Socialism: the Forbidden Ideology
by Robert L. Kocher
More than thirty years ago I read a book stating, “Socialism is the myth that two people can live off each other indefinitely without either of them doing any work.” While that definition may get a laugh from those already predisposed to agree with any criticism of socialism, and does, in fact, contain a measure of truth, it’s not the most incisive or comprehensive analysis in the world. Socialism—make that contemporary liberalism—has developed far beyond that in the last three decades.
Perhaps it is necessary to put economics into a historical perspective at this point. There was a period in which much of the known world lived under a feudalism which made any individual economic progress impossible for all but those born into nobility or position. Among the potential remedies necessary to correct the condition or its vestiges, socialism was one simplistic and direct answer. Crudely implemented, it means overthrowing the existing order and distributing their possessions among the angry mob. That could be interpreted as immediate socialism. In a more refined implementation, the method is to put the process to a vote which accomplishes the same result in a more pretentious fashion. The intellectual underwriting is less than philosophically comprehensive, and does not guarantee human rights or economic opportunity. People assuming the right to take from other people never guarantees other rights.
Socialism is a better vehicle for anger than it is a vehicle for economic advancement or individual rights. It results in an angry triumphant party which dies out when the stores in the confiscated wine cellar are completely consumed. Contrary to socialist belief, partying and human rights are not the same.
The great depression of the thirties produced immense distrust of the free enterprise system, with consideration of substitution of socialism as a remedy. People were desperate to end the economic catastrophe. There are certain artificialities in the economic and banking system that were poorly understood at the time and were devastating. There are Nobel prizes awarded periodically in economics. The awarding of those prizes for advancement in the study of economics signifies that an absence of that advancement existed seventy-five years ago.
Socialism has partly been a historical act of economic desperation. But that has not been so in recent times.
The explosive expansion of the radical political left in this country, as the so-called “New Left,” in the sixties was an entirely different phenomenon. Economic opportunity in this country had expanded enormously. Educational levels had advanced about four years in several decades. Five times as many people were in college and on their way to professional careers as there had been a few years earlier. Unemployment or under-employment was low. The economic problems for which socialism was conjectured as being a necessary remedy were nonexistent, or becoming nearly nonexistent. By the 1950’s the American economic condition was the greatest in world history. The rate of economic opportunity expansion in the country was far beyond anything that had ever been seen, and was certainly beyond anything taking place in the socialist world. The issues of socialism were not economic opportunity.
In a psychotic contradiction, the alternative systems the new left endorsed never in practice produced economic levels remotely approaching the levels being attained at median levels in this country. The alternative political systems being romanticized never approached the degree of freedom existent in this country which the left complained about as insufficient or repressive. The most egregious failures in socialist and communist societies were excused while the most minor flaws in free enterprise were obsessively and desperately seized upon by the left as reason to implement systems that were far more flawed. That degree of contradiction and distortion is indicative of underlying motivated commitment to another primary agenda.
Then why liberalism/socialism—and what is its theology? If economic progress had occurred and economic promise had been expanding at a high rate, what was the failure to be addressed by liberalism? The answer was a new kind of failure. That failure was the failure of reality to conform to the immature and unrealistic fantasies, and the childlike demands, in a too-soft generation.
There was a time when the purpose of a successful economic system was to provide economic opportunity and food on the table. In recent years the demand has become for an economic system that will continue to function and guarantee wealth without serious active participation in the work of concrete production. The demand is for an economic system that will function without interruption of a perpetual college sophomore world, without self discipline, and without rationality.
Unfortunately, for a number of very influential people this fantasy economic system has become a reality. There are people who have managed to position themselves in a growing parasitic class who have never engaged in any productive function. Some of them are politicians and social activists. Others have made positions in the university system a license to steal. Still others have founded successful careers on the capacity to provoke outrage and to become centers of attention in the media. The professions of theatrical politics and of social provocateur have become among the most lucrative and popular in the country.
This has been augmented by a bloated soft parasitic civil administration that is a powerful constituency dedicated to selling the need for more laws and regulations which will require its administration. Behind many of the political issues, the cry for action is often the self-serving determination to create a set of soft sinecures for those raising the issue. For every environmental issue, social issue, educational issue, and so forth, there is a group of people waiting in the wings—eager to make those issues a lucrative life-time career, either as an administrator or an activist.
One of the underlying dissatisfactions with the American economic system is the idea of personal specialness. Even if the median income in this country is substantially higher than other places in the world, many people in this country consider themselves too special to take jobs at the American median level. Failure of everyone to live at the 90th economic percentile is looked upon as a failure of an unjust economic system. Ten million soft kids go off to college each year to study hobbies with the expectation of living soft, rarefied lives distant from concrete involvement in basic goods and services. Upon graduation they enter the culture of the chronically dissatisfied and resentful upon being faced with adult economic reality.
Liberalism/socialism has become a process of economic and personal mystification. There was a time of economic directness in which people lived on what they, themselves, made or raised in the fields. Personal reluctance to apply one’s self seriously in that task, coupled with demands to take directly from one’s neighbor’s hand what that neighbor had raised for his survival, was considered to be at least a moral transgression against one’s neighbor and against the community, and a crime against one’s neighbor or the community if the taking from one’s neighbor was done without the neighbor’s permission.
The Spoiled Child Philosophy
Today, there has developed an elaborately argued mystical or magical process in which people expect to adopt styles of life and levels of lack of serious industrious effort which would not allow their survival without 250,000,000 other people in the country working to support them. They have conjured up a mystical social system economics to argue that they can do it and that they should be able to demand to do it as a right. The taking from one’s neighbor is
mediated by mystical imprecise economic conceptions coupled with sociological arguments to obscure the fact that those who produce naught, take much, and take little responsibility are now demanding to live off others.
Socialism/liberalism has become the myth that personal and social irresponsibility can expand indefinitely if the cost of collective consequences is imposed upon the entire population. And liberalism has become the demand that basic economic, physical, and psychological laws be negated at convenience so as to obtain desirable outcome regardless of unreasoned behavior—in our personal as well as economic and political lives. Liberalism has become the belief that reality can be debated out of existence. Liberalism has become a spoiled child’s mentality that believes surrogate parental figures are punishing them by telling them there are limits to what they can or should be given, that other people have rights, that life is serious, that they only get a limited number of chances which are to be used wisely, that there are things in life that must be earned, and that they must make their own beds and clean up their own messes. Socialism/liberalism has become the Peter Pan philosophy of eternal childishness to be supported by eternal spoiling parent surrogates. Liberalism has become the sublimation of bitterness from empty personal lives into dissatisfaction with the economic system—and almost everything else.
The zeitgeist can be summed up as an unwillingness in recent decades to live with the realistic consequences of behavior.
Decades ago, Aldous Huxley said anyone who would build an authoritarian state would do well to encourage sexual promiscuity among the people. Study of recent decades validates his thesis. The depressive emotional squalor in this society, in no small extent the result of a callous, dishonest moral/value system catastrophic to human relationships, has deadened the emotional vitality which values freedom or which enjoys the adventure of freedom. Freedom is meaningless to a depressive state of mind. The imprisonment of personal emptiness can make political imprisonment irrelevant. Bitterness from this condition is easily sublimated into pathological political/social movements. The dishonesty and the irrational demands upon others in contemporary sexual permissiveness are good training for the dishonesty and irrational demands of modern liberalism/socialism. The sublimated diffuse dissatisfaction and absence of personal contentment from spoiled emotional squalor in personal lives has become the fuel for making those demands.
From the standpoint of leftist revolution, happy, fulfilling marriages and personal relationships are retrograde institutions subtractive from focus upon the primacy of the conformist social state in their lives. People who are happy in their personal lives and are oriented toward that happiness and contentment, make damned poor revolutionaries or activists. On the other hand, personal turbulence and rootlessness produce a state of diffuse agitation that can be redirected and exploited. As a behaviorist revolutionary theoretician, what I would need to form the basis of a revolution is a state of denied chronic diffuse agitation and dissatisfaction producing a condition known as drive generalization. I would want people transferring expression of diffuse personal dissatisfaction into leftist movements, and I want the feeling of partial personal emotional release to be a positive behavioral reinforcer tying that person to the movement. I want turbulent and destroyed personal lives and people transferring the agitation and dissatisfaction from those lives into politics. There should be a primary source of reinforcing-activity that results in long-term emptiness and dissatisfaction. A sexuality that is immediate pleasure-producing, and at the same time destructive of long-term satisfaction, serves that theoretical system almost perfectly.
In brief, if I am a leftist revolutionary organizer, I want turbulent, unfulfilling Bill and Hillary Clinton-type marriages. I want a climate of traumatizing, unfulfilling, and empty premarital and extramarital sex that results in long-term degradation of the quality of human relationships. If there are to be marriages, let those marriages be to the movement. The more screwed up the general population is, even to the point of being suicidal, the larger the pool of dissatisfaction to be displaced and drawn into radical movements.
Indeed, the suicidal can channel their suicidal bent into the ultimately self-destructive nature of leftist societies. For many, leftist movements represent a form of slow indirect suicide. That’s what we are getting.
It has come to the point that people are so preoccupied in desperate promiscuous sexuality that they care about nothing else. If a demagogue will promise to justify abortions and out-of-wedlock children, then little else matters and he will be given control of the country while people hump each other in dazed obliviousness to any other importance. The advent of the new abortion pill promises cosmetic relief from any remaining threat of self-examination with the ease of taking an aspirin.
The Opiate of the Masses
Karl Marx said religion was the opiate of the masses. In the last thirty-five years, indiscriminate sex has become the opiate of the masses. In their narcosis, they kill each other with AIDS, destroy their emotional health, destroy their marriages, and jeopardize the condition of their children. The more deteriorated their lives become, the more dependent they become upon sexual narcotic to avoid realization. What has evolved is a destructive cycle which feeds upon itself. Any remaining considerations can be handled with recreational drugs. It’s Brave New World.
