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Socialism–Failure, Ignorance, Envy, Misery

Winston-Churchill-and-Margaret-ThatcherSocialism 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.” Thirty years 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.

What others have isn’t ours. It’s not the common wealth. To gain a clear understanding of how a society descends into socialism let’s go through each of the points Winston Churchill made in this 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 successful person has overcome. With people who have overcome failure the term “failure is not an option” is very real, personal and motivating.

For many the greatest failure of all is the “fear of failure”. What if is doesn’t work? What if I can’t do it? Fear of failure paralyzes, immobilizes and otherwise “izes” many which engenders a defeatist attitude whose ultimately result is the blame of others for what has not been achieved. Many times this blame focused on nebulous entities like the wealthy, social injustice or the system.

Today a popular political position 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 garnering support for those who are afraid to step out and take risks or too lazy to achieve themselves.

Imagine if George Washington Carver, born a slave, had succumbed to discrimination in a time where “White Privilege” actually existed. We wouldn’t have peanut butter, peanut oil, crop rotation and 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.

However, in today’s society it seems as though more and more people believe that success is deserved and should be granted not earned thus creating a fertile environment for “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 success is deserved not earned. In addition, the reality of personal responsibility and accountability is almost completely foreign to many young people.

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 month later we received a call from the local jail. “Dad, they arrested me for traffic tickets. What do I do?” they asked. I responded, “Well, I hope you’re a model prisoner.” They were a model prisoner for three days, in stead of six because they were so helpful, and have not had another ticket in more than 15 years. Personal accountability must be a real experience for someone to accept personal responsibility.

Lack of understanding when it comes to personal responsibility and accountability leads to an attitude of self gratification without boundaries. What others have becomes something one should have, all other considerations aside.

Lack of understanding the reality of personal responsibility and accountability is “the creed of ignorance”.

Gospel of Envy

Perhaps the most subtle and dangerous of the points is that of envy. What is the underlying condition that cause some to want what others have? Today’s culture is focused on the a notion that we just don’t have enough and deserve more. 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. A new car, a  new house, bigger tv and practically anything else you can imagine. Politicians evangelize the “gospel of envy” by promoting things like a living wage, free college, healthcare, reparations and social equality as being rights which are deserved as opposed to rewards that are earned.

While Churchill defined the condition and Thatcher defined the results the real problem boils down to the human heart. Envy is defined as “a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc.2” 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, our tendency is to desire what we do not have but God commanded us not to give in to the desire. To be clear, politicians and the media encourage us to be envious (covetous) but God commanded exactly the opposite. This promotion of covetousness is “the gospel of envy”.

The Equal Sharing of Misery

Socialists always say previous failed attempts at socialism weren’t implemented correctly. Every time they insist their methods will succeed where others failed. But, in fact, every socialist implementation depends on hard working people working harder to subsidize benefits for everyone else.

Margaret Thatcher made a keen observation, “The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” This is the true meaning of misery. When nobody feels it is worth the effort to work hard because one’s hard work will ultimately reward someone else, the socialistic society will collapse resulting in misery for everyone.

Look at the situation in Venezuela. A little more than a decade ago Venezuela was the richest country in South America. However, the prosperity began to swirl the porcelain with a Communist dictator and has degenerated to the degree that people dig through dumpsters for food.

Venezuela is a perfect example of “the equal sharing of misery”.


What does this mean? Let’s look 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 are created equal but notice the unalienable Rights. 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 understand that happiness is a resulting condition not a conditioning result.

The pursuit of happiness through hard work and ultimate achievement of an end goal is what creates a feeling of happiness while being conditioned to believe something is deserved isn’t just unrealistic it’s naïve (ignorant). A clear understanding of truth and consequences is what tempers the soul’s response to what it does not have.

I’ll finish with a 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

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