Dispelling the Myths of Socialism Part II:
This is the second installment in the series of dispelling the myths of socialism which I started here by debunking the myth of the necessity of violence in socialist theory. In this installment, I’m going to point to two arguments that are frequently used against socialism (or, in the case of the first example, in favour of capitalism).
#1) One of the most popular justifications offered forth by capitalists to justify their system is that, to use the Reaganite/Thatcherite/Friedman parlance, “a rising tide raises all ships”. This can be described as the argument from utility. In other words, capitalism is useful, it has generally increasing standards of living, therefore capitalism, even if it’s grossly unequal and/or exploitative, can be justified on the grounds of utility.
#2) A second popular argument used either to attack socialism or to prop up capitalism, in fact, was best summarized by Olaf who used this argument to attack me on this blog in my post “To those who say socialism doesn’t work“. Olaf wrote, “Well Paul, I suppose one would have to ask, Why? Why hasn’t it been tried, as Marx predicted? If it is so just, so ultimately rational and equal and fair, why hasn’t it been tried?”
I didn’t take due diligence to respond fully to Olaf at the time, and instead merely issued a short response. Now, I’m extremely glad I didn’t respond, since, having come across this response by Noam Chomsky, I couldn’t have possibly responded as completely and totally as Chomsky does.
So, instead of having me debunk the two myths of socialism/capitalism I outlined above, I’m going to let the master do it for me. I absolutely love how Chomsky just undresses this poor young stupid capitalist.