Do people prefer socialism? Several readers have written in to me, saying that it does no good to oppose candidates with socialist leanings or principles–because these are the leanings and principles that a great majority of Americans want.
I’m not convinced. I think that, worst case, about a third of the nation has socialist principles. It might even be less. The problem is that much larger numbers of people want the benefits of capitalism without all the responsibility–individual responsibility–that goes along with it. They’re afraid. They engage in sloppy thinking, encouraged by their political and intellectual leaders, that “some” socialism (even though it’s never called that) is OK, even beneficial, humane and rational.
Reality tells a different story. The more the government intervenes in the economy, the more problems are created. The difference between these problems and the original problems is that these problems become institutionalized–and are problems that are only resolved short-term, at the expense of some for the benefit of others. Then, the advocates of socialism and government intervention turn around and say, “See? I told you so. Capitalism is no good. It’s a mess. What we need is MORE government intervention.”
In other words, the more that socialists intervene in the economy, the worse the economy gets–and the more it stays that way. Then, when the average, non-socialist type gets fed up, the socialists stand ready, saying things like “we need change.” In reality, they’re promoting greater doses of the same.
I don’t think most people prefer socialism. Nearly all intellectuals do. Many pundits and most politicians do. But people who actually work and take responsibility for themselves don’t. They have been sold a bill of goods, and they allow their fear and sloppy thinking to get in the way of clear thinking. As much as I blame the politicians, pundits and intellectuals, the ultimate blame lies at the feet of those “average people” who create their own problems by enabling those who will create more problems for them.