As Heilbroner reluctantly acknowledged, socialist planning cannot co-exist with individual rights, an achievement of Western culture he wanted to preserve. Instead, under socialism, culture must produce "some form of commitment to the idea of a morally conscious collectivity." This, however, was antagonistic to "bourgeois" culture, which "encourages and breeds the idea of the primary importance of the individual." And bourgeois culture, devoted to the sovereignty of the individual, he wrote, "naturally asserts the rights of individuals to speak their minds freely, to act as they wish within reasonable grounds, to behave as John Stuart Mill preached in his treatise On Liberty." A socialist culture, Heilbroner feared correctly, couldn't abide this "celebration of individualism" because it is "directly opposed to the basic socialist commitment to a deliberately embraced collective moral goal."Capitalism isn't perfect--nothing involving humans ever is--but it's improved humanity more than any other economic system that's ever tried.
Most of today's democratic socialists, however, don't have the same doubts or circumspection of Heilbroner. The resurgent Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) argue that under democratic socialism "individual civil and political rights…which are routinely violated, would be strengthened, and public resources would be devoted to the development of a genuinely free press and a democratically-administered mass media." Lefty Brooklyn College professor Corey Robin—in a howler of a puff piece for The New York Times on "The New Socialists" such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders—argues that "what the socialist seeks is freedom."
This rhetoric, however, is profoundly ignorant of history and the internal logic of socialist ideology, as Heilbroner diagnosed it, or it's artifice. There is only one kind of democracy that socialists can create, and that is an illiberal one, where the "majority"—I suspect some kind of vanguard in reality—engages, yet once again, in massive experiments in social engineering in an attempt purge people of their nasty habits.
Democratic socialists will no doubt sneer at such an argument, but how could it be otherwise when the self-proclaimed goal of democratic socialists, according to DSA member and Jacobin staff writer Meagan Day, is to "end capitalism." To engage in such a project, however, can lead nowhere else but tyranny.
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Yet Another Reason I'm Not A Socialist
There are so many reasons not to be a socialist, but the compulsion necessary for socialism to operate is a big enough reason for me: