Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production, as well as the political theories, and movements associated with them. Social ownership may refer to forms of public, collective, or cooperative ownership, or to citizen ownership of equity. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them. Social ownership is the common element shared by its various forms. Socialist economic systems can be divided into non-market and market forms. Non-market socialism involves the substitution of factor markets and money, with engineering and technical criteria, based on calculation performed in-kind, thereby producing an economic mechanism that functions according to different economic laws from those of capitalism. Non-market socialism aims to circumvent the inefficiencies and crises traditionally associated with capital accumulation and the profit system. By contrast, market socialism retains the use of monetary prices, factor markets, and, in some cases, the profit motive, with respect to the operation of socially owned enterprises and the allocation of capital goods between them. Profits generated by these firms would be controlled directly by the workforce of each firm, or accrue to society at large in the form of a social dividend.
- Alphabetized by author.
- Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.
You would oppose law to socialism. But it is the law which socialism invokes. It aspires to legal, not extra-legal plunder…. You wish to prevent it from taking any part in the making of laws. You would keep it outside the Legislative Palace. In this you will not succeed, I venture to prophesy, so long as legal plunder is the basis of the legislation within.
It is absolutely necessary that this question of legal plunder should be determined, and there are only three solutions of it:—
1. When the few plunder the many.
2. When everybody plunders everybody else.
3. When nobody plunders anybody.
Partial plunder, universal plunder, absence of plunder, amongst these we have to make our choice. The law can only produce one of these results.
Partial plunder.—This is the system which prevailed so long as the elective privilege was partial; a system which is resorted to, to avoid the invasion of socialism.
Universal plunder.—We have been threatened by this system when the elective privilege has become universal; the masses having conceived the idea of making law, on the principle of legislators who had preceded them.
Absence of plunder.—This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, conciliation, and of good sense.
- Frédéric Bastiat, Essays on Political Economy (c. 1850s), part 4, "The Law", p. 20.
- Socialists take over from bourgeois capitalist society its materialism, its atheism, its cheap prophets, its hostility against the spirit and all spiritual life, its restless striving for success and amusement, its personal selfishness, its incapacity for interior recollection.
- Nikolai Berdyaev, The End of Our Time (1919), as translated by Donald Atwater (1933), p. 93
- It appears that liberty is bound up with imperfection, with a right to imperfection. Socialism leads to the same type of authoritarian state as Theocracy. ... One must choose: either Socialism or liberty of spirit, the liberty of man's conscience. ... Socialism uses a "sacred" authority and establishes a "sacred" society in which there is no place for the "lay," for the free, for choice, for the unrestrained activity of human forces.
- Nikolai Berdyaev, The End of Our Time (1919), as translated by Donald Atwater (1933), pp. 188-189
- Let me hear that dirty word Socialism.
- I am a Socialist not through reading a textbook that has caught my intellectual fancy, nor through unthinking tradition, but because I believe that, at its best, Socialism corresponds most closely to an existence that is both rational and moral. It stands for co-operation, not confrontation; for fellowship, not fear. It stands for equality, not because it wants people to be the same but because only through equality in our economic circumstances can our individuality develop properly.
- Tony Blair, in his maiden speech as MP for Sedgefield (6 July 1983) as quoted in Hansard, House of Commons, 6th Series, vol. 45, col. 316.
- Socialists propose to supplant the competitive planning of capitalism with a highly centralized planned economy. Our aim is frankly international and not narrowly patriotic (Daughters of the American Revolution please notice), but I cannot here discuss socialism's international policies. If we gained control of the American Government, we would probably begin with a complete revision of the national governmental system. We would do one of two things. We would write an amendment to the Constitution giving the Federal Government the right to regulate all private business and to enter into any business which it deemed proper, or we would abolish the Constitution altogether and give the National Congress the power to interpret the people's will subject only to certain general principles of free speech and free assemblage.
- Paul Blanshard, "Socialist and Capitalist Planning", The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (July 1932), p. 10.
- If we are to avoid the mistakes in over one hundred years of proletarian socialism, if we are to really achieve a liberatory movement, not simply in terms of economic questions but in terms of every aspect of life, we would have to turn to anarchism because it alone posed the problem, not merely of class domination but hierarchical domination, and it alone posed the question, not simply of economic exploitation, but exploitation in every sphere of life. And it was that growing awareness, that we had to go beyond classism into hierarchy, and beyond exploitation into domination, that led me into anarchism, and to a commitment to an anarchist outlook.
- I believe Socialism is the grandest theory ever presented, and I am sure it will someday rule the world. Then we will have attained the Millennium.… Then men will be content to work for the general welfare and share their riches with their neighbors.
- Andrew Carnegie in New York Times (1 January 1885) "A Millionaire Socialist".
- All possessions are by nature unrighteous when a man possess them for personal advantage as being entirely his own, and does not bring them into the common stock for those in need.
- Clement of Alexandria, The Rich Man's Salvation, p. 337
- The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
- Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (22 October 1945)
- Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
- Winston Churchill, speech at the Scottish Unionist Conference, Perth, Scotland (28 May 1948)
- The issue is Socialism versus Capitalism. I am for Socialism because I am for humanity. We have been cursed with the reign of gold long enough. Money constitutes no proper basis of civilization. The time has come to regenerate society — we are on the eve of universal change.
- Eugene V. Debs, in an open letter to the American Railway Union, Chicago Railway Times (1 January 1897).
- Capitalism is the exploitation of man by man. Yes? Well socialism is exactly the reverse.
- Let me examine the alleged "distinction from capitalism" characteristic of the Soviet Union and see whether it isn't a distinction from a certain stage of capitalism rather than from capitalism as a whole. The determining factor in analyzing the class nature of a society is not whether the means of production are the private property of the capitalist class or are state-owned, but whether the means of production ... are monopolized and alienated from the direct producers. The Soviet Government occupies in relation to the whole economic system the position which a capitalist occupies in relation to a single enterprise. ... "Bureaucratic state socialism" is an irrational expression behind which there exists the real economic relation of state-capitalist-exploiter to the propertyless exploited.
- Raya Dunayevskaya, "The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is a Capitalist Society" (1941), in Russia: From Proletarian Revolution to State-Capitalist Counter-Revolution, p. 210
- Historic tradition is, so to speak, of yesterday; nowhere have we really overcome what Thorstein Veblen called "the predatory phase" of human development. The observable economic facts belong to that phase and even such laws as we can derive from them are not applicable to other phases. Since the real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development, economic science in its present state can throw little light on the socialist society of the future.
- Albert Einstein, "Why Socialism?", an essay originally published in the first issue of Monthly Review (May 1949).
- Socialism is directed towards a social-ethical end. Science, however, cannot create ends and, even less, instill them in human beings; science, at most, can supply the means by which to attain certain ends. But the ends themselves are conceived by personalities with lofty ethical ideals and—if these ends are not stillborn, but vital and vigorous—are adopted and carried forward by those many human beings who, half unconsciously, determine the slow evolution of society. For these reasons, we should be on our guard not to overestimate science and scientific methods when it is a question of human problems; and we should not assume that experts are the only ones who have a right to express themselves on questions affecting the organization of society.
- Albert Einstein, "Why Socialism?", an essay originally published in the first issue of Monthly Review (May 1949).
- The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labour...I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals.
- I believe that for the past twenty years there has been a creeping socialism spreading in the United States.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, off-the-cuff speech to Republican leaders, Custer State Park, South Dakota (June 11, 19530; in Robert J. Donovan, Eisenhower: The Inside Story (1956), p. 336. At his press conference in Washington, D.C., June 17, 1953, President Eisenhower was asked what he meant by "creeping socialism". Donovan writes, "He replied: continued Federal expansion of the T.V.A. He reiterated for what he said was the thousandth time that he would not destroy the T.V.A., but he said that he thought it was socialistic to continue putting money paid by all the taxpayers into a single region which could then attract industry away from other areas" (p. 336). See also Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953, p. 433.
- Slavery is a form, and the very best form, of socialism.
- George Fitzhugh, Sociology for the South, or, the Failure of Free Society, Richmond: VA, Morris (1854) pp. 27-28
- [Louis Napoleon] is a socialist and socialism is the new fashionable name of slavery... [his] Queen is providing nurseries and nurses for the children of working women, just as we Southerners do for our negro women and children. It is a great economy.
- George Fitzhugh, Sociology for the South, or, the Failure of Free Society, Richmond: VA, Morris (1854) p. 42
- In the ideal socialist state, power will not attract power freaks. People who make decisions will show no slightest bias towards their own interests. There will be no way for a clever man to bend the institutions to serve his own ends. And the rivers will run uphill.
- David D. Friedman , The Machinery of Freedom: A Guide to Radical Capitalism, chap: "Buckshot for a Socialist Friend" (1973) p. 108
- [A] society which is socialist cannot also be democratic, in the sense of guaranteeing individual freedom.
- Milton Friedman, as quoted in "Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy: A Symposium" (1 April 1978), edited by William Barrett, Commentary
- Socialism proposes to dethrone the brute-god Mammon and to lift humanity into its place.
- I've always doubted that the socialists had a leg to stand on intellectually. They have improved their argument somehow, but once you begin to understand that prices are an instrument of communication and guidance which embody more information than we directly have, the whole idea that you can bring about the same order based on the division of labor by simple direction falls to the ground. Similarly, the idea [that] you can arrange for distributions of incomes which correspond to some conception of merit or need. If you need prices, including the prices of labor, to direct people to go where they are needed, you cannot have another distribution except the one from the market principle. I think that intellectually there is just nothing left of socialism.
- Socialism as the final concept of duty, the ethical duty of work, not just for oneself but also for one’s fellow man’s sake, and above all the principle: Common good before own good, a struggle against all parasitism and especially against easy and unearned income. And we were aware that in this fight we can rely on no one but our own people. We are convinced that socialism in the right sense will only be possible in nations and races that are Aryan, and there in the first place we hope for our own people and are convinced that socialism is inseparable from nationalism.
- Socialism assumes that all the available knowledge can be used by a single central authority. It overlooks that the model society which I now prefer to call the extended order which exceeds the perception of any individual mind is based on the utilization of widely dispersed knowledge, and once you are aware that we can achieve that great utilization of available resources only because we utilize the knowledge of millions of men, it becomes clear that the assumption of socialism is that a central authority in command of all this knowledge is just not correct!
- Socialism has taught many people that they possess claims irrespective of performance, irrespective of participation. In the light of the morals that produced the extended order of civilisation, socialists in fact incite people to break the law.
Being an Anarchist I am also a Socialist. Socialism is the antithesis of Anarchy. One is the North Pole of Truth, the other the South. The Socialist believes in working for the good of all, while Anarchy is pure Individualism. I believe in every man working for the good of self; and in working for the good of self, he works for the good of all. To think, to see, to feel, to know; to deal justly; to bear all patiently; to act quietly; to speak cheerfully; to moderate one's voice—these things will bring you the highest good. They will bring you the love of the best, and the esteem of that Sacred Few, whose good opinion alone is worth cultivating. And further than this, it is the best way you can serve Society—live your life. The wise way to benefit humanity is to attend to your own affairs, and thus give other people an opportunity to look after theirs.
If there is any better way to teach virtue than by practicing it, I do not know it.
- Elbert Hubbard, in "The Better Part" (1901).
- This isn't new. Those who favor socialism always make the moral case for it. The truth is, maybe they actually believe in it, but in the real world, socialism harms, it weakens the economies of countries that have tried it. It just does. Weaker economies hurt everybody in them. Socialism kills incentive, opportunity, freedom. It is the opposite of what America is all about. Look, socialism always harms the people it claims to help the most. It handicaps them, leaving them weaker, less self-determined, less free. We should have this debate out in the open.
- "Socialism with a human face"? ... Frankenstein also had a human face.
- [T]he failure of capitalism is still much better than the success of socialism.
- The socialist economy has become so strong, so vigorous that from the summits we have reached we can issue an open challenge of peaceful economic competition to the most powerful capitalist country—the United States of America.
