Quotes on Socialism

We have the right as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money.

— Davy Crockett, Speech in the US House of Representatives

Socialism has been tried on every continent of the globe. In light of its results, it is time to question the motives of [its] advocates.

— Ayn Rand

The only possible relationship between individuals and collectivists is the relationship between prey and predators.

— Will Spencer

Every man and woman in society has one big duty. That is, to take care of his or her own self. This is a social duty. For, fortunately, the matter stands so that the duty of making the best on one’s self individually is not a separate thing from the duty of filling one’s place in society, but the two are one, and the latter is accomplished when the former is done.

— William Graham Sumner, What Social Classes Owe to Each Other (1883)

What we call the market is really a democratic process involving millions, and in some markets billions, of people making personal decisions that express their preferences. When you hear someone say that he doesn’t trust the market, and wants to replace it with government edicts, he’s really calling for a switch from a democratic process to a totalitarian one.

— Walter Williams

Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others.

— Ayn Rand

I am certain that nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after this mirage of social justice.

— Friedrich Hayek, Economic Freedom and Representative Government (1973)

It is a socialist idea that making profits is a vice. I consider the real vice is making losses.

— Winston Churchill

The argument for liberty is not an argument against organization, which is one of the most powerful tools human reason can employ, but an argument against all exclusive, privileged, monopolistic organization, against the use of coercion to prevent others from doing better.

— Friedrich Hayek, Why I Am Not a Conservative

I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.

— Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Ludlow (6 September 1824)

Strong as it looks at the outset, State-agency perpetually disappoints every one. Puny as are its first stages, private efforts daily achieve results that astound the world.

— Herbert Spencer, Essays: Scientific, Political, and Speculative (1891)

Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong.

— Calvin Coolidge

There are those non-God religions, Nazism and Communism. We are urged from the Continent and from different quarters that we must choose which side we are on. I repudiate both, and will have nothing to do with either. As a matter of fact, they are like two peas. Tweedledum and Tweedledee were violently contrasted compared with them.

— Winston Churchill, Speech in Leeds, 25 January 1937

How is it that Liberalism, getting more and more into power, has grown more and more coercive in its legislation?

— Herbert Spencer, The Man versus the State

Government never furthered any enterprise but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way.

— Henry David Thoreau

Taxation of earnings from labor is on a par with forced labor. Seizing the results of someone’s labor is equivalent to seizing hours from him and directing him to carry on various activities.

— Robert Nozick

Socialism is communism before it gains total power; communism is socialism after it gains total power.

— Will Spencer

A right, such as a right to free speech, imposes no obligation on another, except that of non-interference. The so-called right to health care, food or housing, whether a person can afford it or not, is something entirely different; it does impose an obligation on another. If one person has a right to something he didn’t produce, simultaneously and of necessity it means that some other person does not have right to something he did produce. That’s because, since there’s no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy, in order for government to give one American a dollar, it must, through intimidation, threats and coercion, confiscate that dollar from some other American.

— Walter Williams

The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.

— John Adams

Collectivism doesn’t work because it’s based on a faulty economic premise. There is no such thing as a person’s ‘fair share’ of wealth. The gross national product is not a pizza that must be carefully divided because if I get too many slices, you have to eat the box. The economy is expandable and, in any practical sense, limitless.

— P.J. O’Rourke, How to Explain Conservatism

I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.

— Benjamin Franklin

There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal. While the first is the condition of a free society, the second means as De Tocqueville describes it, ‘a new form of servitude.’

— Friedrich Hayek, Individualism and Economic Order (1948)

Socialism is the doctrine that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that his life and his work do not belong to him, but belong to society, that the only justification of his existence is his service to society, and that society may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good.

— Ayn Rand

History has shown that a government’s redistribution of shrinking wealth, in preference to a private sector’s creation of new sources of it, can prove more destructive than even the most deadly enemy.

— Victor Davis Hanson

Every time that we try to lift a problem from our own shoulders, and shift that problem to the hands of the government, to the same extent we are sacrificing the liberties of our people.

— John F. Kennedy

A society that puts equality – in the sense of equality of outcome – ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality or freedom.

— Milton Friedman

Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom; socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.

— Alexis de Tocqueville, Discours pronounce a l’assemblee constituante le 12 septembre 1848 sur la question du droit at travail

Under communist rule in the Soviet Union, the 3 percent of agricultural land that was privately farmed by people who kept part of the profits from their efforts supplied the majority of all farm produce. It is not simply that bureaucracy is inefficient. Any form of production that is not based on material reward will not operate efficiently.

