Socialism–Failure, Ignorance, Envy, Misery
“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” Failure, ignorance, envy & misery are all words Sir Winston Churchill used to describe a society which buys into Socialism as a means of creating an equal playing field for everyone.
“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money.” A quarter century later, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher expressed the end result Socialism brings to a society. She pointed out socialism is about what “other people” have and, very wisely noted what they have is a finite resource. These great figures of history knew something was inherently wrong with a society which desires to “have” at the expense of others.
Thomas Jefferson made this observation more than two hundred years ago,
“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
Benjamin Franklin articulated the same idea in this way,
“When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.”
What others have isn’t ours. It’s not “The Common Wealth.” Working hard to obtain more than others is not stealing from them, it’s simply expending effort they are not willing to expend to achieve a goal. Our Declaration of Independence declares, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” While all men (humanity) are created equal, not all use their unalienable rights in equal pursuit of happiness in their Life using the Liberty they’ve been granted. Our unalienable right of Liberty gives us the freedom to pursue or not to pursue happiness. However, true happiness requires pursuit toward a goal that gives us fulfillment and ultimately happiness.
To gain a clear understanding of how a society has descended from this endowment of unalienable rights into socialist tendencies, let’s go through each of the points Winston Churchill made in his insightful observation.
Philosophy of Failure
Failure is something no one wants to experience but everyone is destined to encounter and, more importantly, is something every person must overcome to be successful. Rarely is success achieved without unsuccessful efforts along the way. The term “failure is not an option” is very real, personal and motivating for those who have learned to overcome failure.
In fact, most successful people don’t see unsuccessful efforts as failure. Thomas Edison, when working on the light bulb, was asked in an interview by a young reporter if he felt like a failure and if he thought he should give up. Edison’s reply is telling, “Young man, why would I feel like a failure? And why would I ever give up? I now know definitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp.” After finding about 10,000 ways a light bulb would not work, Edison successfully created the carbon filament light bulb. Edison clearly didn’t associate unsuccessful attempts with failure but as means by which he could not achieve his goal.
For many the greatest failure of all is the “fear of failure”. What if it doesn’t work? What if I can’t do it? What will people think of me if I fail? Fear of failure paralyzes and thus immobilizes many which engenders a defeatist attitude whose ultimate result is the blame of others for what they do not have the drive to achieve. Many times, this blame is focused on amorphous entities like the wealthy, social injustice, “the system” and now “white privilege.”
Today a popular political deception is that of “privilege.” Wealth privilege, white privilege, male privilege, sexual privilege and many other “privileges” foster the perception that lack of achievement is someone else’s fault. All of these political positions feed on the fear of failure as a means of gaining control over those who are afraid to step out and take risks. Success is hard work and maintaining success is even harder. For the lazy person, which the Bible calls a sluggard, everything is just too hard. Here are three Proverbs that describe the condition:
“The sluggard buries his hand in the dish, But will not even bring it back to his mouth.” Proverbs 19:24
“The sluggard does not plow after the autumn, So he begs during the harvest and has nothing.” Proverbs 20:4
“The desire of the sluggard puts him to death, For his hands refuse to work;” Proverbs 21:25
Politicians who desire control feed on the fainéant by promoting failure as victimization. They create an illusion of victimization to divide society along social, ethnic, racial, political, religious and economic boundaries. These Demagogues promote all of the bogus “privileges” and “isms” to sow discord in order to create a victim driven society which must rely on the them to mead out economic justice. In doing so those who work hard to become successful become demoralized and less productive leading to a condition where no one has anything. The most concerning thing about this socialistic posturing is the ultimate reality that everyone ends up under control of the Demagogues.
Imagine if George Washington Carver, born a slave, had succumbed to discrimination in a time where extreme racism, absolute segregation and “White Privilege” were not only morally and culturally acceptable but in vogue. Had he given in to the real racial oppression of that age we wouldn’t have boiled or dry roasted peanuts, peanut oil, crop rotation or many other things we now take for granted. This extraordinary man had to apply at six different high schools, yes high schools, because of his race. For George Washington Carver “Failure” was not an option.