It’s no wonder why people of quality are reluctant to run for public office. People who attempt to speak with any dignity or intelligence end up confronting mindless faces demanding, “What are you going to do about our herpes, abortions, and AIDS?” If you ask the dissidents whether a serious national commitment to end AIDS should be an important priority, they will say yes. If you then say, “Now that we’re agreed, use some sense and moral responsibility in your personal lives, quit screwing around, and in ten years the disease, as well as many of the other problems in this society, will be nearly nonexistent. Surely the ending of these problems is worth that commitment.” One third of the people will have a temper tantrum and argue with you while another third will run from the room screeching.
Although profound, that exasperated exhortation will not soon be adopted as a national party platform. The blunt and coarse nature of that simple truth is judged to make a candidate too unkind and graceless to be esthetically fit for high public office. But people are presenting problems that result from coarse behavior, yet are dressed in refined language, and bluntness becomes the only realistic method of analyzing and solving those issues. Participants want avoiding, softened rhetoric that elevates coarse behavior into some abstract content-less social problem. The specific coarse content of their behavior is the problem. Rhetoric of the character of The Gettysburg Address no longer describes present issues in this society. When people lost dignity in their personal lives, they lost the capacity of dignified speech to address the condition of this society with accuracy.
In a mature sane adult world, political candidates should not be required to deal with problems such as out-of-wedlock children and venereal disease. But, streams of people complaining about experiencing the physical consequences, the emotional consequences, or the economic consequences, of personal excesses and of defiant rejection of any rational moral or behavioral code have become one of the most powerful political forces in the country. Political campaigns have become contests to see which candidates can devise language and positions to successfully avoid blunt discussion of the reality of issues. So political candidates speak in content-less cliches about having visions for America while the party goes on without serious examination.
The Future of Responsibility
Two important sets of statistics appeared in USA Today during August of 1996. One study said 50 percent of American women will have abortions during their lives. That should be understood within the attendant life style and value system—by women and men. It should also be understood within the context that some of those who haven’t had abortions were just lucky, or are committed to defending friends who have. A second set of statistics documented a 78 percent rise in drug use among teenagers. This promises creation of a new wave of incompetents similar to those of the sixties and seventies who still function with the mental patterns developed under drug use and the mental softness of the drug culture world of that period.
That, together with a one-third rate of out of wedlock births resulting from the psychopathological condition of American women under modern morality and the collapse of male-female relationships, is going to determine a major thrust in the political direction, and determine the demands upon people running for political office, in this country.
Indeed, the instability of male-female relationships brought on by a substrate of mistrust and hostility, as well as an incapacity to form relationships of any depth or duration, has meant that if many American women were going to have children, they would be forced to have those children out of wedlock. (According to the Census Bureau, among children living with a single parent, the percentage of children living with a never-married parent increased from 15 percent in 1980, when it was already elevated, to 35 percent in 1994.) Under the leadership of Hillary Clinton, who if you haven’t noticed has been less than spectacularly successful in building any relationships in her own life, the economic and social system of this nation is to be confiscated, revised, and oriented toward supporting the pathological deterioration between the sexes, as well as the attendant life style. And, oh yes, it’s for the children and it will require a village to do it. Fortunately, living like responsible human beings capable of healthy close human relationships need no longer be a matter of serious examination under her conception. The country has been compromised into confusion by the degree to which members of the general population are affected (maybe as participants) and by the absence of representation of any alternative cultural force or leadership in critical positions.
A May 2, 1997 Washington Post front-page story on teenage sexual activity quoted statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics. In 1995, 22 percent of girls aged 15 were sexually active. Thirty-eight percent of 16-year olds, 51 percent by the age of 17, 65 percent of 18-year olds, and 76 percent of 19-year olds were sexually active. For various postulated reasons, the figures had decreased 5 percent from 1990 and were the lowest in nearly 15 years. Twenty percent of young people now have herpes. For more than 20 years in this country, indeed since the hip generations of the sixties and seventies, there have been few people by age twenty-one who could question the wisdom of this without undergoing the personal difficulty and discomfort of a threatening examination of the values and behavior to which they had committed themselves, and by which they were living.
Voting as Self-Justification
By age 23 the female products of this background are little more than emotionally-gutted raving lunatics who recognize in Hillary Clinton a kindred spirit, and recognize in Bill Clinton the series of clowns they have been making excuses for screwing for the previous five or six years (thus helping determine the outcome of the last presidential election). Patricia Ireland and Gloria Steinem are the conservative voices of reason within this condition. We are into generations of parents who can not question the wisdom of these patterns in their children without confronting how they themselves have lived or are living.
