Leftist Untruth #5 —"Socialism Can Work


That Socialism can work for a society is an untruth. Socialism CANNOT work in any large society, for any substantial length of time. In this article, and Part 2, we will show why that this is always true and always will be true.


Collectivism - Democracy

‘Collectivism and Democracy are both about equality and sharing’, Leftists say. That idea feels good, but it's not true.


Correctly understanding Collectivism and Free Enterprise, as systems, yields a different truth. As real systems of human interaction, Collectivism and Democracy either work or do not work to provide fairness, justice, and quality standards of living.


As we will see, Collectivism always requires top-down control by government regulators who have the power to distribute goods. It can’t work any other way. That control by some people in the society over other people in the society inevitably leads to inequality and tyranny.


Graphical user interface, application

Description automatically generatedDemocracy and Free Enterprise, on the other hand, really can provide fairness, justice, and quality standards of living, because:


1. In Free Enterprise systems, goods are exchanged voluntarily, not distributed by powerful government regulators.


 2. In democracies (in any representative form of government, actually) government regulators are reined in, and the people have more power.



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Even if we didn't understand the systems-thinking that explains why that is true, history has proved that it is true. Socialist collectivism and Democracy are different systems; they are always incompatible opposites, and they always produce very different outcomes.



In the 2020s in America, the Left accused the Right of "threatening our Democracy". Of course, that was a lie. It was the Left who were the threat to our standard of living and our freedom. No large society can work as a socialist system. There is something wrong with socialism that will always cause it to fail. We can prove that, but there are other proofs as well, and we will look at them in the conclusion of Part 2 of this article.



Description automatically generatedAfter so much hope and struggle, and so many lives sacrificed around the world, socialism’s epitaph turned out to be: If you build it, they will leave.

Joshua Muravchik, Heaven on Earth: The Rise, Fall, and Afterlife of Socialism (2019)


What Socialism Is (Not)…

a peer-to-peer networkIn a way, peer-to-peer networks are the socialist networks in the world of computing. Each peer is equal to the others, and each peer has the same rights and duties as the others.

Codrut Neagu "What is P2P (peer-to-peer) and why is it useful?" (2017)  https://www.digitalcitizen.life/what-is-p2p-peer-to-peer


That idea of socialism, i.e. the idea in the mind of the writer of that quote, is what the U.S. education system taught to American students in the 21st century. A socialist society was a network of equals, equally sharing the goods produced by the society, students were taught. So you couldn’t blame indoctrinated people for believing that, but it wasn’t true — it had never been true. People who believed that socialist systems were peer-to-peer systems of equality didn’t understand what socialism was. Socialism requires hierarchies of control; the design and nature of socialism is that a socialist society can only operate as a hierarchy of control. Never as a peer-to-peer network of sharing.


Socialism CANNOT be a peer-to-peer network.











Socialism is a kind of social organization.


…production of the means to support human life and, second to production, the exchange of things produced, is the basis of all social structure; in every society in history, the ways in which wealth is distributed and in which society is divided into classes or orders, has depended on what is produced, how it is produced, and how the products are exchanged. From this point of view, the final causes of all social changes and political revolutions are to be sought

Friedrich Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific (1880)


Marxists such as Engels claimed to be experts on socialism. And in a way they were. They were experts at using socialism as an untruth, a false promise.


The real goal of Marxists was indeed “revolutions”.  Revolution was what they sought. By promising “socialism” as a social change, the Marxists could foment revolutions, that would bring down the current order, allowing Marxists to replace that order with totalitarian rule by Marxists. The promise of “Socialism” was always a lie. Socialism couldn’t work even if it really was installed.


In socialism, as Engels said, someone must organize the means of production and distribution of goods and services. Whoever has the control to do that will have the power of life and death over the other people in the society. And in reality, that never works out well for the “other” people.Athenian Assembly Woman circa 400 BC History offers a host of examples.



The Leftist Assembly Women

Compulsory Universal Community Property is what I propose to propose; across-the-board Economic Equality, to fill those fissures that scar our society’s face. No more the division between Rich and Poor… …We’ll wear the same clothes, and share the same food… …My initial move will be to communalize land, and money, and all other property, personal and real.

Aristophanes, “Ecclesiazusae” (392 BC) quoted by Igor Shafarevich in The Socialist Phenomenon: A Historical Survey of Socialist Policies and Ideals


The title of Aristophanes’ comedy translates as “The Assembly Women”; that is a joke, because women were not permitted to attend the Assembly, where Athenian citizens proposed and voted on rules for their city-state. In the play, women disguise themselves as men to go participate in the Assembly. Some of the women are socialists. Pretty funny stuff.


