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Socialism – the pitch and the purpose, Part 9

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By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

(Continued from last week.)

Well, we finally get to the purpose. What is the purpose of socialism?

This breaks into two pieces.

The politically correct piece is that socialism levels the outcomes' playing field. You have no doubt heard the quote from Karl Marx: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

Yes, Karl Marx said this, although I have heard people incorrectly attribute it to the Bible. Here is the full context from Marx (from the “Critique of the Gotha Programme”):

“In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life's prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly – only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!’” (Wikipedia.)

Well, you can see the problem right there in the unabridged quote: “After labor has become not only a means of life but life's prime want…”

I haven’t seen many volunteering to work just for the fun of it lately, have you?

A couple of points are in order here.

• First, remember, Karl Marx and his buddy, Friedrich Engels, never lived under the communism they imagined. It was all just hypothetical to them.

• Second, in their day, entertainment was extremely expensive and largely confined to the wealthy. They lived in the era of telegraph and, late in life, a nascent telephone industry – nothing like the cheap and instantaneous communications of today.

Work was how you filled your time – there was nothing else to do. They could not possibly have imagined something like YouTube, which reports 85 years of videos are uploaded each and every day, costing the individual a fraction of a penny to watch. We are drowning in entertainment, to our detriment, according to a recent issue of Vanguard Magazine.

It seems as though modern politicians (part of the anointed class) have been big on promising freebies to the Useful Idiots while ignoring Marx’s little line about everyone finding so much joy in working they are lining up for arduous labor.

Of course, this is just the “official purpose” or perhaps the “politically correct” purpose of pushing socialism.

The second piece is the real purpose. It is simple and it is this: Giving people stuff in the name of socialism is the power and the glory for politicians, not to mention the votes.

It keeps politicians in power with access to benefits not available to the useful idiots. (For instance, have you looked at Congress’s retirement and medical insurance plans?)

Think about it. We should all aspire to be altruistic; it is a desirable human trait. What is the definition of altruistic? A dictionary definition is this: “Showing a disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others: unselfish.”

That is not the way politicians behave. Politicians seem to get wealthy on moderate government salaries (moderate as compared to the wealth they pile up over a lifetime).

They are being altruistic by proxy, that proxy being your tax dollars and my tax dollars.

When the government takes over something, and they have taken over many functions that used to be in the private sector, they behave in a monopolistic fashion, a fashion that the government’s own laws do not allow as behaviors in the private sector.

For instance, ever notice how much fun it is to go to the license bureau for a tag or driver’s license renewal? Of course, if you don’t like the service there, you can always go to the cheaper competitor two blocks down…wait, that is what you would be able to do in the private sector, not here.

And, of course, everything the government operates requires employees. Statista reports nearly 20 million people worked for federal, state and local governments in 2020. Do you think any of them are going to vote to eliminate their jobs?

That’s an automatic 20 million votes for socialism.

It was reported earlier this week that one reason the Maricopa County, Arizona Board of Supervisors did not want a 2020 election audit was because they feared it would show they lost their own elections and hence, were personally out of a job.

Next week, I’ll have some final thoughts.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at

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