Why socialism hasn’t died

I disagree with Lee Harris’s explanation for why socialism hasn’t died.

We are all socialists now. Or, at least, all but the most doctrinaire of us recognize that a little redistribution is the only practical way to operate a modern society. Optimal production and distribution of goods and services is not the only value. Consequently, it’s extremely useful for improving a little on the social stability that unfettered laissez-faire capitalism would provide.

I think that the most important reason that socialism hasn’t died is that the notion of the perfectibility of human nature, the fundamental concept on which socialism relies, is irresistible. There will always be people who embrace it.

UPDATE   There’s a neat phrase in Vox Popoli’s post on the same subject:

Man is not a rational creature, he is a rationalizing one.

It brings to mind Sam Clemens’s famous comment:

Man is the only animal that blushes.  Or needs to.

The gist of Classical Values’s response is that you can’t reason someone out of something they weren’t reasoned into to start with.   Don’t abandon logic and reason, Eric.  They’re the only weapons we have against the darkness.  Well, those and slapstick comedy.

2 comments… add one
  • Right, it was only people like Reagan & Thatcher who understood how pernicious the big govt mentality is, & that once these federal bureaucracies start metastisizing, it’s very hard to shut them down

  • I’m strongly in favor of limited government, Jeff. And my guiding principle in government is that of subsidiarity. Too bad more in Washington don’t feel the same way.

    But I can’t imagine our abandoning the graduated income tax, pure food and drug laws, bank regulations, and a host of other “control of the means of production” sort of measures, if only for practical reasons.

    Our challenge right now is in drawing the line and I’m afraid we’re not doing very well.

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