The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, April 26, 2019

A Parable

In the coming months we're going to hear a lot about "democratic socialism" and how it's very, very different from the kind of socialism that destroys countries and impoverishes people and has done so repeatedly for the past century. We'll hear apologists throughout the media, along with a long line of Democrats, academics, supposed intellectuals, and brainless celebrities tell us—capitalism bad, socialism good. And because far too many people listen to their nonsense, presidential contenders who espouse socialist ideology will prosper—at least for a while.

Of course, the proper way to refute the socialists' utopian claims is to present multiple historical instances of socialism's myriad failures, hard facts that refute its economic promises, and actual human testimony to depict the damage that it does to basically everyone except those who are its thought leaders. But none of that will work because the same magical thinking that causes people to consider socialism in the first place also deflects historic truth, economic facts, and human testimony.

So maybe a parable might suffice. This, one, offered by a Belmont Club commenter, "BattleofthePyramids," is appropriate:
Once upon a time I met an old man in the old country, formerly a small farmer with a couple of cows, sheep, goats, chickens. Now he had nothing, but was gracious enough to invite me in. Over Vodka and potatoes, we talked:

Me; "Old friend, what happened? How did your life come to this?"

Old man: "In the days of the revolution, a Glorious Socialist said, "give us power and we will make everything better and save the children." "So, the people voted him in." He then said to me: "comrade, you have two cows. This is not fair. Give your neighbor one." I said: "My neighbor is a blacksmith, he knows nothing of cows."

Leader: "If you do not give him your cow, you are an enemy of the people." And he pointed to the gallows in the village.

Old Man: "So what could I do? I gave my neighbor the cow. And then the leader said "Now sell your milk for one peso per liter."

Old Man: "If I sell my milk for one peso per liter, I will not have enough money to get hay for my cow. He will starve."

Leader: "Are you an enemy of the people, comrade?"

Old man: "So, I sold the milk for one peso per liter, and the cows died. But an election was coming and I hoped the people would throw out the leader. Instead the leader came to me and said: "If your cows are dead, then cook them and give meat to the people. And he said to the people: Today I will give you meat. Vote for me tomorrow and I will make things better for your children."

Old man: "So, I cooked the cows, and the people loved the leader and voted for him again. After the vote there were no cows. So the leader came to me and said: Comrade, you have two sheep. This is not fair...."
No. It. Isn't. But socialists get to define what is fair and what is not. And if you disagree with their assessment of fairness, "Are you an enemy of the people, comrade?"