Socialism employs evil means, confiscation and intimidation, to accomplish what are often seen as noble goals -- namely, helping one's fellow man

Why Socialism is Evil

by | Feb 18, 2014 | POLITICS

Evil acts are given an aura of moral legitimacy by noble-sounding socialistic expressions, such as spreading the wealth, income redistribution, caring for the less fortunate, and the will of the majority. Let’s have a thought experiment to consider just how much Americans sanction evil.

Imagine there are several elderly widows in your neighborhood. They have neither the strength to mow their lawns, clean their windows and perform other household tasks nor the financial means to hire someone to help them. Here’s a question that I’m almost afraid to ask: Would you support a government mandate that forces you or one of your neighbors to mow these elderly widows’ lawns, clean their windows and perform other household tasks? Moreover, if the person so ordered failed to obey the government mandate, would you approve of some sort of sanction, such as fines, property confiscation or imprisonment? I’m hoping, and I believe, that most of my fellow Americans would condemn such a mandate. They’d agree that it would be a form of slavery — namely, the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another.

Would there be the same condemnation if, instead of forcing you or your neighbor to actually perform weekly household tasks for the elderly widows, the government forced you or your neighbor to give one of the widows $50 of your weekly earnings? That way, she could hire someone to mow her lawn or clean her windows. Would such a mandate differ from one under which you are forced to actually perform the household task? I’d answer that there is little difference between the two mandates except the mechanism for the servitude. In either case, one person is being forcibly used to serve the purposes of another.

I’m guessing that most Americans would want to help these elderly ladies in need but they’d find anything that openly smacks of servitude or slavery deeply offensive. They might have a clearer conscience if all the neighbors were forced (taxed) to put money into a government pot. A government agency would then send the widows $50 to hire someone to mow their lawns and perform other household tasks. This collective mechanism makes the particular victim invisible, but it doesn’t change the fact that a person is being forcibly used to serve the purposes of others. Putting the money into a government pot simply conceals an act that would otherwise be deemed morally depraved.

This is why socialism is evil. It employs evil means, confiscation and intimidation, to accomplish what are often seen as noble goals — namely, helping one’s fellow man. Helping one’s fellow man in need by reaching into one’s own pockets to do so is laudable and praiseworthy. Helping one’s fellow man through coercion and reaching into another’s pockets is evil and worthy of condemnation. Tragically, most teachings, from the church on down, support government use of one person to serve the purposes of another; the advocates cringe from calling it such and prefer to call it charity or duty.

Some might argue that we are a democracy, in which the majority rules. But does a majority consensus make moral acts that would otherwise be deemed immoral? In other words, if the neighbors got a majority vote to force one of their number — under pain of punishment — to perform household tasks for the elderly widows, would that make it moral?

The bottom line is that we’ve betrayed much of the moral vision of our Founding Fathers. In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 for relief of French refugees who had fled from insurrection in San Domingo to Baltimore and Philadelphia, James Madison rose on the floor of the House of Representatives to object, saying, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” Tragically, today’s Americans — Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative — would hold such a position in contempt and run a politician like Madison out of town on a rail.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. In 1980, he joined the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and is currently the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics. He is also the author of Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination? and Up from the Projects: An Autobiography. Williams participates in many debates and conferences, is a frequent public speaker and often gives testimony before both houses of Congress. This editorial was made available through Creator's Syndicate.

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The views expressed represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine.

