Heaven on Earth
A History of Socialism from its cradle to its grave. Encounter Books, 2003
When the common people come to power, the humble worker, the land cultivator, the self-made man and woman, then yo got an American and the American system. Never Socialism. A true American is a man like George Meany. Thankfully, most Americans can recognize themselves in Meany, still at this day and time.
“To him, a plumber was a plumber, not a proletarian. A worker was a guy trying to squeeze the most he could out of his job and hoping to get a better one. And if he was something more than flesh and blood, as he assuredly was, it was not because he was an embodiment of historical processes, but rather a husband, father, worshiper, patriot, pianist, artist, baseball player.” Gotta love common-sense like that.
Mr. Muravchik explains in the epilogue the only case of a successful socialist community, the kibbutzim in Israel. Successful yes, but only for a generation or two. What happened? “[A debt crisis]. What was so devastating about all the borrowing […] was that little of the money had been used as capital to boost the kibbutzim's earnings. Instead, it had been spent to raise the standard of living. The impulse to do this did not grow out of hedonism, but in the hopes of stemming the loss of members. By some point in the 1970s the majority of kibbutz-raised children were leaving.” The children of the founders, being raised in this irrational pseudo-religion, were expected to be “the best kibbutzniks”. It failed. It just goes against human nature. Decent humans want to be free. Amazing that Christians in the West should be looked down on by this crazy and dangerous God-haters as unscientific and irrational; well look at them!
One of the kibbutzniks admitted: “People like me who started as socialists concluded that you can work hard and get nothing while others don't work hard. It's so unfair.” And this simple deduction had to take a whole life-span to be learned! Well, doesn't it look like 2 plus 2 to you? “Those who leave [the kibbutz] are often the most economically productive.” Wow, that's some deep, deep, thinking.
This book is about Socialism in action, not ideology, though it obviously gets explained while coursing the lives of those nutty fellows, the wealthy founders of this elitist ideology called Socialism. But it's a 100% history book, delving on the lives of the dudes, on what they preached (and this is not a metaphor) and what they lived, what they said to the crowds, and what they said among themselves. What a bunch of scoundrels, oh my.
You can safely read this book, no matter what your prejudices may be. This is not a politically biased book, it is history, factual, with names, locations, dudes, and their doings. No refuting the facts. It covers the whole wide-world, in their main scenarios, the main characters of the farce, their stories, their origin and their outcome. It is history from the street level. There's more action here than in all Tom Cruise's movies, and nothing is fake.
One of the most enriching reading experiences in my life. The colorless cover doesn't do it justice.