In observing the cultural and political discourse in America for the last several years, I notice that the nation has become progressively (HAH!) more divided. I won’t lie – I haven’t been helping, and I won’t be helping today. There are three major camps that have formed and are working to gain the upper hand in Washington.
First, you still have the Establishment. They were a larger bunch twenty, fifteen, even just ten years ago, but I think their influence is on the wane. You look at long-tenured members of Congress like Nancy Pelosi, Pat Leahy, Chuck Grassley, Mitch McConnell, John Brennan, Karl Rove…these, to me, are the folks who want nothing to change substantially, unless they are the ones doing the changing. For this group power is the goal. They have it, they like it, and like any group of powerful people, they are loathe to give it up.
Second, you have the pro-freedom types who occupy the right end of the political spectrum. Routinely demonized by the media, they were once known as the Tea Party, but now they are mainly described with the ultra-scary label of “the alt-right.” This group is not as well-represented as you might believe among federally elected officials. In my opinion, the folks who are brave enough to run as serious small government candidates end up going in one of two directions: they are co-opted into joining the Establishment (because hey, look! Power! Influence! Easy funding for your re-election campaign!), or they serve their term and get turned out of office, sometimes at the primary, and sometimes in the general election. Now, it would take a fool to believe that the Establishment doesn’t push these people out (no, not even a tiny bit!) by aiding and abetting opposing campaigns. And I am not a fool.
Finally, you have the faction at the opposite extreme on the left: the pro-government statists. A casual observer could look at their big names (Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Maxine Waters, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker) and see socialists, and I think they would be mostly right. But others, such as Hillary Clinton, straddle the line between the far-left and the Establishment. She wants a society that resembles socialism, but she also wants (really, REALLY wants) the power that comes with it. That old conundrum of running left in the primaries and moving back to the center for the general election. Fortunately, to paraphrase what Shoeless Joe Jackson said of Ty Cobb in Field of Dreams, “none of us could stand the son-of-a-bitch when she was alive, so we told her to stick it!”
Of the three groups, I believe the socialists are the biggest threat to the nation. As an aside, I believe the Left in general, even without employing the label of “socialism” to describe it, have been slowly picking away at the fabric of America since John Kennedy died. The worst part of the exercise is that they seem to believe sincerely that they are doing good for those they claim to be helping, despite all empirical evidence.
I think the Left has swallowed up the Academy from tip to tail. They certainly aren’t in the business of building leaders or learners or even decently critical thinkers any more. Building an army of anti-free speech robots to shout down with hyperbolic calls of “RACISM, SEXISM, HOMOPHOBIA!” anyone who violates the orthodoxy with an independent thought, however, is going quite swimmingly.
I wonder, how do we combat this?
And as it usually happens, a solution presented itself.
Every morning on my way to work, driving though a particular residential neighborhood, I pass a sign that reads simply “Community House.” There are no directions to it, so I don’t know if it’s just up the street, around the corner by the park, or what. But the concept of that name hooked into my brain and stuck there.
What if every community in America (or maybe just a few hundred) built a Community House? And what if this Community House was available for the free use of anybody who needed it?
Isn’t that a tenet of TRUE SOCIALISM, that no one needs any money, everyone simply works to produce what the community needs and takes whatever they need?
So, let the local government set aside a large plot of land, say several acres, or more depending on the size of the population. The government can seed this project by paying to construct some quality housing. In a smaller town, it might be a 2- or 3-bedroom house, someplace more urban might be a 10-bedroom estate. On a college campus, let us suggest a dormitory sufficient to house 1% of the undergraduate population. All modern conveniences must be made available – electricity, natural gas, plumbing, access to cable TV and Wi-Fi, even furniture, linens and kitchenware.
Oh, and something else: surrounding the plot of land, high definition color surveillance cameras to cover every inch of the property, inside and out.
Once completed, the government takes its hands off. Its responsibility ended, these Community Houses would be open for public use. And we do mean open: it wouldn’t be a TRUE SOCIALIST Community House if we put a lock on it!