As an idea, socialism is ancient, but it always seems to have a tinge of futurism to it. It is the inevitable outcome of history, we are told by Leftist historicists. It is utopian and scientific, as Engels said. Maybe socialism really is the future, because it never actually gets here.



Fully Automated Luxury CommunismWhat Comes After Scarcity and Capitalism?

A different kind of politics for a new kind of society--beyond work, scarcity and capitalism. In the twenty-first century, new technologies should liberate us from work… Technological advance will reduce the value of commodities—food, healthcare and housing—towards zero.

Aaron Bastani, Fully Automated Luxury Communism: A Manifesto (2020)


Many people predicted in the 21st century that America was nearing an era when technology would provide everyone with everything without anyone having to work. Well, maybe. But as of this writing, no human society has been able to produce an unlimited amount of the goods that all the people in the society might want. Instead, the reality is scarcity. If a society produces goods, but there aren't enough goods for everyone to have all they want all the time, then some people will get what they want and others will not.


So the question is: If scarcity is in effect (and so far it always has been) and not everyone can get everything they want, then who rightly decides who gets the goods and who doesn't?


If the rule is, "To each according to his need", then who decides what "need" is, and how much need a certain person has or doesn’t have? Because somebody has to make that decision, and that person also has to have the power to distribute goods to some people and not to others. So every socialist society must have government regulators with the power to decide who gets goods and who does not. History has shown that when human beings are given that power, they will always eventually abuse it. Let’s look at some case studies, from socialist societies.


Socialism Comes to America, for the first time

On July 1, 1620, the Pilgrims, prior to departing Plymouth, England, signed a seven-year contract in which they agreed to pool all profits and benefits that are got by trade, traffic, trucking, working, fishing, or any other means of any person or persons. The contract further provided, that at the end of the seven years, the capital and profits, viz. The houses, lands, goods and chattels, be equally divided. In other words, the Pilgrims brought socialism to America.

Rabbi Menashe Sasson, "A (True) Thanksgiving Tale of Socialism in America and Israel" Mises Wire (2022)



Sounds like a plan! What could go wrong?


“…instead of lasting seven years, the Pilgrims experiment with socialism failed after a mere two years,” Rabbi Sasson’s article went on. “Shortages and starvation abounded; about 50 percent of the colonists died of starvation and related illnesses.”


But maybe the shortages and starvation were the result of factors other than socialism being a system that can never really work?


No. After two years of suffering, “…the Pilgrims scuttled their socialist experiment and adopted a free-market economy… When the Pilgrims were allowed to retain the fruits of their labor, their productivity—and prosperity—increased almost overnight.”


But socialism is a very persistent delusion, and it would soon make another migration from Europe to the New World.


Official “Socialism” Comes to the U.S.

Capitalism, the private ownership of the means of production, is responsible for the insecurity of subsistence, the poverty, misery, and degradation of the ever-growing majority of our people; but the same economic forces which have produced and now intensify the capitalist system will necessitate the adoption of socialism, the collective ownership of the means of production for the common good and welfare.

“Platform of the Social Democratic Party of America” (1900)


Socialist and industrialist Robert OwenThe world’s first officially socialist society popped up in America. Well, it didn’t really “pop up”, as we will see. Socialism wasn’t emergent. It was established in the U.S. by design, i.e. the design of a mega-wealthy capitalist, Robert Owen. His socialist society was a farming community in Indiana, which was mostly a wild frontier country in 1824. The site of Owen’s experiment, the village of New Harmony is still there, although it is not a socialist community. In fact, it was there before Owen turned it into a commune. He bought it for that purpose from the religious sect that had built it and ran it for years before Owen came along with his plan for socialism.


So the word ‘socialism’ had its origin in America. Joseph Mather provided perhaps the first known usage of the word to attack ‘socialism’, in his 1839 tract titled Socialism Exposed, or the Book of the New Moral Order, Examined to Explain What Robert Owen's Socialism Is. Robert Owen had created socialism; but he didn’t first call it that. He called it “A New Moral Order” and “A New View of Society” in essays he published 1813-14.


In his Socialism Exposed attack on socialism, Mather quoted the essays that Owen wrote to create socialism.