To avoid discomforting questioning, the social emphasis has been defined exclusively as prevention of teenage pregnancy through contraception combined with exclusion of any introspection or of the possibility that any other important considerations exist. Consequently, while the increased usage of contraception among teenage girls documented in recent studies is heralded as a source of celebration, what is also a thinly disguised source of celebration is the fact that those girls have adopted value and behavioral systems in which contraception is an integral part—at the age of 15. Discussion of contraception plays lip service to dealing with sexuality, while protecting those who have lived and proselytize a psychopathic value system where contraception plays a part.
The Post article mentions a group known as the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy which attended a White House reception by Hillary Clinton. Has anyone ever heard Hillary go beyond statements about the inconvenience of pregnancy and make a strongly defined statement regarding any of the other values involved? Has Hillary ever made a definitive moral statement? This critical omission establishes the context of a values-free society devoid of emotional depth. It is subtle promotion. It is part of a deep twist in liberalism and the Clinton White House. It is the loudest message from the Clinton White House. Regardless of any other actions or statements, it has been the principal (and principle) direction charted from the Clinton White house. Anything else is window dressing to make it palatable.
We live in a culture where life progresses directly from infancy to adultery. Twelve or thirteen year old girls at gamma minus and below levels of mental functioning are smearing themselves with make-up in preparation for the fast track with no idea of what they are getting into or what their life will be like in ten years.
Many of the women of past and present generations have had private doubts and wanted a different alternative to what they found themselves presented with. They also wanted to hear the truth. In absence of support for the truth, they resolved the conflict between internal doubts and the external environment by embracing what was being forced upon them while becoming angry over any information or examination that renewed awareness of the conflict, or awareness that what they got was not that which was originally intended, or awareness of their present condition. In attempting to repress any reminders or awareness, they create an atmosphere that victimizes succeeding generations of women. In selling victimization to themselves, they sell it, or impose it upon, younger women.
Nature Abhors a Vacuum
In the last several years therapist Dr. Laura Schlessinger has come in through the back door of talk radio with a message asserting the importance of morality and values. She has attracted a core listening audience of 20,000,000 which is still growing. The listeners are people who have waited years to hear an alternative to the mindless, amoral liberalism which the publishing and media establishment has asserted as being the only system of values worth presenting because it was congruent with their own beliefs. The argument by the liberal establishment is that the public won’t buy anything other than what the liberal establishment believes and wants. Yet, when presented with that alternative, the public throngs to it while the establishment becomes angry and refuses to believe it. Laura Schlessinger and Rush Limbaugh are the most popular programs in broadcasting and sell more books than anyone else in the country while the liberal establishment stammers in blind rage.
Back in the twenties there was a joke floating around the vaudeville circuit. The radical left was firmly established in this country by that time and was the occasional brunt of humor. The vaudeville joke went as follows. The big radical loudly declares, “Comes the revolution we’ll all eat strawberries and cream!” The little guy meekly replies, “But I don’t know if I like strawberries and cream.” At that point he’s told in a menacing voice, “Comes the revolution YOU WILL EAT strawberries and cream!”
It should never be forgotten that all socialistic societies are intrinsically highly regimented authoritarian societies with very limited human freedom. Participation in socialism is never left to individual choice. It is the imposition of group choice. Social management and social distribution take precedence over human freedom or individuality. Human individuality is declared to be worth sacrificing to meet the needs, desires, or demands of the group. Participation in what has been declared to be social idealism is by decree, not by choice. Participation in social idealism is universally enforced. Social democracy means social regimentation under which review and approval by other people is required by a majority vote. Social democracy means sacrifice of self and intrusion into personal direction to suit the crowd’s demanded benefit for themselves. You don’t get to make private agreements on the side. There is no private anything. You are owned by everybody. What you think, what you do, what you make, and how much you can keep, is subject to constant oversight and regulation. You don’t own anything if someone else argues that it is more than the group thinks you should have—or just doesn’t want you to have it. There’s an amount of hostility or resentment incorporated into this. It’s a ready-made heaven for vicious sadistic authoritarian busybodies.
It is also a ready-made heaven for those seeking to blame society as the source of their condition while avoiding examination of their own contribution to their difficulties.
Slaves to Society
Socialism is a condition where everybody owns everybody else, but nobody owns themselves. It’s also a condition where everyone is at the mercy of everybody else’s resentment, pettiness, and sadism. Socialist societies are not voluntary societies. They are institutionalized imposed social servitude. The individual who is living in a socialist society is not allowed to choose whether or not he will be directed by the socialist cause. He is forced into involuntary servitude to the group–and chained to group excesses or pathology.
There are several conceptions of human freedom. Freedom may mean the right of people to choose their form of government and their representatives to that government–called democracy. This is freedom for the group. But group freedom, democracy, is separate from individual freedom. The greater social group can be dangerous and impose repression upon individual freedom for the purpose of its own benefit, amusement, or folly. Democracy can be highly repressive of individual human freedom. Slavery in this country was democratically validated by popular vote and representation for many years. If local or national majorities so choose, they can democratically impose slavery or any other folly upon themselves or others at whim.
