Recent studies show that our ill-educated millennials think that socialism is cool. I don’t think they know what socialism is. They seem to think its some sort of system where Mom and Dad, or the next door neighbor, work at their favorite fun jobs while subsidizing the kid who wants to hang out with the BFFs at the café, sipping coffee made from only the most expensive beans, or nightclub hop while checking their social media and Instagramming their lovely cocktail, or expound to whoever will listen about what a rotten job their better-educated parents made of the world, or furiously argue over which movie or pop song was coolest. Oops.
Given how idealistic these folks are, I thought I would help them understand where there ideals lead.
First clue, folks. Without Capitalist tourists, there probably won’t be very many cafes to hang out in. And make sure your Instagram is gov approved. Let’s start with a basic definition of socialism. Yeah. Kind of a research assignment. But don’t worry. I’m laying it out for you and you can just skim. And, there’s no test. Knowledge is so bourgeois.
Here’s the definition of socialism from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (You’ve heard about dictionaries, right? I think they introduce the idea somewhere during the sixth year of college.)
1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2 a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done
I’m using a mainstream definition of socialism free of value judgments in order to make my point more clearly. I’d actually use a more generous definition of socialism to include that its actions are for the purpose of redistributing wealth to benefit the masses. That’s usually how they slip in the “idealism.”
Nevertheless, let’s focus on the primary factor that defines socialism. “ownership of the means of production.” And what is the most fundamental means of production in any society? Glad you asked. It’s “people.” So, socialism should be understood as a system where the state owns the people, and deploys them as it deems necessary for society at large. That, of course, is the textbook definition of slavery. Some entity owns you and decides what kind of work you have to do for the benefit of someone other than yourself.
Yeah. I know, in your socialism you plan to be a folk-singer in the local café. In real socialism, the state decides whether it needs more labor out in the farmlands, or coal mines, or military fighting Oceana, or wherever, and that’s where you go.
Need an abortion? Depends upon whether the government thinks it has too many or too few of the [human] means of production.
Want a nice rent-controlled apartment. Cool. Just share the one bedroom with six other people who also need housing. Take turns killing the rats, roaches, and termites. Don’t worry, though. You can do it in shifts. You only need the apartment for the 8 hours when you’re not working at whatever the government decides you should be the means of producing. Others can sleep there while you’re out. Efficiency, no? Why leave a government-owned asset unused?
So, if you like human slavery (and no political institution favored human-slavery more than the Democratic Party ) then you’ll love socialism. It’s so idealistic.