- Democratic socialism turns out to be an inherently unstable compound, a contradiction in terms. Every social-democratic party, once in power, soon finds itself choosing, at one point after another, between the socialist society it aspires to and the liberal society that lathered [sic] it... [S]ocialist movements end up [in] a society where liberty is the property of the state, and is (or is not) doled out to its citizens along with other contingent 'benefits'.
- Irving Kristol, as quoted in "Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy: A Symposium" (1 April 1978), edited by William Barrett, Commentary
- The major political event of the twentieth century is the death of socialism.
- Irving Kristol, Neo-Conservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea (1995)
- Cannibalism is actually a sort of dietetic socialism. Here is the ultimate sacrifice. A human life is taken for the purpose of maximizing the ‘public welfare.’
- Robert LeFevre, The Fundamentals of Liberty by , Santa Ana: CA, Rampart Institute (1988) p. 375.
- We want to achieve a new and better order of society: in this new and better society there must be neither rich nor poor; all will have to work. Not a handful of rich people, but all the working people must enjoy the fruits of their common labour. Machines and other improvements must serve to ease the work of all and not to enable a few to grow rich at the expense of millions and tens of millions of people. This new and better society is called socialist society. The teachings about this society are called socialism.
- Vladimir Lenin, "To the Rural Poor", Collected Works, vol. 6, p. 366.
- All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.
- The function of socialism is to raise suffering to a higher level.
- Norman Mailer, as quoted in Peter's Quotations : Ideas for Our Time (1977) by Laurence J. Peter
- An economic analysis of the political institutions of democratic socialism shows that democratic socialism must necessarily fail for political (not economic) reasons even if nobody in authority has ill-intentions or abuses their power.
- Michael Makovi, "George Orwell and the Incoherence of Democratic Socialism" (2015), MPRA Paper 62527. Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
- It is true, as I have already stated, that I have been influenced by Marxist thought. But this is also true of many of the leaders of the new independent States. Such widely different persons as Gandhi, Nehru, Nkrumah, and Nasser all acknowledge this fact. We all accept the need for some form of socialism to enable our people to catch up with the advanced countries of this world and to overcome their legacy of extreme poverty. But this does not mean we are Marxists.
- Nelson Mandela, statement from the dock at the opening of the defence case in the Rivonia Trial, Pretoria Supreme Court, (20 April 1964).
- It is the common error of Socialists to overlook the natural indolence of mankind; their tendency to be passive, to be the slaves of habit, to persist indefinitely in a course once chosen. Let them once attain any state of existence which they consider tolerable, and the danger to be apprehended is that they will thenceforth stagnate; will not exert themselves to improve, and by letting their faculties rust, will lose even the energy required to preserve them from deterioration. Competition may not be the best conceivable stimulus, but it is at present a necessary one, and no one can foresee the time when it will not be indispensable to progress.
- Some still ask of us: what do you want? We answer with three words that summon up our entire program. Here they are…Italy, Republic, Socialization. . .Socialization is no other than the implantation of Italian Socialism…
- Benito Mussolini as quoted in Revolutionary Fascism, Erik Norling, Lisbon, Finis Mundi Press (2011) pp.119-120. Speech given by Mussolini to a group of Milanese Fascist veterans on October 14, 1944.
- Socialism itself can hope to exist only for brief periods here and there, and then only through the exercise of the extremest terrorism. For this reason it is secretly preparing itself for rule through fear and is driving the word ‘justice’ into the heads of the half-educated masses like a nail so as to rob them of their reason... and to create in them a good conscience for the evil game they are to play.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human, Cambridge University Press, 1996, pp. 173-174. First published in 1878.
- [There is] not a single free socialism to be found anywhere in the world.
- Robert Nisbet, as quoted in "Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy: A Symposium" (1 April 1978), edited by William Barrett, Commentary
- In addition to this there is the horrible—the really disquieting—prevalence of cranks wherever Socialists are gathered together. One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words 'Socialism' and 'Communism' draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, 'Nature Cure' quack, pacifist, and feminist in England.
- As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents.
- In my opinion, nothing has contributed so much to the corruption of the original idea of socialism as the belief that Russia is a socialist country and that every act of its rulers must be excused, if not imitated. And so for the last ten years, I have been convinced that the destruction of the Soviet myth was essential if we wanted a revival of the socialist movement.
- The Spanish war and other events in 1936-7 turned the scale and thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism, as I understand it. It seems to me nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects.
- Since 1930 I had seen little evidence that the USSR was progressing towards anything that one could truly call Socialism. On the contrary, I was struck by clear signs of its transformation into a hierarchical society, in which the rulers have no more reason to give up their power than any other ruling class. Moreover, the workers and intelligentsia in a country like England cannot understand that the USSR of today is altogether different from what it was in 1917. It is partly that they do not want to understand (i.e. they want to believe that, somewhere, a really Socialist country does actually exist), and partly that, being accustomed to comparative freedom and moderation in public life, totalitarianism is completely incomprehensible to them.
- In three ways unemployment would be reduced. First... by greater equalization of purchasing power and consequent stimulus in the form of effective demand. Second, by utilizing the national credit and socialized industries for the creation of new industries and the extension of existing ones. ...Social ownership and operation of the basic industries, and especially socialized banking and credit, would greatly facilitate the task of shifting the masses of unemployed into productive channels. Third, if necessary, by shortening working hours and dividing the available work among all the people.
- The actual participants in industry under individualism are prompted to action by the following combination of incentives: desire for an income, desire for a higher income, desire for security, satisfaction received from shouldering responsibility or from wielding power, the joy of participation in creative activity, and the desire for applause and prestige. ... And all these motivations may be conserved and strengthened under socialism.
- Kirby Page, Property (1935).
- A social order in which the maximum legal income is not more than tenfold the minimum... and in which competition for private profit has been eliminated, and in which social motivations are more dominant, is certain to be a more harmonious community than can ever be created by economic individualism.
- Kirby Page, Property (1935).
- The system of production developed in Russia is State socialism. It is organized production, with the State as universal employer, master of the entire production apparatus. The workers are master of the means of production no more than under Western capitalism. They receive their wages and are exploited by the State as the only mammoth capitalist. So the name State capitalism can be applied with precisely the same meaning. The entirety of the ruling and leading bureaucracy of officials is the actual owner of the factories, the possessing class.
- Antonie Pannekoek, Workers Councils (1947), Section 2.5
- The historical experience of socialist countries has sadly demonstrated that collectivism does not do away with alienation but rather increases it, adding to it a lack of basic necessities and economic inefficiency.
- Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus (1991).
- The fundamental reason why Medicare is failing is why the Soviet Union failed; socialism doesn't work.
- Rand Paul, as quoted in Kentucky Tonight (16 June 1998), KET
- The merger of political and economic power implicit in socialism greatly strengthens the ability of the state and its bureaucracy to control the population. Theoretically, this capacity need not be exercised and need not lead to growing domination of the population by the state. In practice, such a tendency is virtually inevitable. For one thing, the socialization of the economy must lead to a numerical growth of the bureaucracy required to administer it, and this process cannot fail to augment the power of the state. For another, socialism leads to a tug of war between the state, bent on enforcing its economic monopoly, and the ordinary citizen, equally determined to evade it; the result is repression and the creation of specialized repressive organs.
- Richard Pipes, as quoted in "Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy: A Symposium" (1 April 1978), edited by William Barrett, Commentary
- I know that some people in the U.S. associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism... Therefore, I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy... The Nordic model is an expanded welfare state which provides a high level of security to its citizens, but it is also a successful market economy with much freedom to pursue your dreams and live your life as you wish.
- Lars Løkke Rasmussen, "Nordic Solutions and Challenges: A Danish Perspective" (October 2015), speech to Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
- In the strictly Marxist sense, there is not even in Soviet Russia a state socialism but a state capitalism. According to Marx, the social condition "capitalism" does not consist in the existence of individual capitalists, but in the existence of the specific "capitalist mode of production", that is, in the production of exchange values instead of use values, in wage work of the masses and in the production of surplus value, which is appropriated by the state or the private owners, and not by the society of working people. In this strictly Marxist sense, the capitalistic system continues to exist in Russia. And it will continue to exist as long as the masses of people continue to lack responsibility and to crave authority.
