Free Stuff

To conclude today’s series of posts, I want to share that there’s been a change in recent years in the way students answer the question “What is socialism?”

All of a sudden, I started hearing the answer, “It’s when everybody gets a lot of free stuff, right?” And it’s hard to blame students if this morning’s New York Times offered this definition verbatim.

What’s really funny is that this vision of socialism is so deeply consumerist. Socialism, for today’s fantasists, means a lot more capitalism. The only thing that can possibly make this better is if the “everybody needs more stuff” folks are environmentalists, as well.

What’s in a Name

Another very puzzling argument I keep encountering is “When people say they are Democratic Socialists, they just mean they want the kind of thing that exists in the Scandinavian countries.”

If people want the Scandinavian model, though, why don’t they simply say so? Why do they use, instead, a term that no Scandinavian country ever used and that has been employed and still is employed exclusively by murderous regimes that slaughter, persecute and starve people by the million? Would it make much sense to say, “I think I’d prefer us to adopt the Canadian model, which from hereon I will refer to as Democratic Nazism. I know that Canadians don’t call their country a Democratic Nazi State of Canada but I still think it sounds cute.”

If you have got to choose a name, would it be all that hard to choose one that isn’t associated with some of the worst acts of genocide committed in recent memory and right now?


I especially love it when people say, “But it’s democratic socialism!”, as if the adjective made it all ok.

“Oh, it’s not colonialism I support. It’s democratic colonialism. Well, it’s not slavery I’m into. It’s democratic slavery. It’s not like I favor rape. Only democratic rape.”

I don’t dispute anybody’s right to believe in whatever they want, no matter how strange. It’s weird, though, that people expect this argument to be successful with me, somebody who is normally the only person in the room during these discussions who experienced socialism. And it’s not my ancestors, not someone from a hundred years ago, not someone I read about. People seem sincerely to expect a truly horrible experience I personally had to lose its power because they tacked on an adjective.

Every time I hear this, it makes me think of that horrible “legitimate rape” fellow from a few years back. He honestly saw a difference between “rape rape” and “not really rape rape” and was stunned that people didn’t agree.

The Shining Path

Even the word “socialism” seems to turn people who use it into rambling idiots:

The libertarian sees the market as synonymous with freedom. But socialists hear “the market” and think of the anxious parent, desperate not to offend the insurance representative on the phone, lest he decree that the policy she paid for doesn’t cover her child’s appendectomy. Under capitalism, we’re forced to submit to the boss. Terrified of getting on his bad side, we bow and scrape, flatter and flirt, or worse — just to get that raise or make sure we don’t get fired.

In socialist societies, people are total shits to each other in a much higher proportion than in any capitalist country. They are terrified of the bosses a lot more, they submit a lot more, and they turn on each other like hungry animals because that’s what the system makes them.

But this is not the dumbest part of this article. The author tells us that the young socialist politicians are great because:

The stories of these candidates are socialist for another reason: They break with the nation-state.

This is militant, aggressive idiocy and hatred of books, learning, or anything that has to do with the life of the mind. This is why such folks promote censorship and howl against free speech. Anybody who has read absolutely anything whatsoever will see that their doctrine makes no sense.

You give these creeps a tiny bit of power, and the first thing they will do is start censoring. The second thing they do is start terrorizing and labeling. After that, they start building networks of corruption. And that’s it. They don’t do anything else. Censorship, fear, corruption. Socialism doesn’t know another path.