What is the enduring appeal — enduring since the late 19th century, anyway — of socialism? Is it the reeking stench of Communist countries? The cheap plastic junk they call “goods” and the indifferent if not downright hostile “services”? The appalling environmental pollution? The reduction of the populace to whores and lackeys? The enforced equality of scarcity? The dishonest seizure of the allegedly moral high ground? All of the above?
To hear National Review’s Kevin D. Williamson tell it in his eviscerating new book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism, it’s actually none of the above: It’s the pursuit of sheer, raw power over other human beings. Grounding itself in the fundamentally anti-social, sociopathic 18th-century “humanism” of that detestable intellectual mountebank, Jean-Jacques Rousseau — the man who fathered five illegitimate children by his serving-wench mistress and abandoned them all on the foundling-hospital steps, unnamed and unmourned — and “scientifically” developed by another moral monster, Karl Marx, the continuing existence of socialism is the triumph of evil over good, of emotion over reason, of cheap Hegelian dialectic over the genuine article, and of man’s infinite capacity for self-delusion. But what can you expect from a philosophy whose founding premise — “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” — is so easily disproven? The end result of dialectical materialism is nihilism.