Culture War Dispatches

from a Progressive People's Republic

Monday, November 16, 2009

Playground socialism

Steve Almond describes in the Globe how as a father he must teach his daughter to share the limited resources of the playground, and he concludes that playground rules about sharing have an “adult name: socialism.” What he describes however is not socialism but a benign monarchy, where a disinterested adult dictates behavior to his at times unruly subjects. A socialist playground would be one where a committee of children has the power to allocate swing and sandbox use. Utopians might imagine that such a place would be administered justly, and that the children’s central committee would not abuse its power. Those with a more realistic view of human nature would expect a re-enactment of Lord of the Flies.
Mr. Almond has it exactly backwards when he asserts that capitalism concentrates power among elites; resources do not redistribute themselves without human agency, which by necessity concentrates power in the hands of an elite that rarely can repulse the corruption of power.
The rare successful societies like Sweden that call themselves socialist are far outnumbered by socialism’s nightmarish failures: the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Cambodia, etc. Socialism is the road to serfdom.