The Ugly Side of Socialism Is Here

socialistsThere is a kerfuffle in France. Citizens are not behaving the way the political elite would like. They are reacting adversely to higher taxes.

This response should not surprise. People react to pain and pleasure. They prefer more of the latter and less of the former. Lives are planned in this fashion. Perhaps this revelation surprises a ruling class that has effectively immunized itself from pain. Or perhaps it merely reflects the stupidity and hubris of the elite. Regardless, it reflects the inherent problem that eventually dooms all Socialist schemes.

Of Men and Molecules

Despite centuries of experience, the ruling class still suffers from the belief that it can mold mass behavior to their liking. They believe they know better than the masses. This fatal conceit reflects itself in the desire to run the lives of others.

The elites perceive themselves as the best and the brightest and assume they know better than others. This wisdom means they can improve society by directing it. Invariably the masses disagree with the self-proclaimed wisdom of the anointed leaders.

People are different, unlike molecules. Molecules react in the same fashion to stimuli. People act to achieve diverse ends. When barriers are put in the way of molecules, they bounce off them. People, however, seek ways around barriers. The fallacy of Socialism is its refusal to recognize the difference between molecules and purpose-oriented human beings.

Heat or pressure influences all molecules in the same way. When government turns up the heat or pressure on individuals, uniformity of behavior does not result. There is an effect, but this effect is not necessarily the expected or desired one. Government can change the calculus regarding the means to achieve goals. They do so by making some means illegal or more onerous. But altering the costs of the means does not change individuals’ ends or goals.

People thwart the carefully-crafted schemes placed in their way to prevent them from attaining their goals. They adjust their means and continue to pursue the same goals. Government can affect means but not goals.

Socialism and Force

Socialism_by_miniamericanflagsSocialism is not a natural state. It may work in family situations and small sects specifically devoted to a common purpose. It does not and cannot work on a large scale. Its failure is not the result of bad leaders or leadership. It fails because people are not molecules. They are purposeful. Each person has different aspirations, motivations and needs. Socialism is a one-size-fits-all model. The nature of man is diverse and inconsistent with the uniformity of Socialism.

Initial movements toward Socialism can be obtained with minimal State coercion. Major progress, however, is impossible without mandating uniformity. That cannot be accomplished voluntarily. It always requires the use of force and power.

The kind face of Socialism necessarily transforms into a face of coercion and evil. Socialism cannot progress based on freedom and voluntary choice. Its success is dependent on the politics of force.

Nothing popular requires force. Ultimately Socialism to reach its goals  must escalate to outright oppression and physical violence against men and property. That is the only way to implement unpopular measures.

Socialism Today

The immediate problem in France is the lack of money. France has reached Lady Thatcher’s “Socialism Wall” — it has “run out of other people’s money.” In a desperate attempt to continue,  the political class decided that more money must be squeezed from successful citizens.

This response is eerily consistent with America’s Socialist-in-Chief, Mr. Obama. Leftist leaders in both countries claim “the rich are not paying their fair share.” No one dare raise the question to either emperor about the meaning of either “fair” or “share.”

There is no logic to politics any more. Logic and rational thinking would unmask the fraud that politics has become. Hence, political demagoguery on both sides of the Atlantic rules, shamelessly. 

Politics today is wholly despicable, practiced by completely despicable leaders driven to protect their office, failed ideology and time in the trough.

The governments of France and America are insolvent. Both have committed to obligations that can never be honored. Both foolishly pursued the unworkable social welfare state. Motivation and incentive has been destroyed. Massive defaults and economic collapse will soon destroy these countries.

Utopians do not accept reality. Despite an unfettered record of failure, Socialism retains its adherents. Ideology trumps rationality. The gestation period for failure is not immediate. It takes generations to develop. That is why it makes inroads into various societies.

The world is now on the brink of a colossal collapse of all welfare states. This cluster of failures will include the most developed and democratic nations on the planet. There has never been a universal political and economic failure like the one ahead.

That is of no concern for leftists. Ideology is more important than results. The hardships along the way are rationalized with nonsensical tripe such as “you cannot make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.”

