In response to my answer regarding QUORA* : ‘Why do you think capitalism today is less popular among Democrats than socialism?’, a correspondent commented as follows, ending in a link to “The Basics” of socialism. Comment from Christopher Henry Kavookjian
You clearly don’t know what socialism is.
Socialism is a system where the workers democratically control businesses and industries, rather than being commanded by a private property owner.
There are many types of socialism, spanning from extreme libertarianism to extreme authoritarianism. However, the only true form of socialism is one that is 100% democratic and free of money and class distinctions.
In capitalism, most people are actually less free because they have to sell their labor in order to live. Under socialism (keep in mind I’m not talking about Stalinism or Maoism or any of that crap) things like healthcare, housing, education, childcare, and family leave are already paid for, and the primary point of work is to serve society and do what you love.
It is not true that in socialism everyone would make equal paycheck. People would be paid according to their labor. Doctors and Lawers would still make much more than janitors. The truth is, undesirable jobs like janitors and street-cleaners would probably not even exist under socialism as everyone would collectively work together to make their communities more livable.
Not so scary, right? I am a socialist and this is what I advocate for. I have no interest in government control of anything beyond healthcare and education. Here is the link to a site that further explains what I stand for: The Basics
[NOTE: Kavookjian apparently deleted his comment on 10/1/18.]
I give Christopher credit. At least he didn’t try to hide the reality of socialism by claiming that countries like Sweden are socialist, rather than semi-capitalist mixed economies. Nor did he try to separate socialism from Marxism. His link to “The Basics” relies heavily on Karl Marx, the ideological architect of modern socialism.
I posted this reply:
“People are actually less free under capitalism because they have to sell their labor in order to live” is the same argument used against the free labor of the capitalist North to defend slavery in the Confederate South. Unlike Northern workers, the slave workers of the South were supplied with “free” cradle-to-grave satisfaction of their needs, never having to worry about selling their labor for a paycheck or of ever being unemployed. The enslavement of a minority was justified, the pro-slavery ideology argued, because state voters democratically authorized it. The Confederacy was essentially America’s first encounter with democratic socialism.*
Under modern socialism, people get to vote away not only other people’s freedom, but their own, as well. Modern socialism’s solution to the “problem” of workers having “to sell their labor in order to live” is to trade their precious freedom to earn money for a sham vote to elect the political Al Capones who will swoop in and seize control of private businesses and industries created by the private entrepreneurs who built them through voluntary trade with employees, investors, suppliers, and consumers. Instead of being “commanded” by private employers who can’t force them, workers are forced by government to serve “society” rather than themselves.**
Economics is the vast field of cooperative activity by which people work and trade voluntarily to support their own lives, as human nature requires. Business is the main means by which people voluntarily organize and cooperate toward a common productive mission geared toward consumers choices, each in pursuit of one’s personal flourishing. A government with total control of business and industry has total control of the economy. A government with total control of the economy has total control over people’s means of supporting their lives. A government with total control over people's means of self-support is a government that has every individual by the throat in every aspect of their lives. What freedom, including freedom of expression or conscience or political dissent, is possible to a citizen faced with government officials who have controlling power hanging over their lives? Does it matter whether you have a single ruler or a party apparatus or a special interest such as “the workers”? Whether it is elected or not? A government, of whatever kind, that has every individual by the throat is a totalitarian state. Logic confirms this truth. History has proven this time and again.
Socialism in any form--fascism, communism, democratic--is totalitarian by design. There is a reason why socialists seek political power, rather than voluntary consent in the private sector— Socialism requires imposition from the top down regardless of any disagreement. “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” Only through the state can socialism be instituted. And so socialists seek control of government--the only institution that can legally compel obedience to its laws and edicts. Socialism grows out of the barrel of a gun. True, socialism has many forms. It can be total, as with national socialism (fascism) or communism. It can be partial, as with the mixed economy we call the welfare state. Layering “100% democratic” on top changes nothing. Freedom is not the right to vote. Freedom is the right to act regardless of anyone else’s vote. An enlightened society protects its minorities from democratic control by protecting the rights of the individual, the smallest minority. (Of course, once socialists are elected, and have consolidated their power, they have no more use for democracy. Democracy is a means to power, not a means to democratic control by “the workers” or anyone else.)
Rights are guarantees to freedom of action in pursuit of personal goals, not an automatic claim on goods and services that others must be forced to provide. A person who is forced to provide for others' material desires--to “serve society”--is a slave. And that’s what socialism is, at its core--just another form of slavery. Marxian socialism is Confederate slavery extended across all of society. Whatever its manifestation, the basics of socialism remain the same. Every socialist initiative begins with armed aggression by the state against productive private individuals, based on the premise that the individual’s life is not his own to live. Just let anyone try to peaceably act on his own judgement, in defiance of government commands. He’d be declared an outlaw, seized by armed government agents, and locked in a cage. No private enterprise--no matter how wealthy its owners or how large the enterprise--has that power of command. The businessman’s only form of “command” is a job or product offering, from which one is free to walk away.
This is straight out of the socialist horse's mouth. Socialism is thoroughly totalitarian. It is thoroughly utopian, running contrary to the individualist requirements of human nature. Just check out “the basics.” Government force jumps out of every page. Disdain for voluntary individual consent is evident at every turn. The basics can be simplified as follows: Socialism is organized crime rising out of the underworld to control a nation. It begins with theft. Carried to its logical conclusion, socialism ends the only way it can or ever has when individual freedom is squelched and voluntary cooperation (markets) is obliterated--in economic paralysis and collapse, political prisons, tyranny, and ultimately murder.
