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All This Talk About Socialism

Socialism has been tried, to varying degrees, throughout the centuries and around the globe. From Hammurabi fixing wages in 1750 B.C., to Diocletian in Rome in AD 301 and to China multiple times before that to name a few.

It has failed every time because it runs counter to human nature.

According to the historian Will Durant, “The experience of the past leaves little doubt that every economic system must sooner or later rely upon some form of the profit motive to stir individuals and groups to productivity. Substitutes like slavery, police supervision, or ideological enthusiasm prove too unproductive, too expensive, or too transient. ”

Thus, regardless of our humanitarian ideals, we remain acquisitive at our core. Without incentives for individuals, over time, a society declines and eventually tears a part (as in Venezuela today) or is suppressed into submission (the Soviet Union of the last century).

For over a Century, America has been experimenting with degrees of socialism – taxing some to provide benefits to others. The public education system traces its roots to the early 1900s. Social security taxes the present to pay for retirees and on and on. A $4trillion federal budget is not evidence of free market. We have moved from gov’t that was 2 – 3% of our economy under Jefferson to 37% today plus the costs of regulations that did not exist in his time. Meanwhile, calls for “Medicare for all” more resemble Diocletian (of whom our Founders were aware) than our Founding.

Amidst that, it should surprise us very little that the teaching of history, we should be so easy in our time, has dissipated to the point that we know little of its lessons.

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