Sunday, 24 September 2017

I Can See Why Socialism Would Be Attractive To A 12 Year Old

I saw a statistic from Thomas DiLorenzo that greatly concerned me. Apparently 43% of Americans under 30 view socialism more favourably than capitalism, and 69% of voters under 30 would vote for a socialist Presidential candidate. This is really disturbing and ought to horrify, probably about as much as it should horrify if a young earth creationist was lecturing in biology at Oxford University, or if an astrologer was appointed as a high school physics teacher.

Things are similar in the UK, with Corbynmania becoming an ever-proliferating personality cult based on the crass distortions and uncritical evaluations of its delusional leader. I've just listened to Corbyn's interview on this morning's Andrew Marr Show, where he is practiced in the art of making statements that are attractive to the credulous, and absurd to anyone with a smattering of intellectual curiosity.

I can well imagine being about 12 years old, and hearing positive political aspirations about making society more equal, paying people a 'fair wage' and 'investing' in our economy. But naïve ideas only survive in the heads of naïve people - and once the linguistic manipulation of these words is exposed, and once one develops even a sketchy understanding of the adverse effects that would occur through the introduction of Corbyn's policies, it becomes very easy to grow out of socialism, and somewhat alarming that there are so many young, so-called educated, worldly people that have not rejected it.

Socialism and its more aggressive cousin Communism have the most dreadfully tainted of histories - responsible for repeated legacies of dictatorships, mass killings, state-mandated theft, war crimes, environmental destruction, forced labour, famine, drastic food shortages, housing crises, mass unemployment, disease, totalitarianism, censorship, hyperinflation, poverty, and oppression.

One of the big mysteries of the present age is why so many otherwise intelligent people think that this disease of the mind is so laudable and fashionable - they would never point such approbation in the direction of starvation, mass unemployment and oppression, so why do they extol it so fervently when it goes by another name? They hate the symptoms but love the disease that causes those symptoms.

I think the explanation is fourfold. Firstly, they get fatted up by the lies and distortions of the propagandists; secondly, they think that what is being promised is medicine instead of poison; thirdly, they completely misunderstand and are ignorant of all the basic economics that would help them see the error of their thinking; and fourthly, they believe they are doing good, not bad, so their moral suasion pulls them in the direction of these falsehoods.

They have no realisation that the big things they desire: greater living standards for the poor, a cleaner more environmentally friendly planet, less divisiveness in society, better healthcare and social services, a more even distribution of power, more value for money, job creation for the unemployed and a more educated nation are all provided much more readily by markets than they are politicians. Moreover, with some irony the socialists don't realise that every good cause to which they cleave is paid for by the fruits of free market labour - it is trade and competition that produces the tracks on which the carriages of socialism can travel.

It's not just noteworthy how much socialists are actually unmindful capitalists - and how in just about everything they do they rely on something capitalism has provided. It's also noteworthy how the common tactic in cults like socialism, Marxism and young earth creationism is the tactic of proclaiming problems and proffering no solutions. Criticisms of capitalism and biology largely amount to spurious criticisms of the thing in question – they are almost wholly devoid of their own explanations, they are merely parasites that feed off the efficacy of their host organism. For example, read anyone from olden day Marx to modern day Ha-Joon Chang and you’ll find no theories of viable alternatives.

There is no mention of a system better than the system of a free market where decisions are made to create mutual value for buyer and seller. The anti-capitalist rhetoric fails at every basic reality-check, and offers nothing that gets close to matching Pareto’s principle that a nation will progress with economic growth and value if there is increased specialisation. That is, it makes no sense if nurses make their own uniforms or car mechanics grow their own vegetables – it is far better if individuals specialise in a particular skill and engender a free economy of diverse varieties to match the diverse varieties of human beings.

It amazes me how so many people still cling to absurd and counterfactual ideas about how the state over-wielding its influence is to be preferred over the prosperity of the free market and increase in trade. One of the main reasons it amazes me is because history furnishes us with repeated real life social experiments that confirm beyond any doubt that what causes increased prosperity and happier citizens is free trade, which is underpinned by competition.

If you want a large scale example of the effects of our being back into self-sufficiency from a comparably good market system, you have the collapse of the Roman Empire and the ushering in of the Dark Ages, where free trade was retarded by a mass de-urbanisation process that put us back a few rungs on the evolutionary ladder of social progression.
Or perhaps you could consider the alternative paths that Germany took after it was divided into West Germany, a parliamentary democracy that embraced the free market and went on to be the most prosperous economy in Europe, and East Germany, a Communist dictatorship that provided its citizens with economic stagnancy thanks to the Marxist-Leninist Soviet-led influence.

You may like to look at the difference between the dreadfully closed state hegemony of North Korea and the hugely prosperous market-embracing South Korea; or the difference between Hong Kong, one of the freest markets in the world, and other nearby Asian nations that didn’t follow suit. Or, if you get time, read this lovely little IEA article Latin America: A tale of two continents by Diego Zuluaga Laguna about South American prosperity that saw individual nation growth commensurate with each nation’s opening up of freer trade.

All of these examples share a vital piece of wisdom – more trade and less state equals better and more prosperous societies. It’s not rocket science. Why after repeated demonstrations of this does anyone with an ounce of realism still support the woefully misguided rhetoric from neo-socialists who still want to run on about all the things that retard progress, growth and well-being?

The reality is, with the rise of the personality cult of Corbynism we are seeing one of the biggest mass delusions this country has ever seen. And the only way to stop it is by the same method we use to stop childhood guilelessness; by growing up and growing out of it.  

* For additional consideration, if you want more things to read on this matter, in particular how the burden of regulation stultifies growth, Dan Mitchell from International Liberty is well informed about how it affects things like aggregate cost, job losses, time wasted, and foregone growth.