”
“What Chamberlain now proposed was a public works program to be administered by local governments under clearly specified conditions. The work should be ‘poorly remunerated’ at wages lower than that for comparable work in private employment; it should be such as would not tempt the worker to remain at it longer than necessary; it should not be degrading; it should not compete with privately employed workers; and it should be within the capacity of any worker, whatever his regular trade. Only one kind of work met these specifications: "spade labour." In rural districts this meant the cultivation of land; in the metropolis the closest
approximation to it would be work on sewage disposal, street cleaning, the clearing of recreation grounds, and the like.
It is curious to read the reply of Beatrice Potter, who only a few years later, as Beatrice Webb, was to become a prominent socialist of the Fabian variety. At this time she firmly rejected the very idea of a public works project. Such a program, she argued, even on the terms specified by Chamberlain, would perpetuate a class of dependent poor, demoralize and degrade the worker, and incapacitate him for ‘true productive service’ once the crisis had passed. She also took exception to the idea that "something must be done- that is, by the state. All that was called for, she insisted, was a policy of ‘sternness from the state, and love and self-devotion from individuals, a very old and self-evident remedy’"
* Alfred Knopf Publisher, 1991
Summing Up- Two Centuries of Socialism/Communism
Russia under Western Eyes, Martin Malia*
“The Party had brought
Russia to full non-capitalism: private property, profit, and the market
were no more, and in their place a "planned," collective organization of
labor and life had been created. To this degree, Marx's goal had
been attained. Yet, on the other hand, the result was hardly his
anticipated "leap from the kingdom of necessity to the kingdom of freedom."
Instead a more stringent necessity had been imposed on everyone by the
omni-competent Party-state and its "command-administrative"
This perverse outcome was no accident, however; it came as the law-like result of Marxism itself. And it is necessary to insist on this fact, for many commentators have refused to recognize it, holding that Marx, unlike "utopian" socialists, offered no vision of the future but only "scientific" knowledge of history's laws. The reason for this strange blindness, of course, is that once Stalin implemented that very program by mass violence many Westerners backed away from it, preferring to believe that some other Bolshevik could have built a better socialism or choosing to read his doctrine only as a critique of capitalist society, as in the "Marxism without a proletariat" of the Frankfurt School.
In the master himself, however, it is quite clear that "human emancipation" requires the absolute "negation" of private property, profit, and the market. The concrete program for implementing this negation is spelled out unambiguously in part 2 of the Manifesto, ‘Proletarians and Communists.’ In it, the proletariat (here, read Party) is summoned to seize political power in order to ‘wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie," and then to "centralize all of production in the hands of the State, i.e. of the proletariat organized as the ruling class.’ All production, moreover, would be ‘concentrated in the hands of the vast association of the whole nation’ with ‘industrial armies, especially for agriculture,’ and a common plan. In short, ‘ the theory of Communism may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.’ Only under these conditions, for Marx, would the world at last function ‘rationally,’ like one immense factory, and human labor would produce not capital, but the species’ hitherto alienated creative potential.’
In fact, this instrumental program offers the perfect blueprint for all-encompassing state tyranny. The basic problem is simply this: when private property is abolished in favor of "public" or "collective" ownership, who in fact gets it? It cannot go directly to "society" as socialist supposition would have it, since society always needs an administrative instrument through which to act. All property, therefore, goes to that instrument, in other words, the state. Furthermore, when the market is suppressed, this does not mean that goods are now produced and distributed according to "real human needs" instead of the ‘irrational’ profit motive. It means rather that the state decides by administrative means what constitutes ‘rational’ production and distribution. According to what criteria, then, does the state make such decisions? The only possibility is by the moral or philosophical criteria of whoever controls the administrative apparatus. Ideology and politics rather than the market and private interest thus determine how the economy works, and consequently how society is shaped. And so a fully socialist state is also necessarily an ideocratic one.
In short, under a regime of non-capitalism, economic criteria, as expressed in prices, are replaced by ideological criteria, as expressed through political directives. The suppression of private property and the market, therefore, is tantamount to the suppression of civil society and the absorption of all its former functions by the state. Such an omni-competent state is no ordinary state, one ruling over society; it is a total state, one replacing society. Moreover, this total state must be controlled by the equivalent of Plato's guardians, a Party of ideocrats that incarnates rationality in an administrative apparatus. In practice, the ideocratic state must therefore be a partocratic one as well. Finally, since all this goes against the grain of mere mortal flesh, the partocracy must be a police state too. Thus the impossible Marxist utopia, if implemented in full, leads pitilessly to a totalitarian result. The result is all the more total in that it is not merely a coercive police operation, but is surrounded with an aura of humanism and arrayed with a mystique of science.”
“The central importance of racial doctrine in Nazism, however, should not obscure the similarities between the German and the Soviet regimes (and to a lesser degree the kinship of both with Italian Fascism). The first of these is that all three regimes offered what Lenin called "a party of a new type." Hitherto, dictatorship had meant the rule of an individual strongman over society. The three great dictatorships of the 1930's, however, were the first to develop after popular sovereignty had become the mandatory legitimating principle of society. These dictatorships, therefore, had to be exercised through society, by means of the indispensable instrument of democratic politics, the political party. Lenin, as we have seen, adapted the structured and hierarchical organization of the German Social Democratic Party to produce the Soviet Party- State. And after the war, the Italian Fascists first, and the German Nazis later, adapted the Leninist model (and borrowed as well from the rival socialist parties at home) to produce their own versions of that great novelty of twentieth-century politics, the one-party state, which is in fact a nonparty, mass-mobilization state. In applying this formula, however, the Nazis were far more consequential than the Fascists. The former succeeded in completely subordinating the state to the party, thereby achieving a level of control quite comparable to that of the Soviet Communists.
Something similar can be said of Nazi and Soviet economic policies, though the form of state domination in the two cases was different. Private property, the market, and even profit continued to exist in Germany, whereas they were of course abolished in Russia. The reason for the difference was that Germany was already a highly industrialized society, and Hitler wished essentially to channel its power toward preparation for war. Soviet Russia, by contrast, had first to be re-industrialized by the state before the country could contemplate an international military role. This difference does not mean, however, that Hitler left "capitalism" in place; rather, the German economy was sub-ordinated to Politics by a system Of state regulation so thorough that it was called by its critics a Befehlswirtsachaft or command economy. Hence, the fact that the German economy was not formally nationalized did not greatly affect the way it was run, and this was quite similar to the Soviet mode of subordinating economics to the politics of the state.
Underlying these organizational similarities between Communism and Nazism (and again, to a lesser degree Fascism) is the fact that both were ideocratic. That is, their policies, overall, were governed not by pragmatic considerations of state- or nation-building, but by overriding meta-historical goals-Socialism for the first and Aryan Weltmacht for the second. And these two ideological visions had real, though different, practical consequences for the policies of both the Communist and Nazi regimes".
“The vaulting ideological negation of the New Left failed utterly. When the movement burned out in the early I970s, capitalism had suffered nary a dent, and American imperialism had been thwarted in Vietnam not by new-Left mimicry of revolution, but by the military power of old-Left and nationalistic North Vietnam. All that remained of the psychodrama of the 1960's was the style of its counterculture, now mass-produced for consumer society, and its anti traditional sexual mores-changes relevant above all to the bourgeoisie. The ‘people’ were never at ease with what they saw as a nihilistic assault on traditional values.
Still, the burnout gave off some disturbingly spectral flames. The sixties movement had begun as an ultra-democratic and unstructured protest against social inequality, with a style that mingled flower power with sham barricades and that was as much playful as threatening in its provocations. Yet, as time passed and it failed to arouse the masses, it turned-like the Russian student Populists of the 1870s-to elitist terror and a proto-totalitarian political style. Hence, in the early 1970's it went down fighting, quite literally-from the Red Brigades in Italy to the Baader-Meinhof gang in Germany, to the "Maos" (initially blessed by Sartre and Foucault) in France, to the Weathermen in America. To be sure, this mock guerilla warfare never menaced existing society in the least. Nonetheless, morally and psychologically, the New Left, in its fantasy re-enactment of the grand tradition of popular insurrection inaugurated by the Bastille, replicated the degeneration of democratic impulse into elitist coercion endemic on the ultra-Left from Babeuf to Lenin.
So, after this most recent failure of para-Marxist, para-socialist anticipation, we must again ask: what remains? The first survivor, it transpires, is old-fashioned, anticapitalist Marxism as updated to the conditions of the late twentieth century. Just as Marx had not been disheartened by the failure of his original expectations in 1848 but deferred them to the ‘ next time,’ so former partisans of the Soviet experiment were not crushed by its collapse but continued to look for new "internal contradictions" of capitalism. And since there are always crises and injustices of some kind in this unhappy world, such contradictions are never hard to find. Consequently, just as earlier in the century the ‘highest stage’ of capitalism was declared to be "imperialism" and then later ‘fascism,’ so at the century's end the system's terminal stage is held to be "globalization." Indeed, it has been argued that Marx, with wizard-like clairvoyance, had foreseen this one hundred fifty years ago in the Manifesto's description of the emerging world market.
