Are Socialists Psychos?

Spirit of 76 asked

In terms of the Western countries, where do all of these commies come from ? Who indoctrinates them ? When I was a union delegate 12 years ago, hearing Karl Andersen spout his beliefs, I honestly thought he was taking the piss ! Why do people still adhere to a political system that has done nothing apart from advertise itself as an abject failure ?

These are questions that have interested me for a long time. Ever since I was a bit pink myself, I’ve wondered why many intelligent people can invest their whole lives into a project that is so clearly nonsensical.

I remember a conversation with US former socialist Tammy Bruce, when she visited NZ last year.

I asked Tammy exactly why she thought people devoted their lives to socialism.

Tammy, had been at the pinnacle of the US left/feminist establishment. She knew hundreds of senior socialists. She is a lesbian, who herself had a pretty tough upbringing and her share of personal tragedy.

Tammy’s theory was that socialists tend to be “damaged” people and/or misfits.

They are people on the “outside”-whether through personality defects, such as intense jealousy and envy, a deep sense of inadequacy or something that sets them apart from the “mainstream”, homosexuality, physical disability, belonging to a persecuted minority etc.

Most of us have some of those or other problems in our lives. We try to cope, to overcome our shortcomings and get on with our lives.

Others can’t handle the thought that they are the odd one out, or that they should work to address their personal faults.

Socialism appeals to such people, because socialism claims that all problems are caused by external factors and can be addressed, not by confronting oneself, but by altering the world.

In other words, socialists tend to be damaged people who are driven to “fit in” by changing the world to suit their particular shortcomings.

They want to make the fit their faults-not as most of us do, try to fix our own shortcomings first.

Socialism, is in short a manifestation of mental illness or major character deficiency.

This is perhaps why universities are the main recruiting ground for socialism these days.

At university you can theorise a better world according to any preference you like.

In the real world of the marketplace, bad ideas lead to heartache and bankruptcy. In universities they lead to tenure, overseas conferences, fawning syncophants and good salaries.

I remember one US socialist saying something like “communism is a system of political economy-not a character deficiency”.

I think he was 100% wrong. What do others think?


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  4. “Simple isn’t it?”

    No it isn’t actually. Nice rhetoric, but most rhetoric sounds nice. You need to move your politics beyond mouthing pretty slogans.

    Have a nice Christmas.

    -Sam Buchanan

  5. Sam, I don’t intend to shape anyone’s life.

    I want a society where everyone can live however they wish as long as they respect others property and right to live how they choose.

    I want a society where you can live out your own ideals as long as it is at your own expense and with your own resources.

    Simple isn’t it?

  6. ou don’t like private property. Fair enough.

    “But you go further. You don’t want other people to enjoy private property either.

    You want all property owned in common, so that stuffs anybody who believes in private property.

    Confirms my point Sam. You want to dictate how everybody else lives.”

    Sorry Trev, you need to read things better. I said I didn’t want MY wealth as shares in corporations, and I didn’t want a structure of society that makes ME fit into a capitalist framework. If you want to spend your time playing monopoly, go right ahead.

    Neither did I say I objected to private property – it’s fine on a small scale (I don’t covet your ballpoint pens or backyard).

    By the way, the question was: how do YOU intend to organise society without it shaping other’s lives? Accusing other people of the same isn’t answering the question.

    -Sam Buchanan

  7. Interesting JFP. State run organisations and those protected from market rigours, such as academia can be pretty putrid environments.

    Its a bit like inbreeding, the need the market to bring in a bit of “genetic’ diversity.

  8. To the other anonymous, you talk about the evils of capitalism. I saw THE SAME evils in academia, even though capitalism wasn’t present. In academia today, there is rampant unemployment, exploitation, the rich getting richer and the poor poorer, etc. And I’m just talking about what happens among those with Ph.D.s. How do you explain all that? Shouldn’t we just think of capitalism as a symptom of something else that is wrong and not the actual source of the problem?


  9. I can vouch for the initial premise of this thread. I turned leftist because I felt out of step with everyone else. It wasn’t until I tried to enter academia, where virtually everyone is leftist and STILL found myself out of step that I realized something was wrong with my political views.


  10. tis, tisnt, etc etc etc.
    you guys can go on with the same sterile game for eternity. Why? because instead of looking at what is, and analysing that, you’re kicking desicated formulaic idealist abstractions back and forth. And demonstrating that anarchism and the freedom of the hard right are bastard children from the same smelly cot.

  11. You walked right into that one Sam.

    You don’t like private property. Fair enough.

    But you go further. You don’t want other people to enjoy private property either.

    You want all property owned in common, so that stuffs anybody who believes in private property.

    Confirms my point Sam. You want to dictate how everybody else lives.

    If that ain’t a personality defect or mental abnormality, I don’t know what is.

    I can probabably cure you though, for a small fee of course.

  12. “Get your shares and pool them with others. Set up your own co-op. Do what ever you want, promote any form of ownership you desire, just don’t force anyone else to do the same.

    Does that sound fair to you Sam?”

    Nope, not really. As I said I don’t want society to hand back my wealth as shares in corporations. Owning a share in a company is not the same as owning the reource itself. You don’t seem to be able offer a solution to the question of dividing collectively owned resources that doesn’t involve shaping my life by defining the sort of society I have to live in.

    Sam Buchanan

  13. I agree Trev you have done a good job speaking out against the tyranny of the CCP. Sorry I was more getting at the ACT Party than you. Should have checked that message more clearly before sending it. Apologies.

    The ACT Party does strike me as being quite authoritarian despite claiming to oppose the so called ‘nanny state’.

  14. “Capitalism and the lust for power that comes with it is the largest most destructive religion on the planet.”

    Don’t you just sound like Mao Zedong? You know? Whose policies utterly failed in rebuilding China and executed his own people when they asked the wrong questions? Yea, you don’t sound like a Red. Not.

  15. Capitalism and the lust for power that comes with it is the largest most destructive religion on the planet.

    We all know by know that you hate state based socialism trev that doesnt make capitalism any less destructive or exploitative.

  16. Simple solution Sam.

    Get your shares and pool them with others. Set up your own co-op. Do what ever you want, promote any form of ownership you desire, just don’t force anyone else to do the same.

    Does that sound fair to you Sam?

  17. This is in direct contradiction to what you said before. You claimed you didn’t want to shape other peoples lives for them, now you are saying everyone has to be a share-owning capitalist.

    I don’t want to own shares in a corporation – this isn’t direct ownership of assets anyway, but indirect ownership. I want to share in the collectively owned property, not individual ownership.

    – Sam Buchanan

  18. I agree with you Sam. I think a libertarian society would see a huge growth in civil society. Credit unions, friendly societies, mutual aid groups, charities, social groups.

    In many ways it would be like what socialists dream about-a more caring and co-dependent society.

    I believe freedom promotes increased responsibility, better ethics and greater levels of benevolence.

    I think a free society would be diverse and dynamic, but also far more caring and community minded.

    Not everyone would be that way, but more than are now would be.

    I regard the way privatisation was done in the ’80s as far less than ideal.

    I admire those who carried it out and would have done no better myself, but the programme carried within it the “seeds of its own destruction”.

    All public assets should in my opinion, simply be issued as shares to the pubic.

    Every NZer should have been given X shares in Telecom. Every Christchuch citizen should be given shares in the local power company etc.

    The “selling of the family silver” in the ’80s, poisoned a lot of people against privatisation.

    Giving people direct ownership in their assets,to do with as they wish, is I think a much better way to go.

  19. Fair enough then, I’ve always felt that libertarianism was a methodology that would result in unforseen ends – since most people have no desire to have their lives run by a morass of contractual agreements and lawsuits – a form of community-based socialism is likely to result as people forge voluntary agreements, unhindered by the corporates’ government buddies.

    The only difficult bit is how libertarians plan to share out the existing collectively-owned wealth.

    Sam Buchanan

  20. You’re right Sam. That is the key difference between libertarians and socialists.

    Under socialism, no-one can opt out, everyone has to be a socialist.

    In a libertarian society, if you want to be a socialist you can. If you want to an anarchist, a unionist or a syndicalist-go for it.

    The only priviso is that you cannot force anybody to go along with you.

    Could you get anything fairer?

