Soft Socialization

The mass-murdering, totalitarian socialization in Russia and Germany, led by Lenin/Stalin and Hitler bears little resemblance to modern European socialization and what’s happening in America. Our socialization is based neither on Marxist class struggle nor race domination, but the principles of socialization are basically the same, motivated by cloudy ideas of social justice and equality, led by elite technocrats, not a tyrannical individual with a private goon squad or professional revolutionaries. Although Obama does have his czars, their left-leaning/progressive ideas replace lethal weapons, torture and annihilation. Bush had his neo-con gang helping to implement State policy over the spontaneous order of a free market, but their violence was pointed at terrorists, not the American people and political enemies.

In the two preceding posts, here and here, I wrote about European and American socialization and quoted Hitler, but our socialization is soft and modernized as we’re gently led to depend on the social engineering technocrats and the compassionate wisdom of the State leaders. Modern adherents of socialization recognized they could not survive a totalitarian approach, and the deadly results are no longer acceptable to the advanced modern mind which avoids domestic violence when possible, so capitalism has been used to finance a much softer approach. There hasn’t, however, been any total acceptance of capitalism as an economic system which morally answers the human need for liberty, choice, prosperity and flourishing — in fact capitalism has been blamed for most of the modern ills, yet accepted as a necessary evil which allows the innate selfishness of humans to produce wealth needed to distribute to those in need. In other words, capitalism has been used to create a world which doesn’t need capitalism, but this has yet to be accomplished, although very smart people are hard at work trying to find a modern approach to central planning which will accomplish something close to a managed economy which is free of all capitalist weaknesses which enrich the few at the expense of the many.

First, businesses are socialized to act in service of the State’s central plan, so that the right cars are built, and banks have the right relationship to borrowers, and healthcare is free of profit-motive, and energy is in service to the State’s environmental plans. If the State can partner with the larger corporations to achieve national policy, then capitalism is transformed to an active component of the State and there are no conflicts of interest — the central plan is not thwarted by businesspeople motivated by competition working at cross purposes for higher profits rather than the betterment of society. Once businesses are on board, with certain gaurantees of protection for cooperating, then social plans for justice and equality are easier to implement — the jungle is tamed and the weak are protected from the strong. Socializing losses is a way to get major industries on board — they don’t have to worry about competition and they build a public image of working for the greater good.

If those in the middle class can be convinced they are victims of the excesses of capitalism then the State creates a power-base to complete the socialization process. This becomes difficult when the economy is strong and many couples have combined incomes in six digits, but during recessions, economic stagnation and high unemployment, it’s an easier sell. Seeing as how an over-regulated economy is more likely to stagnate, government efforts which hurt the economy can actually help their cause to socialize the economy. It’s no mistake that down economies are incessantly blamed on prior over-heating by greedy capitalists who went too far and created a bubble. The State then places itself in the position of cleaning up the economy by instituting even more regulations to prevent bubbles and “irrational exuberance” in the future, further stagnating the economy and making their stimulus, bailouts and regulatory activity more indispensable.

Although I stated at the beginning that socialization in the U.S. is different from Marxist class struggle, our present socialization does depend, in part, on class warfare, but no one is proposing a proletariat revolution, because it’s well know today that producers are the sine qua non of wealth creation. The problem is simply how to bring the producers into the service of the State. Once the public becomes accustomed to social engineering, it’s a steady process of implementing the central plan — yet as I wrote in a preceding post, in America there’s still the remnants of classical liberalism which promotes limited government and a free market, so the process of socialization will be quick during crises and slow during boom times, although either can work to the benefit of the State, as our society slowly begins to forget the attributes of capitalism.

In boom times the case is made by politicians that a generous nation needs to take care of its own, yet there is little encouragement to increase charity, but, rather, there’s a push to enlarge the welfare state. In a financial crisis, the State simply says it has no choice but to enlarge the welfare state. The challenge for those who still adhere to the principles of classical liberalism, or to conservative libertarianism, or just plain libertarianism, as classical liberalism is now called, is to take back the mantle of compassion by promoting the benefits and moral superiority of private assistance through charitable organizations — and the promotion of innovative private insurance arrangements to deal with social security and unemployment.

Welfare/social security was the thin wedge which gave the State the moral advantage in promoting socialization in America, although the U. S. has always been proficient at helping organizations — we simply lost our nerve in the 30s and the Progressives pushed their agenda with force in a horrible Depression. Had government policies not made the Depression in the 30s much worse than necessary, the private sector would have likely continued its innovative path to dealing with many of society’s problems. We have to return to this earlier understanding of the private realm, capitalism, private assistance and the free market before socialization has enveloped the entire nation.