But this persistence of the old belief is not the most promising expression of the underlying paradigm. Its future, rather, belongs to new permutations of the quest for human equality. Since that objective is still an un achieved one, we can only expect that the old mole of the Method will burrow its way into ever new egalitarian movements. Indeed, in the tumult of the 1960's the waning cause of the proletariat was supplemented by incorporating other groups of the excluded into the Method's basic paradigm, to wit, that the most dehumanized group in society constitutes society's quintessentially human element. In Europe this new group was the peoples of the Third World then struggling for liberation from colonialism. In the United States the newly recognized cause was that of blacks struggling for their civil rights.
Yet, overall, it was America that pioneered the post proletarian liberation movement. This meant expanding on the civil rights movement to create a new feminism going beyond the long since realized goal of full universal suffrage to the social, even existential equality of the "genders"; finally, the expansion extended to the rights of sexual minorities”.
* Belknap Press of Harvard University. 1999
The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression*
”For these general reasons, no work of history or
human memory can remain untouched by personal motives. Some of the
contributors to this book were not always strangers to the fascinations
of Communism. Sometimes they themselves took part (even if only on
a modest scale) in the Communist system either in the orthodox Leninist-Stalinist
school or in its related or dissident varieties (Trotskyite, Maoist).
And if they still remain closely wedded to the left-or, rather, precisely
because they are still wedded to the left-it is necessary to take
a closer look at the reasons for their self-deception”
“How are we to assess Communism's crimes? What lessons are we to learn from them? Why has it been necessary to wait until the end of the twentieth century for this subject to show up on the academic radar screen? It is undoubtedly the case that the study of Stalinist and Communist terror, when compared to the study of Nazi crimes, has a great deal of catching-up to do (although such research is gaining popularity in Eastern Europe).
One cannot help noticing the strong contrast between the study of Nazi and Communist crimes. The victors of 1945 legitimately made Nazi crimes-and especially the genocide of the Jews-the central focus of their condemnation of Nazism. A number of researchers around the world have been working on these issues for decades. Thousands of books and dozens of films-most notably Night and Fog, Shoah, Sophies Choice, and Schindler”s List- have been devoted to the subject. Raul Hilberg, to name but one example, has centered his major work upon a detailed description of the methods used to put Jews to death in the Third Reich.
Yet scholars have neglected the crimes committed by the Communists. while names such as Himmler and Eichmann are recognized around the world as bywords for twentieth-century barbarism, the names of Feliks Dzerzhinsky, Genrikh Yagoda, and Nikolai Ezhov languish in obscurity. As for Lenin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, and even Stalin, they have always enjoyed a surprising reverence. A French government agency, the National Lottery, was crazy enough to use Stalin and Mao in one of its advertising campaigns. Would anyone even dare to come up with the idea of featuring Hitler or Goebbels in commercials?
The extraordinary attention paid to Hitler's crimes is entirely justified. It respects the wishes of the surviving witnesses, it satisfies the needs of researchers trying to understand these events, and it reflects the desire of moral and political authorities to strengthen democratic values. But the revelations concerning Communist crimes cause barely a stir. Why is there such an awkward silence from politicians? Why such a deafening silence from the academic world regarding the Communist catastrophe, which touched the lives of about one-third of humanity on four continents during a period spanning eighty years? Why is there such widespread reluctance to make such a crucial factor as crime-mass crime, systematic crime, and crime against humanity-a central actor in the analysis of Communism. Is this really something beyond human understanding? Or are we talking about a refusal to scrutinize the subject too closely for fear of learning the truth about it?
The reasons for this reticence are many and various. First, there is the dictators' understandable urge to erase their crimes and to justify the actions they cannot hide. Khrushchev's "Secret Speech" of 1956 was the first admission of Communist atrocities by a Communist leader. It was also the statement of a tyrant seeking to gloss over the crimes he himself committed when he headed the Ukrainian Communist Party at the height of the terror, crimes that he cleverly attributed to Stalin by claiming that he and his henchmen were merely obeying orders. To cover up the vast majority of Communist offenses, Khrushchev spoke only of victims who were Communists, although they were far fewer in number than the other kind. He defined these crimes with a euphemism, describing them in his conclusion as "abuses committed under Stalin" in order to justify the continuity of the system that retained the same principles, the same structure, and the same people.
In his inimitable fashion Khrushchev described the opposition he faced while preparing his ‘Secret Speech,’ especially from one of Stalin's confidants: ‘[Lazar] Kaganovich was such a yes-man that he would have cut his own father's throat if Stalin had winked and said it was in the interests of the cause-the Stalinist cause, that is ... He was arguing against me out of a selfish fear for his own hide. He was motivated entirely by his eagerness to escape any responsibility for what had happened. If crimes had been committed, Kaganovich wanted to make sure his own tracks were covered’ The absolute denial of access to archives in Communist countries, the total control of the print and other media as well as of border crossings, the propaganda trumpeting the regime's "successes," and the entire apparatus for keeping information under lock and key were designed primarily to ensure that the awful truth would never see the light of day".
Deaths attributable to world communism/socialism in the 20th century
“USSR: 20 million, China: 60 million, Vietnam: 1 million, North Korea: 2 million, Cambodia: 2 million, Eastern Europe:
1 million, Latin America: 150,000, Africa: 1.7 million, Afghanistan: 1.5 million, The international Communist movement and Communist parties not in power: about 10,000. The total approaches 100 million killed”.
* Copyright, Harvard University Press 1999 Stephane Courtois et al Editors
Political Pilgrims: Paul Hollander 1981*
Communism cannot be written off as an aberration of socialism.
It is indeed socialism, and in its day it was much admired by the non-Communist
“intellectual left” as exemplified by the following quotes from Hollander’s
book Political Pilgrims
*Oxford University Press, 1981
On Visiting Communist Russia
Lincoln Steffens; “I am a patriot for Russia; the future
is there; Russia will win out and it will save the world.”
Hewlett Johnson, Dean of Canterbury; “Stalin is no oriental despot. His new Constitution shows it. His readiness to relinquish power shows it. His reluctance to add to the power he already possesses shows it. His willingness to lead his people down new and unfamiliar paths of democracy shows it”..
Lion Feuchwanger; “The air which one breathes in the West is stale and foul. In the Western Civilization there is no longer clarity and resolution.......One breathes again when one comes from this oppressive atmosphere of a counterfeit democracy and hypocritical humanism into the invigorating atmosphere of the Soviet Union.” “The realization of socialist democracy is Stalin’s ultimate goal”.
Corliss and Margaret Lamont; “The direction in the soviet, both from the material and cultural standpoints, seems steadily and on the whole upward, and the problems those of groth. Elsewhere in the world the direction seems downward and the problems those of decay”
John Strachey; “To travel from the capitalist world into Soviet territory is to pass from death to birth”.
Edmund Wilson; One gradually comes to realize that, though the people’s clothes are dreary, there is little, if any, destitution; though there are no swell parts of the city, there are no degraded parts either. There are no shocking sights on the streets; no down and outers, no horrible disease, no old people picking in garbage pails”.
John Dewey; “As it is, I feel as if for the first time I might have some inkling of what may have been the moving spirit and force of primitive Christianity”.
George Bernard Shaw; “Stalin has delivered the goods to an extent that seemed impossible ten years ago; and I take my hat off to him accordingly”.
Henry Wallace on visiting the notorious gulag at Kolma, where the annual death rate is now known to have reached 30%;. “The Kolma gold miners are big husky young men, who came to the Far East from European Russia. I spoke with some of them”.
Sidney and Beatrice Webb (nee Potter); “Stalin is not a dictator....he is the duly elected representative of one of the Moscow constituencies to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. By this assembly he has been selected as one of the thirty members of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, accountable to the representatives for all activities”.
Joseph Davies, U.S. Ambassador to Russia, author of Mission to Moscow. “His (i.e. Stalin’s) brown eye is exceedingly wise and gentle. A child would like to sit on his lap and a dog would sidle up to him”.
On Visiting Communist Cuba
Saul Landau; “Cuba is the first purposeful society that we have had in the Western Hemisphere for many years- it’s the first society where human beings are treated as human beings, where men have a certain dignity, and where this is guaranteed to them.” To Saul Landau, Castro was “ a man who has been steeped in democracy”.
Elizabeth Sutherland, art editor from The Nation;
“He (Castro) seems, first of all, utterly devoted to the welfare of his
people- and his people are the poor not the rich. When he speaks,
it is as if his own dedication and energy were being directly transfused
into his listeners with an almost physical force”.
Susan Sontag; “It seems sometimes as if the whole country is high on some benificent kind of speed, and has been for years”
Jonathan Kozol; “There is a sense, within the Cuban schools, that one is working for a purpose and that purpose is a great deal more profound and more important than the selfish pleasure of individual reward. The goal is to become an active member in a common campaign to win an ethical objective
On Visiting Communist North Vietnam.