Democracy is not freedom. It is only one necessary prerequisite to individual freedom, but it is not individual freedom. It is necessary, but not sufficient. Democracy can be misused. Democracy without respect for others, without principle, without rationality, can be as repressive a condition as is imaginable. When the group votes to force the individual into group servitude, democracy becomes slavery or tyranny. When the group votes to bind the individual to group irrationality, democracy becomes insanity. When the group votes to bind the individual to group resentment, pettiness, or vindictiveness, democracy is evil.
Democracy can have the validity of the latest dance fad or clothing fashion. The instability of political polls from week to week is ample demonstration. The winners of presidential elections might be different, and in some instances would have been different, if held a week or two sooner or later, reflecting momentary public whim. In political candidate management, there is talk about candidate popularity peaking too soon, or too late, or too whatever. What difference should it make? It’s the same candidate. The difference is that public mood and public desire for novelty are unstable even in the most serious of situations. Public judgment is like a school of fish that can change wildly in direction at any second without regard for content or consequences. For this reason, democracy has no intrinsic validity.
Socialism as Democracy in Action
Socialism can be argued as democracy in action. It is not freedom in action.
The manifesto of, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”, can very easily mean: “From those who have worked to build, to those who have decided to take.” It can also mean from each according to their defenselessness, to each according to their resentment of others.
Forced redistribution of income to meet so-called social need is nothing but self-indulgent parasitic greed when the reason underwriting that need is indifference to serious long-term self-application and indifference to serious personal responsibility. Social need or social problems are not social need or social problems until the people experiencing that need have employed serious attempts to apply themselves, have changed personal behavior which created their circumstances, and have shown serious responsibility. But, in recent years, the demands for entitlement to the efforts of other community members to meet so-called social “needs” have been also accompanied by decreasing timidity in demanding a more than equal entitlement, along with a lack of self-examination by those making the demands.
Declaration of social responsibility and sincere genuine effort toward rehabilitation or improvement should begin not with demands upon others, but with intent of serious personal changes by the person asking for an improvement in his or her lot. Social responsibility begins with individual moral responsibility and willingness to make those changes.
The first response to a demand by an individual for a social system to alleviate personal conditions should be to respond by asking what personal behavior the individual is engaging in that produces those conditions. The demand for an answer to the latter question has been notably absent from the national scene beginning with the Kennedy presidency.
A Choice of Consequences
Choice of life style, of values, of behavior, is inherently a choice of eventual consequences. It is to be taken seriously. In the real adult world it is the responsibility of an individual to accept those consequences as being part of that choice. The individual making those choices has no right to force the responsibility for mitigating those consequences upon other members of the community. True social pluralism means other people in the community have the right to reject the role of being made responsible for the consequences brought on by the adoption of irrational life styles by other segments of the community.
The purpose of liberalism has become to force other members of the community to support irrational and self-indulgent life styles. Under the doctrine of cultural pluralism, the lifestyles and the demands for support have become viewed as one-way political rights. The combined arguments are of the implicit form, “We are going to do what we want to do regardless of rationality. We will declare the consequences to be social problems and declare it the responsibility of others to pay the costs. If necessary, we will restructure the entire society to get our way by any means.”
This is my complaint about the expansion of the welfare state in the last 40 years. Not once in this period have I heard sincere enthusiasm on the part of recipients to change the behavior making the system a supposed necessity. What has been done is to create a subsidized system of arrogance rationalized by sociological theorizing. While there is talk about socialism as a force for change, the encoded real message is that there is no intent to, and will be no need for, change in the sense of taking responsibility.
Socialist use of language often encodes and euphemizes the most vile of human degeneracy and vindictiveness. There comes a point in the theology of social redistribution where someone who works productively becomes little more than a host or target for greedy parasites or chronic malcontents. The feeding of the pathology and degeneracy of socialism sucks the life out of every living thing. The key to developing a socialist society is to degrade the productive and the economy so that the people become dependent upon leaders for redistribution of what is left.
Helping the Needy
Liberalism/socialism has romanticized and beautified the conception of need in this country and elsewhere. But contrary to that conception, the needy are not all saints or helpless victims of circumstance or victims of oppression. Many of them are shallow irresponsible hedonists who have become adept at employing sociological theories as ploys to secure license to take from other people and force other people to pay for problems the complainants have created for themselves.
Need is an existent condition. It is an existent condition which has antecedents. For many, the condition of need today is the consequence of having lived for the moment yesterday. Need is often a degenerate moral condition resulting in a degenerate economic condition. The exclusionary focus on the resultant condition of need paired with images of suffering is too often a deceptive semantic exclusion of the concept of accountability. There has been a demand for change of economic circumstance exclusive of change of moral commitment.
It has been forgotten that social responsibility begins with personal morality. In removing moral stigma or accountability, the moral relativism of recent decades has paved the way for individual poverty and national economic chaos.
There are those who point to their condition of economic need and proclaim that the system has failed. The system has not failed. The system has functioned as it should. The system is reality. Given the character of those concerned, economic failure is a realistic consequence.
