Below is a statement by the Saskatchewan provincial NDP, Canada's openly socialist political party, in praise of one of their historical members:
Some people saw Tommy Douglas as a true democratic socialist, someone who placed human rights and needs above the mere pursuit of profits and power. Such principles should be implemented at the wish of the majority of the people. A social minded government would plan the economy of the country to allow all people to share in the country's wealth and have equal access to such basic needs as health and education.Uncritically read, it reverberates with a friendly, here-for-the-little-guy spirit.
Critically read, it's a sinister statement of self-identity and an indictment of socialist thought:
|Some people saw Tommy Douglas as a true democratic socialist, someone who placed human rights and needs above the mere pursuit of profits and power.
|The "mere pursuit of profits"? Profit, economically defined, is the amount by which something is worth more to someone else than to one's self. Profit is the compensation one individual receives in exchange for giving something up -- hourly labor, craftsmanship, knowledge, or resources. Profit only exists where something goes from lower value to higher value by having passed from one set of hands to another. It is no "mere pursuit." It is, in fact, a highly democratic way of rewarding the best possible use of the finite resources we have.
|Such principles should be implemented at the wish of the majority of the people.
|Many things implemented at the wish of the majority are unjust, unfair, or morally repugnant. Nazism was a majority case. Slavery was a majority decision in the antebellum South. Lynchings are majority decisions by the assembled mob. No: That something is the wish of the majority does not make it right. Majority rule is a fine principle only inasmuch as it preserves the rights of the minority and the rule of law, even if the minority are those who risk their own resources to start, own, and maintain businesses. What about their rights when the majority would rather take their profits by force?
|A social minded government would plan the economy of the country...
|Economies cannot be planned. Period. Large firms can barely plan their own micro-economies (viz. Kmart or WorldCom or Pan Am). There is no reason to believe that any collection of individuals, no matter how brilliant, could possibly plan an entire economy. No attempt has ever succeeded.
|...to allow all people to share in the country's wealth...
|To whom does a "nation's wealth" belong? The statist supposition that wealth belongs to the state, to be divided among the people, is dramatically at odds with the counter-claim that wealth belongs to the people who create it, and that they incidentally are citizens of a nation. It is one thing to suggest a humane obligation to one's lesser fellows; it is quite another to suggest that all of the wealth in a nation belongs to the state.
|...and have equal access to such basic needs as health and education.
|Is it "equal opportunity" or "equal access"? What if an individual refuses to undertake even the slightest effort to fulfill those needs? More than 10% of Canadians do not have a primary-care physician, even though access is completely free. Do they also have a claim on advanced treatment when they refuse to see a doctor for preventive care? What of the argument that, because access is free, important care is denied some Canadians because others are too quick to use limited health resources on the slightest sniffle?
As friendly and appealing as socialist propaganda may sound on the surface, it is littered with philosophical junk. Its foundation is rotten and its intellectual workmanship shoddy. We risk most our own well-being whenever we grant socialism undeserved credibility.