  21. So when socialists want to restructure society – which inevitably means shaping people’s lives – it’s a mental illness. But when Trevor wants to restructure society – which inevitably means shaping lives – it’s political dissent.

    Or have I got Trev wrong, and he is happy for those who want to opt out of his system, and say, form trade unions, work under collective contracts and keep natural resources collectively owned, to go ahead and do so?

    Sam Buchanan

  22. Sam _ never said political dissent was an illness. I myself am a dissenter and I’m almost perfect.

    What I said was that the desire to shape others lives for them, which is what socialists seek to achieve, is a form of mental illness or serious character deficiency.

    An entirely reasonable proposition, I would have thought.

    Cameron, bit disappointed in your cheap shot there.

    Do you know any blogger who is more anti the PRC regime than me?

    Do you know any blogger who is more anti state power than me?

    Re the police, I put forward proposals to reform the police and make them more accountable.

    You actually stated that you agreed with my proposals. Is that not so Cameron?

  23. Trev would probably like China. It’s quite capitalist these days but is still extremely authoritarian. Maybe it could be held up by the ACT Party as model for New Zealand

    They want to cut away welfare, public healthcare and education while at the same time strengthening the Police and Military.

  24. Interesting. In the old Soviet Union, political dissent was considered a mental illness, now Trevor is saying the same thing. Perhaps if he doesn’t like living in a country where the right to hold differing political views is respected, he should move to China or Cuba or some such place.

    Sam Buchanan

  25. Thanks for that posting Trevor. I personally, have always thought socialists are afflicted with a sense of self-loathing, and a need to be seen as intellectually & morally superior to other non-believers.

    That’s why to lefties, debate is about them; not the actual issues. As long as they can feel good about themselves at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

    I always knew New Zeal was a one-stop shop for analysis on the psychology of modern leftism 🙂

  26. communist philosphopy, liberal ideals, ok got the picture “no good, bad”

    what do you wee wee warts believe in then?

    in particular – Trevor, if you have anything of a vision – aside from slagging off the long departed Bert Shipp – why do you not put some good shit out there for us, the unelightened.
    What do you sad little rightwing
    listmaking name taking crawlers do for fun?
    Do you have any wonderful dreams in your head or is that just some silly shit that the commies do while you
    look in the Listener to see what is the recomended big picture on Saturday night?

  27. Well, with the religious extreme variations, we do know that socialist orientated groups back the Islamist radicals in Iraq and elsewhere in the world. Heck, check out the Muslim Students Association, a youth wing of the Muslim Brotherhood which collaborates openly with Refuse and Resist a front for the Revolutionary Communist Party.

  28. Berend and MAH, I also think there is a big “religious” factor in socialism.

    As berend says, it is a big cause that appeals to the collective component in us all.

    No disrespect to real religion, but many socialists believe in socialism in a manner not dissimilar to that displayed by some of the more fanatical religious types.

  29. “Does the same thing apply to religious belife however…?”

    To some extreme variations. But then again, Socialism acts like a religion in its own rank when Socialist or hardline variations of its ideology promote themselves to be the “savior” of everybody else when they really are not.

  30. But communism also promises to do good. There are no result basically, but just the feeling that you have good intentions and want to do good for the “poor” must give a powerful feeling of self justification and a mission larger than life.

    I agree that misfit is a huge factor, but most people would like to belong to something larger than themselves and socialism gives that. And they only have to worry about their intentions, never about the results.

  31. When I look back at the hard socialists on my campuses, not one was what we would call a “normal well adjusted” person.

    Each one looked and acted like they had problems or been bullied at an early age. You had to be careful if you wound them up as you’d never know what kind of reaction you would get. Violence seemed to be their way to respond usually!

  32. yes, lovely post Trevor.

    “external factors” eh.

    internal contradictions are conditioned by external factors, but they take pride of place in the scheme of things. Like the old chap said, in certain conditions you can change an egg into a chicken, but under no conditions can you change a stone into a fowl.

    anyway, keep it up, i love yur blog. Bert Shipp the bomber was a classic, when are you going to demonise sir Ken?

  33. That’s a fantastic post Trevor.

    As socialism is manifestation of mental illness, maybe we need institutions to treat these sick individuals. It is really the only compassionate thing we can do.


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