It’s easy to do nothing, be nothing and place the blame on others but George Washington Carver was determined NOT to be nothing! His vision, determination, drive to succeed along with hard work, led to accomplishments that revolutionized agriculture and virtually eliminated hunger in this country. Proverbs 29:18 says, ” Where there is no vision, the people perish;” (NKJV). When the vision is victimization, it creates a completely dependent society that has no sense of self-sufficiency, ultimately leading to socioeconomic demise.
Much of today’s society has been victimized by the belief success is because of “privilege” rather than a result of vision, determination, drive to succeed and hard work. This victimization mentality is a “Philosophy of Failure”.
Creed of Ignorance
The ultimate form of ignorance is a sense of entitlement. Young people who’ve grown up in the “helicopter parent” society have been conditioned to believe their success is the responsibility of someone else and that success is deserved rather than earned. In addition, the reality of personal responsibility and personal accountability is completely foreign to many young people today.
This became real for us many years ago when our children were in college. We realized we were going broke paying for traffic tickets for some of our children so we sat down and told them we weren’t paying for any more tickets. Several months later we received a call from the local jail. The conversation went something like this,
“Dad, they arrested me for traffic tickets. It’s six hundred dollars?” they opined, hoping I would pay the fine to get them out.
I responded, “What did I tell you?”
“That you weren’t going to pay for any more traffic tickets.”
“Did you believe me when I told you that?”
“Uh, I dunno. But Dad, I’m in jail!” came the deflated response.
My reply was likely more deflating, “Well, I hope you’re a model prisoner.”
They were a model prisoner for three days instead of six because they were so helpful. But more importantly they haven’t received another traffic ticket in more than 15 years. This is a great example of how personal accountability must be a real experience for someone to embrace personal responsibility.
Lack of personal responsibility and the reality of personal accountability leads to an attitude of self-gratification without boundaries. What others have become something one should have, all other considerations and consequences aside.
A sense of entitlement without accountability is a “Creed of Ignorance”.
Gospel of Envy
Perhaps the most subtle and dangerous of the points is the “Gospel of Envy”. Envy is the underlying condition that causes one to want what others have. The word gospel is defined as “something regarded as true and implicitly believed2” and envy is defined as “a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc.2”
Today’s culture is focused on the unfounded notion we just don’t have enough and deserve more. Is it any wonder that every advertisement on radio, television, cable and now social media evangelizes the gospel of envy by encouraging us to desire something we don’t currently possess! “You deserve” a new car, a new house, a bigger television and practically anything else you can imagine. They have no shame and even promote these “you deserve” views with our children. Toys, games, dolls, monster trucks. Our culture is bombarded with discontenting advertisements that promote the gospel of envy.
A decade or so ago, we had the pleasure of taking care of two of our grandchildren for a period of time and decided to go to Toys R Us to pick up a few children’s things. On the way in my grandson noticed someone buying a remote-control monster truck. I could tell right away he wanted one of those trucks so the next conversation was inevitable.
He asked, “PawPaw, can I have one of those?”
He was very disappointed when I answered, “No, I don’t think so.”
“Ok,” he responded in a sad little voice.
Down deep I really wanted him to have the truck so I said, “I tell you what, I’ll give you jobs around the house this summer so you can earn enough money to buy that monster truck.”
He lit up, “Ok, PawPaw.”
Well, we worked hard to give them plenty of little odd jobs, pick up a little pail of pine cones, sweep the porch, whatever we could think of that wasn’t too difficult and didn’t take a lot of time. By the end of the summer, he had earned fifty dollars.
I asked, “Well, you wanna go buy that monster truck now that you’ve earned enough?”
All smiles he answered, “Yes!”
We got to Toys R Us and went into where the monster truck was and he looked at it just beaming. He ran his little hand across the box and got his money out of his pocket. He looked at the wad of money in his little hand, then at the truck. The next thing he said took me completely by surprise.
“Pawpaw, do I have to buy the truck?” he asked. His little voice quivering.
Tears welled up in my eyes, “No sir, you do not!”
He put the money back in his pocket and with a broad grin asked, “Can I sweep the porch today?”
The personal satisfaction of earning the money became more important to him than having the monster truck. The antithesis of envy is the understanding of goals and means to achieve them.
The really sad fact is that politicians do exactly the opposite. Politicians evangelize this gospel of envy by promoting things such as a living wage, free college, universal healthcare, reparations and social equality as being human rights, which are deserved, as opposed to rewards that are earned. This political prevarication leads to anger, discontent, divisiveness, and hatred, which sooner or later results in anarchy.
