Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Great Socialist Misconception

The logical short-comings of socialism have been known for a long time.

Nearly 200 years ago, the great classical liberal thinker Frédéric Bastiat wrote:

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.

We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

His critique still applies today to socialist-leaning individuals.

Bastiat wrote 'The Law', one of the most famous classical liberal works. The Law argues that the only just use of government power is to protect the right of individuals to their person, their liberty, and their property. When governments are used to plunder from one group to give to another, then they because instruments of injustice, rather than providers of it.

'The Law' can be found online here.