Socialists Claim Their System Is Morally Superior. They’re Wrong.
In a December 23 article published on mises.org, Lipton Matthews made the compelling case for advocates of free market capitalism to prioritize the moral superiority of capitalism rather than making the case for capitalism’s superior productivity.
“Demonstrating the impracticality of socialism is necessary, but is also an ineffective strategy to galvanize goodwill for capitalism, because objections to capitalism are usually predicated on moral grounds,” he wrote.
Indeed, in the battle of emotions vs. rational justification in the human brain, emotions are king. You cannot penetrate emotional objections with more charts and spreadsheets.
The most compelling case for economic freedom is not its economic efficiency but its consistency with fundamental moral principles, like voluntary exchange, property, and enhanced individual choice.
To libertarians and other free market supporters, the case is clear. But why do so many still insist that socialism is a morally superior system?
The term “socialism” was trending on Twitter on December 28 and 29, with the following tweet exemplifying the arguments made by many in support:
Selflessness. Meeting people’s needs. These are the characteristics that socialists use to describe their desired system. Nothing about productivity or wealth creation. Theirs is a purely emotional appeal to moral sensibilities.
It’s unwise to merely dismiss such adherents of socialism as being naïve or ignorant. Rather, an understanding of mankind’s historical development tells us that believing socialism to be the moral means of organizing society may be hardwired into our consciousnesses.
Early Moral Codes
In its most basic sense, morality is described as the principles defining “good” or “bad” behavior. But how does a society come to understand which is “good” or “bad” behavior?
In his 2012 article “The Origins of Envy,” published by the American Enterprise Institute, Max Borders cites Max Krasnow, a postdoctoral researcher specializing in evolutionary psychology at Harvard University, who informs us that emotions are “the coordinated response of diverse psychological and physiological systems to a class of stimuli.”
In other words, your brain reacts to things in the world around you, and these reactions have forged emotions in our brains over millions of years. This hardwiring of our emotions was developed based upon survival. And because each new generation can’t learn the right survival instincts from scratch, we have a certain level of emotional responses and learned behavior built into our cognitive systems. Think about reflexes such as jumping in fear when you think you see a snake—that response kicks in before your mind has a chance to reflect. This is a built-in instinct.
Article from Mises Wire