How To Debunk the Top 5 Arguments for Socialism

Socialists love to use rhetoric and emotional appeals to argue their cause. Disproving them is easily done with simple logic, but first, you have to know what you’re talking about. Here we’ve packed up 5 easy and succinct ways to not only dismantle socialist rhetorical logically, but also from a philosophical standpoint.

Under a Socialist System, Everyone is Truly Equal

Egalitarianism of all is one of the most attractive features of socialism. For many of those who are currently struggling to at least some extent, and those who identify with the plight of the poor, the idea of a classless society seems to be an ideal condition.

These utopia-oriented proponents of socialism imagine the possibility of society where the economic curve is flattened. Those who have more than they need now have just enough; and those who didn’t have enough would finally have their needs met. 

There is one major obstacle to this: and that is human beings themselves. After tens of thousands of years of human history, several things about our species are clear. For one, there is clearly an innate need in everyone to not just have just enough to survive, but to continue to make our lives easier and more comfortable.

In most people, to varying degrees, this translates to a desire to have more than one actually needs: a bigger, nicer house; a faster, cooler car. 

We don’t just want to have clean water, shelter and food. We want that water to be naturally carbonated from a specific spring in France, for instance. Shelter doesn’t need to be very large to keep a human shielded from the elements, but yet we want our houses to meet our individual tastes.

Some like them larger, some like them smaller, but individual desires matter. Clothing can be made of basic materials, but for thousands of years, the choice of material and styles makes an indelible unique statement.

This individualism is what makes humanity special. No two people are alike. Trends influence large swaths of people, but ultimately everyone has their own mix of desired style and expression. This gives rise to people making life choices likely to result in them having the economic resources to pursue the lifestyle they want.

When you remove this innate driver of human behavior, individuals are unmotivated and society itself fails to thrive as innovation is stifled. Individuals often have altruistic motives for pursuing certain careers, but they usually desire material happiness as well.

Proponents of socialism are usually naive to one of two things: that humanity is largely incompatible with artificially imposed egalitarianism; or that suppressing human individuality is draconian and unacceptable by Judeo-Christan moral standards.

Socialism Provides Free Healthcare to Everyone

In the United States, people often talk about “rights” and “privileges.” People often use the word “right” to describe a positive entitlement. The nuance of what forms a right is quite interesting. It seems that at the core of our Constitution is that we have the right to be human. To be human is to express oneself.

This is protected in the first amendment. What’s missed by most is that the first amendment isn’t a grant of a right to express oneself, but rather a restriction on the government to prevent speech. 

Those of us who are religious are certainly not granted our religion by the government. God has given us our religion, and the government is restricted from infringing up on our right to religion. Of course there are several other rights specifically delineated in the bill of rights.

All of these are phrased in such a way that makes it clear that we have the right to be human: to speak, to worship, to defend one’s life, and to make one's property and possessions personal and off-limits to intrusion.

Socialist-minded people desire a world where we are positively entitled to various things that must be provided by others. One of these is healthcare. It is said by some that no truly compassionate society could not provide healthcare. The problem is just that: healthcare is something that is provided by other free individuals. 

An entitlement to healthcare requires someone else to be responsible for providing that care. Most doctors are happy to treat anyone of any background, but rightly expect to be compensated for their many years of education and hard work.

Generations ago, healthcare may have been fairly simple. A local doctor might prescribe an uncomplicated procedure, or simple medication and that was it. Consider what goes into a modern health system in an urban area. Doctors are just the tip of the iceberg!

There are thousands of professionals and laborers who are a part of building and running hospitals and clinics, then massive companies creating, testing and producing diagnostic and procedural equipment. They are then staffed by thousands of people to care for patients. Administrators make human resources and financial decisions. And then… there’s the lawyers!

Exactly how are these many thousands of people expected to simply provide care for everyone who wants it? Should they all be compensated equally regardless of skill or expertise? Who provides the compensation? Socialists are unable to answer these questions.

Many countries have attempted some form of “socialized medicine,” but the outcomes as a whole are no better than the system we have in America, which is, like everything, imperfect. Despite our much maligned system, many people travel here for the most cutting edge treatments for serious disease.

Overall, thanks to private insurance, Americans are spending less money out of pocket now than they were in 1970.

Socialism Provides Free Education to Everyone

Just like healthcare, there simply is no “free” education. Every child sitting at a desk listening to the teacher is at the end of a long chain of people to train the teachers, build the schools, administer human resources and so on. 

It is often incorrectly thought that teachers do their job simply for the reward of working with children. The fact is that people enter the profession for many reasons. Many find working with children to be challenging but highly rewarding. Many of us who are parents have seen the meaningful connection between teacher and student.

We can appreciate just how emotionally invested some teachers are and the joy they experience when they see a student all grown up. Even for them, they are selecting a career based on their talents and needs. They may like the flexibility of a shorter workday, or a couple months off in the summer.

They may receive benefits like a pension, or the ability for their children to attend school in the district they teach in as well. So the idea that teachers want to provide their labor “for free” is silly. 

If this is true at the primary and secondary level, imagine how asinine it is to believe that the massive machinery of a large public university can be provided for free? It simply can’t. Even a rudimentary post secondary education takes a great deal of resources. If all you are providing is a simple post-high school education, a society will never thrive on technological, scientific or literary accomplishments.

In the late ‘70s, the US government decided to try a form of subsidization for higher education by guaranteeing loans for college for essentially anyone who wanted one. The result: immediate, severe, and unstoppable growth in the price of college.

Socialism Is Compassionate

Many humans are compassionate. Some of those people are conservative, and some are socialist. The fallacy here is that if you aren’t a socialist, you aren’t compassionate. Those who reject socialism care just as deeply about helping the poor, for instance.

They just don’t cling to the idea that poverty can be “ended” by the adoption of an economic system that reduces output and wealth. If anything the free market of ideas have been a greater driver of helping large numbers of individuals.

Compassion is an innate human trait that cuts across all religious and demographic lines. It is at the core of humanity. Reaching out and helping humans either individually or by working together with others in large and small organizations requires only the will to action, not an artificially imposed governmental system.

Socialism Is The Future

The desire for utopian socialist societies seems to persist through the generations. What hasn’t changed is that the solutions attempted by socialist or socialist-oriented governments have never resulted in the goals to which they have achieved. 

During a trip to Germany, I had the opportunity to learn a little about what life was like in the former “Deutsche Demokratische Republik” also known as East Germany. During my travels, I went to find the site of Hitler’s bunker. The bunker was destroyed by the Soviets and nothing remains of it today. Instead, a parking lot for a block of nice looking apartments stands on the site.

These nice apartments, with big picture windows set above a park-like setting were for the party elites. Ordinary folk lived in drab, cramped block-style apartments. It seems that in this utopian socialist paradise, inequality was still the norm.

Every time “pure” socialism is tried, the same things keep happening. Powerful elites find a way to live better than the “masses” for which they claim to advocate.

It seems that the desire for socialism is probably going to continue for the foreseeable future, but so will the innovation and liberty of the free market.