from Jonah Goldberg at National Review, Stay-Puft Socialism, Luxurious Infanticide:
Whether it’s the Socialist Party of Great Britain or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or the millions of young people who think they’re socialists, they think socialism is a good thing that can do no wrong, and if it does wrong it must be because it’s not really socialism. I understand why conservatives think socialism is evil — because there are so many examples of socialism being evil. But most socialists don’t think they’re evil — nor is it their greatest dream to steal our hamburgers: Socialism is just their word for fixing what’s wrong with the world. The problem is that when you give yourself over to a single idea of how things should be, you check yourself into what Chesterton called “the clean and well-lit prison of one idea” and you become “sharpened to one painful point.” You are bereft of the “healthy hesitation and healthy complexity” that lets you grasp the world as it is and understand the crooked timber of human nature.
In the fantasy world of the SPGB (Socialist Party of Great Britain), we’d all share equally society’s wealth. But what this vision leaves out is the socialist with the clipboard that keeps track of who gets their “fair share” and the men with guns who protect the man with the clipboard from those who disagree with his decisions. The man who says “get in line for your share” is the new ruler of every would-be utopia. The clipboard becomes a totem of power no less ominous than the ball and scepter, the whip, the fasces, or the phone the person in power uses to make you disappear. Humans make hierarchies of status and privilege for themselves whenever the opportunity avails itself. This is why all socialist systems that do not work within the constraints of a liberal democratic framework of the rule of law inevitably descend into tyrannies. Give the state unbridled power, and the denizens of the state will use that power toward their own ends.
But socialism is just one form of destructor that can be unleashed to trample the complex ecosystem of liberty in pursuit of a single idea. Nationalism, fascism, and almost every other ism can, in service to the same cult of unity, do the same damage.
One-thingism is the enemy of all freedoms, even the one thing of freedom itself. As Peregrine Worsthorne once noted, a doctrine of total freedom pursued to its logical conclusion is a world where bullies are free to do their will. Ordered liberty is a different concept altogether because it balances the tension between the need for both order and liberty. We are free to do the things that do not harm others unjustifiably.
From a Twitter feed from JoyceToo:
“Not one self described Communist ever sees himself as a worker in the future socialist paradise. They all imagine themselves as some kind of party official dictating doctrine while some other poor bastards hammer steel all day, stinking of cheap soup and filth.”
This is why collectives turn into tyrannies. The myth of the general will requires a force of government that undermines liberty. This is the central message of Hayek and The Road to Serfdom.
This is why collective tyrannies from fascism to socialism to communism rooted on the continent and did not in Britain, America and the Anglosphere. There is a stark difference in the civic culture.
Increased centralization and our educational institutions tend to undermine the institutions of American liberty.
The welfare state is not antithetical to capitalism or liberty, but refusal to acknowledge its limits undermines the stability of our economy.