Quote of the Day – Socialist Utopias vs Earthly Reality


Socialism promises a utopia that sounds good, but those promises are never realized. It most often results in massive human suffering. Capitalism fails miserably when compared with a heaven or utopia promised by socialism. But any earthly system is going to come up short in such a comparison. – Walter E. Williams

Williams puts his finger on one of the biggest problems facing any society: the lure of utopianism.  Socialism promises utopia. Capitalism promises effort and chaos. While in practical terms capitalism delivers a better life than socialist systems, especially for the poorer members of society, socialism offers a more alluring future. The problem is compounded when young people grow up in a working socialist system (the family) and are taught in a socialistic system (the public education system and non-profit universities and colleges).

One thing most people fail to realize is the functioning nuclear family is a socialist system – from each according to their abilities and to each according to their needs. The parents obtain the resources needed to run the family and distribute them as needed and appropriate to each member of the family. The children are not deprived of what they need (if available) because they are not producing income. Poorer families are forced to budget carefully, but children of prosperous families – especially those from which future leaders emerge – are generally indulged. They have seen socialism and it works.

This problem is compounded by the education system. It, too, is socialist. It lacks a profit motive, but is run for “the greater good.” It lacks the creative destruction of a capitalist economy. The people employed within it are not paid based upon their productivity, but rather by their ability to adhere to arbitrary standards. If those standards are erroneous, the school cannot go bankrupt. It simply continues. Employees – even at the highest levels – are paid based on their good intentions and perceived value. The result is a system filled with entitled elites who measures themselves and others by credentials (which may be meaningless, but are nevertheless valued). Of course those within it pass along the benefits of socialism to their pupils. Why not? The educators experience it as an unalloyed good.

Once in place systems, capitalist and socialist, become more and more dysfunctional as they get older. A capitalist organization has to correct its dysfunctions or it goes out of business or gets bought up. Most socialist systems lack this corrective. They continue on until they collapse catastrophically, as did the Soviet Union – and as the American education system now threatens to do. Which is why they generally result in massive human suffering. Catastrophic failure is painful – as is the lead up to failure.

What is the solution? I do not know. But eternal vigilance is required on the part of individuals at every level. We have to recognize the seductiveness of socialism and prepare our children to understand why it is a trap.

Published in Group Writing
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 6 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Percival Thatcher

    • #1
  2. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B

    “Should” is a surprisingly difficult argument to overcome. 

    Here are a bunch of “shoulds” that have a lot of appeal to about half the electorate:



    This post is a part of the Quote of the Day project at Ricochet. There are still a few days open in February. Please signup here

    • #2
  3. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat

    I was reading an editorial in the WSJ today by James Freeman:  “When will politicians stop calling themselves progressive“, basically outlining the failures of progressive politics in the states, cities and across the aeons.  It starts out “This column has searched and searched for years and still cannot find evidence for the existence of any great civilization built by progressive leftists.”

    In the section about Oregon’s dismal failure with their new drug policies, he outlines that the highly progressive governor is rethinking some of their policies.  In a quote for the ages, Tina Khotek, who has apparently indicated that she will sign a bill that re-criminalizes at least some drug possession says:

    ”I am very progressive when it comes to public policy, but I am pragmatic and I’m tired of things not working.”

    Emphasis added.

    Have any more honest words ever been spoken by a progressive politician?  

    • #3
  4. Stina Member

    I’m not entirely certain how many self-avowed socialists have a proper nuclear (or extended) family.

    The key of the nuclear family is that it creates the foundational stability from which society can function. Typically, what happens when there is a deprivation of necessity, the need is filled in self-destructive ways.

    I would argue that those who turn to government for security, social economic belonging, and familial financial provision (single mothers AND social security recipients) do so because it doesn’t exist in their personal lives.

    The whole idea of “family values” was to preserve that familial unit that provides the social safety net. But decades of forgetting that purpose and embracing government as family provider and promoting policies that encourage the separation of families has led to a far weaker familial unit than used to exist.

    The weakened unit is why so many seek public space as “safe places” and government to be spouse, parent, and adult child. They don’t have it at home.

    • #4
  5. Stina Member

    But decades of forgetting that purpose and embracing government as family provider and promoting policies that encourage the separation of families has led to a far weaker familial unit than used to exist.

    The reason this leads to a weaker family unit is because if you’ve forgotten it’s purpose or it’s functional purpose is being met in other ways, less than effort is put into making something strong and resilient.

    There are “options”.

    Family values, from a government perspective, is not about marital fidelity and how many babies you have and get married. Those things are culturally sought when sound families are the only way to survive.

    From a government perspective, family values should be – your family is your defense against poverty, not the government.

    • #5
  6. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne

    Percival (View Comment):

    I really need to communicate to my nieces how awesome freedom is. Any suggestions?

    • #6
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.