Conceding Socialism Works

The unthinking conservative argues against socialism thus:  “Socialism is a failure.  Everywhere it is tried it fails.  Socialism simply doesn’t work.”  This is a losing argument. Conservatives are champions of capitalism, and must be.  They will never champion capitalism while arguing socialism doesn’t work.   

I argue the case.

Constitutional Conservative (CC)                                                                               Leftist (L)

(L)“I believe socialism works.  I believe capitalism creates intolerable income inequity among people.  I believe greed motivates and corrupts the rich.  The rich push down the poor, selfishly protecting and preserving their power.  The rich get richer, the poor get poorer.  It’s immoral.”

(CC)“To what end do you believe socialism works?”

(L)“Socialism takes money from the rich who cheated and stole it.  The rich take more than their fair share.  The rich also have pre-existing advantages the poor cannot reasonably overcome.  Socialism then gives that money to the poor.  It’s for our common good.  In the end we all benefit.”

(CC)“Did all the rich people cheat and steal the money they have?”

(L)“Not all.  But most.”

(CC)“And who will decide who is too rich?”

(L)“The elected politicians and courts.”

(CC)“So, it will be illegal to be too rich?”


(CC)“The government will take from the rich and give to the poor.   Wealth will be legally redistributed by means of democratically elected politicians writing and passing new laws.  The government is powerful enough to enforce those law.  The law will be enforced.  The outcome will be a new system, fair, moral, and economically sustainable.   Do I follow you correctly?”

(L)“Yes.  As you can see, it can be done.  It will be the law of the land by due process.  It can and will be enforced.”

(CC)“I don’t doubt it will be enforced.”

(L)“You can see then, it works.  Even though it works imperfectly in France, Germany, Great Britain, Canada, and elsewhere, it works.  You can’t deny it works.  We have the legal right and power to make equitable the income inequality wrought by capitalism.”

(CC)“Indeed.  You are right of course.  It works. Socialism works.  Socialism can be made legitimate by a democratically elected Congress, signed by the president, and upheld by the Supreme Court.  The police would enforce the law.  There is no question people will comply.  Wealth will be taken from the rich and given to the poor.  Yes, it works.”  

(L)“Then, you agree?”

(CC)“I concede socialism works, as you say.  But you see, I don’t give a hollering hoot if socialism ‘works.’  I couldn’t care less.  I don’t care if it’s imperfect or not.  I don’t care if it’s working wonderfully in other countries.  I don’t care if it can be made legally legitimate.  I don’t care if it’s enforceable.  I don’t care if it’s economically sustainable.  I don’t even if you could make it efficient.   And something tells me you don’t either.”

(L)“I’m not sure I understand you.”

(CC)“Oh, I think you do.  I don’t give a damn if you can make socialism work.  It’s a moral question, not a pragmatic one.  I don’t believe the government has the God-given right to take my property by force and give it to someone else.  God-given rights are given to individuals, not governments.  Individuals.  But you know that already, don’t you?  You just don’t agree with it.  You would use the power of democratically elected government, enforced by police and courts, to circumvent my moral right to keep my legally earned property.”

(L)“I have the moral high ground.”

(CC)“My moral right to life, liberty, and property are given me by God.  From His lofty summit your so-called ‘moral high ground’ stinks of man-made designs, man-made shortsightedness, man-made cronyism, man-made social engineering, man-made control, and promises of man-made utopia.   No thanks.  I’ll keep my capitalism.  While imperfect, it affords me my God-given rights.”


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