When examined more closely this political dishonesty is nothing more than an appeal to selfishness and greed in order to gain support. The desire to acquire from someone else has roots deep in the human heart. The last of the Ten Commandments says, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” Exodus 20:17 (ESV). In other words, the tendency to desire what others have is innate but God commanded not to give in to such desire. To be clear, politicians and the media encourage envy and covetousness which is contrary to God’s Word.
Desire isn’t envy when one builds a plan to accomplish goals and works hard to achieve that desire. Desire only becomes envy when accompanied by a sense of deprivation that leads to animosity toward others. Desire promoted as deprivation is a “Gospel of Envy”.
Equal Sharing of Misery
Socialists always opine previous failed attempts at socialism as being a result of improper implementation. In every new generation of socialists there is the belief their freshly hatched yet inane methods will succeed where others failed. But, in fact, every socialist implementation depends on hard working people working harder to subsidize benefits for many who have no desire to work for themselves at all. Further, the greed, ignorance and envy of the socialist leaders compel them to feel entitled to what others have. Soon those at the top consume more than those the socialist hegemony is supposed to benefit and their greed causes them to become corrupt.
Thomas Jefferson put it this way, “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
Margaret Thatcher made the same keen observation but in a slightly more practical way, “The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”
The true meaning of misery isn’t only when hard working people have to support profligates but when the society runs out of hard working people to support the profligates. At some point those who work hard to get ahead will no longer feel it’s worth the effort because one’s hard work will ultimately reward someone else so they join the ranks of the profligates. As more people move from work to dependence the socialist society will exhaust its resources and implode resulting in misery for everyone.
Let’s look at Venezuela, for example. A little more than a decade ago Venezuela was the richest country in South America. However, prosperity began to swirl the porcelain with a Communist dictator and has degenerated to the degree Venezuelans are now in such poverty they must dig through dumpsters for food.
Why, because socialism is the legacy of poverty. What do I mean? In 2007 a Venezuelan 100 bolivar bill would buy 28 US dollars and 288 eggs. Today that same 100 bolivar bill will buy a dime and 20% of one egg. Why? Because it was more lucrative to take money from the government than to manage chickens so the country simply ran out of eggs. Socialism’s legacy is always the same, poverty, pain and misery.
Average citizens digging through dumpsters for food because a single egg costs 500 bolivar is a superb example of the “Equal Sharing of Misery”.
What does all of this mean? Let’s look again at a key statement from the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The declaration of Independence stated that all men (all humanity) are created equal but notice the “unalienable Rights”. “Life” is a right to our own existence. “Liberty” is a right by which we have the freedom to establish our own destiny. But I want to focus on the last of these rights, the “pursuit of Happiness”. We have the right to “pursue happiness” not the right to “have happiness”. The founders’ understood happiness is a resulting condition as opposed to a conditioning result. We have the right to live, the freedom to excel and the ability to work hard to be happy.
Those who’ve been taught to pursue happiness through hard work and accomplishment of an end goal will achieve a feeling of happiness and contentment. My grandson worked diligently to earn enough to be in a position to make the decision as to what would make him happy. That pursuit took all summer long, which is an eternity to a five-year-old, but in the end, he was not simply happy but delighted. He had the freedom to decide what would make him happy due to his sense of self-worth built through accomplishment. The opposite is true of those who’ve been conditioned to believe something is deserved. This entitlement mentality isn’t just unrealistic, it’s naïve, and the result of such naivety is unhappiness and discontentment.
The truth of personal accountability must result in taking personal responsibility. The youth who learned to assert personal responsibility through personal accountability now runs an Amazon Fulfillment Center. Not because they somehow mystically deserved the position but because they set goals and held themselves accountable to achieve those goals.
A clear understanding of truth and consequences is what tempers the soul’s response to what one doesn’t have. Vision, hard work, determination, personal responsibility and drive to succeed in order to accomplish a goal are the things which satisfy the soul resulting in happiness, contentment and security.
No amount of socialist equalization will ever provide happiness, contentment or security but only poverty, pain and misery.
I’ll finish with two verses:
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have…” Hebrews 13:5
“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8
1 – Feature photo
2 – Dictionary.com
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