Why I Am Not A Socialist

I've often wondered what social factors shaped my political views. Both of my parents are completely apolitical, and I can't recall any other people or events which influenced me one way or another. If I had to narrow it down to something, I would point to my mother?s stories of her childhood in Israel. These stories contain enough commonsense economics to turn even the hardest of statist hearts towards liberty.

My mother?s parents immigrated to Israel from the U.S. in 1954. Like any good Jew with socialist leanings, my grandfather joined with a group of 25 fellow immigrant families who all agreed to share whatever earnings they could muster and distribute the wealth evenly amongst themselves. Just one small problem: my grandfather was the only one with a real job that paid any real money. Let's just say that arrangement didn't last very long. ?From each according to his ability, to each according to his need? is a cute little catchphrase, except when you are the one doing all the work and everyone else takes advantage of your efforts.

Later, when my mother was a teenager, she tried living in a kibbutz, an Israeli commune. She was told to harvest a row of cucumbers in a field, along with her fellow comrades. While she focused on her work and tried to move as quickly as possible to get the job done, the other, more experienced workers, took it slowly, singing and chatting and having a gay-old-time as they picked. When my mother finished her row and sat down under a tree to take a break and wait for everyone else to finish, she was told by the group leader that since she finished her row so nicely, she can go help the others finish picking their rows. That little arrangement didn't last long either.

So if that is that type of socialism you want, I won't stop you from forming your own commune, but leave me out of it please. I don't have a problem supporting my fellow man when he is in need, but as a student of economics and an observer human nature, I've come to strongly believe that an economic system any larger than an extended family - and even that is pushing it - is doomed to failure if it ignores individual self-interest.

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I've always wondered about

I've always wondered about Kibbutzs (how do you pluralize that?). They're always held up by communists as the shinning example of how glorious communism can work (ironically, it's usually usually by communists living in a big city). I rarely see any detailed objective analysis or anything critical written of them.

The plural of kibbutz is

The plural of kibbutz is kibbutzim.

Few, if any, were ever self-sufficient. The government supported the communes for decades through generous welfare payments. In recent years, most have been privatized. There have been a few article likely about their failure, although I don't have the time right now to dig them up.

The one good thing that can be said about them is that they never led to mass genocide, which is probably a result of their voluntary nature and their relative independence from the state.