A fictional discourse between a political science Professor and his students.
“Who has the next question? Okay, Paul, you’re up.”
“You often refer to Progressives and Socialists. Is there a difference and what is a Socialist?”
“You all know this but I like to start with basics. The agenda or mission of both the Socialist and Progressive Parties is to own and control the ‘means of production.’ In their terms the ‘means of production’ includes all economic activity. In their very attractive messaging that is what they talk about. The average person thinks, “What’s so bad about that? I certainly don’t control any big businesses or factories. No one works for me. The big capitalists and bankers on Wall Street control everything now. If the Socialists want to take over it won’t affect my family. Maybe getting the profit at any costs people out of the loop will be a better deal for me. That doesn’t sound dangerous or even a big problem to me.”
“What the people are never told is that to control the entire network of ‘the means of production’ someone has to be in charge. In the case of the Socialist or Progressives, the someone in charge is the elite of the Socialist Party. What was a decentralized economic system subject to market influences and the decisions of thousands of relatively independent owners, managers and financiers is now highly centralized under the control of Socialist managers. These managers removed from close contact with the various production facilities must make decisions that set production goals, distribution of goods and services, research and development areas and budgets, the work place environment, the number and skills of the workers required throughout the production cycle, the cost of goods and export and import requirements.
“From a moral standpoint the socialist managers are no worse or better than the capitalists they replaced. The Socialists claimed they would make things better for the workers and their families. I believe the majority of them really try to improve living standards for the working class. What they soon discover is that a highly centralized system where one segment is integrated with several others requires a strict application of rules. These rules in turn require some form of enforced discipline and that is the problem. People, managers or workers, must obey the rules or the production goals of the 5 and 10 year plans will fail and people will suffer.
“Once you have centralized management of the ‘means of production’ the required rules and laws to make it work take the choices people made out of their hands. What schools your children can go to, what they study, where they work and live is determined by the Socialist elite group of managers. The essence of freedom is the ability of individuals to make their own choices, good or bad. When the drive to follow your own choices clashes with the need for the centralized economy to meet its goals, the individual must either accept the rules or be punished. Millions of people were killed in China and Russia for resisting government rules. Socialism does not lead to freedom. It always leads to coercion, totalitarianism and economic ruin. Socialists and Progressives are the same thing. In America Progressivism sells better than Socialism.