Ben Shapiro On Socialism 

Even more than his views on abortion, Ben Shapiro is perhaps best known for his criticism of socialism. Well, definitely amongst college kids. Ben views socialism as theft and therefore immoral. This is an argument that, even for us academic lefties, is not something that can be easily dismissed. Many highly cited, well respected and very influential academic papers have attempted to deal with the question of whether socialism, via increased taxation, is nonetheless theft. There’s also the prescriptive question of whether the failures of socialism, speak to the problems inherit with socialism. Given our political leanings, we’ll just give Ben’s opinions, with context, embed the video and then have a longform piece on socialism coming soon. There’s a lot to be addressed here and, in due time, we will get to every piece of it. 

The idea of socialism has become very popular among young people. And the reason that it’s become popular among young people is because they’ve been told that it is moral. Not that it works, not that it’s great, but that it’s moral. It’s fair. And we all like thing that are fair, right? If we’re in a room and somebody has more money and somebody has less money, wouldn’t it be more fair if we just pooled the money and then we split it up evenly among the participants, you know, just like the cookies in kindergarten. Except, of course, that’s not the way the world and that’s not actually moral. Because in a free country, wealth, and the capacity to gain it, is largely contingent on the decision that you make. It doesn’t just fall upon you. Most wealth in the United States is not inherited, most wealth in the United States is created over the course of lifetimes by people who engage in economic activity and commerce.

Ben Shapiro

The morality of socialism is a complex one. On one hand, there is a mantra in economics departments that one often hears that goes “liberal while you learn, conservative while you earn.” The implication being that while one is learning about the world and society, the problems of the poor are intensely visceral. However when one enters the workplace and sees their taxes removed from their paycheck, they begin to gravitate towards a more conservative view point. In reality, the truth is most likely about intuitions being pulled one way and then another and not that people are getting smarter, more multi-cultural or selfish. Let’s continue with Ben’s statements from the same speech.

Capitalism is good because capitalism is freedom. Socialism is bad because socialism is tyranny. Not it’s an aspect of tyranny, socialist itself is tyranny. The statement of socialism is that your labor is owed to the society. The notion of socialism is that you do not own your own freedom, you do not own your own time, you do not own your own labor, you do not own your own work, you do not own the products of your own work. The basic notion of capitalism is your own all of those things and now you have to engage in free exchange with someone else, who does not owe you anything. If you want to thrive, if you want to succeed, you’re going to have to make something somebody else wants. 

People think capitalism is selfishness. No, socialism is selfishness. The notion that I have to somehow supply you the money so you can sit in your basement and paint with water colors. Socialism, the idea that I’m supposed to fulfill all your dreams by paying you for something I don’t want and have no need for.

Ben Shapiro

As always, should we become aware that Ben has changed his opinion or should new evidence be submitted that we have either misconstrued his opinion or failed to include important statements from him, we will 1) make the correction, 2) note the correction here, 3) issue a mea culpa that attempts to explain and improve on how we missed this. 

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