Socialists' Claims About Socialism
Communism worked very well for the early Christians (Acts 2: 44–45).
The early Christians shared their worldly possessions voluntarily. Communists and socialists take other people’s possessions by force. As Winston Churchill once quipped, “The Socialism of the Christian era was based on the idea that ‘all mine is yours,’ but the Socialism of [today] is based on the idea that ‘all yours is mine.’”
In the parable of the good Samaritan, the Samaritan freely chose to use his own time and resources to help the injured man. He did not vote to force other people to do it in his stead. Like progressives, libertarians believe in helping other people. Unlike progressives, we believe that compassion should be voluntary and not coerced.
Karl Marx got his definition of economic justice (‘from each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs’) from the Bible.
Socialists say they want an economy based on the rule: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” The incentives under such a system are to demonstrate minimum ability and maximum need.
In a free market, people produce according to their ability and are rewarded in proportion to the benefits they provide to other people – as judged by those people. The incentive, therefore, is to produce what others want at prices they are willing and able to pay.
Supporters of government control often admit that free markets deliver the goods, but argue that governments distribute them more fairly. They point to people who, because of age or disability, are incapable of producing anything. The government must control the economy, they claim, so that it can redistribute goods to these few.
But rewarding need yields more of it, adding those who will not produce to those who cannot. And taxing demonstrated ability yields less ability demonstrated. Need, which socialism claims to address, can therefore only grow under socialism. By contrast, under the free market, need does not pay, production does, so production grows and need declines.
The choice between government control and the free market is the choice between government coercively combating growing need amid growing poverty and individuals voluntarily combatting shrinking need amid growing wealth.
Socialism redistributes the wealth, making society more just.
Justice means to give to each what is her due – what she has earned. Redistribution gives to some what is due to others – the opposite of justice. As economist Thomas Sowell asked, “What is your ‘fair share’ of what someone else has worked for?
Richard Fulmer worked as a mechanical engineer and a systems analyst in industry. He is now retired and does free-lance writing. He has published some fifty articles and book reviews in free market magazines and blogs. With Robert L. Bradley Jr., Richard wrote the book, Energy: The Master Resource.