When times get tough, Socialists respond by demanding more from the productive. Tax coercion and/or the printing presses are their preferred methods. Either, when carried far enough, destroys economies and societies. For some Marxists, that itself is a goal as it is the necessary and inevitable end to capitalism.

The Current Issue in France

Gerard Dépardieu, France’s best-known actor, decided to leave France and move just across the border to Belgium. His move was motivated by the recent tax increase. The London Telegraph reported on the political outrage:

“Those who are seeking exile abroad are not those who are scared of becoming poor,” the prime minister declared after unveiling sweeping anti-poverty measures to help those hit by the economic crisis.

These individuals are leaving “because they want to get even richer,” he said. “We cannot fight poverty if those with the most, and sometimes with a lot, do not show solidarity and a bit of generosity,” he added.

“Thankfully, few are seeking exile to exempt themselves from being in solidarity with fellow Frenchmen.”

How dare Monsieur Depardieu not be a perfect pawn in the central planner’s scheme? What right does he or any other person have to pursue their own goals when it conflicts with the schemes of the elite?

As politicians are wont to do, they blame “bad” people, not bad schemes:

These individuals are leaving “because they want to get even richer,” he said. “We cannot fight poverty if those with the most, and sometimes with a lot, do not show solidarity and a bit of generosity,” he added.

“Thankfully, few are seeking exile to exempt themselves from being in solidarity with fellow Frenchmen.”

Politicians bend the truth to suit their own needs. The Telegraph reports that “hundreds of other wealthy French nationals seeking lower taxes” are already in Belgium. The oppressive tax hikes will see the population of Frenchmen in Belgium and other countries grow. These countries are the winners and France is the obvious loser. Talented human capital is fleeing France and taking its wealth with it.

Politicians are quick to demonize. People who disagree with them are “bad,” especially if they are “rich.” The rich are merely trying to protect themselves from State predation. The poor act in their own self-interest as well (perhaps more so). Rewarding non-work causes some to opt out of working, clearly a move motivated by self-interest.  Yet as a currently “preferred species,” no one criticizes this behavior.

Where This All Leads

Socialism is about to get ugly, real ugly. Laws and policies are so unpopular and counterproductive that the State must resort to more serious coercion.

People reacting in ways to protect themselves and their families are being designated as enemies. In the United States talent is fleeing high tax areas like New York, California, Illinois, etc. and fleeing to low (or no) tax states like Florida, Texas, Tennessee, etc. People and capital go where they are treated decently. Fools in government may be too stupid to recognize this universal trait of human nature, but those who work hard are not. They are unwilling to accept government diktats that demand they be plucked like chickens.

Likewise, people are fleeing the US and renouncing citizenship in record numbers.

Business firms are not expanding. Regime uncertainty is turning into regime certainty and businesses do not like what they are learning. Instead of investing in plant, equipment and personnel, they are digging in or expanding overseas where the climate is more favorable to them.

None of this is new in France or the US. What is different is that a tipping point has been passed. Government is no longer constrained by the rule of law. It now acts arbitrarily in ways that it never would or could before. Government has made clear that it considers business and anyone else successful as the enemy. No rational entity will take risks under these conditions. No economy can grow under these conditions.

The siren song of Socialism has turned into a cacophony of noise and coercion. We are at the stage where its raw ugliness appears. Governments are insolvent and economies are unresponsive. Socialism cannot be maintained by pretending to be compatible with conventional freedoms.

Capital and human flight has just begun. It will accelerate. Look for capital and emigration controls to try to stop it. Businesses will not expand. Carrots like tax rebates for hiring do (did) not work. Look for the stick next. Is it possible that government mandate hiring?

We have entered that stage of desperation and lack of restraints where anything is possible. Will IRA’s be confiscated to “save the country?” Will a national sales tax of 15% or so be imposed?

The answers to these questions will show themselves over time. The fact that they can even be asked seriously reflects the state of our world. Two decades ago you would have been laughed at for even suggesting them. Now they are real possibilities.

The ugly side of Socialism has become today’s reality.