 • Mather quoted Owen, “…in one of his works, ’Essays on the Formation of the Human character,’ he expressly says that men are ‘living machines,’ p. 28.  Whether even the followers of Mr. Owen may be flattered at being accounted only machines, and may be willing that he should mould and use them as he pleases, in working out his results, I know not: but I do think that men in general will not thank him for the compliment, nor be inclined to become his tools.” The idea that human beings should be considered to be “machines” predates Owen and Mather, and was put forth by the proto-leftist Thomas Hobbes on the first pages of Leviathan in 1651. We discuss that in other pieces.


 • Mather also attacked Owen’s Environmental Determinism, i.e. the idea that, in Mather’s words, “…man can know nothing but what he is taught”. It was to be a principle of socialism that humans are infinitely malleable, have no human nature, and so can be made into anything that the state wants them to be.


What is interesting here, in the context of why socialism cannot work, is that Owen’s economic system of socialism — common ownership of production and equal distribution of goods — grew out of Owen’s Leftist moral system, i.e. Leftist credos, of very questionable validity.



The Failure of Socialism” (as it came to be known)

Owen recruited eager collectivists from all over America to move to New Harmony to live the socialist dream of collective equality. But soon after everyone moved in and began to live according to Owen’s scrupulously detailed rules of collectivism, Owen himself left Indiana Robert Owen’s vision for his Socialist utopia in Indiana.and went back to England, leaving his son in charge of New Harmony (although to be “in charge” of collective of perfect equals seems to be a contradiction in terms, and not the first such contradiction that socialism would produce). Immediately, things started to go badly wrong.


The members of the religious sect that built New Harmony had started various industries in the village and the members were able to sell the output at a profit, but the new collectivists could not manage to produce those goods in the same workshops. The religious sect had grown surplus crops and sold them for cash, but the collectivists could not produce enough even to feed themselves.


One big problem (pig problem actually) was that the collectivists could not even maintain the fences which the religious sect had built, so the pigs got into the crops and ravaged them. One of the people at the collective wrote in a letter, “The hogs have been our Lords and Masters this year in field and garden. We are now, as we have been, without vegetables except what we buy; and I believe that we shall go without potatoes, turnips, or cabbages this winter.”


Owen’s experiment in socialism collapsed after only two years, just as the Pilgrim’s socialism had done. Two years turns out the be the period of time that most socialist systems last before failing.


The saga of New Harmony was about some people being more equal than others — apparently the Owen family were more or less dictators. So pigs ruled a hierarchy of inequality on a socialist agricultural system long before George Orwell wrote The Animal Farm. (A fuller account of the failure of Owen’s socialist experiment can be read in the book quoted in the first epigraph, Joshua Muravchik, Heaven on Earth: The Rise, Fall, and Afterlife of Socialism.)


The first really prominent American-born Socialist, Eugene V. Debs, was born (in Western Indiana not far from New Harmony), three years before Robert Owen died in Scotland. Debs was the first chairman of Social Democracy of America, which included various Owenite, Marxist, and socialist groups.

...the words “socialism” and “socialist” have evolved into a scare tactic within American politics over time ... it was around Debs that socialism began to become a dirty word.

...the words “socialism” and “socialist” have evolved into a scare tactic within American politics over time ... it was around Debs that socialism began to become a dirty word.

Jeremy Hobson and Serena McMahon, "What Is Socialism? A History of The Word Used as A Scare Tactic in American Politics" WBUR (2019)




Welcome to the U.S., Socialism! Again.

Originally, Owen’s socialism received an enthusiastic reception in the United States, at least from some government regulators. Owen gave a three-hour lecture on his system to Congress in 1825. It was attended by President John Quincy Adams and generated much interest.


But, unlike in Europe, “socialism” eventually became a dirty word to most Americans, and that process might have started as early as the late 1830s, when Robert Owen’s own children began to renounce their father’s Leftist ideas and become prominent, freedom-loving capitalist Americans.


Some observers saw the big problem with Socialism right away. The reality of Owen’s New Harmony Socialist system seems to have been that he almost immediately became a dictator, in a way that will sound familiar to 21st century subsequent victims of Leftism.



And not only is Mr. Owen under the necessity of passing laws, and of making those that belong to his establishment amenable to those laws, but the whole of his system is founded upon compulsion, both mental and bodily; for he would take infants from the care of their mothers…
Joseph Mather, Socialism Exposed (1839

And not only is Mr. Owen under the necessity of passing laws, and of making those that belong to his establishment amenable to those laws, but the whole of his system is founded upon compulsion, both mental and bodily; for he would take infants from the care of their mothers…

Joseph Mather, Socialism Exposed (1839).


…the whole of his system is founded upon compulsion…” “…would take infants from the care of their mothers…” Sound familiar? People like to give the impression that Socialism is new, or different. But one thing that Socialism has never done very much is change. To distribute the goods, it must always eventually be based upon force and compulsion. If Socialism changes at all throughout history, it goes from bad to worse.


