Socialists are masters at making excuses -- well not really masters, but they do it a lot. Their whole philosophy is built around not taking responsibility themselves and instead pawning responsibility off on to somebody else. It's a bad philosophy for individuals and a terrible philosophy for society.
Here is the thing:
If I'm starting a business and I create a plan on how to implement it, I don't get to say that I never attempted the business when my plan fails. If I have 2 steps and step 1 requires a step which makes it impossible to achieve step 2, I don't get to say that my business was never attempted because we never arrived at step 2.
This is what I see happening all the time with most socialists to varying degrees.
Vladimir Lenin himself said:
"Now try to substitute for the Junker-capitalist state, for the landowner-capitalist state, a revolutionary-democratic state, i.e., a state which in a revolutionary way abolishes all privileges and does not fear to introduce the fullest democracy in a revolutionary way. You will find that, given a really revolutionary-democratic state, state- monopoly capitalism inevitably and unavoidably implies a step, and more than one step, towards socialism!"
We hear about the USSR (and many other socialist attempts) as being state-capitalism, as if this takes the burden off of the socialist and on to the capitalist. The problem is that state-capitalism was a step in their plan. You can't say the way to achieve socialism is through first achieving state-capitalism and then once state-capitalism invariably fails blame capitalism rather than socialism. It's one of the most dishonest things you can do.
You could break a socialist implementation strategy into this:
Capitalism -> State-Capitalism -> Socialism
This obviously can't work and never has worked. But the fact that it never reached true socialism doesn't discount the attempt. And anybody who knows a little bit about history or political philosophy knows that any centralized power will not end well. Fortunately, the anarchists have at least learned this and advocate for socialism without a state. How this is technically possible I don't fully understand, but that's an issue for another discussion. At least they can read history and change the direction of socialism.
This is only one type of implementation which many have correctly walked away from. The problem is, the newer implementation methods still have steps which will invariably cause the attempt to fail, and then once again the blame is lifted from socialism and placed on whatever other excuse they can come up with next.
But this is a common trend I've seen with most socialists. They have an inability to look at their mistakes and correct them. Instead, they are a victim of the environment and the ruling capitalists and have no choice of their own to change anything. Socialists are instead victims and because of this create ideologies mirroring these same victimized patterns. When their ideology fails they blame the environment and external conditions rather than the ideology itself. This is no different than somebody blaming others for their own personal problems rather than themself. And it's sad because if they really could honestly look at what went wrong and take some responsibility for it they may actually be able to change and rework some things without having to leave millions of dead bodies in their wake each time they try to implement true socialism.
Another part of this is the excuse that since it's not true socialism we can't say that socialism doesn't work -- as if we have to have 100% of anything to synthesize and analyze trends and patterns about a topic. Since we don't have 100% socialism anywhere, of course all problems are then not the fault of socialism. But somehow they're still able to critique capitalism even though 100% capitalism doesn't exist anywhere. This makes no sense to anyone who can even remotely break components of society down and read between the lines.
The major tenet of socialism, probably even more so than worker control over the means of production, is the abolition of private property. And while all societies are a mix between capitalism and socialism (as well as many other things), we can at least make estimations as to what influence these various components have on the societies at hand. When we decrease private property and turn it over to the state we always have issues. When we decrease private property and turn it over to a community that isn't a state, we still have issues. We run into issues of violence, rivalry, management, etc. when we remove private property.
We don't need to have 100% true socialism to understand that removing private property is a bad idea. Yet the socialists continue going full charge as if this time somehow it's different. The socialists ignore any kind of correlation between a decrease in private property and an increase in poverty and corruption. And socialists especially ignore the societal fractures that take place as private property is decreased and removes any chance of socialism every being achieved. Not only this, socialists will also ascribe societal problems incorrectly to capitalism when there is a full litany of other issues outside of capitalism which are the culprit. Not every problem is a result of capitalism.
Until this anti-capitalist religion is overcome non-capitalist motions will be incorrectly ascribed to capitalism and socialists will throw the baby out with the bath water.
It really just comes down to bad data analysis and trend forecasting on the side of socialists.
So do I think true socialism has been tried? Yes, I do. And it's never worked. Of course it didn't go as planned and the environment and setting for socialism to be implemented wasn't perfect. So? Do you think the environment and setting was perfect every time capitalism has been implemented? Do you think there has ever been a business that had a perfect landscape for starting out and reaching full fruition? Of course not. Yet somehow capitalism has an antifragility to it that allows it to progress from its starting point, while socialism only digresses from its starting point. It's really not that confusing to most people.
I look at it like an investment. Most people are very bad at making good, sound investments because most people are pretty stupid, or at least don't take the topic of finance serious enough to really know. They just have opinions and very little experience and understanding. The people who make the most money investing are people who can look at as much data as possible and make the most accurate, coherent analysis for a future prediction of what will happen given the motion of current events at play. Socialists are terrible at this, IMHO, which is why they support the doctrine of socialism, despite the inherent issues baked in (incentive problem, calculation problem, knowledge problem, etc.). Capitalists, for the most part, see through these problems and shy away from socialism because of it. And yes, of course it's not all black and white and of course there are pros and cons to both sides. But overall the winner is clearly capitalism inasmuch as you want a higher standard of living and wellbeing for society. And of course socialists have their rebuttals that meet their own personal satisfaction, however, this is no different than somebody trying to sell me on the next major industry to invest in when they themselves are wrong time and time again with their market analysis. The answer may satisfy you but most certainly not me.
I see most socialists as naive. They nitpick details but miss the big picture. This one tiny thing is wrong so let's change the entire foundation and completely mess everything up. Anybody can find a fault in something, but to find an actual coherent solution that is superior is pretty hard to do and socialists have yet to do that both historically and theoretically.Filed under: Politics / Government, Not Good With History, Excuse Printing, Bad Philosophy, 3rd Grader Strategy