The definitions of Socialism, Capitalism, and Communism to be found in dictionaries and encyclopedias are designed by those who serve the ruling class to prevent the establishment of legitimate government; therefore, new – correct – definitions are needed.
Socialism, a Meaning Untangled
Under Capitalism, the owners of a business venture externalize most of the costs of the business onto the employees, customers, environment, and/or whoever happens to be in the area of operations or where waste is dumped. Then the owners keep most of the profits for themselves, and the government fails to intervene to stop this parasitism. The human rights of the majority of the people will inevitably be violated in this system; therefore, it is inherently evil. A perfect example is the little-known practice of mountain-top mining. According to non-profit organization Coal River Wind's website,
"When externalities such as public health and environmental quality are factored in, a mountaintop removal mine ends up losing $600 million over its expected 17 year life. The costs of these externalities are taken in by the public in the form of health expenses and environmental clean up costs as well as lost resources..."
If the owners of the for-profit MTR (Mountain-Top Removal) company had to account for all of that six hundred mil, their balance sheet would look a little different.
Under Communism, The Collective is all; both the individual and the family are subjugated to the State. The human rights of most people will inevitably be violated under this system also; it is therefore also inherently evil – and for the same reason as Capitalism. The example of Communism most familiar to Americans would probably be “Communist China” (officially “The People's Republic of China”). From suppression of democracy and spirituality to forced family planning, Communist China is invasive and abusive (very much like a parent in a dysfunctional family). It can also be very inefficient; whereas Capitalism exerts too little control, Communism exerts too much control.
Under Socialism, the costs of a venture are spread out over the employees, customers, and possibly others, but unlike in Capitalism the profits are also spread out, and the environment can be protected. Whereas Capitalism pretends that nothing anyone does affects anyone else, and Communism pretends that the individual exists only as a member of a group, Socialism uniquely can recognize both that I am not you, and that everything everyone does affects everyone else in some way to some degree. The few who are profiting hugely from Capitalism have spent much time and effort indoctrinating the masses of this country to have a knee-jerk reaction to the word “Socialism”; they are scared witless at the prospect of their gravy train being interrupted. One area where most Americans are ready to accept Socialism, however, is in health-care. Why does health-care cost the U.S. so much every year? Because the U.S. does not have a health-care system; instead we have the Medical Business. And what do businesses do? Yes, they seek profit; but they also seek growth. The Capitalists have tried hard to erase the distinction between Socialism and Communism in the minds of most Americans; unfortunately, they have gotten a lot of help in this from... Socialists and Communists.
Karl Marx, Tragic Hero
No discussion of Socialism would be complete without mentioning the author of The Communist Manifesto, Mr. Karl Marx. Mr. Marx was incredibly prescient; he was born into the first generation after Europe had finally completed its transition from the Mercantile era to the Capitalist era, and he already saw the problems inherent in Capitalism. He also saw that Socialism was the cure for the problems of Capitalism. That was very intelligent, rational, and visionary of him. Unfortunately, that was where he lost it.
Dictionary.com defines tragic hero as “a literary character who makes an error of judgment or has a fatal flaw that, combined with fate and external forces, brings on a tragedy.” Although Karl was not a literary character, he had noble qualities and very high ability; his fatal error was in concluding that Socialism was merely a stepping stone on the way to Communism, which he predicted was inevitable. As we saw above, that is incorrect.
We the People institute a government because it benefits us to do so; the government, in turn, makes itself legitimate by protecting the people – all of the people. (Those who oppose legitimate government identify themselves as such by using the term “protection-ism” as though it is something to be avoided at all costs.) Socialism will not bring about a “worker's paradise.” What it will do is make possible that unrealized dream: legitimate government.