Why Not Socialism?

Today, socialism is making a renewed push in the U.S. and has found a willing consumer among both the young and older bleeding hearts.  Whether they understand what it would truly mean to become an socialist country is meaningless. They are behind it 100%.

Conservatives are losing this argument, as they have for decades, because they argue from a false position. 

Even conservatives talk about having this or that political opinion as if it is something you can just personally chose; that it needn’t be tethered to any other reality.  Kind of like which tastes better, chicken or pork… decent people can believe either and both are true.

This childish thinking will destroy the USA and ultimately has the capability to destroy the planet.

What you or I think is irrelevant.  Our opinions don’t remake reality simply because we wish it to be so.  What matters is the truth.  Although it is somewhat difficult to wrap one’s head around, factual truth is simply a small reflection of fundamental reality.

Over the past few hundred years, the human race has pulled back the curtains of ignorance to reveal the most fundamental aspects of this reality. This knowledge is a coherent and cohesive thing, all parts fit together as an all-inclusive whole.  

Our political and economic systems don’t, and in fact can’t, operate outside of reality -- nothing can.  Perhaps 100 years ago one could intellectually believe in the possibility of socialism (and of course its good friend communism), but those days are long gone.

A primary requirement of true science is the ability to replicate the experiment and get the same results.  The economic “experiment” has been carried out hundreds of times and real-world results across the globe and time show that freedom and limited government provide far superior results for all -- rich, poor and in-between. 

The socialist experiments generate consistent results; a yawning gap between the supposed goals and the end results and ultimately the collapse of the economic system. 

There are reality-based reasons for this.  The many will always be smarter than the few.  This is called swarm intelligence and perhaps counterintuitively a key ingredient is no one is in charge.  Just like a honeybee hive, society functions fine with no management at all, just countless interactions between individual bees with each following simple rules of thumb. 

A system such as this is called self-organizing.  Life itself is self-organizing.  Capitalism, free people freely interacting with other free people, also operates on swarm intelligence and is likewise self-organizing.

Just like the honeybee we’ve unknowingly used swarm intelligence to develop knowledge and create wealth that allows us to collectively live like none before.  The beauty of swarm intelligence and self-organizing systems is that even for complex systems like human life and survival, behavior may be coordinated by relatively simple interactions.   

But socialism in is direct conflict with this entire reality-based framework.  It can’t work because its fundamental premises are in conflict with reality.  There is no politics at play here, just a willful or naive attempt to wish for something which can’t be.

Hard evidence for this fact surrounds us.  Two centuries years ago, in 1800, the USA, Mexico, and Argentina were in many ways the same country.  Per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was very similar.  Each was blessed with incredible natural resources.  Each was blessed with a hardworking, intelligent, and vibrant people.  Each was blessed with an open frontier just waiting to be discovered.  

Yet now, a little over 200 years later let’s re-examine these three cousins of the Americas.  The World Bank reports 2017 USA per-capita GDP is $59,928.  In Argentina it is $14,398 and in Mexico it is $8,910. 

What drove these tremendous disparities in results?  Is there something wrong or inferior with the citizens of Mexico or Argentina?  This is absurd -- it’s not “in the blood”; many Mexicans and Argentinians come to the U.S. and experience great success.

No, the source of the problem lies not with the population but rather with the political and economic system in which it operates.

Hundreds of years ago, the Scientific Revolution began and it has transformed the world.  There is not a person on the planet who hasn’t benefited from discoveries driven by this revolution.  But more than discoveries, the Scientific Revolution was about changing how we looked at and interacted with the world.  It was a profound paradigm shift in the clearest meaning of that word.

No longer would opinions and beliefs drive our thinking about facts.  Instead just the opposite; facts and a search for reality would drive our beliefs.  The dreams of alchemy disappeared under the facts of reality.  This change in thinking has raced around the globe to the benefit of all.  By its very nature it is clearly a self-propagating paradigm.

Yet on the political front we still cling to the childish beliefs of the past where we act as though our desires and opinions somehow actually shape reality.  The USA was based upon an idea of individual freedom and limited government and look at the results.  The only superiority here is one of a better political and system design. 

It is far past time to put the failed paradigms of the past in the dustbin of history.  Some things work better than others.  There is no moral aspect to this -- it is simply true.  And the more we discover these truths, the more successful we will be.  This is true in Mexico, the USA, and across the globe.

Until conservatives, and lovers of all life on the planet accept these facts and argue accordingly they will continue to lose the argument.

Why not socialism?  Because it is based on no factual reality and contradicts many things which we know to be scientifically true.  You wouldn’t give your sick child medicine based on this kind of thinking.  You wouldn’t get on an airplane built with this kind of thinking.  And we shouldn’t put the future of this country and the future of the planet at risk with this type of fantasy-based thinking either.

John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change.  He also holds a BS in Earth Sciences and an MBA and is the founder and President of E.I.C. Enterprises, www.eicenterprises.org, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world, primarily through K-12 education. 

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