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What is the point of socialism?

Ok, socialists, answer me this! What exactly is the point of your stupid idiot religion? I thought it was all about stealing money off the rich to give to the poor, you know, the old Robbing Hood theme. That’s why I used to support it.

But under ‘New’ Labour, it seems the spirit of the that filthy old capitalist miser, Scrooge, is alive and well and inhabiting the numskull mind of Dawn Primarolo, that overpaid chauffeur-driven socialist bigwig, who never misses a five-star cooked meal, or a round of Christmas drinks, down in the oak-panelled warmth of Her Majesty’s Treasury.

Just in time for Christmas, it seems Red Dawn is going to claw back some welfare benefits from the poorest in society, in order to get Gordon’s borrowing down a bit, so he can continue subsidising wealthy Guardian Readers with tax credits, to fund their post-Christmas skiing holidays in France.

Not quite why I was prepared to man the barricades with a copy of ‘Militant’ and a pair of unnecessary NHS spectacles to make me look more credible.

You socialists, and anyone else who votes for ‘New’ Labour, ought to be ashamed of yourselves. You and your party are beyond the pale, ‘stealing’ off the very poorest in society, particularly at this time of year. Shame on you. All of you. You disgust me.

That it demonstrates the total corrupt hypocrisy of welfare state socialism is of course obvious, perhaps even to those of you wearing pink-tinted NHS spectacles. But how can you continue living with yourselves and supporting these sleek self-pampered crooks in the New Labour executive when you hear news like this? Or maybe you’d prefer to bury your heads in the sand when hearing news like this? I know I would if I was still with you. I succeeded in this cowardly behaviour for years, much as you’re probably doing right now.

Consider this, though. Maybe this kind of rank hypocrisy is inevitable because socialism doesn’t work. I know, it’s a real mind-bender isn’t it? Maybe it’s even time you woke up and came over to join us on the light side? Consider it as a New Year’s resolution.

You’re all welcome, anytime, by the way. You just have to drop hypocrisy off at the door.

30 comments to What is the point of socialism?

  • M.

    Socialism would be better defined as post-modern welfare fuedalism.
    It seems designed to keep affluent,educated,upscale people affluent,educated and upscale while keeping some kind of poor uneducated and downscale proletariat around to justify their own social positions and gov’t jobs.

  • Actually Robin Hood was more of a libertarian. The actual Robin Hood story is that he was robbing from the rich TAX COLLECTORS (i.e. government) to give the poor their money back. He didn’t rob from the rich to give to the poor per say. But that’s public education propanganda for you.

  • ernest young

    Like roaches on a dying corpse, they scurry about, delving into every nook and cranny, searching for the tastiest crumbs, and that which they do not eat, they soil with their excrement, leaving behind nothing of value.

    While they get sleeker and their coats get shinier, the corpse deteriorates into a pale shadow of it’s former self, all the while, being stricken by the diseases, left behind by the voracious marauders.

    Their collective forages in search of ever larger quantities of food, leave behind a trail of detritus with the distinctive smell of decay, and all the while the grinding of their jaws and the clicking of their claws, grows louder as they frantically search for yet larger corpses to devour in order to sustain their ever growing numbers.

    In the end, when nothing is left to devour, they turn on each other, and in their arrogant fury they destroy themselves. Such is the nature of socialism, as practised by man.

  • Theodopoulos Pherecydes

    Perhaps Red Dawn & Co., Pty., Ltd. have twigged to the reality that subsidising any behaviour will create more of it.


  • Ex-union member

    When I was young and in my prime, I thought that CPGB stood for Corps of Parasites, Great Britain.

  • Shawn

    To be fair, I doubt that any genuine socialist/Marxist types support Nu Labour.

    I may well disagree with their ideology, but I could at least respect the old working class socialists, the kind who did a hard days work in some back breaking labouring job, who worked themselves into early graves to provide a better life for their children, and who knew what real poverty was.

    The middle/upper class tranzi’s in their soft government provided jobs, the beurocrats, technocrats and university academics with life tenure, who preach tranzi UN socialism, political correctness and anti-Americanism, people who have never known what its like to come home from a job with every part of your body in pain and with blisters on your hands, these scum deserve nothing but contempt.

