Sure it works in reality, but does it work in theory?

My favorite geek T-shirt ever sported the slogan: “Sure it works in reality, but does it work in theory?” There are a lot of people who will believe a theory even if reality contradicts that theory. Helicopters don’t fly in theory—but they do in reality. For some people, that means that helicopters don’t fly, even though it is quite obvious that helicopters do fly.

Consider the reality versus the theory in forms of government.   Socialism, in theory, sounds so perfect.  Everyone shares so no one is in need of anything and there is always more than enough to go around.  Everyone is altruistic, and because the whole is taken care of, you don’t even have to worry about yourself.

The reality is that socialism kills initiative, cuts off the supply of basics to share, and crushes the human need for individualism.   Reality is inconsistent with the “theory.”

Capitalism as commonly described, seems to be for the selfish.  Everyone takes care of himself or herself (along with others in a family unit) and everyone is allowed to own what they acquire.  Sharing is not required.

The reality is that capitalism challenges us to be innovative, inspires what is individual in us, and gives us something to live for.  The theory and the reality don’t seem to mesh.

Or do they?

The truth is that socialism presents us with impossible goals.  If socialism were to be the system of government in the United States, what it would mean is that I am partially responsible for every other citizen in the entire country.  There are an estimated 306,000,000 people in the United States.   If I met one person per second, it would take me just over 9 years and 8 months to meet every one of those people, by which time a lot of them would be dead and even more would be born.   (If I tried it with the whole world, population estimated at 6.78 billion, it would take me over 215 years.)  How well would I actually know all of those people that I have been exposed to for one second each?  How can I possibly feel even partially responsible for that many people?

It’s not only the numbers, it is my value system.  I am supposed to work as hard for and spend as much time on (time worked is time spent) a child molester across the country as I do for the beings that I carried inside of me for nine months and brought into this world.   I’m sorry, my hormones object.   It is not only impossible for me, it is impossible for anyone. That’s why socialism, in experiment after experiment in country after country, fails to produce anything but misery and deprivation for all but a few elites.  Those elites are not really brainwashed into thinking it really is about caring for everyone.  They are in it for the power.

Capitalism, on the other hand, presents us with an achievable goal.  I take care of myself and my family, which is an extension of me.  Everyone in the system does that—takes care of himself or herself and whatever family they have.  My responsibilities are within my human capacity to handle.  That is not only achievable; it is in accordance with human nature and the genetics that make us human.

One of the distinguishing features of mammals, if we are viewed as animals, is the care given by the parents (especially the mother) for the young of the species.  I don’t think that discarding that genetic mandate to protect and love offspring, to want the best for them, would really be evolving to a “higher” level.  It would mean devolving to sociopaths, and an end to the species.  If we are viewed as the creation of God, parental love for our children is part of what makes us special.  So an individual’s sense of religion—or lack of it—is entirely consistent with the theory underlying capitalism.

The truth is that socialism provides us with a system that is humanly impossible to even fathom, while capitalism provides us with a system that is within our human capabilities.

Capitalism does not mean that we do not care for those among us who cannot care for themselves.  The way that Americans under capitalism has always worked is that if anyone chooses to give to others, to help others that are less fortunate and can’t care for themselves or don’t have families, then that’s great.  We are not forced to help everyone; we can stop giving and helping when we reach our human limits.   Since our country is based on Judeo-Christian values (contrary to current efforts to rewrite that history), charity and assistance to the poor is mandated by our religious consciences.  I wholeheartedly agree with and participate in this choice, as many Americans do.  The world over, Americans are always there first and with the most in disaster situations, for both friends and foes.   This is an established fact.

We have to expect to give the government some money to hold civilization together. For example, policemen need to be paid, firemen need to be paid, and teachers need to be paid.  We need to have roads and courthouses.  However, the government is currently going way beyond providing for basic needs to providing a lot more, with an underlying socialistic philosophy.  The government blackmails us into providing for others by threatening to throw us in jail if we don’t participate by giving them taxes to distribute.  This forced charity is where the government gets it wrong, because that’s what turns successful capitalism into unsuccessful socialism.  That is where we are headed now.

Any system of government in this world has its weaknesses and its strengths. The truth is that capitalism works. It has brought about more opportunity and hope for the greatest number of people under that government than any other system of government in the world ever.  That’s why we have been the destination of choice for millions over the last couple of hundred years.

We are headed towards socialism.  We have been going that way for quite some time, but now we are headed there really fast, and could arrive at the final destination very soon.  Every day, we wake up and make a choice as to whether we continue on the road to a reality that is the opposite of the rosy world that it predicts, or we go back and find our way to the reality that does work.

Me?  I want a system that makes it possible for me to care for my family; one in which it is possible for my children to function and flourish.  I want a system where I can care for my family without being made to feel selfish for feeling human feelings. I do not want a system that will kill in my children the sense of freedom and individuality that I have enjoyed in my life.

If something works in reality, let’s choose that way.

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Published in: on June 25, 2009 at 5:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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