- Wilhelm Reich, in his Introduction to the third edition of The Mass Psychology of Fascism (1945).
- You are afraid of life, Little Man, deadly afraid. You will murder it in the belief of doing it for the sake of "socialism," or "the state," or "national honor," or "the glory of God."
- Wilhelm Reich, Listen, Little Man! (1948).
- The Idiots of socialism are slaves, but they are no one's property and therefore no one's loss.
- George Reisman, Capitalism : A Treatise on Economics (1996).
- Under communism (socialism), there is no incentive to supply people with anything they need or want, including safety.
- George Reisman, Capitalism : A Treatise on Economics (1996).
- Under Socialism, you would not be allowed to be poor. You would be forcibly fed, clothed, lodged, taught, and employed whether you liked it or not. If it were discovered that you had not character and industry enough to be worth all this trouble, you might possibly be executed in a kindly manner; but whilst you were permitted to live, you would have to live well.
- George Bernard Shaw, The Intelligent Woman's Guide: To Socialism and Capitalism, New York: NY, Brentano (1928) p. 670.
- As we know, socialism is calculational chaos. Rational appraisement and allocation are eternally elusive. It is a gigantic negative-sum game in which each player quickly grabs a piece of the pie, and all the while the pie shrinks before the players' eyes. The welfare/warfare state, the interventionist state, is no improvement. Each intervention begets yet another. Bureaucracy is the only 'industry' guaranteed to experience growth. Each new regulation taxes the private sector, relentlessly shifting resources out of the hands of the productive, and into the hands of the unproductive. Capitalism is the only positive-sum game in town.
- Larry J. Sechrest, in "The Anti-Capitalists : Barbarians at the Gate", Ludwig von Mises Memorial Lecture at the Austrian Scholars Conference in Auburn, Alabama (15 March 2008).
- Socialism is the same as Communism, only better English.
- George Bernard Shaw David Graham "Inside the Mind of George Bernard Shaw"
- It is far more likely that by the time nationalization has become the rule, and private enterprise the exception, Socialism (which is really rather a bad name for the business) will be spoken of, if at all, as a crazy religion held by a fanatical sect in that darkest of dark ages, the nineteenth century. Already, indeed, I am told that Socialism has had its day, and that the sooner we stop talking nonsense about it and set to work, like the practical people we are, to nationalize the coal mines and complete a national electrification scheme, the better. And I, who said forty years ago that we should have had Socialism already but for the Socialists, am quite willing to drop the name if dropping it will help me to get the thing. What I meant by my jibe at the Socialists of the eighteen-eighties was that nothing is ever done, and much is prevented, by people who do not realize that they cannot do everything at once.
- George Bernard Shaw, The Intelligent Woman's Guide To Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism, And Fascism (1928).
- The trouble is with socialism, which resembles a form of mental illness more than it does a philosophy. Socialists get bees in their bonnets. And because they chronically lack any critical faculty to examine and evaluate their ideas, and because they are pathologically unwilling to consider the opinions of others, and most of all, because socialism is a mindset that regards the individual — and his rights — as insignificant, compared to whatever the socialist believes the group needs, terrible, terrible things happen when socialists acquire power.
- In different places over the years I have had to prove that socialism, which to many western thinkers is a sort of kingdom of justice, was in fact full of coercion, of bureaucratic greed and corruption and avarice, and consistent within itself that socialism cannot be implemented without the aid of coercion. Communist propaganda would sometimes include statements such as "we include almost all the commandments of the Gospel in our ideology". The difference is that the Gospel asks all this to be achieved through love, through self-limitation, but socialism only uses coercion. This is one point.
- Socialism of any type leads to a total destruction of the human spirit and to a leveling of mankind into death.
- Alexander Solzhenitsyn, commencement address speech (“A World Split Apart”) at Harvard University (June 8, 1978)
- Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.
- Thomas Sowell, The Thomas Sowell Reader, New York: NY, Basic Books (2011) p. 144, Forbes magazine, "The survival of the left" (Sept. 8, 1997)
- Socialism sounds great. It has always sounded great. And it will probably always continue to sound great. It is only when you go beyond rhetoric, and start looking at hard facts, that socialism turns out to be a big disappointment, if not a disaster.
