Today’s socialist displays a complete disconnect between their desires and the reality of what it takes to create those desires.
As much as I should have known this, I had the chance to observe it personally when I started to frequent a Facebook page called “Capitalism Kills”.
It was only after spending a few weeks observing popular complaints on this page that I realized that most of those commenting, as well as those were responsible for posting content, seemed to have no idea what it takes to bring something into being: A house, a car, electronic devices, internet, electricity, food.
The most common claim was that, for each of the above stated things, there is more than enough available for each person. There are more than enough houses, cars, food, etc. and it is the fault of capitalism and greedy industry that everyone does not share in the excess.
What seems to be missed however is why the excess exists at all. Why are there surplus houses? Why is there ample food? could the very greed of individuals – or put more nicely, the desire for achievment, status, and success – be the reason?
It seems the modern socialist lives in a world where products arrive on shelves already made, and food appears out of thin air. While they love the shiny new device or the ease of access to food and lattes they seem to strongly oppose, at every junction, the very things it takes to create it. It’s a sort of strange cognitive dissonance or maybe just a lack of desire to understand.
They ignore the fact that it was mining, the dirty task of digging up the earth to extract her treasures, which brought up the silver, gold, palladium and steel required to build the circuitry that is needed for our electronics.
After that it was the oil, steel, and rubber of the trucks and ships that brought the raw materials to the smoke belching refineries; from there, more transportation to the factories where men and machine forged those raw goods into circuitry.
Through all this process people must be paid, taxes gathered, resources used, and only after all that do we finally have the finished product, which must still be marketed and sold, supporting people in offices, media outlets, even supporting the freelance podcaster or YouTube reviewer.
A common response to anyone pointing out the amount of work required to bring something to market is that machines will eventually replace all of these people. But, until all these tasks can be automated and done by machine (and even then, who will maintain the machines or maintain the power plants that power the factories in which these machines work to create what we want?) we will need people all along this creative trail. We need the ugly factories, mines and refineries, because without them these shiny goods wouldn’t exist.
I had a conversation recently in the group where, aside from expressing an absolute hatred of landlords, several members explained to me why housing should be free for all people.
Could this be possible?
Let me say this. I would love to be able to have the house of my dreams without having to pay for it. I’d love a cabin in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, with a view overlooking the valley but only minutes from town so it’s not inconvenient for me to make trips to the grocery store.
But the unanswerable question becomes (and I’m genuinely looking for the answer) who will build my cabin? Let’s for a moment ignore the trucks and cranes it takes to erect the structure, the raw materials, even the forging of hammer and nails, the lumber, and sawmills that turn it into useable material. Who would build the home?
I certainly cannot build it. I am lucky I know a handful of people who can, but would they spend months or years of their time building me a home for nothing? How about all the billions of others who would want the same?
I wish it were possible, I really do. I wish socialism was the opportunity for promised utopia that it’s adherants claim it is. I wish that all those dreams could come true.
I wish I could do my degree for free (though the supply of certain desirable degrees would absolutely overwhelm the need for people skilled in those fields) and live in the luxury enjoyed by the 100-hour work week entrepreneurs, or investment bankers and stock brokers.
To be honest, who isn’t even a little jealous of those few people like Dan Bilzerian, or Kim Kardashian who seem to enjoy immense riches while barely having to do any kind of work?
I wish we could have a world where there was no reason to pursue monetary gain, where we could have a lavish lifestyle and all that we want and need while working only on the things we want to. But, unless someone can come up with some ingenious way to ensure we can provide even more, resource wise, without needing people to do dirty work that they don’t like, it’s just another nice daydream.
I still don’t know who would consider spending weeks away from family in the far flung frozen north to extract oil to be their “passion.” Or who would work cabling a new building for internet service because that’s just what they’ve always dreamed of. Who would take customer complaints at the electric or phone company? These are roles that deserve higher reward if you ask me.
There is nothing wrong with these noble professions, but they are far from the likely more glamorous roles many of us would choose to play without the necessity being present.
Human nature is still now, as it always has been, something that must be contended with.
What allows the creation of million-dollar homes, top of the line appliances, more than adequate food supply, electronics, and wonders of electricity and Internet showing up at our doorsteps is the massive incentive for people to risk capital (both as investors and as entrepreneurs) in creating the infrastructure, businesses, and for others to work in remote or undesirable roles to bring these luxuries to us.
If you can devise a system that takes all this into account and can still provide all of what we each desire in life, without losing the drive and innovation that the struggle and competition tend to bring about, please let me know I’ll be the first to support you.
Our systems are far from perfect, and I believe change is possible, especially a mental shift to balance between a pragmatically capitalist mindset and a kinder people centered mindset in both work and life overall, but when dreaming up a brave new world, we must be sure that we at least begin with a thorough understanding of the realities of the current one.