I have had a previous post on this fair blog about the merits of the “that was not real socialism” argument. Among other things, I said that one should define ideologies by processes not by outcomes, as outcomes are not guaranteed. In my analysis, this is where most of the not real socialism debaters fail. They compare an imperfect “capitalism” to an imaginary utopia and find the former lacking. But they do not define a clear process which will lead to said utopia, not clear policies to prevent the disaster that befell previous attempts at achieving thereof. It is a constant source of puzzlement for me that this ridiculous ideology keeps persisting beyond any reason, logic or history, as such I shall write a bit more on the subject.
I have noticed that, when the any of the numbers of leftist intellectuals blames the 2008 economic crisis on the unregulated marked, it is pointed out to them that there was nothing resembling a free market in the financial sector in 2008. This is used as a gotcha moment to say well there was nothing resembling socialism in the Soviet Union. This is an attempt to discredit any argument made that something proclaimed X is not really X. But this is not a correct line of arguing. Sometimes we have a true Scotsman, sometimes not.
If you have an apple on the table, saying that is not a real orange is correct, but saying that is not a real apple (because it is red and you are thinking of green, although all modern Greens are Reds) is incorrect.
Objectively speaking, there were millions of pages of regulation in finances worldwide, enforced by hundreds of government agencies and many thousands of regulators. That is not, objectively, unregulated. Because unregulated means by definition lack of regulation, not lack of whatever ideal regulation the lefty thinks would have stopped whatever crisis; bad regulation is still regulation and there is no guarantee good regulation is in the power and bility of government.
Objectively speaking, in former communist countries there was no private property on the means of production. This off course led not to a classless utopia, because that is not how humans work, but the ruthless and politically savvy ending up in control. Yes, there was still money involved, but socialism is not defined by no money existing at any point, as our friends at the official socialist party of Great Britain would tell us. This situation, in most socialist theory, is not “not real socialism” but considered a step on the road to utopia, a step that was never overcome. The ultimate utopian endgame of a classless society with no money and absolute equality and abundance is that, an outcome that needs to be proven. No socialist country was anywhere close to that, nor were they moving in that direction. Now, if you can somehow reach socialist Utopia by skipping the “state capitalism” phase, I would love to know the mechanism.
Furthermore, all these not real socialist countries, through history, were seen as real socialist by the western left when they seemed to be working. Only when they stopped working did they become not real socialism. Except for the tankies off course, bless their hearts. They will tell you it was socialism and it was good. Except the Stalinists disagree with the Trots, and pretty soon the Maoists come in when you least expect them. Did you even read Mao? Educate yourselves.
Which brings me to the following point: if you read the writing of some of the Great Socialist leaders before they got power, none of them were parsing gulags and authoritarianism. Once they got it, on the other hand… Right now a new generation of socialist advocate utopian ideals and reject authoritarianism. But what would make one think that would not change if they ever got power, like it did in the past every single time. Every socialist became an authoritarian, but I will not, take my word for it. I would rather not take the chance, given the experience of the past. There is no reason to believe this will be the case. This if we ignore, although we should not, the elements of violence in their rhetoric and their obvious hatred of their opponents. Read enough through any far left idealists internet comments, be it social media forums etc, and you will see this. If feel I hardly see any modern socialist who does not give me cause to believe they would gleefully ship my ass to camp.
Non socialists criticized socialism before it was implemented on a large scale, and kept it up. In the end the criticism proved valid. Furthermore, areas favored by free market thinkers like Hong Kong for example, are not routinely denounced as not real capitalism, as long as they keep being free-ish markets. In the end, the free market people offer clear, objective policy to make it a real free market: eliminate regulation X or agency Y. This is a process solution, not an outcome. It can have measurable outcomes. If the dream of those nasty US libertarians happened and the US government removed the FDA and ceased any and all involvement in healthcare – both in financing and regulatory capacity, then after 25 years libertarians could not say that was not free market, and the outcomes, one way or the other, could be seen.
We can admit “pure ideal” free markets are not a thing in our world, and we can even say “pure ideal” socialism is not either. But things exist on a spectrum and, as far as history shows, moving closer to free markets leads to better results, moving closer to socialism does not. And we are no talking recent only, but for thousands of years. In the end, the mixed economies of today’s EU, let’s say, are further away from pure free markets than the former European Communist Block was from pure socialism. If we think in the way of process not imaginary future utopian outcome. Even in these mixed economies, market-but-not-pure-free-markets economies massively outperform any form socialist-but-not-pure-socialist economies, which is a testament to the power of markets, they can carry all this massive government imposed inefficiency as long as they are not completely suffocated.
Socialist fail to offer clear solution: law X or policy Y that would lead to real socialism. Process, not outcome. Something concrete, like do X and it will measurably lead to this outcome, then do Y and it will measurably lead to the next step. Not better leaders / better humans / fewer wreckers / next time it will work just because. Without this, there is an infinite number of abstract variations on socialism, all doomed to failure. They say a society where everyone works to their best ability and no money exists and no hierarchies, and somehow all needed goods are abundant, but they never explain how this is achieved. How production and consumption coordinate, how scarce resources are prioritized, how individual greed and laziness are overcome. They say well if we eliminate private ownership and money, people will want to work because they work for themselves and for the common good, not some evil boss, and will be magically able to coordinate, because reasons. Although a cursory look at human affairs puts this greatly in doubt.
I don’t want hand waving and nebulous things like “if we all work together” or whatever. Clear mechanisms. The socialist answers are nonsenses. Education, social change etc. These are not clearly defined, not guaranteed to work, take an indefinite amount of time and are not under peoples’ full control, like any social force. If anyone has read a socialist delineating clear, concrete way of how this happens, I would love to read and “educate myself”. Please link bellow.