13 Comments

  1. Amen.

  2. Its so simple. Force is evil no matter who administers it unless in self defense.

  3. How far we have fallen……..

  4. Mr. Williams, the problem with your analysis is that you frame the discussion in terms of either being forced by government to help those widows, or willingly volunteering to do it yourself, which you describe as “laudable and praiseworthy”. As long as the discussion is framed in this way, there will always be those who will self-righteously proclaim that since it is right and moral to help those widows, the government should do it and taxes should be collected for that purpose. Instead, what is “laudable and praiseworthy” is that a human being should lead a productive life, understanding that it is immoral to consume more than he/she produces. Widows, or any other person in need of help, cannot be helped unless some others have decided to produce the wealth necessary to live (before it can be given voluntarily or confiscated by the government). If they so choose to give some of those earnings away to help others, that is their choice, but it is no more laudable and praiseworthy than using that wealth to improve their lives by getting a better education, getting in shape, saving for their children’s education, or many other personal choices they may make, or by investing in a business to create more wealth and jobs. Why are these things not considered laudable and praiseworthy? Because the morality of altruism is as lime poured over men, destroying all in its path. Socialism and communism are based on altruism, that you are your brother’s keeper, and that you must sacrifice your interests for others as the only moral alternative. It’s a package deal – the implication is that you either sacrifice for others or you sacrifice them for your goals. The idea that a person can live a good and productive life, neither sacrificing others to himself or himself to others, does not occur to most people. Bill Gates is praised for giving his money to charity, but not for creating the enormous wealth (and the many jobs) that made that possible. He is vilified for creating such a great company as Microsoft and the government rewards him with Anti-Trust suits. Read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand which shows how altruism is destroying the world. That novel’s theme is the role of the mind in man’s existence and demonstrates a new moral philosophy – a philosophy of life, not one of sacrifice and death.

  5. Conservatives subscribe to the same morality as the socialists, so their critiques of the latter come off a hypocritical and self-serving, no matter how trenchant their arguments.

    In terms of ethics, the Socialists hold up posters of the sick and starving. As rebuttal, conservatives hold up the Crucifix.

    As a close friend put it: “That’s not a refutation; that’s an exclamation point.”

    Perhaps as important, their metaphysics (primacy of consciousness) and their epistemology (faith; divine revelation; i.e., intrinsicism, i.e., rationalism) act as basis for those of the socialists:

    Metaphysics: The secular Genesis of social constructivism
    Epistemology: The secular brand of such, stripped of pretense: subjectivism.

    In short, both have the same philosophical source: Plato.

    With apologies to Levin (& to poets everywhere):

    Plato, Christ, Kant and Marx,
    All have made their evil marks.
    Right and Left use their device:
    The ethics of self-sacrifice.

  6. Very good summary of socialism that is full of apparatchiks who benefit from income redistribution and take a big chunk of the cake for themselves.

  7. And yet paying taxes to fight proxy wars isn’t? Are all of you retarded?

  8. Socialists (modern liberals etc.) don’t listen and because of this they force violence and social chaos.
    They are the champions of actual evil (they are what evil is, evil personified) and history is clear evidence of this. The sooner we realize this the better.

  9. Socialists and Modern liberals are destroyers. Their very existence is built on mass deception and lies (with good intentions).
    Socialists/Liberals/Progressives are the champions of totalitarianism and happen to be the embodiment of actual evil (they are what evil is — evil personified) and history is clear evidence of this. The sooner we realize this the better.
    I’m not religious per se I am just stating the facts (from 20+ years of research and experience with them).

    The fight is really between freedom for the individual (Capitalism –not crony capitalism) and or freedom for the state (Socialism or Communism, Neo-liberalism and also Neo-conservatism i.e.warfarism etc). It is Leftist, ideological, dependence creating political parties (the State) that are at the root of most if not all of our unnecessary social maladies.

    Capitalism is not a belief system per se, rather it is an extension of healthy human functioning and does not require political involvement.

  10. The big issue I have with this is that he has to continue to downsize the so called evil action over and over until basically he’s saying that taking 50 from you is the same as taking 50 from a thousand people which is a nickel. So what your saying there is people who make at least a minimum wage and a few hundred a week can’t give a nickel to help a starving kid or helpless elderly?

  11. Socialism is not simply theft, it is also oppressive to the point of slavery. I a man approaches you and says “I am a socialist” you would probably say “Fine, go ahead and be a socialist, it is your choice”. “But”, he responds “I cannot be a socialist on my own, you have to join in, and I’ve got lots of other people who have voted that you’ve got to join in whether you like it or not”. I am therefore enslaved, despite the fact that I don’t want to join in. Unlike most political systems socialism demands your participation and enforces it whether or not you agree.

  12. Excellent. Socialism is just a steping stone towards Totalitarianism.

  13. This is why emotion has no place in the law. It’s why our Constitution was written to be dispassionate. Only bad laws are made by people with tears in their eyes.

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