Conservative Index Add
pagetitle

Sunday, November 18th, 2018Last Update: Tuesday, October 30th, 2018 07:58:08 PM

Socialism is a Dead End

By: David Deming

It's disheartening that an avowed socialist is a viable candidate for President of the United States. Socialism is a dead end. For hundreds of years, it has failed everywhere its been adopted. The enthusiasm of our youth for the candidacy of Bernie Sanders is a symptom of our failure to educate them, not only in history, government, and economics, but also basic morality.

The history of socialism in America is a history of failure. When the Pilgrims first settled at Plymouth Colony in the seventeenth century, they abolished private property and adopted communal ownership. The governor of the Colony, William Bradford, explained that the Pilgrims thought socialism would make them "happy and flourishing." But the experiment proved to be a debacle. According to Bradford, socialism bred "confusion and discontent" and discouraged work. The Pilgrim's communistic system had to be quickly abandoned. When private property was restored, "it made all hands very industrious," and the Plymouth Colony flourished.

Another example of socialism's failure in America was the town of New Harmony, Indiana. In 1825 New Harmony was established as a utopian socialistic community in which there was no private property. With no market or free exchanges of goods and services, all economic activity had to be conducted on the basis of politics. This led to interminable squabbling. In the short space of two years, the New Harmony community underwent no less than ten schisms. By 1827, there were so few people left that the project had to be abandoned. A historian noted that "no communistic experiment had ever been, or ever was to be, started under such favorable circumstances. Entering ready-made homes, and taking over thousands of acres of farmsteads, orchards, vineyards, and cultivated fields, the [citizens of New Harmony] escaped the usual pioneering toil, started free from debt, and were able to rely upon the financial resources of a great philanthropist. Yet they failed more speedily than any previous community."

But you don't have to be a student of ancient history to know that socialism doesn't work. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 was an unequivocal demonstration of the moral and economic superiority of capitalism. Even as you read this essay, the misery caused by socialism is unfolding in the country of Venezuela. Since Venezuela embraced socialism in 1999, poverty, crime, and corruption have all increased. Grocery shelves are empty and the annual inflation rate is estimated to be as high as 200 percent.

The US is a constitutional republic founded on political equality, not equality of income or circumstances. Our system of government was designed to secure the natural rights of its citizens. These rights include not only "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," but the right to acquire and maintain private property. John Locke explained "the great and chief end therefore, of men uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property." The founding fathers considered property rights to be sacred and paramount. In 1772, the Boston Committee of Correspondence asserted that the "natural rights of colonists as men" included "first, a right to life; secondly, to liberty; thirdly, to property."

Under capitalism, goods and services are distributed through private, voluntary exchanges. When people engage in volitional transactions everyone benefits. If we believe a transaction is in our best interest we have an incentive to maintain good relations with those with whom we are trading. Thus a society based on freedom and trading promotes good will and civility. Our free market system has produced the greatest prosperity in human history.

There are no property rights under socialism. Goods and services are distributed by force through political means. Everything you possess is subject to confiscation and redistribution. Industrious and productive people are punished; parasites are rewarded. When people come to believe they have a right to goods and services produced by other people, society disintegrates into squabbling factions. If socialism is allowed to progress to its logical extreme it culminates in a military dictatorship like North Korea.

What about so-called "crony capitalism?" Crony capitalism is nothing more than socialism that benefits the wealthy and influential. It is just as wrong as any other form of socialism. The cure is to limit government power. Human nature is corruptible. If government has the power to redistribute wealth, it will always act in the interests of the powerful segments of society. What made America great is not progressive government, but the genius and industry of a people freed from arbitrary power by the chains placed upon government by our Constitution.

Socialism is not so much a legitimate economic system as it is a moral failing. It will always exist because ignorant people will always want something for nothing. If we want to retain our freedom and prosperity, we must educate our children that the purpose of government is to secure liberty, not provide free lunches.

About David Deming

David Deming is a geophysicist and associate professor of arts and sciences at the University of Oklahoma. His book, Black & White: Politically Incorrect Essays on Politics, Culture, Science, Religion, Energy and Environment, is available for purchase on Amazon.com

Other Articles By David Deming

Conservative Christians Unwelcome at OU

The nation was transfixed by the smear campaign launched against judge Brett Kavanaugh. In a...

OU President Galloglys Challenge

When he assumed office on July 1, OU President James Gallogly found a full plate. But foremost among...

Should We Surrender on Bump Stocks?

In the aftermath of the October 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas, the US Justice Department has...

A Three-Point Plan for Reforming Higher Education in Oklahoma

Over the past few years the higher education establishment in Oklahoma has repeatedly warned that...

Why the Second Amendment Protects AR-15s

For decades the Federal Judiciary has been trying to interpret the Second Amendment out of the...

Hate Speech Hysteria at the University of Oklahoma

In March of 2015, people across the US were shocked to see a video showing two members of the...

Socialism is a Dead End

Its disheartening that an avowed socialist is a viable candidate for President of the United...

Other Constitution Columnists

Andrew K. Boyle

Meekness in Exchange for the Exhausting Burden of Winning.
Politics is a strange pursuit. Granted, self government is one of the highest and most burdensome...

David Deming

Conservative Christians Unwelcome at OU
The nation was transfixed by the smear campaign launched against judge Brett Kavanaugh. In a...

John Michener

Pharaoh, Pro-Life Politician
When should we abolish abortion, now or later? Pro-life politicians tell us we must support...

Richard Engle

Schoolyard Bullies Want Your Lunch Money
In the recent GOP primaries and runoffs we heard much about teachers, apples, school kids and all...

Tim Bakamjian

Stitt vs. Edmondson: A Comparison of Candidates
Oklahomas two main gubernatorial candidates are sharply different in background and approach to...

Charlie Meadows

YES on State Questions 793, 794 and NO on 798, 800 and 801
Here is my evaluation of the five State Questions that will be on the November 6 General Election...

Theodore King

THE FEDERAL PAGE for Fall 2018
November 2nd Feast Day of All Souls,Happy Birthday to Paddy Joe and My DadHappy 80th birthday to...

Steve Byas

Teacher Certification
The teacher strike of last spring has brought the issue of public education to the forefront in...

In The News

Constitution Staff

Congressional Seats Up for Election
The U.S. Congress is composed of two chambers. Senators serve six-year terms with only a third of...

Constitution Staff

Races for Statewide Secondary Offices
In addition to the governors office, a host of secondary statewide offices, and one seat for the...

Constitution Staff

The Race for Governor
Mary Fallin was prohibited by term-limits from seeking a third four-year term in 2018. With the seat...

Constitution Staff

Five State Questions on Ballot
Voters will find five state questions on the November ballot. Measures can reach the ballot by...

Constitution Staff

Record State Budget Projected
The next Oklahoma Legislature will have a record number of new members. This is a result of term...

Constitution Columnists

Andrew K. Boyle

Meekness in Exchange for the Exhausting Burden of Winning.
Politics is a strange pursuit. Granted, self government is one of the highest and most burdensome...

David Deming

Conservative Christians Unwelcome at OU
The nation was transfixed by the smear campaign launched against judge Brett Kavanaugh. In a...

John Michener

Pharaoh, Pro-Life Politician
When should we abolish abortion, now or later? Pro-life politicians tell us we must support...

© 2001 - 2009 The Oklahoma Constitution, all rights reserved.
Contact the Oklahoma Constitution by calling 405-366-1125 or emailing okconsti@aol.com
Content Management System (CMS) provided by WebTeks CMS.