Someone once simplistically defined the major socioeconomic systems of the world as follows: capitalism is the uneven distribution of wealth; socialism is the distribution of misery; communism is socialism with a gun in your back.
None of these systems are perfect, they will all degenerate to evil excesses unless tempered by godliness. Communism is tyranny from the start, it has never worked as an economic system. Even China knows that. That is why it was forced to adopt a limited form of capitalism to keep its economy from collapsing. Since communism rejects the concept of God or religion it will not be considered further. Without godliness socialism deteriorates into tyranny as it tries to motivate people who lose all personal motivation through increasing dependence on central government. Capitalism becomes overwhelmed with greed as the haves victimize the have-nots.
In the next year we are going to hear a lot about socialism and whether we should adopt it for our country. Public universities have tirelessly preached it for decades and convinced a large portion of our youth that we should accept that as a form of government. However, they have not told our students what our country and socialism really are. They are told that we are a democracy and that socialism will correct all of the injustices of the past. Anything that stands in the way of that is a threat to our democracy and our constitution. If they had actually been taught about the Constitution they would know that we are not a democracy, we are a republic and that the Constitution was written to limit the power of government, not give it universal sway over our lives.
Socialism assumes people are sheep or perpetual children unable to take care of themselves, so they need a government that will make all the difficult decisions for them. Of course, in the process, they will have to take over more of the economy and more of the citizen’s income because taking care of everything for you is very expensive. When most of your income is gone so is your freedom. You may not have to make the tough decisions anymore, but you won’t get to either. Economically socialism restricts growth. The pie is only so big and it needs to get cut in smaller and smaller pieces to make go further.
People are not sheep and they are not perfect. History proves that the people put in charge of socialist government become drunk with its power and will resort to tyranny when their people rebel against the austerity imposed on them by socialist government. That was true in Russia, China, Cuba, and most recently Venezuela. Socialism is not freedom, it is slavery to the edicts of those put in charge of it. Once put in power they will gladly ignore or subvert democracy to keep it.
Capitalism, on the other hand, believes in growth. The pie gets bigger, it can serve more people. When guided by godly wisdom and compassion it will produce enough to meet every need. Contrary to its detractors most of the money produced by capitalism is not hoarded by greedy executives. It has reinvested creating jobs, improving wages and benefits and the lives of those involved. Excess money is produced that supports charities and community improvements. When this happens it is America at its best.
When President Trump says, “America will never be a socialist country,” it is true no matter which way the election goes. If the United States does adopt outright socialism, even if it keeps the name, it will have betrayed the spirit and Constitution of this country and ceased to be America.
Tim Stormont is a local architect and lifelong East Bakersfield resident.