— Steven E Plaut, The Joy Of Capitalism

When under the pretext of fraternity, the legal code imposes mutual sacrifices on the citizens, human nature is not thereby abrogated. Everyone will then direct his efforts toward contributing little to, and taking much from, the common fund of sacrifices. Now, is it the most unfortunate who gains from this struggle? Certainly not, but rather the most influential and calculating.

— Frederic Bastiat, Justice and Fraternity

The recurrence of periods of depression and mass unemployment has discredited capitalism in the opinion of injudicious people. Yet these events are not the outcome of the operation of the free market. They are on the contrary the result of well-intentioned but ill-advised government interference with the market.

— Ludwig von Mises, Middle-of-the-Road Policy Leads to Socialism

The dilemma … is between the democratic process of the market in which every individual has his share and the exclusive rule of a dictatorial body. Whatever people do in the market economy is the execution of their own plans. In this sense every human action means planning. What those calling themselves planners advocate is not the substitution of planned action for letting things go. It is the substitution of the planner’s own plan for the plans of his fellowmen. The planner is a potential dictator who wants to deprive all other people of the power to plan and act according to their own plans. He aims at one thing only: the exclusive absolute preeminence of his own plan.

— Ludwig von Mises

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

— Thomas Jefferson

Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.

— Thomas Sowell

Do not consider Collectivists as “sincere but deluded idealists”. The proposal to enslave some men for the sake of others is not an ideal; brutality is not “idealistic,” no matter what its purpose. Do not ever say that the desire to “do good” by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives.

— Ayn Rand

What can prevent the coming of totalitarian socialism is only a thorough change in ideologies. What we need is neither anti-socialism nor anti-communism but an open positive endorsement of that system to which we owe all the wealth that distinguishes our age from the comparatively straitened conditions of ages gone by.

— Ludwig von Mises, Middle-of-the-Road Policy Leads to Socialism

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.

— Winston Churchill, Speech in the House of Commons (22 October, 1945)

How do you tell a Communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an Anti-communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.

— Ronald Reagan

Most people who read “The Communist Manifesto” probably have no idea that it was written by a couple of young men who had never worked a day in their lives, and who nevertheless spoke boldly in the name of “the workers.” Similar offspring of inherited wealth have repeatedly provided the leadership of radical movements, with similar pretenses of speaking for “the people.”

— Thomas Sowell

To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, ‘the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, and the fruits acquired by it.’

— Thomas Jefferson

The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals would not only load himself with most unnecessary attention but assume an authority which could safely be trusted to no council and senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of man who have folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.

— Adam Smith

I believe that every individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruits of his labor, so far as it in no way interferes with any other men’s rights.

— Abraham Lincoln

When once the right of the individual to liberty and equality is admitted, there is no escape from the conclusion that he alone is entitled to the rewards of his own industry. Any other conclusion would necessarily imply either privilege or servitude.

— Calvin Coolidge

I don’t like the income tax. Every time we talk about these taxes we get around to the idea of ‘from each according to his capacity and to each according to his needs’. That’s socialism. It’s written into the Communist Manifesto. Maybe we ought to see that every person who gets a tax return receives a copy of the Communist Manifesto with it so he can see what’s happening to him..

— T. Coleman Andrews

An expanding prosperity requires that the largest possible amount of surplus income should be invested in productive enterprise under the direction of the best personal ability. This will not be done if the rewards of such action are largely taken away by taxation.

— Calvin Coolidge

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

— Frederic Bastiat, The Law

Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel.

— Ayn Rand

One difference between libertarianism and socialism is that a socialist society can’t tolerate groups of people practicing freedom, but a libertarian society can comfortably allow people to choose voluntary socialism.

— David Boaz, Libertarianism: A Primer

Democracy aims at equality in liberty. Socialism desires equality in constraint and in servitude.

— Alexis de Tocqueville

No matter how worthy the cause, it is robbery, theft, and injustice to confiscate the property of one person and give it to another to whom it does not belong.

— Walter Williams

Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy.

— Winston Churchill, Speech at the Scottish Unionist Conference (28 May, 1948)

It’s illegal to say to a voter “Here’s $100, vote for me.” So what do the politicians do? They offer the $100 in the form of Health Care, Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Food Stamps, tobacco subsidies, grain payments, NEA payments, and jobs programs.

— Don Farrar

Since this is an era when many people are concerned about “fairness” and “social justice,” what is your “fair share” of what someone else has worked for?

— Thomas Sowell

The theory seems to be that as long as a man is a failure he is one of God’s children, but that as soon as he succeeds he is taken over by the Devil.

— H. L. Mencken

There is nothing more arrogant than a self-righteous income redistributor.

— Dick Armey