  • Wild Pegasus

    Socialism has only ever been about one thing: power. Those who have advocated socialism have overwhelmingly been the people who expected to rule – the ones who considered themselves the wise and good able, capable, and possessed of the right to make decisions for others.

    – Josh

  • Chris Goodman

    A Guardian reader generally speaking is somebody whose income derives from the State. They therefore (unsurprisingly) believe in high taxation i.e. they believe in taking your wealth and spending it on themselves. An ideal State for a Guardian reader is one in which all healthcare, all education, all industry, all the arts, and every form of media, is run by other Guardian readers. In order to achieve this all “private” health care is denounced, all “private” education is denounced; indeed all “consumerism” is denounced. In other words a system that allows us to make our own choices, to live in ways that are not directed by “Guardians” is rejected, and in order to achieve this end most Guardian readers spend a considerable part of the political energies denouncing and demonising those who dare to suggest that taxes should be lower, the State decreased, and the power of government to interfere in our lives reduced. Asking a “Guardian” to reduce the power of the State is like asking a turkey to vote for Christmas.

  • toolkien

    The most insidious part of all seems to be left out of the comments so far. Socialists of any stripe, most of them anyway, truly believe that they are the shepherds of Good and only through their quasi-theocratic conceptions will mankind prosper. The taking and reallocating (and the inevitable self serving) originates from this perceived superiority. The irony of course is that they deplore established religions, and rightfully so IMO, but not on the same principles since their zeal comes from wanting to replace them with their own theocratic code of Good, sans a God.

    The most alarming part of all is their intrenched certainty that they, and only they, can control the masses, the same masses they hold up as the benefiter of their wise courses as well as despise and fear them, at the same time, belittling them to further justify their right to control. It is found in the religious systems as well and leads to a schizoid social order of assistance, Caring, contempt, and Force.

  • I think that it is fair to conclude tha the author of this post and most of the commentors do not much care for socialism. True enough?

    If so, is it also fair to conclude that they are unreserved, unabashed enthusiasts for capitalism who see NO flaws in that system?

    Just trying to get my bearings.

  • ernest young

    That socialists see themselves as a replacment for faith based religion, is that they see religion as just another competing, hierachical philosophy of control, and recognize it as their natural enemy, along with fascism, capitalism, and all the other ‘isms’. They recognize such philosophies for what they are, control mechanisms, and do what they can to destroy them, to be replaced by socialism.

    It is only conventional religion that takes this format. There are several forms of Christianity that do not adopt the hierachical format, with bishops, priests, and all the other paraphenalia of crowd control. I can understand people rejecting the conventional forms of religion, as they are all too often a camouflage for yet another brand of socialism.

    Such faiths, (sects, if you like), are probably more dangerous to the theocratic philosophies than the conventional ‘congregational’ forms, as they tend to embrace the ideas of personal determination, reponsibilty and freedom, coupled to a belief in a higher deity, but without the intervention of self-serving middle-men. All of which, are of course, anathema to a socialist.

    That so many in the western world have become atheists, is to the socialists advantage, because, like it or not, we all need some sort of belief structure. Instead of turning to religion, they hope that people will adopt socialism as their new belief. Stalin knew this and put it into practise by banning all orthodox religions.

    David Sucher,

    If so, is it also fair to conclude that they are unreserved, unabashed enthusiasts for capitalism who see NO flaws in that system?

    How disingenuous you are. (I’ll give you the benfit of the doubt here). No it is not fair to conclude that we see no flaws in capitalism. The fact that capitalism is more democratic, and supports the ideas of freedom and personal property rights, just makes it a lot better than the parasite driven ethos of socialism. We know that our chosen philosophy is far from perfect, unlike those of the socialist persausion, who think that they are just perfect in every way.

  • Mr. Duncan writes:
    You socialists, and anyone else who votes for ‘New’ Labour, ought to be ashamed of yourselves. You and your party are beyond the pale, ‘stealing’ off the very poorest in society, particularly at this time of year. Shame on you. All of you. You disgust me.