Tom Hayden and Staughton Lynd; “We knew too what
the Vietnamese contribution to a humane socialism would be; it was evident
in the unembarrassed handclasps among men, the poetry and song at the center
of man-women relationships, the freedom to weep practiced by everyone.....as
the Vietnamese speak of their country....Here we begin to understand the
possibilities for a socialism of the heart”.
Susan Sontag; “in Vietnam one is confronted by a whole people possessed by a belief i what Lawrence called ‘the subtle lifelong validity of a heroic impulse’”.
Ramsey Clark; You feel a unity in spirit. I doubt very seriously that I could walk in safety in Saigon, or the cities and villages of South Vietnam, as I have here, because of the division and the confusion and the lack of faith and belief there”.
On Visiting Communist China
David Rockefeller; “One is impressed immediately
by the sense of national harmony. From the loud patriotic music at
the border onward, there is a real and pervasive dedication to Chairman
Mao and the Moaist principles. Whatever the price of the Chinese
Revolution , it has obviously succeeded in producing more efficient and
dedicated administration, but also in fostering high morale and community
Urie Bronfenbrenner; “To me China seems like a kind of benign monarchy ruled by an emperor priest who has won the complete devotion of his subjects. In short, a religious and highly moralistic society”.
Simone de Beauvoir; “life in China today is exceptionally pleasant.....Plenty of fond dreams are authorized by the idea of a country where the government pays the people’s way through school, where generals and statesmen are scholars and poets”.
John K. Fairbank; “The people seem healthy, well-fed and articulate about their role as citizens of Mao’s new China”. “The Maoist revolution is on the whole the best thing that has happened to the Chinese people in centuries...Maoism...has got results”
Staunton Lynd and Tom Hayden; “We landed in Peking early in the afternoon....The sense of a different world was immediate...... We could feel the West was behind us.... The communist Internationale boomed with conviction from outdoor loudspeakers at the large modern airport.....Walking before breakfast.... we passed a group of women energetically singing before a days work. Everywhere is the pulse of purposeful activity”.
These inane comments help us understand that
Lenin had it right when he described the non-communist, socialist
“useful idiots”. It isn’t only the communists who are responsible for what the eminent historian Robert Conquest has described, accurately, as this “ravaged century”. The non-communist “fellow traveling” “popular front”socialist left is by no means free of responsibility nor is it blameless. The seeds of socialism were largely planted in the 19th century. They bore terrifying fruit in the 20th.
What about the welfare state as exists in, for example, Sweden, other countries in Europe and to a lesser extent in the United States. Hayek pointed out over fifty years ago, in his classic work The Road to Serfdom, “that democratic socialism, the great utopia of the last few generations, is not only un-achievable, but that to strive for it produces something so utterly different that few of those who may now wish it would be prepared to accept the consequences, many will not believe until the connection has been laid bare in all its aspects”. These words are more true today than when they were written. Socialism has proven to be a disaster in the third World. It is literally the proof that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions:” The welfare states of Europe are in trouble because the wealth transfer from productive individuals to those not as productive, for either the “deserving or the non-deserving poor” is resulting in a stagnant non-growing economy, particularly in the face of a global economy. The issue isn’t whether there should be a “safety net” of social services for the less fortunate and an important role for government in a number of areas. Hayek made this very clear in his Road to Serfdom; “To prohibit the use of certain poisonous substances or to require special precautions in their use, or to limit working hours or to require certain sanitary arrangements, is fully compatible with the preservation of competition. The only question here is whether in the particular instance the advantages gained than the social costs which they impose. Nor is the preservation of competition incompatible with an extensive system of social services-as long as the organization of these services is not designed in such a way as to make competition ineffective over wide fields”. The quintessential classical liberal F. A. Hayek thus is not a libertarian
The dangers of the Welfare State are 1) it often is unjust in taking lawful property from individuals through excessive taxation, 2) it substitutes the collective judgment of the government for the freedom and judgment of the individual 3) it discourages initiative and entrepreneurship by individuals, and 4) it leads to excessive government power and hence corruption. The danger of these tendencies of the welfare state were well summarized by Lionel Trilling, a respected man of the contemporary liberal left as quoted by Gertrude Himmelfarb in her book Poverty and Compassion (Knopf Publisher 1991) “Some paradox of our natures leads us, when once we have made our fellow men the objects of our enlightened interest, to go on to make them the object of our pity, then of our wisdom, ultimately of our coercion. It is to prevent this corruption, the most ironic and tragic that man knows, that we stand in need of the moral realism which is the product of the moral imagination”.
Again, according to Hayek “The guiding principle that a policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy remains as true today as it was in the nineteenth century”.
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