Updated: Jun 14, 2021
I am opposed to socialism or any form of centralized economic governance because I believe in the absolute sinfulness of every man. My contemporaries in the economic discipline reject socialism because the system breaks down mathematically and fails to perform the billions of calculations and functions necessary to promote efficient markets. More than that, socialism historically has proven to drag nations, who became ensnared in the trap of promised equality, into poverty, starvation, and suffering. These arguments alone are sufficiently convincing to say the least, but I prefer to reject socialism on a more metaphysical level.
1. THE SOCIALIST’S MORALITY
The vast majority of socialists, especially those who want to preside over legislating the rules of redistribution, believe that they are inherently good. This fallacy is easily dismissed because the truth of temporal life reveals that every man is destined to die as a consequence of sin. We are beings corrupted with rebellion and a natural love of what is wrong. An examination of my own heart only serves to reinforce the proof; there is no good inherent to me as a product of my humanity. But if goodness does not naturally dwell in me, why should it in the socialist?
So I see no basis for assuming goodness is endowed naturally to one man and not another. In fact, by the socialist’s own admission, he cannot be “greater” than I lest he contradicts his own belief and implies inherent inequality between individuals.
Nonetheless, because of the socialist’s belief in this “cosmic goodness” attributed to them, they take it upon themselves to assume command at the helm of public policy and “right the heading of the economic ship according to their moral compass.” This promising heroism is quickly exposed when the ship begins to sink. The majority of those nations who declare socialism to be the ideology of the hour erode into the abyss of communism where necessities as fundamental as bread and water become as scarce as diamonds.
2. THE ECONOMICS OF SOCIALISM
Another fundamental truth of human existence is that we are created in the image of God (true, this image has been dramatically “distorted” after the fall, but by God's grace, we remain in his image all the same). Because we are made in God's image, one of humans' inherent qualities is the ability to think for ourselves. Our intellect has been designed so that, when trying to solve a problem or make a choice, we can research, investigate, contemplate, and arrive at logical conclusions. To exercise this capacity is to function as God intended and is, therefore, good.
Utilizing that rationality, after economic analysis and study, I discover that socialism makes no logical or rational sense. An axiom of this temporal world is that all things, save for Christ, are scarce. Gold is scarce, land is scarce, chocolate is scarce, and time is scarce. This nature of scarcity forces us to make trades with one another for the acquisition of goods and services; I might trade you a coffee if you give me a glass of lemonade. It seems simple enough, but the complication is that my desire for lemonade might vary on a day-to-day basis. If it’s a hot day, I’ll want lemonade more than if it’s a chilly day.
The magnificent wonder of free markets is that they take all of these factors into account for my desire for lemonade: weather, level of thirst, the saltiness of my snack, etc., and then dictate a price (or value) for the lemonade. An efficient level of lemonade is sold, and the scarcity problem is solved.
But in a socialist state, a small oligarchy of officials (the central planners) must complete this process themselves every minute, every hour, and every day. Each good, of which there are countless millions in the economy, has its own factors that affect its efficient price to allocate the scarcity of that good. More than that, each individual in the nation has unique levels of value for each and every good they do or do not desire.
How then can a socialist even begin to contemplate performing the proper calculations to efficiently allocate goods for one citizen, let alone for millions, for one day let alone 365? They attempt to undertake the great impossibility anyway; shortages and sufferings inevitably follow because of an inability to properly allocate scarce goods. Meat, clothes, vehicles, and electricity, among numerous other goods, become items reserved for the luxurious in such states—Venezuela, North Korea, Communist Russia, Cuba, and other socialist “utopia’s” prove this to be true.
3. THE DANGER OF CENTRALIZED POWER
And yet, as miserable as socialism’s record has been regarding goods and services, I’m not convinced it’s the most problematic barrier to overcome for the proponents of the ideology. I think the poison of subjectivism is the surest guarantee that socialism is an ideology of despair.
Suppose a man could efficiently calculate prices—suppose he had a miraculous mind and could know the perfect allocation of any given good in society, at any given moment, for any given individual…should we adopt a system of economic governance where this man regulates the goods that I produce and receive? Should we be socialist if there is a man in power who can allocate all goods efficiently and avoid shortages and disparity? Nonsense. What on Earth would cause us to place such faith in the inherent goodness of this central planner? Are we not, whether capitalist or socialist, all fallen creatures who have a terrible tendency to commit evil on a regular basis? Do we not naturally live in sin?
The problem with socialism is that even if an official is given the sufficient knowledge required to co-ordinate markets and ensure no one goes without, there is no guarantee that he will act good or righteously. The evidence of history supports the contrary; allotted such power, I expect any and every ruler to act cruelly. What is “good” for me will devolve to mean “whatever ensures the planner remains in power.” Any attempt on my part to argue against his choices will invariably involve a reply that tells me I am insufficiently educated on the matters of allocation and equality to make a proper judgement for myself.
Soon, the socialist might even be required to withhold a day or a week's worth of bread for a family in order to bribe a propagandist or politician to consolidate lasting governance. But, because he's the central planner concerned with equality, “small sacrifices” like this will be determined absolutely necessary “for the good of the nation.”
I therefore hold no confidence that any central socialist, permitted such extraordinary power, will act in accordance with Biblical justice and benevolence—only that he will inevitably do what is right in his own eyes. And what's good for him probably won't be good for me.