A brief refutation by Zach Foster
Continued from Part 1
It is laughable for several reasons that the utopian Libertarian Socialist would consider making a lifestyle of free association. First and foremost, socialism makes no room for individualism. After all, the workers of the world are united in a common struggle to overthrow the bourgeoisie, abolish private property, and implement the dictatorship of the proletariat. As beautiful an idea as this may sound to the industrial revolution-era wage worker, the fact of the matter is that the dictatorship of the proletariat is still a dictatorship, and dictatorships infringe on human rights. Expert economist Frank Chodorov of the Mises Institute writes:
“[The socialist] …seeks power for a humanitarian purpose. He would "elevate" all mankind to his ideal. Since the individual does not wish to be "elevated," and lays claim to something called rights, the socialist undertakes to prove that the individual does not exist, that an amorphous thing called "society" is the only fact of reality, and proceeds to impose his set of values on this thing… In this respect, the socialist is no different from the millions of bureaucrats who now infest the social order; the bureaucrat is, like the socialist, a ruler by natural selection.”
Some utopian “thinkers” might claim that the individual could simply leave the group and find another which better suits his needs. This, however, is not only selfish in comparison to the needs of society, but already unrealistic since the individual has no rights under this dictatorship and cannot realistically expect to leave the utopia, which ever looks more and more like a dystopia. In the book Wage Labor and Capital, Marx argues that the worker, while able to divorce himself from a particular employer/capitalist, cannot divorce himself from the capitalist class and expect to survive, because current society is a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Using this form of logic, it is reasonable to argue that under a dictatorship of the proletariat, the individual (whose existence and rights are nullified for the “greater good”) cannot divorce himself from the working class or society. After all, the individual will have no access whatsoever to the means of production which are completely controlled by bureaucratic workers councils, and if he expects to work or eat he must give up the idea of divorcing himself from any group in society. His selfish desires for freedom will go unsatisfied because he cannot escape society without becoming a reactionary pariah—without becoming the Unabomber of the workers’ society, the Kerensky of Lenin’s
Soviet Union, or even worse: being labeled a counterrevolutionary in a revolutionary society. Chodorov writes: “A people can vote themselves into slavery, though they cannot vote themselves out of it.”
For one to call himself a Libertarian Socialist—a fantasy inconsistent with both reality and socialism, certainly inconsistent with Marxism—is unrealistic and foolishly utopian, in danger of becoming dystopian if any attempt at implementation is made. This fantasy is akin to Marxists being sociopolitical masochists by lying to themselves that there is no difference between socialism and Communism, that capitalism sets humanity back rather than helping humanity to evolve, that socialism and communism are humanitarian, and that up is down and red is blue.
Countless attempts have been made to implement socialism within modern society. The system might work on the small communal level, but even still, most if not all socialists subscribe to Marx’s theory (reiterated in Chris Harman’s book How Marxism Works) that “you cannot build an island of socialism in a sea of capitalism. Attempts by small groups of socialists to cut themselves off and lead their lives according to socialist ideas always fail miserably in the long term…” However, Harman, with the gift of historical hindsight that Marx didn’t have, still fails to see that countless attempts have also been made to implement socialism on a grand scale and have also failed, most times with millions of people killed in the process. Both socialism and Communism, when implemented, have had to be adulterated and still failed because these systems don’t work, and no amount of bullets or pseudo-intellectual academic writings can change this reality.
Libertarian Socialism is a lie. Libertarianism is a system which places importance on the rights of the individual—completely inconsistent with socialism, which is collectivist and inflexible. Socialism, beneficent in theory but oppressive in practice, is a system which cannot and does not work.