The system is not what many people would like to misrepresent it as being. The system is a measure of personal self discipline, industriousness, honesty, and prudence. That is the system. That system, adopted within the context of a free society, generally does not fail. Without personal self discipline, industriousness, honesty, and prudence, any economic system will fail. That means a person’s own efforts in those directions, not just demands to substitute someone else’s efforts for your own.
The condition of need is often a form of justice. There are people who deserve no more than what they’ve got. In many cases poverty is social justice. While many people do not like the condition of poverty, they enjoy participating in the events, attitudes, and life styles predictably resulting in a condition of poverty or need. Poverty often is a message from reality saying the person experiencing poverty is doing something wrong. Many people who are experiencing poverty or need on the personal individual level are doing so because they are dead wrong in their personal lives. Poverty in this country is often a moral condition resulting in an economic condition. In saying this, let me emphasize I am not talking about the lame, the halt, or the blind.
If this country is having national economic problems on an overall level, it is the result of support for national policies that have been wrong. The economic problems in this country are a message that there are too many people trying to coast through life and coast through moral or rational indifference. The personal and economic problems in this country are a message that there has been an attempt to avoid reality.
The Cure is the Disease
Neither individual personal and economic lives nor the national economic or social condition can survive the celebration of personal excesses in this culture or the mentality engaging in those excesses. Socialism is tolerant of human degeneracy and resentment, particularly when the consequences of that degeneracy produce conditions which can be argued as requiring socialism as a remedy. Liberalism/socialism thus creates a need for itself. In that matter liberalism is much like bloodletting was in the days before medicine was a science. In the old medical journals you can read case histories in which it is said, “The patient was bled five times, but failed to improve.” The sixth bloodletting, ending in death, conclusively proved that a cure was impossible. In liberal economics the solution to the progressive weakening of the patient is to increase the abundance of leeches. Socialism is intolerant of reality. Socialism is not tolerant of those who want personal independence. It is not tolerant of people who want independent excellence and pursuits.
Socialism is equality, but it is equality to be achieved by enforced mediocrity. There should be serious consideration about whether the real motivation and intent of socialism is equality, or is oppression of individual excellence. Socialism/liberalism contains a deep resentment of excellence and quality.
Socialism preaches no morality except “social responsibility”. Social responsibility is a euphemism for focusing away from individual responsibility and for entitling people to confiscate and distribute the efforts of others. It has become a euphemism for involuntary servitude.
There is a proportion of human beings who possess a primitive resentment of other people. Someone told me an old parable which I wish I had originated. As the story goes, a man was unhappy and prayed to God for relief. To his surprise, God spoke to him from the heavens asking, “What is wrong?” The man explained, “I had a cow, but it ran away. Now, my neighbor still has a cow, but I do not.” God replied, “Tell me what you would have me do to end your discontent.” The man demanded, “Make my neighbor’s cow run away also!”
Like the man in the parable, there are people who have a nagging thread of resentment running through their personality. They’d rather see someone else suffer than they would see an improvement in their own lot. The man in the parable was more interested in bringing down his neighbor than he was in his own restoration. One method of imposing suffering and hostility upon others is through imposing the rule of, “We’re all going to suffer together”—often for the “common good” or through imposition of some sort of social program requiring universal sacrifice. To some, the satisfaction of releasing antagonism and resentment upon others is so deep that they are willing to inflict a universal emptiness which also afflicts themselves as a method of obliquely inflicting that emptiness on others. They can be very self-righteous in releasing this antagonism by pointing out their own willing suffering. The difference is that while all parties end up in a destructive condition, the suffering is in one instance an instrumental ploy more than compensated for by the ultimate sweet-tasting satisfaction of reveling in their neighbor’s downfall. To some people, this is everything. Satisfaction in downfall of others is ample payment for any costs to themselves or to the nation.
This constitutes part of the psychological architecture of socialism. Socialism is a sadistic passive-aggressive State in which the individual lives under constant scrutiny and subjugation of collective resentment. The sadistic satisfaction of seeing other people grovel before a type of sadistic obstructionism becomes a substitute for the satisfactions of one’s own freedom. Your neighbor no longer has a cow because his cow has become the property of everyone. If he works to have two cows, you get to take one or both away from him under equitable social redistribution. And that’s just about as good as you could ever hope for if you seek to satisfy resentment.
The problem is that a social or economic system built upon sadistic obstructionism or resentment is not productive.
A case in point (from which the title of this article is derived) involves a very famous 50s science-fiction movie called Forbidden Planet. A human space crew had landed on a planet that showed evidence of being once inhabited by a great civilization that had been mysteriously destroyed. For no apparent reason, the investigating space crew started being attacked by some sort of huge, nearly invincible monster in the middle of the night. The crew eventually determined that a group of advanced beings who once inhabited the planet had devised a remarkable centralized machine that could read minds and perform the tasks those minds would think of. Using this device, anyone could perform miraculous feats just by thinking about them. The machine became so adept at reading minds that it began to sense and act out people’s primitive resentments and impulses in the form of a monster, consequently destroying the civilization that created it by acting out the primitive impulses of those who lived there. The machine had begun reading the Freudian Ids of the space craft crew at night and turned those impulses lose upon the crew as a formless monster. The film was perhaps inadvertently one of the finest political studies ever made.
