Since the 2008 US elections, perhaps encouraged by the left-wing policies of Barack Obama and taking advantage of the sub-prime banking crisis, academic "experts" and a growing number of newspaper editorials have been emboldened to openly proclaim the "failure of capitalism" and to call for more socialistic policies. These "experts" are usually university professors of law, history & political science, a demographic which is overwhelmingly left-wing and socialistic in its ideology. Recently, one Canadian sociology professor was so brazen as to describe capitalism as "barbarism" and state that "socialism is the only solution"(1). The chorus of intellectual elites and media mind moulders pounding this drum beat is growing in Canada and the USA.
Socialism exists on the left-wing of the political spectrum. In practice, it is an atheistic, socio-political-economic philosophy closely related to Marxism and communism. It is anti-capitalistic and proposes that a utopia of human prosperity can be achieved when the state assumes control of private property, business and most aspects of social life, thereby enabling it to redistribute wealth as it sees fit to those who need it most. In Karl Marx's words: "Take from each, according to his ability. Give to each, according to his need".
Socialism marginalizes religious belief and religious people. In practice, the socialist believes that the most enlightened people in society are those who are 'liberated' from 'ignorant' religious ideas. This, they believe, makes them naturally more compassionate and therefore best-suited to redistribute wealth and justice to the masses. That explains why whenever socialism has been practiced, throughout history, the cherished democratic concept of "the will of the people" has been destroyed by the socialist (or marxist), though he sometimes allow the façade of democracy. In the socialist's view, voting only ensures the undesirable outcome of an "unenlightened" populous being given the opportunity to put forth its inferior ideas and religious beliefs. Therefore, nations are ruled virtually by committee of an elite few bureaucrats in the top echelons of power.
This leftist view of government differs radically from western democracy and the balanced capitalism which emphasizes limited government power, greater individual liberty and religious freedom. Besides the totalitarian political nature of socialism, history has always proven it to be a philosophy which destroys economies and impoverishes peoples, owing mostly to its deprivation of private property and the creation of bloated government bureaucracies. State-run industries cannot benefit from the 'drive to improve/innovate' that is inherent to free market competition. Why innovate when you have no competition? Why reduce costs when profit is no longer a goal?
The growing trend towards socialistic policy in North America is a serious danger to human dignity and genuine human rights. As we'll establish in the next section, socialism differs very little from Marxism & communism and in fact, gave birth to Karl Marx's communist philosophy.
Marx in his earlier writings, very correctly tells us the essence of democracy while revealing his contempt for it:
"Democracy is founded on the principle of the sovereign worth of every person. This in its turns is based upon a postulate, a dream and an illusion of Christianity, namely that every man has an immortal soul." (2)
In the 1st edition of his work on Capital, Marx makes clear his lack of respect for human dignity:
"Persons of and by themselves have no value. An individual has a value only in as much as he is a representative of an economic category and belongs to a certain revolutionary class". (3)
Marx is saying that man has no value unless he belongs to the revolutionary cause of communism or socialistic "collectivism". Based on this philosophy, it is little wonder why communism and socialism always lead to oppression, violence and death.
The most precise warnings against socialism have been proclaimed by the two of the men who most had to fight against it in their own times, Pope Leo XIII and Pope John Paul II.
Pope Leo XIII in his 1891 encyclical, Rerum Novarum, p.15 described the fruits of socialism:
"And in addition to injustice, it is only too evident what an upset and disturbance there would be in all classes, and to how intolerable and hateful a slavery citizens would be subjected. The door would be thrown open to envy, to mutual invective, and to discord; the sources of wealth themselves would run dry, for no one would have any interest in exerting his talents or his industry; and that ideal equality about which they entertain pleasant dreams would be in reality the levelling down of all to a like condition of misery and degradation. Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal. The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property. "
Pope John Paul II in his 1991 encyclical, Centesimus Annus, describes how socialism inevitably brings loss of productivity and unwelcome government intrusion:
"Here again the principle of subsidiarity must be respected...By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending".