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Socialists Aren’t Necessarily Evil, Just Hedonistic

October 20, 2012

Though some are definitely evil. Everywhere socialism has been tried it has been an unmitigated failure – without exception it starts with a blood bath because no one but the revolutionary clique wants it, and it ends in a famine because the economy falls apart  – yet it is a persistent meme. Britain is rotten with socialism, just waiting to collectivize us all as soon as the effects of fiat money are fully realized. Why the enduring support in the minds of a few idealogues for an empirically awful idea?

I used to think that socialists were either thick (the death toll of socialism, starting with the initial purges, then the repressions and finally the famines are a matter of historical record and only a committed bibliophobe could pretend otherwise) or evil (like the Webbs who went to Stalin’s Russia and saw utopia, or Eric Hobsbawm, the late, unlamented, unrepentant Marxist who claimed the Bolshevicks’ and Stalin’s murders, if true, would have been worth it) – I estimated a thick/evil ratio of 90/10.

However, I am now prepared to believe that part of the big difference between socialist thinking and how normal people think is in the time period in which each lives. Normal people are a mixture of past, present and future thinking; with the proportions varying with age and state in life. For example, babies are the supreme hedonists, living wholly in the here and now and motivated only by selfish needs. Children, with a lots of training, eventually start to think beyond the present (“sweets now are good, but rotten teeth later are bad”) and to consider how their actions impact other people (any child over the age of ten still playing “ring-and-run” needs help). Assuming normal development continues, young adults defer gratification in seeking to find work and in due course, they have children and almost all their free resources are expended in caring for children; teaching them the same lessons they were taught. The elderly think about the past a lot, but also the future of their children and grandchildren and of course their death and judgement.

Socialists suffer from arrested development, i.e. hedonism, because they cannot think beyond the immediate future, and this hypermyopia infects their entire worldview. In the general case, socialists see a problem now and demand it is fixed now. They do not possess a “future consequences” filter to consider the ramifications of their fix. In the short term they will be psychologically satisfied that they made the world a better, more equal place. And the long term consequences, once realized are far enough away in time to allow for dissociation. Taking specific cases, there are as a matter of fact poor people in the world today (as there always has been and always will be) and a socialist thinking solely in now terms, says “Some people have too much, some people don’t have enough. The obvious answer is to take from the former and give to the latter. That’s fair”. Similarly, they observe in the now a certain rate of teenage pregnancy and decide that something must be done now to fix it. Obvious short term fix is education on contraception, “Preaching abstinence doesn’t work, because these kids will have sex tonight!” The obvious long term consequence of sexualizing children at an ever-earlier age is that the rate of teenage pregnancy has risen without pause since (see Lessons in Depravity by E.S. Williams).

By contrast, the Church has always thought in terms of centuries. The reason the Church condemns sex education is because of the long term consequences. The reason the Church condemns socialism and capitalism is that both ideologies seek to address short term, selfish objectives only. As an aside, that is what makes the bishops’ support for immigration anomalous. Progressives/subversives say immigrants need to come here now, despite the fact that the long term consequences, economic, social and cultural, are disastrous for the native population. In the Church’s medieval thinking, even foreign trade was severely restricted because of the adverse effects of multi-culturalism – foreign goods were novelties and novelties stimulated a desire for the things of this world.

Many socialists grow out of their affliction as they mature and the firm boot of reality on their backside compels them to use a longer time horizon in making decisions. I’m not advocating that socialists should not have a voice, merely that society cannot afford to let them near the levers of power. Generally, socialists have never been offered the levers of power, but they take them anyway, usually by bloody revolution. But in the West they have destroyed our ability to think long term. The Church used to teach that vices existed, e.g. sex, alcohol, gambling and gourmandizing, and society listened. Interestingly, the Church has never approved of drug taking, because unlike the other goods, drugs are purely hedonistic (self-stupifaction as an objective) in their effects. So, when the Frankfurt School Marxists sought a means of destroying the West’s economy to usher in utopia, they attacked the culture by propagandizing in favour of hedonism. Any person or organization that tried to caution people against doing what they wanted, when they wanted, was pilloried as authoritarian, fascistic, medieval and out of date. Needless to say, the greatest bulwark against hedonism, the Church, received  and still receives the greatest opprobrium from the advocates of the permissive society.

Sadly, there were and are socialist thinkers inside the Church who could only see the short term goods that a major modernization would bring. But even a short 50 years on we see once again everything socialists touch turns to poop. All the telemetrics of the Catholic economy are lower than before the socialists opened the windows to let the stench of the world in. The problem is that once hedonism has entered man’s thinking, we are too fallen to go back to long term planning. The Church must abandon the search for short term buzzes and get back to thinking in centuries.

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From → Chapter 1

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