“…holding all things in common…”

I think, myself, that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.

Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Ludlow (1824)

That is one of the multitude of famous pro-freedom quotes from Jefferson. But the context of this quotation is interesting in the context of socialism. Who was Robert Ludlow? What was going on in 1824 that prompted Jefferson’s remark?

Thomas Jefferson

1824 was of course one of the two years that Robert Owen’s brief New Harmony experiment in socialism was in existence. It seems though that history lost track of Robert Ludlow, who was apparently planning a socialist commune of his own and who wrote to Jefferson for his thoughts on the project. Here is the context of the quotation, from Jefferson’s letter replying to Ludlow: 


I think, myself, that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. I believe it might be much simplified to the relief of those who maintain it. Your experiment seems to have this in view. A society of seventy families, the number you name, may very possibly be governed as a single family, subsisting on their common industry, and holding all things in common. Some regulators of the family you still must have, and it remains to be seen at what period of your increasing population your simple regulations will cease to be sufficient to preserve order, peace, and justice. The experiment is interesting; I shall not live to see its issue, but I wish it success equal to your hopes, and to yourself and society prosperity and happiness.



So Jefferson immediately saw the unavoidability of powerful government regulators in a socialist system., “Some regulators … you still must have…”


If, in 2022, almost two centuries after Jefferson replied to Ludlow, you happened to visit the site Socialism Today, you would have witnessed scores of people writing hundreds of articles for thousands of people, thousands among the hundreds of millions — the billions — of people in the world who still could not, or would not, understand why socialism never works.



Socialism can only work if no government is necessary.

If the members of a small community share rules which they believe come from God and believe that God is in charge, then no other government may be needed.  But a collectivist community sharing rules that they believe come from God is not socialism, it is a religious commune. Religious communes, if they remain small, can survive for relatively long periods of time, although most fail within a few decades at most. Experiments in real, stand-alone socialist communities very rarely survive for much more than two years. That seems to be the cut-off point for most socialist societies, as we will see.


(While many nations have had “Socialist” in their names and have lasted for decades, and some practiced collectivism in some areas, none were, as nations, collectivist. Communists do not install collectivism when they get in power; instead, they claim that a Communist dictatorship is a step toward true collectivist socialism, which the rulers will create, someday. We discuss this further in Part 2: Enforcing USSR-Text

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Stories of Socialism and Religious Collectivism: Pray for Socialism?

Some people say that Leftism is a religion; if so, did that mean that socialism had a chance to work after all? Because religion seems to work; lots of big religions have been around a long time.


Socialism began as a system of morality, as we saw, based on premises of questionable validity. By the 21st century, it had turned out that the only societies with any real track record of making socialistic collectivism work for any significant length of time were societies where the rules of interaction were religious beliefs. I.e. religious communes.  New Harmony was an example — the religious sect had made the community prosper, before Owen bought it and socialism wrecked it.


Another famous example is Israeli kibbutzim. True, they were originally collectives and were mostly politically socialist, and they lasted longer than two years, but they were more religion-based than socialist-based, the religion being Zionist Judaism. And anyway, the Kibbutzim were eventually mostly privatized. By 2010, only one in four of kibbutzim still functioned as a cooperative. The rest were essentially businesses which paid wages to members. Because that system worked.


“After 100 Years, the Kibbutz Movement Has Completely Changed” Haaretz (2010)



The history of the state of Israel itself has been, to some extent, an ongoing story about the hopes and failures of socialism.


During the years 1978–79, inflation in Israel, caused by government manipulation of the money supply, averaged 77 percent. By 1984–85, the annual rate of inflation peaked at a staggering 450 percent. US president Ronald Reagan offered Israel a $1.5 billion grant if Israel would abandon socialism and adopt free-market economic principles. The Histadrut, Israels labor union, objected.


That comes from the story by Rabbi Menashe Sasson about the collectivism of the Pilgrims, quoted above. But the U.S. did not give up, in spite of being rejected. Instead, the Reagan administration doubled down. Secretary of State George Schultz threatened that if Israel did not start implementing free-market economic policies, the U.S. would suspend all aid to the nation.


“The threat worked” Rabbi Sasson wrote, and Israel, “started to implement the free-market recommendation made by the Reagan administration.” And the changes worked; within a year the rate of inflation in Israel fell from 450 percent to twenty percent.