Anyone could move in – first come, first served! TRUE SOCIALISM doesn’t have leaders or decision-makers, so there won’t be any gatekeepers to turn anyone away. Since TRUE SOCIALISM doesn’t require money, no one will need to pay rent. There may be a couple drawbacks, though.
You’ll note that I said all the modern conveniences are available. There’s electricity, but unfortunately, no one could decide what type of light fixtures to install, so that’s been left to the community to determine and provide. Likewise, with the natural gas and plumbing. If you want to use it, you’ll have to produce a furnace, an A/C unit and all the plumbing fixtures. The government cannot decide these things under TRUE SOCIALISM, and they certainly cannot PRODUCE them for a truly self-sufficient TRUE SOCIALIST UTOPIA.
So please! Make sure your first-come, first-served Community House randomly includes someone with the skills to make these things and install them properly. You might wonder why we chose to put this Community House on such a sizable plot of land. Well, given the low probability of finding skilled tradesmen to join the commune, and the fact that the Community House will have to provide all their own public services such as police, fire department and garbage collection, we felt a larger property would protect the rest of the town from the fires and other disasters that would likely burn out of control and spread beyond the boundaries of TRUE SOCIALISM.
And while the project has made Cable TV and WiFi accessible to the community house, there is no provision in this experiment to pay for the services. So, the residents of each Community House will either figure out a system to barter for these modern marvels or participate in the capitalist economy, which I was told was unnecessary under TRUE SOCIALISM. Of course, if your Community House population includes a computer hacker and a network engineer, maybe you could steal your internet access from the neighbors…who live too far away to find their WiFi signal.
But don’t worry – I’m sure the TRUE SOCIALISTS will figure it out. You’ve got access to the library after all, and all the books on engineering will provide the information needed to build a crude refrigerator so the milk from your cows doesn’t spoil in a day, how to salt the meat you harvest from the livestock you raise, how to can the fruits and vegetables from the farm you must maintain (another reason you have that huge plot of land).
Seems like the TRUE SOCIALIST Community is going to have a lot of work to do! The more I think about it, the less fun it seems.
And what if some, or most, or ALL of the first-come, first-served TRUE SOCIALISTS living in Community House have zero skills useful to the group? Sure, you could put them to work at manual labor, feeding community chickens, cleaning community house, doing community laundry, taking out the community trash, and whatnot. But what if they don’t enjoy that? What if they don’t want to do that? What if – stay with me here – they refuse?
Will the community put them in jail? Now you need a jail! And guards! With…weapons. That nobody else in the community can have.
Yes, this is going to work out juuuuuuust fiiiiiiiiine.
I’ll bet some people will start to leave Community House, because TRUE SOCIALISM just doesn’t seem to be working, when Paul the Prison Guard has a billy club that no one else has, and he comes in the house waving it at people because maybe he just doesn’t want to set the table tonight, even though it’s his turn. And when people start leaving, then the garbage stops getting picked up. The animals stop getting fed, the laundry stops getting done, the house stops getting cleaned.
And this lovely Community House that the government provided is looking kind of ragged. The TRUE SOCIALISTS are probably not enjoying life as much as they thought they would. And the surveillance cameras – REMEMBER THE SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS? – are capturing all the joy and tragedy of TRUE SOCIALISM (though it’s much more of the latter, as you might guess) and broadcasting it to the outside world, particularly the public schools, more for the edification of the teachers than the students, really.
Skip ahead a few months. Community House is empty of TRUE SOCIALISTS. In their place are CRIMINALS. It’s more like a Community Crackhouse. No window is left unbroken. The electricity, gas, Cable and WiFi have long since been shut off. The cameras now show feral cats hunting rats and other wild rodents throughout the once beautiful TRUE SOCIALIST PARADISE.
TRUE SOCIALISM has gone the way of every other SOCIALISM. The same way it always goes, to the surprise of only those who think one more punch in the face will surely cure this migraine headache. YOU JUST NEED TO HIT HARDER! Let’s try this chair leg.
And if we could find a way, every ten to fifteen years, to show people on a small scale how TRUE SOCIALISM fails, consistently, practically, and inevitably, maybe we could, if not kill it for good then inoculate the American people against it.
Here ends today’s wishful fantasy.