“Democratic Socialism” Is a Contradiction in Terms
"Democracy means different things to different people. To some, democracy is an end in itself, a goal that may be worth sacrificing lives for. To others, democracy is at best a means for making a small government somewhat responsive to its citizens or a means to transfer political power peacefully. Thus, as F.A. Hayek wrote in The Road to Serfdom, “Democracy is essentially … a utilitarian device for safeguarding internal peace and individual freedom.”
Democracy poses an insurmountable problem for socialism.
But I think most of us can agree that the ordinary meaning of democracy is at least tied to the concepts of political self-determination and freedom of expression. In this way, people tend to think of democracy as a shield against others more powerful than themselves."
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"As with democracy, you can interpret “socialism” as either an end or a means. Some people, for example, regard socialism as the next stage of Marx’s “laws of motion of history” in which, under the authority of a proletarian dictatorship, each contributes and receives according to her ability. A more moderate version of socialism might envision a politico-economic system that places particular goals, such as “social justice,” over any individual’s profit-seeking plans.
Or, you can think of socialism as a form of collectivism that uses a particular set of means — political control over the means of labor, capital, and land — to implement a large-scale economic plan that directs people to do things they might not have chosen. In its use of collectivist means, this kind of socialism has much in common with fascism, even if the two differ strongly in the ends they seek to achieve."
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"As F.A. Hayek eloquently put it,
That socialism so long as it remains theoretical is internationalist, while as soon as it is put into practice … it becomes violently nationalist, is one of the reasons why "liberal socialism" as most people in the Western world imagine it is purely theoretical, while the practice of socialism is everywhere totalitarian."
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"Tocqueville said it well:
Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."
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"Someone might reply that while such problems might apply to full-fledged socialism, the kind of democratic socialism that today’s intelligentsia advocate is far less extreme. If so, the question becomes this: In a mixed capitalist economy — regulatory-state, welfare-state, or crony capitalism — to what extent do these consequences emerge? How robust is the trade-off I’m describing?
Clearly it’s a matter of degree. The greater the degree of central planning, the less the authority can put up with deviation and individual dissent. I also realize that there is more than one dimension along which you can trade off self-direction for direction by others, and some of these dimensions do not involve physical coercion. For example, groups can use social or religious pressure to thwart a person’s plans or shrink her autonomy, without resorting to physical aggression.
More socialism means less real democracy.
But there is no denying that along the dimension of physical coercion, which is the dimension along which governments have traditionally operated, the more coercive control there is by an outside agency, the less self-direction there can be. Coercion and self-direction are mutually exclusive. And as government planning supplants personal planning, the sphere of personal autonomy weakens and shrinks and the sphere of governmental authority strengthens and grows. More socialism means less real democracy.
Democratic socialism, then, is not a doctrine designed to protect the liberal values of independence, autonomy, and self-direction that many on the left still value to some degree. It is, on the contrary, a doctrine that forces those of us who cherish those liberal values onto a slippery slope toward tyranny."
Young people are ok with this because this represents their entire lives up to this point. They have lived under a form of family socialism where their parents have made the majority of decisions for them, and what decisions they are allowed to make, are vetted by the parents. To them socialism is family.
Progressivism is a slightly less authoritarian sibling of European Socialism, but at its roots are the same, and it has the same pressures towards tyranny. This is made crystal clear in Obamacare. You must have medical payments insurance. The wizened Mandarines will regulate exactly what qualifies as medical payments insurance. Failure to follow the directives will result in penalties. It destroys individual responsibility, and liberty, in exchange for harsh unyielding regulation. Welcome to the machine.
The great allure of socialism/progressivism is that it absolves the individual of personal responsibility. Its great threat is tyranny. The solution is to move to a place where the government backstops the individuals security, and provides mechanisms by which the individual may personally control his future security. So, for example, the 401K, the IRA, the HSA, all provide incentives for the individual to protect his future security. Marrying this with a reformed welfare state which would provide the actual poor with incentives to work, but which would not create draconian assistance cutoffs, could result in less welfare, and more prosperity for the poor.
But for the politician, this has no value, as their is less room for graft, or corruption. The current welfare state, however, offers a rich vein of graft, corruption, vote buying, etc.
It is time for a change. Socialism is slavery, free markets are liberty. Chose wisely.