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The false hope of socialism: Why it can never succeed

In her Princeton undergraduate thesis, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan wrote ten years ago:

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“Through its own internal feuding…the SP [Socialist Party] exhausted itself forever and further reduced labor radicalism in New York to the position of marginality and insignificance from which it has never recovered. The story is a sad but also a chastening one for those who, more than a half-century after socialism’s decline, still wish to change America. Radicals have often succumbed to the devastating bane of sectarianism; it is easier, after all, to fight one’s fellows than it is to battle an entrenched powerful foe. Yet if the history of Local New York shows anything, it is that American radicals cannot afford to become their own worst enemies. In unity lies their only hope.”

Since he was elected Mayor of New York in 2014, Bill DeBlasio has kept hope alive for socialists. In a recent radio interview, DeBlasio, a socialist himself, made an earnest appeal to his audience, “Help me tax the wealthy. Help me redistribute wealth…If you just talk about it and feel self-satisfied, God bless you. That’s not actually going to change things. What changes things is the redistribution of wealth. Tax the wealthy at a much higher level.”

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But DeBlasio’s socialistic policies are not working out well for the Big Apple. According to RedState, New Yorkers “are fleeing the dystopian nightmare DeBlasio has created in record numbers…Elite Moving & Storing in Yonkers,” says that “People are fleeing the City in droves. The statistics are mind-boggling.”

“If the current trend continues,” says RedState, “DeBlasio’s wealth redistributionist scheme will fail worse than his pathetic presidential run in 2019.”

It appears one doesn’t have to look to the more than two dozen places around the globe where socialism was tried and failed to see it doesn’t work. Just take a look at what’s happening in New York. The circumstances have become unbearable, and New Yorkers are bailing on the City.

Why is it that socialism fails? It does not and cannot succeed because it defies the law of God, “Thou shalt not steal.”

In the Eighth Commandment, God asserts the right to private property. It is an inviolable command. Since God made man in his image and gave him dominion over the earth, anyone who steals his property instead of receiving it as a gift or purchasing or trading for it has desecrated the individual’s personhood and violated his dominion. This is a serious injustice, which God has authorized and obligated the government to judge.

Proponents of socialism are always claiming its primary objective is justice for everyone. But “It is Robin Hood’s justice, in which the rich are robbed and the poor share in the loot,” wrote T. Robert Ingram in The World Under God’s Law. “That keeps the poor off the robber’s back and stops the crowd from attacking him. Whom else would anyone rob but the rich?”

Frederic Bastiat, a French economist, and statesman wrote a little book in 1850 titled The Law. The book was penned only two years after Karl Marx published his Manifesto. Bastiat analyzed the evils of socialism in terms of the law against stealing.

Socialists desire to practice a legal form of plunder wrote Bastiat.

“Socialists, like all monopolists, desire to make the law their own weapon. And when once the law is on the side of socialism, how can it be used against socialism? For when plunder is abetted by the law, it does not fear your courts, your gendarmes, and your prisons. Rather, it may call upon them for help,” he said.

Bastiat added:

“When a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns it – without his consent and without compensation, and whether by force or by fraud – to anyone who does not own it, then I say that property is violated; that an act of plunder is committed.

“I say that this act is exactly what the law is supposed to suppress, always and everywhere. When the law itself commits this act that it is supposed to suppress, I say that plunder is still committed, and I add that from the point of view of society and welfare, this aggression against rights is even worse. In this case of legal plunder, however, the person who receives the benefits is not responsible for the act of plundering. The responsibility for this legal plunder rests with the law, the legislator, and society itself. Therein lies the political danger.”

The hope of socialism continues not only in De Blasio’s New York, but rises across America. It has even hijacked a major political party, which is every day pushing the country closer to fully embracing it. Despite its profoundly failed track record, it marches onward, surviving all empirical refutation.

As Dinesh D’Souza says in The United States of Socialism, another go at it here in the U.S. “feels like Elizabeth Taylor’s eighth marriage, a triumph of hope over experience.”

It’s time to put away all illusions of grandeur; socialism is a false hope, a mirage at best. As D’Souza says, it’s “the ideology of thieves,” and those who fall for it become “connivers attracted by the rip-off scheme.”

Socialism doesn’t work. It can never succeed because no government initiative that defies one of God’s Ten Commandments can endure a Sovereign God’s disapproval and the withdrawal of his blessing. It doesn’t matter the amount of hope placed in it, or how many times its tried, or how many tweaks are made to it, it is destined for utter failure.

Rev. Mark H. Creech is executive director of the Raleigh-based Christian Action League of North Carolina Inc.

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