The basics of Marxism in actual practice: Why Marxism—Evil Laid Bare--C. Bradley Thompson for The Objective Standard (Video version: "Why Marxism?" An Evening at FEE with C. Bradley Thompson [51:13])
The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire—Andrew Bernstein
Kavookjian is careful to disavow any connection to Marxian socialism in practice. “I’m not talking about Stalinism or Maoism or any of that crap,” he says. This is a classic evasive tactic of socialists; wherever socialism is tried and failed, it is never “true socialism.” But don’t worry. My socialism will work because mine is the real thing. Richard Mason hits on why this argument seems semi-plausible:
Why exactly do we treat two equally bloody ideologies [Nazism and communism] in such starkly different ways?
The answer may lie the in [sic] misperceptions of virtue. Nazis, rightfully, are seen as hateful and vicious because their ideology is built around the idea that one group is superior to the other. It is an inherently anti-egalitarian ideology, a violent belief that was put into practice only once by those who devised it.
As such, there is no justifiable way in which a fascist could argue ‘but that wasn’t real Nazism’. The same is not true for communism.
On the contrary; we see this line of argument all the time. Those on the far-left have a whole umbrella of communist styles, from Stalinism to Anarchism, Maoism to Trotskyism, or even just classic Marxism. Since Karl Marx never implemented communism himself, the leaders of communist states always have that get-out-of-jail-free card. Any shortcomings, tragedies, or crises a communist regime faces can always be blamed on a misapplication of Marx’s infallible roadmap to utopia.
Conveniently, communists can always detach themselves from the horrors of the past. They can paint themselves as pioneers of an ideology that simply hasn’t had the opportunity to flourish (‘real communism has never been tried!’).
My emphasis. Nonetheless, Kavookjian is honest enough to lay out, in brutally explicit detail, what real socialism actually is--Marxism. When someone on the Left tries to sneak in the mythical idea that socialism is some kind of Scandinavian model or tries to whitewash the true nature of socialism by peddling “good intentions,” refer to Kavookjian’s Comment on my answer regarding QUORA* : ‘Why do you think capitalism today is less popular among Democrats than socialism?
Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People by Randy E. Barnett.
What is Capitalism—Ayn Rand
VIDEO: What is Socialism? Why is it immoral? [6:51]
* [I relied substantially for this observation on Chapter 4 “How Slavery Led to a More Republican Constitution” Randy E. Barnett, Our Republican Constitution. See George Fitzhugh, "Centralization and Socialism"]
** [Contrary to Marxist fantasy, business and industry are not raw materials of nature lying around like rocks, ready to be picked up by “owners.” Yet that’s what socialists would have us believe. How else does one make sense of the statement, “Socialism is a system where the workers democratically control businesses and industries, rather than being commanded by a private property owner,” other than to believe that business and industry (the “means of production”) are just there for the taking? Yet that idea is the starting point of socialist ideology. The fundamental source of wealth in not physical labor. The source is man’s mind, an individual attribute. Businesses and industries are built by the intellectual labor and talent of entrepreneurs pursuing a vision for the satisfaction of material human desires. Marx had no use for the human intellect in economic affairs, so he wouldn’t conceive of a businessman--a capitalist--as anything but a parasite on “the workers” rather than the wellspring of rising general prosperity.]
Unlike capitalism, which exists to the extent government refrains from interfering in people’s peaceful individual private decisions, socialism exists only to the extent government forcibly overrides people’s right to live by their own judgement and personal pursuits. Ask yourself what would happen if, under a developing socialist system, some businessman said, “No, I think I’d rather keep my business and run it my way”; Or if some taxpaying worker said, “No, I’m not interested in paying for someone else's ‘right’ to his healthcare or education or food or whatever, nor have others be forced to pay for mine. I think I’ll keep my money and pay my own way”; Or if some group formed a political party with a platform calling for repeal of all socialist laws and re-establishing the rights of citizens to control their own economic affairs. Just let anyone try to peaceably act on his own judgement, in defiance of government’s controls. He’d be declared an outlaw, seized by armed government agents, and locked in a cage. No private enterprise--no matter how wealthy its owners or how large the enterprise--has that power of command. The businessman’s only form of “command” is a job or product offering.
Under socialism, the individual--the “worker”--loses the only real and morally legitimate means of “controlling” business and industry--his buy and sell decisions as a consumer and his choice of whom to work for. All of those decisions are imposed by the state. Any social system under which the government seizes total command of the economy of necessity subjugates the individual to the state. From what gets produced to pay scales, “society”--the economy--is shaped from the top down by socialist masterminds, as if human life is an ant colony; no room for “money and class distinctions”--market forces; no room for individual choice. No need even for street cleaners: the whole country is a prison. People will just be ordered out to “collectively work together”--a nationwide work release program.
Thanks for confirming the basics of socialism.
Yet socialism forcibly replaces private property owners whose only form of “command” is a job offer with government gangsters who have us collectively by our throats.
Democracy substitutes majority rule for individual self-determination.
It’s laws protect criminals from their victims, rather than victims from criminals.]