Of course, the Jewish state’s long and destructive love affair with socialism was not over. As for America, the Christian pilgrims may have dumped socialism in a hurry, to survive. But some people say that Christianity itself is Socialist, and was from the start.



Was Christ a Socialist? Were his Disciples Socialists?

Even in the 2020s, Leftists were still making the amazing discovery that — whoa! — Christianity was really Leftism! And Jesus was a socialist!!!


Plenty of books said so.


As did other media.


...the mainstream interpretations of Jesus’ philosophy seem to ignore or undermine his economic ideals, most often in the interest of preserving capitalism... We can read stories about Jesus’ emphasis on communal practices, like sharing meals and labor and starting the tradition now referred to as “communion.”

Brooke Hill, "Jesus is a Communist" Student Newspaper Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (2021)




There were “Spirit Inspired Memes for Christian Communist Teens”





The Jesus-Bernie book consisted of 100 blank pages, so for $7.99 Bernie Bro’s could transcribe their feelings and thoughts on the subjects of Bernie and Socialism, we suppose.


In the 21st century some people who said that they were Christians also said that they were socialists, and various Christian Socialist Movements had existed since the 1800s, almost as long as the word 'socialism'. Those people mostly claimed that the moral code of socialism and Christianity were the same. But what about socialism as an economic system? Is true Christianity collectivist, with the people owning everything in common and sharing equally? Were Southern Baptists aware that communion was communism?


Leftists who reviled the Bible as a whole rejoiced in discovering the verses of the book of Acts 4:32-35. Acts is the book of the New Testament which relates the earliest history of Christianity, the acts of Jesus' first followers. 


32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.


33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.


34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,


35 And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.


So the first Christians were collectivists! There's the proof right there, Leftists claim. Christian capitalists today are hypocrites because Christianity is socialism!!!


But the problem with that claim is that, as one might expect of Leftists re the Bible, they conveniently stopped reading there at Acts 4:35. If they had kept reading, they would have seen that Acts, Chapter 6 provides very nice evidence for the reason why socialism can never really work. Because after the Christians went collectivist, what happened next?


What happened next was that when the community increased in number, problems with the food distribution started to appear. The community was comprised of two sub-groups, the "Hellenists" who were Greek speakers, and the "Hebrews" whose native language was Aramaic. It seems that the people who were distributing the food were members of the Hebrew group. And they sort of started giving more food to some of their fellow Aramaic speakers and less to the Greek speakers. Hm, who would have thought?


So, what to do? The leaders, who were the twelve apostles and had other things to do, didn’t want to personally take on the food-distribution job themselves. So they empowered certain government regulators, wise honest men who would control the food and have the power to distribute it.


To quote Acts:

And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.


Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.


Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.


Acts doesn't say explicitly say when the early Christians later abandoned collectivism, but we know that they did. Aside from some monasteries and sects, the vast majority Christians have not been and are not collectivists.


In other words, the early Christians did try collectivism, and they found what people who try it always find. It doesn’t work because the people who are given the power to distribute the goods will never do it fairly. And some people must be given that power in any collectivist society of any significant size.


monastic economy cannot be regarded as Socialism. Monasteries which could not subsist on private donations usually lived on the tithes and dues of rent-paying peasants and the yields of farms and other property.

Ludwig von Mises Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis (1951)


Two Lessons from Acts

1. The story reveals the catch-22 of socialism. The socialist system always requires that some people — government regulators — be given great power over other people, in a hierarchy of unequal control. And although the chosen people who are given that power may be “of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom”, experience tells us that even they will eventually abuse that power. And some of the people will lie about being honest or wise so as to get that power, and then they will use the power they get to get more power. Those are the people we call “Leftists”, and it turns out that there are some in every group and population of any significant size.


2. Don’t trust “facts” from Leftists. In 2022, even the Encyclopedia Britannica stated as a fact that the first Christians were socialists and the history of Marxist Communism began with them: "Early Christian communities also practiced the sharing of goods and labour, a simple form of socialism subsequently followed in certain forms of monasticism." That quote comes from the Encyclopedia Britannica article, "The Communist Manifesto: Work by Marx and Engels". It was presented as a fact that the history of Marxist Communism, as put forth in the Communist Manifesto, dated back to Jesus’ first followers.


And it is not true that Christian monasticism was, or is, communist.


monastic economy cannot be regarded as Socialism. Monasteries which could not subsist on private donations usually lived on the tithes and dues of rent-paying peasants and the yields of farms and other property.

Ludwig von Mises Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis (1951)


The truth about early Christian communalism was that it ran into problems immediately and was abandoned. It didn’t work.


Rightful Freedom