The Socialist Fantasy vs. The Socialist Reality
Socialism has always sought to claim the moral “high ground” by asserting that it is the economic-political system that is compassionate, selfless, and calling forth the better virtues of humanity. It advocates for the poor, the under-class, the minorities, and the powerless. This has been its message since the 1900’s with the rise of the labor unions, the Bolsheviks, the Socialist Workers party, along with the various organizations and movements that emerged to oppose “capitalist oppression” and support the “common man.”
In this nation socialism grew among the young, urban, idealistic intellectuals such as Whitaker Chambers, who joined the Communist Party of the United States (then known as the Workers Party of America) in 1925. He was later recruited by the Soviet Union as a spy and functioned as such through most of the 1930’s. But gradually he began to see the true nature of what he had given himself to and left the party, taking his family into hiding. I would recommend his autobiography entitled “Witness” where he tells the story of his time in the party, his defection, and his exposing of the Soviet agent Alger Hiss. In it, Chambers recounts how he came to see the reality of the USSR and that he had given himself to something that he then recognized as “absolute evil.”
Chambers does not stand alone; he is among the many who were persuaded by the socialist message and aligned themselves with the cause. I, for one, considered myself to be a socialist in my early years of college. In the 1970’s, many of us saw the racial injustice, the Vietnam War, the corruption in Washington D.C., and the futility of a culture given to materialism. I was influenced my college professors, books, music, and the movies popular at that time such as “Billy Jack” (which was funded by the radical leftist group – the SDS). Bear in mind I was an impressionable 18-year-old who came from a somewhat dysfunctional home and was a sinful, rebellious young man without Christ. Though my excursion into socialism (I called myself a Marxist) was somewhat brief, it was personally significant. Winston Churchill is quoted as saying, “Any man who is not a socialist at age twenty has no heart. Any man who is still a socialist at age forty has no head.”
Postmodern millennials, often well-meaning, want to help the poor and seek justice. Yet at the same time they deny reality. They live in a world of illusion, clamoring for the socialism of Castro, Chavez and Maduro, denying obvious truths: Cuba is a prison, and hundreds of thousands of starving people are fleeing tyranny in Venezuela.
The reality of what socialism has produced is much different than its idealistic message. Socialism is an idealistic fantasy, a dream that has cost, so far, millions of lives in the attempts to apply it in real human history. Jordan Peterson asserts that socialism is so appealing to young people because they are “unbelievably ignorant” of the history of the last century. The facts scream the true story. In the 20th century, socialism a la Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Kim, et al. is responsible for the intentional deaths of 100,000,000 people. No, socialism is not compassionate as it is played out in the real world. It ultimately creates a tyranny, where there is much bloodshed and human suffering.
It needs to be understood that socialism is a form of enslavement. The promise of the State supplying all of one’s needs necessitates the State becoming the “slave master.” David Limbaugh has, in my opinion, expressed clearly what socialism has done in nations where it has been implemented: “In practice, socialism has consistently impoverished and enslaved. With its top-down control of the economy, it obliterates individual economic liberty and thus robs individuals of an essential part of their humanity.”
The wise man learns from history in order that the mistakes of the past not be repeated. The history of the past hundred has taught us the consequences of following the socialist idealistic fantasy. In the battle of fantasy and reality, reality wins every time.