Liberalism and socialism do the same thing. They are the forbidden social system which mysteriously destroys its inhabitants by allowing them to subject each other to their individual and collective ungoverned Ids. Socialistic societies have a latent primitive mental component in them which, regardless of declared intent and slogans, ultimately becomes a monster. Socialism does not eliminate original sin. Socialism easily becomes a vehicle to collectivize and express it. Under socialism and contemporary liberalism, what evolves is a system of slavery under which the ultimate master is the resentment of others, and the collectivist Freudian Id.
Socialism is based upon a highly-developed rhetorical or language engine in which, ultimately, all things are inverted from their real form and intent. It incorporates the following characteristics.
The socialist language/conceptual system is nearly entirely existential in focus. That is, the focus is upon the way things exist, or the way things are.
There is a simultaneous avoidance of focus on how conditions got the way they are.
The concern dwells upon how people momentarily feel about present conditions.
Remedies will be conducted in such a way as to avoid confrontation of irrational or irresponsible behavior.
There is a misapplied guilt over letting conditions continue. not over letting causative conditions continue.
There is frequently a measure of something known as reversal formation or reaction formation in socialist dynamics. Reaction formation is a pattern in which people on a conscious or behavioral level act the opposite of what they feel on a subconscious level, or the way they would be expected to feel and act if they were in a healthy uninhibited condition. This is partially a consequence of the battered woman’s syndrome, previously discussed elsewhere, as well as a perverted form of religious inculcation of unconditional love and forgiveness, both of which result in repression of healthy anger and confrontational capacity. This leads to the disinclination to confront people with their responsibilities that makes suckers who are easily adapted into socialist thinking.
There is frequently a substrate of denied viciousness, resentment, sadism, and oppositional denial motivation.
So, what evolves is two entirely different interpretive systems and systems of language to describe a condition or sequence of events. If you resent your neighbor’s prosperity and happiness, you convert your hatred into a quasi-virtue by demanding a more equitable distribution of wealth among the people, or by crusading for destruction of his efforts in the name of eliminating poverty. Resistance to the inherent enslavement is labeled being against eliminating poverty.
Those who lack personal commitment to their own children vaguely complain about the condition of children in this country and avoid their responsibilities by palming them off on governmental, or other, programs. The condition of children in this country is attributed to lack of social programs rather than the more basic problem of parental, or other, irresponsibility. This twists the focus of priority away from examining the effects large scale amorality and parental pursuit of self-centered personal agenda have in producing rootless children.
Parents can continue playing at life. Any questioning of this is met with the accusation of being against children. The phrase, “for the children” really means, for the adults whose children are tangential to other agendas in their lives, or for the politicians who exploit the situation. According to available figures, the proportion of children living in poverty has risen from 14 percent to 21 percent in two decades. This is after trillions of dollars in social programs. It is also after decades of rationalizing adolescent and adult irresponsibility.
The War Against Sanity
Using this rhetorical machine, liberalism has conducted a war against all freedom, sanity, and value in the last 40 years. There has been a wave of sadism and destruction in the name of social benefit or good. There has been a systematic oppositional-defiant attack on everything from our educational system, to our economic system, to our culture, and our system of morality.
If people were morally perfect, socialism would not be a touted necessity to address individual economic difficulties resulting from imperfection. Socialism/Liberalism encourages those imperfections by subsidizing them, then turns them lose upon society, thus creating a monster. If socialism worked, it would not be necessary. The reason socialism does not work is that the human deficiencies producing the individual economic consequences attributed to free enterprise become massive and rampant under socialism. The pockets of deficiency existing under free enterprise demonstrate that socialism is not possible. In a world which requires checks and balances, socialism has no provision for checks and balances against the human Id.
The problem with liberalism and socialism is that they are too easily corrupted. Let that be re-phrased. The problem with liberalism and socialism is that they begin with dishonesty and corruption which can be expanded endlessly.
The liberalism of recent decades, perhaps encompassing much of the twentieth century, is a serious and profound mental disorder. It combines, in various degrees, lack of character, lack of respect for other people, a feebleness of intelligence, disassociation from reality, an infantile anger, a primitive resentment of others, a dishonesty, an irresponsibility, and a demand for negation of reality. Socialism and liberalism are the expression of the ungoverned
Liberalism is Id without Ego or Superego. It is feeling and deep destructive impulse without control by thought or conscience. It wants what it wants immediately without regard for morality or rationality.
