There is a gulf of separation between theoretical socialism and its practical realities —something that socialists are well aware of, and why they intentionally deceive others about this peculiar ideology. One important overarching reality of socialism is that its success requires compulsory adherence to the will of the state that wields it.
One might argue that socialism opposes human nature, and I think this is true, but experience tells us that it is nevertheless possible to convince human beings to relinquish their natural instincts to the demands of the state —particularly if individuals are duped into accepting socialist theory over socialist reality, and where the state is willing to use coercive methods against its citizens to assert and maintain totalitarian power.
By writing “coercive methods,” I mean to suggest numerous insidious strategies beyond holding a gun to a citizen’s head. Most thinking humans will recognize coercion as the gateway to an unnatural state; anyone who is willing to give up his or her unassailable rights probably doesn’t deserve them in the first place.
Socialism is complex, however. What makes it complicated are its several (actually, too many) and competing theoretical ideologies. These include Utopianism, Marxism, Marxist-Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, Trotskyism, Leftist Communism, Autonomism, Anarchism, socialist democracy, democratic socialism, liberal socialism, ethical socialism, libertarian socialism, religious, regional, and eco-socialism … and it goes on from there.
One may recall the case of Winston Smith, who frustrated by state oppression and rigid control —even to the extent of prohibiting individualism in thought or expression, sought to break away from his socialist masters. He soon realized that the socialist state can never allow even one citizen to achieve independent thought. At one time, George Orwell was a committed socialist, whose work Nineteen-Eighty-Four reflected his realization that socialist reality was a stark betrayal of its theory. Orwell’s conclusion was that mankind must never trust any state to deliver a just society.
If this is true, then why should anyone living in Utopia wish to change from a system that values individuality —indeed, one in which society thrives on our natural instincts— to live within a society controlled by the state, where the only rewards come from group think, and where success economic is only achieved through carefully measured doses of state welfare?
In 1908, writer Jack London wrote the earliest of dystopian fiction novels; he titled it The Iron Heel. The background for London’s book is set in San Francisco and Sonoma County. He chronicles an oligarchic power structure that exists for three centuries before a revolution ushers in what he calls “The Brotherhood of Man.” London, a socialist activist who died in 1916, was never witness to the fact that his predictions about San Francisco came true —but one in which the transformation to a brotherhood of man transformed itself into a socialist oligarchy.
Nevertheless, Marxian socialism in America failed because it was largely rejected by the American people. This rejection fueled a massive undertaking by the socialist elite to rethink their strategies.
The change came in 1973. It was the year that the first volume of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s book Gulag Archipelago was published. It demolished any pretense that communism had any moral authority. Socialism was exposed for what it is. The American left struggled … what next, then? The answer: identity politics: a struggle between victim and victimizer, the oppressed and the oppressor, and rather than presenting the socialist ideal as being collectivist in nature, the political left began to “expose” the power of the white people over exploited minorities (and third-world nations).
And where should this new battle plan be implemented? Within US colleges and universities, of course. Writer Bruce Bawer tells us: “The point [became] simply to “prove”—repetitively, endlessly—certain facile, reductive, and invariably left-wing points about the nature of power and oppression. In this new version of the humanities, all of Western civilization is not analyzed through the use of reason or judged according to aesthetic standards that have been developed over centuries; rather, it is viewed through prisms of race, class, and gender, and is hailed or condemned in accordance with certain political checklists.”
This is American socialism today. We are witness to it every single day in the 24/7 news media, the perfect place for the expression of opinion vs. fact.
In contrast to leftist socialism (pick any of its manifestations) free-market capitalism is founded upon voluntary human interaction. Its characteristics include private property ownership, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchanges of goods and services, and competitive markets.
People who own wealth make their own economic and investment decisions; prices and the distribution of goods and services are controlled through competition. Traditional Americans believe that while there is a role for government, it must be a limited role —as reflected in the United States Constitution. There is another significant distinction: it is founded on commonality among Americans, which includes friendliness toward one another, the sharing of common values, beliefs, and traditions. True Americans have a firm belief in the goodness of our founding documents.
America is now involved in a new civil war. Is it a contest involving differences in culture, east coast to west, northern border to southern? On the one hand, American socialists (nee communists) deny the importance of God, endorsed such odd notions as transgender rights, forcing small business owners to provide medical procedures for the employees that violate our religious beliefs, force Catholic Nuns to provide contraception, engineered the firing of corporate executives because of their stand on such issues as marriage equality, imposed fines upon bakeries who refused to service homosexual weddings, and denying to Christians the same religious protections accorded to Native Americans.
It is more than a cultural war. It is a conflict that pits west coast, metropolitan, well-educated upper-class elite against the traditions and liberties of middle American, exurban and rural, lower-middle- and working-class citizens with a modest education. It is a war where the privileged few seek to impose their will on a recalcitrant majority of traditional Americans.
At present, the conflict manifests itself as a cold civil war. It doesn’t need to become a “hot” war. This will depend, I think, on how well the intractable majority realizes their power at the voting booth —which is why I think Mr. Trump is making such a gargantuan effort to “stump” for the Republican ticket in the mid-term elections. He appeals to those of us who regard ourselves as nationalist s—that is to say, people who are passionate in our love for America.
Note this important contrast: Republicans are the party of Lincoln, the party of unity around our founding principles, while the socialists are the party of elitists who can only offer us the politics of identity. Which of these will you choose?