Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Redistributing happiness

The idea of socialism is to redistribute wealth so that fortunate people are forced to give to less fortunate ones. This can be distinguished from a society where people freely help the needy by voluntary donations.

At first glance it may seem like a socialist society is more brotherly and helping, but it is actually more cynical and pessimistic, because it says that human nature is rotten and will naturally not lead to any helping hands, unless forced by shaming and physical violence. On the other hand, a non socialist society focuses on developing the character of its citizens, so they naturally want to give to the less fortunate.

How can you develop any real sense of compassion for other people when you are forced to help them out, no matter if you want or not? How can forced empathy ever lead to a developed sense of right and wrong in a person? It is when you are free to make your own choices, and free to fail, that you really learn something new. You learn from your mistakes, and how it feels to fail, and that feeling sticks with you forever, to inform your future choices.

Socialism shields the citizens from taking any real moral decisions about other people. The system takes care of everyone, so why bother? And since the giant machinery of socialism always consumes a lot more resources than a comparative private initiative, people already feel they are giving up way too much of their income. They essentially buy their way out of having a real conscience.

I am very confident that people would be more truly empathetic if they freely give up their money to a needy cause. Their donations would also come to a better use in private institutions who compete for it.

What does "fortunate people" really mean? It has many dimensions, but socialism oddly only cares about one dimension: the ability to make money. Someone who had the luck of being born with high IQ and with the discipline to work hard, will eventually find a way to make a lot of money. But level of income is arguably the least important factor in a person's life quality and overall happiness, unless he is starving. So socialism doesn't focus on happiness, but instead on envy. It nurtures the envy inside all of us when we see someone richer than ourselves. Instead of celebrating this industrious hard working person, we want to punish him; steal from him in a vain attempt to bring him down to our own level. "It is only fair," we delude ourselves to think. No one really analyzes the overall positive impact this person already has had on society, just by being hard working and inventive. Now we also want to confiscate the fruit of his labor.

Lets forget about money for a second and dig into the things that really make people happy. Let's see how socialism can put its claws into the stuff that really matters, since money is just a proxy for happiness. After all, we don't want other people to be happier than ourselves, and if they are then in the name of socialism they should share that happiness with us.

Some people are more social than others. They have more friends, because they are nice, respectful and well liked. Perhaps they are also funny and have a positive outlook on things. They are simply great be around. This brings a lot of happiness in their lives, since socializing is a central part of being human. No one can be happy without friends. How can we redistribute this kind of wealth equally among the citizens? The government could decide who is your best friend, making popular people forced to adopt social misfits to spend most of their leisure time with them. Or it could restrict the amount of people you're allowed to spend time with.

Some people are more creative and find great enjoyment in making art and music. Let's take that away from them, by setting standards for how inventive and creative you are allowed to be, or others could feel inadequate.

Some are better looking and live a healthier lifestyle. They are more favored as sexual partners. Given the extreme frustration this causes the ugly and unhealthy, why doesn't government do something about it? Sexuality is a core piece of everyone's life, so this surely must be more important than redistributing income. How about having the beautiful people doing sexual favors to the ugly, by government mandate?

Satire aside, socialism tries to take care of a problem that is only superficial, and which makes no real difference in how happy people feel. It keeps people in a state of jealousy and makes no real moral progress. While doing all this mental damage, it also squanders away a huge part of people's incomes in the ineffective machinery of the state.

A society can not improve by force of government, it can only improve when each individual has the freedom to develop a sense of right and wrong. If you want to make an effort to improve society, then lead by example: be the person you want to meet. Get your house in order before you try to influence others.

Also ask yourself: Are you starving? Are you missing a roof over your head? No. Now, everything else that worries you is just made up ghosts in your head. Own up to your life decisions, value what you have, and stop worrying about what other people are doing.


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