The standard reply by the New Left in the sixties and seventies to the criticism that none of the societies built upon socialism or communism worked was to reply that those governments were not true socialism or communism. Therefore the realities of life in the Soviet Union, China, East Germany, or any other place where the political left had its way were not valid criticisms of radical left theology. In fact, the criticism was valid. Leftist theology is a system of euphemisms softening an authoritarian pathological system. The implementation of leftist theory inevitably leaves people living the reality of the pathology instead of the euphemisms.
Communism and socialism are not supposed to work in the ordinary healthy sense. They are expressions of the deepest, most irrational, and, at times, most nightmarish parts of the repressed subconscious. They are vehicles for ungoverned Id and pathology combined with quests for power by various politicians. The social and economic millennium being theorized is nothing but empty promises used as a sales pitch. The people selling it are possessed or motivated by a substrate of irresponsibility, vindictiveness, jealousy, resentment, and indolent self-absorption that are the denied and unspoken promise of the systems. This is what is being bargained for by those pressing for imposition. That’s what the system is designed for. After the sugar slogans and construction of the language of conversion dissolves off the pill of revolution, you are inevitably stuck with the Id motivation under the language, and the monster that was there from the beginning arises.
The Peril of Counter-Masochism
It takes a specially prepared, masochistic, and somewhat psychologically blind person to endure the pathology of socialism, if he is not the one secretly enjoying the infliction of it upon his neighbor. Only spiritless, dependent, programmed conformists can survive it. The system is at constant internal war against so-called counter-revolutionaries who must be killed if they cannot be blinded to the pathology. Russian Communism required the loss of 70,000,000 lives. Mao’s second cultural revolution killed millions. Wholesale idealistic slaughter by the system becomes the substitute for the inherent rational corrective action of realistic consequences in a free society. There is constant vigilance by the system against the emergence of counter-masochistic resistance.
Communism and socialism are dangerous because they are better at producing revolution than producing functioning economies. When the revolution stops, communism and socialism fail to function. They must export revolution to support their existence and to divert people’s minds away from dismality. Revolution provides an orgiastic religious sense of purpose upon which socialism and communism are dependent. They need scapegoats to blame for the deteriorated conditions they produce. They are religions which fail once the world is converted, yet refuse to give up control of the people; rather, they dedicate themselves to a new system of paranoid revolution of constant war against the knowledge that anything else is possible. The only motivation they have is hatred.
For nearly 70 years the Soviet Union lived behind walls that kept its own people from leaving and kept outside information out. It had some of the finest agricultural land in the world, a wealth of natural resources, a large population. As an isolated system, there was no reason why the Soviet Union could not have achieved a high standard of living with economic self-sufficiency. Yet it fomented external revolution and scape-goating in an attempt to deny its internal bankruptcy.
Many people are willing to compromise freedom or rationality as individuals when that compromise provides support for their particular irresponsibility. (The other person’s irresponsibility is called a “special interest group.”) But in compromising principle for their own purposes, they erode their moral position for criticizing other people’s feeding at the same moral and intellectual trough. Too much of the population of this country has been separated and compromised
by individual payoffs. They are willing to suckle on an authoritarian left-wing society at the expense of others. The process has developed beyond the capabilities or resources of society or the individuals in it to feed it.
There is a dangerous theoretical myth that conceives of hypothetical despots or economic conditions as being nearly exclusive threats to the human condition or human freedom. In states where political power is inherited, this may have truth. It may apply to those who assume leadership by profound and thorough deception, and either build or inherit an organization which has the capacity to enforce control upon the general population.
However, the greatest threat to the human condition and to human freedom in economically advanced societies is not from despots, but from personal irresponsibility and demands to impose the costs of that irresponsibility upon others. Secondarily, demagogues may be chosen to implement that imposition.
Corruption in government is not the only danger to a society. Corruption in government is easily corrected. Corruption of the people, themselves, is a far more serious danger. A corrupt people tolerate, or more likely demand, a corrupt government. That is far more difficult to correct.
Ross Perot made a very valid point when he quoted a Scottish economist’s view that government can fail when people learn they can vote to take from the public trough. Let that be expanded to say government can fail when people learn they can coast through life in an attitude of amoral self-indulgence while making other people responsible for supporting it. The name of that failure is socialism.
This, or any other society or economic system, can collapse from accumulated weight of personal irresponsibility. That is a fundamental truth that must be recognized. When any government becomes a tool for support of individual irresponsibility, that government becomes unstable. When government is given the impossible task of satisfying irrational fantasy, the failure of those attempts breeds dissatisfaction with government.
What is needed is not only a system of rights which protects individuals from government, but also a system of rights which protects individuals from the folly and irresponsibility of other people. There must be establishment of the supreme rule that social and economic interactions occur based on agreement between participating individuals. This leads to the corollary that the irresponsibilities people commit are not to be imposed upon other people in the community as a matter of governmental or social policy.
Robert L. Kocher is the author of “The American Mind in Denial,” as well as many other articles. He is an engineer working in the area of solid-state physics, and has done graduate study in clinical psychology. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.