Socialism’s true legacy is immorality

Socialism’s true legacy is immorality, by Marian Tupy.

In order to make money, capitalists need to perform tasks or produce goods that other people want. … Transactions between capitalists and consumers are typically voluntary. Capitalists cannot force their customers to buy private sector goods and services.

In contrast to the free market, socialism is immoral because of its necessarily coercive nature:

Socialism … is often assumed to be moral. Is that assumption justified? Socialism is a utopian ideal intended to solve all of humanity’s problems including, above all, poverty and inequality. The theory and practice, alas, have tended to be at odds with one another. …

One of the most obvious shortcomings of socialism in real life is its tendency to lead toward dictatorship. … The centralisation of economic decision-making has to be accompanied by centralisation of political power in the hands of a small elite. When, in the end, the failure of central planning becomes undeniable, totalitarian regimes tend to silence the dissenters—sometimes through mass murder. Political dissent under socialism is difficult, because the state is the only employer. …

Under socialism, bribes (cash payments, for example, or favours) are ubiquitous. Medical practitioners, who don’t feel that they are being paid enough by the state, demand bribes in order to look after their patients. Teachers, who feel the same, promote the children of doctors in order to get better access to health care. This process goes all the way down the food chain.

Often, bribery and theft go hand in hand. In socialist countries, the state owns all production facilities, such as factories, shops and farms. In order to have something to trade with one another, people first have to “steal” from the state. A butcher, for example, steals meat in order to exchange it for vegetables that the greengrocer stole and so on. …

Socialism, in other words, is not only underpinned by force, but it is also morally corrupting. Lying, stealing and spying are widely used and trust between people disappears. Far from fostering brotherhood between people, socialism makes everyone suspicious and resentful.

Once a community has experienced communism, how does it become moral again?

I have long held that the greatest harm that socialism caused was not economic. It was spiritual. Many of the countries that abandoned socialism rebuilt their economies and became prosperous. The same cannot be said about their institutions, such as the rule of law, and the behaviour of their citizens, such as the prevalence of corruption. Prosperity is a consequence of removal of barriers to exchange between free people. But how does one make a society less corrupt and more law-abiding?

hat-tip Matthew