    The government stealing from the poorest in society via tax credits? Take another look at what’s happening in this situation, Andy: The government stole from some people to fund its ‘tax credits’ scheme and pay all the associated civil servants bureaucrats and now it’s stealing back the stolen money it dished out. It’s all ‘dirty money’.

    Socialists disgust me too but there are far better reasons to be appalled by these often-disturbed individuals than this tax credits fiasco – we’d all be in far better positions right now if the whole tax credits programme didn’t exist in the first place – it’s just one small part of a system based on robbery at gun-point which cripples the economy and all participating in it.

  • Ernest.
    Such skpticism! 🙂
    The vitriol of this very interesting post has inspired me to start writing my own; and I was simply, honestly, trying to understand whether hating socialism means loving capitalism.
    I am certainly no socialist — in fact I have no idea quite what that would mean these days — but I am resigned to state intervention (e.g. “weights and measures,” “enforcement of contracts” “nuisance” etc etc.) in markets to help perfect them. So therefore I would have to acknowledge that capitalism has flaws and was wondering if anyone here also sees that.

  • ernest young

    David Sucher,

    Point taken, but any regular commenter gets to recognize a straw man when we see one, whether intended as such or not.

    Like many converts to new ideas or concepts, socialists believe completely, and brook no argument, after all socialism in the modern sense has only been around for a hundred years or so.
    Like reformed smokers, they get real critical of non-believers.

    I hope my original reply confirmed that some non-socialists on this web realize that capitalism is far from perfect.

    Acceptance of life’s flaws and imperfections, begins with the understanding that mankind is the biggest imperfection of all. Hence the sceptical outlook. 🙂

  • Sean O'Callaghan

    Socialists tend to be over-educated in fields that are of little or no use to society as a whole. They are shocked to discover that their abilities are not held in high regard by the market and that the pay offered by the big multinational philosophy and sociology companies is a pittance compared to the big pharma/engineering/technology ones. To them then, the market is wrong and must be abolished!

    A couple of quotes from the workingman’s philosopher, Eric Hoffer, are illuminating:

    “In a trader-dominated society, the scribe is usually kept out of the management of affairs, but is given a more or less free hand in the cultural field. By frustrating the scribe’s craving for commanding action, the trader draws upon himself the scribe’s wrath and scorn. ”

    “What the intellectual craves above all else is to be taken seriously, to be treated as a decisive force in shaping history. He is far more at home in a society that weighs his every word and keeps close watch on his attitudes then in a society that cares not what he says or does. He would rather be persecuted than ignored. ”

  • ernest young

    So just what is so special about being an ‘intellectual?.

    If you liken life to being a supersized spreadsheet, covered with problems to solve, but you have a number of algorithms and functions to help you solve these problems. Then the intellectuals of life are the specialists at using the ‘what if’ function.

    Give them a ‘well performing’ routine, or a longstanding ‘status quo’, then along they come with their ‘what if we do this, or that’, and create dissension and mayhem. How many times does this approach result in throwing out the baby with the bathwater?. Too many times for my taste. This approach is really nothing more than a mental version of ‘trial and error’, and what is so smart abouyt that?.

    The true intellectual is the one who says ‘what if’, but then works it through, and when it is found wanting, discards it, without further ado. That takes a truly ‘big’ mind to feel comfortable in doing that.

    The modern intellectual is usually so insecure in his beliefs that he hangs on to some misbegotten idea, even when he sees it as being incorrect. Ego seems to play a big part in their thinking. As Sean says, they would rather be persecuted than ignored.

  • ‘Believing that Christian teaching should be reflected in social laws and institutions, and that socialist policies are implicit in the quest for the Kingdom of God on Earth, members of CSM (Christian Socialist Movement) pledge themselves to….’

    I understand our Great Leader is a member.

    Just remember that the true socialist zealot is as much a maniac, divorced from reality, as an religious fundy and the struggle for ‘paradise on earth’ has led to 100 million dead. We are rightly regularly reminded of the Nazi Holocaust. Somehow those of the USSR, China, Pol Pot slip the minds of the great and good and people think because nice if wrong-headed useful idiots are socialists socialism must be on the side of the angels.

    …I invented a bed with the measurements of a perfect man/I compared the travellers I caught with this bed/It was hard to avoid – I admit – stretching limbs cutting legs/The patients died but the more there were who perished/The more I was sure my research was right/The goal was noble progress demands victims/I longed to abolish the difference between the high and the low/I wanted to give a single form to disgustingly varied humanity/I never stopped in my efforts to make people equal.’ Zbigniew Herbert, 1924-1998, Poland

  • ernest young


    Precisely the point I was trying to make re the similarities between any hierachial hegemony, whether poitical or religious.

    That the two, although in competition for control of the masses, should have a ‘fringe’ overlap, is really to be expected. They both claim to have a wide college of support, and as mentioned, they really are not so different. Same play, just a different theatre and a different cast.

    Not all socialists are christians, and not all christians are socialsts.

  • Andy Duncan

    Stephen Hodgson writes:

    Socialists disgust me too but there are far better reasons to be appalled by these often-disturbed individuals than this tax credits fiasco

    Just attacking the fools on their own terms, Stephen, to see if they like it up ’em or not. on our terms, I’m as opposed to tax credits as you are.

    ernest young writes:

    In the end, when nothing is left to devour, they turn on each other, and in their arrogant fury they destroy themselves. Such is the nature of socialism, as practised by man.

    Go ernest, go! 🙂

    So just what is so special about being an ‘intellectual?.

    I suppose if you define someone as an intellectual who makes their living from trading in ideas (usually via the mediums of writing, speaking, or broadcasting), most socialists are intellectuals.

    Obviously, they’re mostly trading in second-hand ideas, based upon the tradition of Das Kapital, and it certainly beats working for a living. But as a second-hander myself, as a feeder upon the greats of Austria, I can’t complain about this too much! 🙂

    I think Ludwig von Mises book discusses the subject of socialist intellectualism best, The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality.

    A man of your calibre probably has it, but for anyone else who hasn’t, get yourself a late Christmas present. It’s only $7.95 on Amazon.com with the highest bang-per-buck level of any book I’ve ever read.

  • Dave O'Neill

    The interesting things about the Guardian reader comments and others about socialists is I work in a technology company, and taking a quick straw poll of the few of us in the office today, I find that apart from the mad as a stick Israeli engineer who proposes that all liberal arts grads should have to serve at least one years indentured labour in technology companies, the majority are to the political left of me.

    Obviously, compared to most people here I’m a screaming commie and I do read the Guardian, Economist, Independant, Times and Telegraph in a rough rotation and find of the 4 of the broadsheets the reporting in the Guardian is generally better than the others and the editorials less likely to induce an MI.

    I’m not a huge tax fan, I like my money safe and warm in my ownership, OTOH, I’ve worked in a few fields where I’ve seen the other side of the coin and I don’t necessarily begrudge paying it. I could afford to pay more, and the current tax regime certainly doesn’t stop me from wanting to earn more money.

    The real crime in the UK is our criminally unfair tax system which punishes the people least able to support it. I cannot comprehend the idiocy which has a whole branch of government giving *back* tax after they’ve already had away with it.

    Raise the limits, what’s the point of making anybody on under 10K or even 14K pay any income tax at all? It makes no sense what so ever.

    Anyway, Merry Christmas all.

  • Socialism rewards failure and punishes achievement & success. Its goal is to reduce society to the lowest commom denominator. As such it is an insidious blight on the body politique’.

  • yank_in_london

    If you could explain the relationship between New Labour and socialism I would greatly appreciate it.

  • Simon Jester


  • Andy

    ‘Raise the limits, what’s the point of making anybody on under 10K or even 14K pay any income tax at all? It makes no sense what so ever.’

    hallelujah! I’m with you Dave!

    Merry christmas as well everyone

  • harryj

    Many years ago I learned that rhubarb, which was then emerging into the daylight in the form of new varieties, had been suffering from infection with viruses. Passed from plant to plant all were poor specimens, but by ridding some of the inherent infection, new virus free varieties were a revelation of magnificence!

    I strongly believe that socialists have a viral infection along the same lines. In some it seems inherited, in others it looks to be epidemic and super infectious. Pandemics in USSR and China in my life time suggest infection. Subjects lose reason and common sense.

    There is a cure. Victims must be made to read Adam Smith and the works of the Mises Institute. A sovereign remedy is “Democracy: The god that failed” by Hans Hoppe. If they do not read it they must be hit on the head with while the contents are recited to them. Cure is certain.

  • M.

    DAve O’Niell

    From my experience,Tech workers in the 90’s fell victim to their own “New Paradigm” talk and came to see themselves as cutting edge revolutionaries and adopted a rather libertarian/left outlook.But now with the popping of the tech bubble and outsourcing of IT jobs to India,they realize they are really just the blue collar grunts of the New Economy and just as expendable as factory workers,which is why so many have now dropped the libertarian and looked to the left.It allows them to justify protectionism to their benefit and retain thier veiw of themselves as something more than mere worker drones.

  • ernest young


    Thank you for the book recommendation, I hadn’t read it, so I have ordered a copy as suggested.

    So pleased that you enjoyed the Speakers Corner rhetoric, I do so enjoy riding ‘high horses’.

    Compliments of the Season to all at Samizdata, and thank you all for the blog.

    Merry Christmas!……..

  • veryretired

    I was sitting here reading through some blogs and watching “The Shipping News”, a sweet, gentle little movie about damaged, wounded people, and how only contact with other human beings, with all their flaws and foibles, can bring about some healing. And I realized that this discussion and the movie were related in that odd, tangential way that all things really do fit together.

    The failure of collectivist ideology isn’t in its practise, or its followers’ fallibility, and corruptibility, but in its very basic definitions of what human beings are and how we should operate.

    At one time, heavenly bodies were defined as objects orbiting the earth in crystal spheres. As we learned more and more about how the heavens actually operated, and the convoluted theorizing needed to sustain the “crystaline sheres” theory became ever more fragile, it was finally recognized that the basic premises of the theory were wrong, and it was discarded.

    The 20th Century was a world wide laboratory for the theory and practice of collectivism. The results now lie all around the globe like shattered pottery—the mountains of bones, the devastated ecologies, the corruption, the economic backwardness, and the millions upon millions who are so utterly desparate to “breathe free” that they will literally throw themselves into the sea in order to reach the shores of some moderately democratic, liberal capitalist nation.

    While I try not to be too optimistic, I do firmly believe that the minds of ordinary people can grasp the basic facts of reality if they are allowed access to information and intelligient debate concerning the issues pertinent to their lives. It might not be easy or quick, as if anything in human culture ever was, but the idea of the rights of the individual to specific liberties that cannot be routinely violated has made great progress around the world.

    The search for perfection—Utopia—is the same as the search for scientific certainty: it is a never ending process that takes enormous intellectual and moral energy. And it can never be dictated from above, but must be worked out bit by bit, tested in the crucible of reality.

    Humans do not live in heaven, but here on earth, and it is living that matters, not ideology. We are on the threshold of a new century. It is our duty to make sure the catastrophe that was the 20th is not repeated.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

  • Andy Duncan

    ernest young writes:

    Thank you for the book recommendation, I hadn’t read it, so I have ordered a copy as suggested.

    Excellent! 🙂

    I still have this terrible socialist beast chained in a well-guarded cage in the centre of my mind. Every time he looks like doing a ‘Hannibal Lecter’, and breaking out of the cage, I re-read Von Mises’ (very succinct) ‘The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality’.

    Does the trick, and sorts me out, every time. The beast never gets as far as the ambulance, though he has made it to the lift a few times! 🙂

    Let me know how you get on with it, when it arrives, at the email address linked to below.

    Have a great Christmas! *

  • Karen

    uh… hi you guys I have no idea about what you guys are talking about, but I REALLY need help and you guys seem like you can help. I’m writing an essay about the similarities between Authur Miller’s “The Crucible” and the holocaust if anyone can help PLEASE e-mail me at rockyfart@yahoo.com.