- Capitalist enterprises buy components from others who have lower costs in producing those particular components, and sell their own output to whatever middlemen can most efficiently carry out its distribution. But a socialist economy may forego these advantages of specialization; and for perfectly rational reasons, given the very different circumstances in which they operate.
- Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics, 4th ed. (2010), Ch. 6. The Role of Profits—and Losses.
- All socialism involves slavery. What is essential to the idea of a slave? We primarily think of him as one who is owned by another. To be more than nominal, however, the ownership must be shown by control of the slave’s actions, a control which is habitually for the benefit of the controller.
- Socialism is nothing but the capitalism of the lower classes.
- Oswald Spengler, The Hour Of Decision, Part One : Germany and World-Historical Evolution (1934).
- Wealth in modern societies is distributed according to opportunity; and while opportunity depends partly upon talent and energy, it depends still more upon birth, social position, access to education and inherited wealth; in a word, upon property.
- If by "Property" is meant the personal possessions which the word suggests to nine-tenths of the population, the object of socialists is not to undermine property but to protect and increase it.
- R. H. Tawney, The Acquisitive Society (1920).
- Hitler’s socialism was his own and subordinate to his secret aims. His concept of organized economy was close to genuine socialism but he would be a socialist only so long as it served the greater goal.
- John Toland (author) Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography (1992), p 314.
- Socialism accepts... the principles, which are the cornerstones of democracy, that authority to justify its title , must rest on consent; that power is tolerable only so far as it is accountable to the public; and that differences of character and capacity between human beings, however important on their own plane, are of minor importance when compared with the capital fact of their common humanity. Its object is to extend the application of those principles from the sphere of civil and political rights, where, at present, they are nominally recognized, to that of economic and social organization, where they are systematically and insolently defined.
- R. H. Tawney, Equality (1931), p. 197.
- Socialists cry "Power to the people", and raise the clenched fist as they say it. We all know what they really mean—power over people, power to the State.
- As for me, I am deeply a democrat; this is why I am in no way a socialist. Democracy and socialism cannot go together. You can't have it both ways...socialism is a new form of slavery.
- Alexis de Tocqueville, "Notes for a Speech on Socialism" (1848).
- A nationalized planned economy needs democracy, as the human body needs oxygen.
- Leon Trotsky in a statement of 1936, as quoted in The Informed Vision : Essays On Learning And Human Nature (2002) by David Hawkins, p. 25; sometimes paraphrased "Socialism needs democracy like the human body needs oxygen."
- The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office. Every man but one a subordinate clerk in a bureau. What an alluring utopia! What a noble cause to fight!
- Ludwig von Mises, Bureaucracy (1944), New Haven: Yale University Press
- Socialism as a universal mode of production is impracticable because it is impossible to make economic calculations within a socialist system. The choice for mankind is not between two economic systems. It is between capitalism and chaos.
- Ludwig von Mises, Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and the Total War, Mises Institute (2010) p. 55. First published in 1944 by Yale University Press.
- Thus socialism must lead to the dissolution of democracy. The sovereignty of the consumers and the democracy of the market are the characteristic features of the capitalist system. Their corollary in the realm of politics is the people’s sovereignty and democratic control of government.
- Ludwig von Mises, Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and the Total War, Mises Institute (2010) p. 53. First published in 1944 by Yale University Press.
- Yet there was an air of good humor about their idealism that made me feel they would not be too offended if I admitted that I regard socialists as well-meaning but muddle-headed brigands.
- Colin Wilson in Access to Inner Worlds, p. 30.
- Nothing has spread Socialistic feeling in this country more than the use of automobiles. To the countryman they are a picture of arrogance of wealth with all its independence and carelessness.
- Socialism...must have a dictatorship, it will not work without it.
- Mao Zedong, as quoted in Dikötter, Frank, The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution, 1945–57 (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 1st U.S. ed. 2013 ISBN 978-1-62040-347-1, pp. 236–237 (author Dikötter chair prof. humanities, University of Hong Kong & was prof. modern history of China, School of Oriental & African Studies, Univ. of London.